Regardless of whether you get along with your current roommates or not, living with someone (or multiple people) can be taxing and often takes great patience. If you’re considering the move to solo living soon, read on for some ways to make the transition more smooth and doable.
Compare budgets and live below your means
Making the big leap from a dual-income living situation to Singledom can be tricky. So, for now, think of your money in terms of having two budgets. Your first budget is the one you’re currently following while living with roommates. Your second budget is the new budget that will take full effect once you’ve moved into your solo place.
Once you’ve drawn up both budgets, compare them, and then start attempting to follow your Solo Budget NOW! This way, you’ll be accustomed to the tighter budget long before you ever actually have to follow it in strict fashion.
Save for a while
If you’re able, try to save for six months before you make the big leap. Before, when you had roommates, you may have split things like deposits, cleaning supplies, and utilities. Now, it’s all gonna be on you.
So try to save a good cushion for your move. Perhaps even set a goal for how much you would like to have in savings before the big moving date.
Here’s a tip: Don’t just save for deposits. Save for additional expenses like new cookware, furniture, and appliances that you may currently share with your roommates. Also, consider saving for any unexpected expenses that might come up in the future while you’re living solo, such as an unexpected medical bill or car expense.
Find supplemental income
If you’re worried about making ends meet once you’re living on your own, try to secure supplemental income long BEFORE you make the move.
In the age of working from home and side gigging, it’s never been easier to earn a little extra cash on the side. Try freelance writing, online mystery shopping, or driving for a rideshare company.
Whatever side gig you choose, make sure that it will provide you with some extra cushion or play money once you’re on your own.
Face facts: Home doesn’t have to be luxurious
If you’re going to live solo, you may have to lower some superficial standards for a while by forgoing the bells and whistles for which many apartment complexes charge the big bucks, such as on-site gym and pool, fireplaces, patios, dishwashers, and even in-unit washers/dryers. When you start the apartment hunt, ask yourself these questions: “What amenities do I really need to be comfortable and happy?” and “What can I do without?”
Opting for a smaller place with fewer amenities in a slightly less-popular area can save you hundreds of dollars per month. Certainly something worth considering.
Prioritize your purchases
Now that you’ve compared your budgets, it should be relatively easy for you to cut out some of the non-necessities in an effort to tighten things up.
Some items that people usually splurge on include: eating out, coffee, clothes and accessories, alcohol, and junk food.
That being said, here’s a great way to access what you’re actually spending your money on: First, print out your bank statements for the past six months, then use a highlighter to highlight any spending that was “unnecessary” or frivolous. Of course, this is very subjective and unique to each person, but using this method you are certain to come up with at least a few ways to save.
Some questions to ask yourself as you’re highlighting: Did this item or experience make me happy? Do I regret that purchase? Do I still wear that shirt? Will I use this item one year from now?
Track your spending
Now that you have a good grasp on your spending habits, you’ll feel more empowered to change your habits going forward. An excellent way to hold yourself accountable and see how your habits are improving is by tracking your spending.
How does this help, you may wonder? Because most people rarely pay for the majority of their items in cash anymore, it can be very easy to swipe your credit or debit card and forget all about how much you’re spending over the course of a week or month. However, if you track every purchase, you’ll easily be able to see if you’re approaching your budget max for the month. Consider using budget apps or creating a spreadsheet that you save on your computer or phone.
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