I’ve been living on my own for the past two-and-a-half years, and it’s been quite an adventure. I moved out at 17 into a student flat so I could live closer to my university. Overall it’s been a great experience, but I had a lot to learn to make living on my own an actual fun and great thing. So for today I compiled a list of tips to help you if you’re moving out and living on your own for the first time. These tips are mostly for students, but they can be applied to anyone who struggles with moving out. Let’s get into it!
Tip 1: Budgeting
Some of these tips will have to do more with your personal relations and such, but some of these tips will be very objective, like budgeting. One of the most important, but possibly hardest, things you get to deal with when moving out is money. Maybe you’ve been taught how to deal with money and use it wisely from a young age, but maybe you haven’t. Some people are born with the power of being able to take care of money, and some people aren’t. That’s all fine. The biggest tip I can give is just: budget the hell out of it. Make a plan of the money that’s coming in and the things you have to pay each month: rent, groceries, phone bills. Then you end up with the money that is left each month, so you know how much you can spend on fun stuff. It actually isn’t that hard, as long as you keep at least a bit track of it. It’s also wise to save at least a bit of money each month, put it into a savings account for example, just so you have a backup fund for when you have a financially lesser month. I put all the money that’s left at the end of the month in my savings, which also really helps with keeping track of how much I’ve spent that month. Moral of the story: keep track of your spending so you don’t end up broke.
Tip 2: Keep Track of Habits and Chores
Now you’re on your own you need to do everything yourself. You can’t expect that toilet to clean itself, you know! So a great tip for this is to take a monthly calendar and write down when you do your cleaning and laundry and such, and when you plan to do them. This way you know when the last time you cleaned your underwear was and when you need to do it again, so you won’t end up having to wear the same, dirty pair twice. Also habits are great to track, if you plan on changing your lifestyle a bit. You have to take care of yourself, which could be a bit tough when you’re suddenly on your own. Especially if you suffer from homesickness, or any mental illness that makes being on your own harder. So, track how much water you drink, when you eat a healthy meal, when you work out, etc. It’s just nice to have such an overview for yourself, so you can act accordingly and don’t end up in a slump. I also have an article with apps, which can help you track habits and other helpful things.
Tip 3: Plan Your Meals
One thing that helped me tremendously is planning my meals. At the beginning of the week I sit down and write down what I want to eat each day and what groceries I need for that. For one it’s great to be able to plan dishes with similar ingredients together, so you don’t end up with way more leftover veggies than you need. Secondly, when you have this list, you only need to do grocery shopping once or twice a week. Plan when you’ll go to the grocery store and buy everything you need. It’s a lot more clear for your budgeting as well, and you don’t have to plan a thousand trips to the store. It’s just great to have everything in your kitchen already to cook each meal that week. This way you don’t end up having nothing in the fridge, but not wanting to go to the grocery store, so just eating instant ramen for the fifth time that week. Not that something’s wrong with instant ramen, I love me some instant ramen. You just need to take care of yourself and eat filling meals every once in a while, and planning your meals can help a lot with that. If you’re looking for some yummy, vegetarian recipes, I uploaded a few! You can find three recipes in both article 1 and in article 2.
Tip 4: Keep in Contact
When you’re first living on your own, you might feel the urge to be very independent. Some people tend to close themselves off a bit, both towards their family and their friends. So, just for the sake of your mental health, remind yourself to reach out to people every once in a while. Maybe you don’t really have anything to tell them, but just a bit of contact can be so amazing when you’re suddenly alone. Especially during this pandemic it’s important to keep up with your relationships, not only for the relationship’s sake, but also for your mind’s. In normal circumstances: go out, visit your friends or family, or go drink some coffee in a local coffeeshop. In the current circumstances: videocall your loved ones, write letters or postcards, and don’t forget to text them to check up on them. It may be something that you forget when you’re focussing on yourself in such a new situation, but it’s something that you need to remind yourself of, because contact is often more important than you realize.
Tip 5: Make Your Place Your Home
A very important thing to make yourself more comfortable with moving out, is making your new space a comfortable space to be. Decorate your new place just the way you want to. Hang posters, buy plants, get lots of cozy blankets, anything that makes you want to be in your new space. You’re moved out now. Your parents’ place can, of course, still be home, but your new place also needs to be your home, otherwise it won’t be a fun thing to stay in your new place and you’ll be longing to go back.
Tip 6: Bring Your Hobbies
This tip may be a bit more for students, and maybe even more Dutch students specifically, but maybe it’ll help some more people. In the Netherlands it’s very common to live in your student home for college during the schoolweek, but to go back to your parents’ place during the weekends. I don’t know how common this is around the world, but it definitely is a Dutch thing. Anyways, a lot of people therefore also leave some stuff at their parents’ place, because they don’t need it during the week. At first I left almost all my hobby stuff at my parents, because I assumed I had more time during the weekends to do those things. However, I noticed that during the week I was missing my materials. It’s not only study or work during the week, there’s also some spare time to find there. And when you have spare time, but not your hobby stuff, you might end up getting bored or even homesick again. In short: bring the stuff that you enjoy, because it’s your home and you’re gonna spend most of your time there, so also a lot of hobby time. And then you’ll be longing for your hobby materials.
Tip 7: Be Your Own Friend
This final tip is the most deep one, but also the hardest one to achieve I think. Since you’re on your own now, most of the time, you spend a lot of time with one person: yourself. Therefore it’s quite important that you can get along with yourself. And I know this sounds easy, but it can be pretty hard, especially when you’re struggling with mental health issues. I just wanted to include this tip, because I wanted to say that you should believe in and trust yourself a bit more. You’re a great person, so you should definitely want to hang out with such a great person like yourself. I know it’s a bit tough and I know that your mind can be your worst enemy. I just wanted to give you some support this way, to let you know that you can do this. Moving out can be scary and difficult, but it’ll also give way for some great opportunities and a lot more life to live. So don’t be scared and have some faith in yourself. And try to be a friend to yourself, because you deserve a good friend, especially in such a new and strange situation.
Those were my most important tips to survive living on your own. It’s not like I’m an expert, but I’ve been on my own for a little while now, so I think I managed to give some (somewhat) good advice. I hope I could have been of some service to you. If you have any tips for moving out, or questions about my tips, leave them below! Now stay safe, stay inside, and have a great day. I want to thank you for reading, and I’ll see you next time!