Just Some Stuff You Need to Know
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Having your own place to live is an important part of becoming independent and will give you a sense of accomplishment and maturity. Looking for a place to live can be stressful and expensive though as you search through the endless rental ads and go to numerous appointments with landlords or rental agencies to view housing. Even if you share the rent with a roommate one (or both) of you will have to negotiate the lease and sign the rental contract. The process can be a bit intimidating for the first time renter but by knowing the steps and creating a plan you’ll be able to navigate the whole thing easily.
Knowing what you can afford and what kind of place you want to live in will help you to reduce the amount of time, stress, and expenses you will have to deal with when moving. The real price of renting is found when you add up your own costs per month, plus your rent, and hopefully the cost of the rental insurance you are about to purchase as well. These three things are what it’s truly going to cost you per month to live somewhere. Your costs include travel to and from work and school, food, clothes, and whatever entertainment you can squeeze in. Most experts recommend that you do not spend more than 25-35% of your monthly take-home pay on rent. So figure out your income and that gives you a rough idea of what you can afford to pay for rent. Add to that figure 3-4% or another few hundred for utilities like water, power, cable, internet, phone and whatever else that your basic rent does not cover. Rental insurance is a few hundred per year (this can be paid yearly or monthly) and is well worth the cost. Some apartments will include a few of the utilities in the price of the rent so that may be one thing you look for. Other things may include proximity to public transportation, school, and shopping as well as security, parking, and amenities such as modern appliances or laundry facilities. Another list might come in handy here, what you want vs. what you can reasonably afford.
3. Many, many people don’t know where they are headed when they leave home, even if they have a job, an apartment with a friend, or a school picked out. That’s actually ok, and obviously pretty normal. But you will have some idea in your head of what makes you happy, what you’d like to learn more about and what kind of work you are willing to do to make some money. Think about those things, write them down, and look at them. Choose a direction to go in, whether it’s school, military, or work that somehow aims you on the path towards getting what you want. Some great advice to keep in mind is this – if you have a destination in mind, you can head that direction. If you change your mind, you can recalibrate your course for a different direction. But if you don’t know where you’re headed, then you wander around and don’t get anywhere. So pick a destination or some sort of goal, even a simple one, and move towards it.
Use a day planner if needed, but plan out your days including days off. Make sure that the tasks that you are responsible for actually get done. If you are working with goals that you have set for yourself you don’t really need anyone else’s approval and you function more autonomously when you don’t seek it. An interesting side effect of attaining this self-reliant mindset is the alluring scent of confidence without arrogance that adds style to and compliments any wardrobe.
If you are not a natural-born planner try to break down all of your long-term goals into steps. Its much less intimidating to approach something if you do it in steps plus you won’t miss important pieces along the way. This method not only offers moments of satisfaction in the process of working towards that long-term goal, but it also gives you flexibility and room for incremental successes and setbacks. Breaking your goals down to manageable steps allows for multiple points where you can change your mind if circumstances have changed. It also helps put you back on track if you are interrupted and lose focus in the middle, just go to the next step in the process and pick up where you left off.
1. Assume Responsibility
Part of growing up is taking the responsibility of caring for yourself and making your own informed decisions. You should not want to or have to be told to care for yourself, eat properly, clean up after yourself or show up for work (or class) on time. If you want to be independent and (especially if you want to be successful) you must choose to be responsible. That doesn’t actually mean you will never have fun again though, and responsibility truly does bring its own rewards.
Get to know your alarm clock and get yourself up in the mornings, even on days when you don’t have obligations. If you have a phone or computer they both have alarms and calendars. You don’t need someone to tell you when you have appointments, when class starts, or when bills are due. Desk calendars work very well still and are fairly inexpensive. Understand that you will be paying the dentist and doctor from now on, so do take care of your own self first. Look after yourself, your teeth, and your living space. If they start to smell, clean them promptly. Eat like your mother taught you to, it’s actually far less expensive than relying on fast food and your insides will thank you as you get older. Don’t just tell yourself to do things, go ahead and get up and do them. Usually these things don’t even take up much time and you will spot yourself providing excuses for not doing them – try to catch that and remember that there will still be time for games and playing around, there always is.
We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand – Randy Pausch
You may not be fully self-sufficient when you move out on your own but you can easily become self-reliant. Becoming self-reliant is an important part of the foundation that you lay for yourself to build upon. Many people don’t realize until they are on their own how much their parents actually did for them. From grocery shopping to maintaining the vehicles, your parents probably made your life easier in many ways.
A person with a self-reliant state of mind does not wait around for someone else to take care of things that need to be taken care of. If you encounter a problem take the initiative and try to figure out how to resolve it yourself. Remember though, in most cases you don’t have to re-invent the wheel, a rational thought process and some common sense will be your greatest friends.
4 Steps to Self-Reliance
- Assume Responsibility
- Become Informed
- Pick a destination, know where you are going
- Decide for yourself, don’t be led by others