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.
4. Learning to make your own decisions is a skill that you can easily get better at. Keep in mind that in order to agree or say yes to some things, you must learn to disagree (politely), and say no to other things. It’s not about being contrary or confrontational, it’s just learning your own mind along with how to stick to what you feel is right and what is best for you in a given situation. Give yourself permission to change your mind though. Changing your mind is often the first step towards learning something new.
If you allow others to make your decisions you are basically giving them control over your life. You might have overly protective family or friends or be easily influenced by what you see in the media. The easiest way to remedy this is just to recognize it and start choosing for yourself.
Life actually gets a lot easier when you make your own decisions. It’s also a lot less stressful. It’s easy to let life just happen to you and hope that decisions and issues will just resolve themselves but they usually do not. In fact things generally get worse the longer you wait to deal with them. When you face a choice or a problem, decide on a plan to resolve it and execute that plan right away.
Your decision may range from the trivial to the vital and they can affect your day or your future. If you are uncertain how to make good decisions try using the following steps:
1. List all of your options – write them down somewhere. Don’t be judgmental at this point, write down even the options that seem ridiculous.
2. Think about each option – ask yourself how you feel about and what the consequences are for each and consider if it will affect anyone else.
3. List out your priorities and compare them to your options. If you have important or clear priorities it can quickly reduce the amount of options you are looking at.
4. Decide on your choice. Many times your choice will already be in your head at this point, it sneaks up on you before you’ve even really made your decision. You should feel good about the decision and yourself.
5. Commit to the decision and start devising a plan or a goal to make it happen.
Making your own decisions strengthens your personal identity and your confidence in your ability to assess and deal with various situations.
“In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.” Eleanor Roosevelt
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.