Fun fact: whenever someone signs up for my email list and fills out that quick little survey (if you don't know what I'm talking about, go sign up and fill it out for me! ;) ) I always read the responses. ALWAYS. I love hearing what's on your mind, what's stressing you out about finances, and what you'd like me to write about.
But here's the thing... I usually add those post ideas to my running list of topics and then promptly forget to ever write about it. Oops.
Sooo today, I'm finally going to tackle one of the questions:
How can you save money when you live on your own?
Now: to clarify, I'm not sure if this is referring to just living somewhere other than your parents house, or completely SOLO. I've never done the completely solo thing (the DC area is NOT cost-effective for living completely solo, haha, and now I have this cute man roommate that I kiiiiinda like living with) but I will give you some tips on cutting costs in both situations!
(not our house. I WISH. Aren't they cute?)
First things first: don't be house (or apartment) poor.
For those of you in the market or who will be soon, this is an important first point to remember: rent something CHEAPER THAN YOU THINK YOU CAN AFFORD. I know, I know, it's easy to see that super fancy apartment and immediately fall in love. You say, "yeah, I can afford that. I mean, I can't right now, but I'm sure I can cut a few lattes and I'll be able to make rent each month! well, almost." and you sign your life away to a lease that's far too expensive and you have zero dollars to do anything besides sit in your apartment that you can barely afford.
Don't do that. Come up with a realistic budget for yourself (oh hey, need help with that? I gotcha covered...) and stick to that when apartment hunting.
Oh, and if you're getting a roommate(s), be sure to agree BEFOREHAND on your price range/location/etc.
Again, it's easy for you to both fall in love with something and suddenly you sign your life away to a place you can't afford. Or, it's easy for your future roomie to fall in love with something expensive and you to be guilted into going along with it. No bueno, chica.
(this is an Ikea showroom... NOT my own house)
Delete Pinterest and all other forms of social media while decorating your new home.
This is half joking, half totally serious. STAHHPPPPPP looking at those perfectly decorated apartments on Pinterest. It will do you exactly ZERO GOOD to compare yourself to these insanely gorgeous homes. Listen to me: you don't need perfectly matching chevron throw pillows (is chevron still a thing? I still like it but I feel like it kinda faded from the spotlight) and hand-knit curtains and that perfect tufted duvet cover from West Elm (guilty) to make your new apartment a "home". All that matters is that you like it and you can afford to live there.
Take advantage of your "living on my own!" status and just enjoy being home.
Here's the cool thing about having your own place: you can relax there. Schedule in some "chill out at home" time in your schedule instead of paying money for entertainment (movie theaters, bars, restaurants, etc). It's a whole different ballgame being on your own... Enjoy that time. And I don't mean that you have to become a homebody (unless that's your thing) but I mean... you're paying rent on the place, you might as well hang out there ;)
(have you made these black bean burgers yet? HAVE YOU???)
Learn to cook for yourself (BUT REALLY!!!!)
Dear god, if you can't cook yourself a meal, DO NOT PASS GO, DO NOT COLLECT $200, LEARN TO COOK!!!! (Word on the street is that there's this cool "Recipes" page on this blog in case you need some easy ideas...)
Again, you are paying rent to have your own kitchen. USE THAT KITCHEN. Feed yourself. Stop going to restaurants all the time. You can make healthier, more delicious, and WAY CHEAPER meals yourself.
In related excuses, don't pull that "it's too hard to just cook for one person, wah wah wah". Here's an easy way to fix that: make bigger meals and save the extra portions for lunch or dinner the next day! BOOM.
(you can tell when I'm super riled up about a topic because I use a lot of CAPSLOCK. sorry bout it.. I just feel strongly about cooking for yourself)
And those normal, non-fun things...
You're paying your own utility bills now, so be smart with your usage. Turn off lights, don't waste water (I almost suggested "take shorter showers" but I know I couldn't follow that advice either), turn your air conditioning or heating down when you leave for work, buy a clothes drying rack (did you know the dryer is one of the biggest energy users in your house?). It's all little stuff but it'll add up.