How I Survived My First Month Living On My Own

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Cleaning supplies lined up next to window.

If the previous tenants leave you lightly used cleaning supplies, don’t be surprised when the place is a mess.

Well, I survived it … the first month of living on my own! I have yet to burn down the house with my cooking, I have managed to keep the apartment “clean,” and most importantly, I have been able to keep my bank account in the green.

I would call that a successful first month, and here are some ways that I plan to keep it up for the future.


Separate The Funds

Before moving in, I saved all summer to build a separate “apartment savings account.” After months of little activity, it is finally seeing some action—but not too much action. I have kept this account away from my “fun” account. That way, I won’t foolishly spend the money I saved specifically for apartment expenses on the wrong things.

By keeping these accounts separate, I can track each and better control what I spend money on. Looking into the coming months, I plan to continue to contribute a large chunk of my paycheck to my “apartment fund” to keep building it up. The rest will go into my fun account so I am not tempted to take away from my future apartment expenses.

Prepare For The Unexpected

As much as it sounds like a cliché, you always need to prepare for the unexpected—especially when you are out on your own for the first time. Within this first month, my roommate and I have taken numerous cold showers because our water heater failed a couple times. Our landlord has been great about fixing these large problems, but the little issues are up to us—and believe me, they add up quickly.

For example, while moving, my Keurig coffeemaker broke. I am so attached to this coffeemaker, so repairing it was a necessary expense. I did my research, and lucky for me, I was able to buy a replacement part. Being able to take a step back and make that pesky, yet necessary repair was important—it saved me the hundred-plus dollars a new brewer would have cost!

Hope For Pleasant Surprises

For every unexpected expense, I like to think that there are just as many pleasant surprises. Whether it is finding a “free” $40 under the sink when moving in (yes, that happened) or realizing that the laundry machine is not coin operated, these small things can help you save in the long run.

When we moved in, not only did we find those extra $40, but we also found loads of cleaning supplies, most of which were full. This was a major win because, although the previous tenants left us a messy apartment, we were able to save so much on cleaning! Of course, we needed to use some of these supplies on our move-in day, but after a month, we are still using them and have yet to spend any money on arguably this most unrewarding but necessary expense.

I am sure that as the coming months approach, more and more unexpected expenses will pop up, which will hopefully be offset by those small wins. As long as I can continue to manage and prepare the best I can, I will be able to stay out of the red, and so can you!

Living on your own for the first time? Share how you’re surviving.

(Photo: BrittneyBush)

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  1. Aaron October 4, 2013 / 1:32 pm

    Pro tip on cleaning supplies: Do not mix ammonia and bleach. Poisonous gas results.

  2. Aaron October 4, 2013 / 1:33 pm

    (And, yes, I know someone who did this by accident, and it was Bad).

  3. Sasha October 28, 2013 / 3:16 pm

    Yikes!! ^^^^

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