MOVING AWAY FROM HOME OR GOING TO COLLEGE? WHAT’S IT LIKE BEING INDEPENDENT?
Once upon a time you were living in the comfort of your home… that was until you wanted an “independent life” or until your parents told you it was “check-ou time.” It sounded like the ultimate dream to be free of parental control. No more “checking in” with the old folks and certainly an end to weekly chores! These might be some of your initial thoughts when you decide to leave home, but what’s the reality that awaits you?
Whether you’re moving away to attend university or moving abroad for the first time, you’ve got to take into account the responsibilities and scenarios that are ahead of you. Living on your own will never be easy, but it will be an experience that you can bet will make you stronger!
1) Bills, Bills, Bills…Can you pay your telephone bills? Your rental bills?
More than a song …thanks Destiny’s Child for the reminder! Suddenly, your pockets just became a little more empty. You might have been paying a minimal amount to your parents to stay in your childhood bedroom or maybe you were lucky enough to live rent-free. Even so, now you need to take into account the payment of rent, groceries, WIFI, telephone, and any other automobile/transport expenses.
That means your bills will increases by the hundreds if not thousands. Make sure you’ve planned your budget accordingly before jumping ship to live on your own. People often forget exactly how expensive it is to live independently.
2) Chores. No more relying on others to clean after yourself. Then again, if you are used to living surrounded by trash, this probably wont impact you. I find many people even into their thirties have no clue on how to operate a washing machine and this is a lesson you will want to consider because laundry, my friend, is something you should do routinely. You might not be bothered to clean your place more than once every quarter. However, if you like to live relatively germ-free, then be prepared to spend countless hours throughout the week dedicated to all things maintenance. Get used to staring in the face of your toilet bowl and taking out the stinking trash. All part of the joys of independent living!
3) Meal Planning: Whether you prefer cooking (or some form of it) or ordering takeout, you still need to take into account your diet and ensure your living a healthy lifestyle. Depending on the type of young Millennial you are, you might opt for the classic ramen-noodle diet or start teaching yourself a few basic recipes to get through the week. If your more low-maintenance, you can probably spare yourself the hassle and go straight for microwavable meals and other noodle-based items. I personally can’t live off of junk food day to day. As I got older, I realized the importance of switching over from microwavable/frozen foods to actually cooking fresh meals. I hope you learn to test out your kitchen too!
4) Roommates/Flatmates…expect the unexpected. I wouldn’t suggest that every single person live in shared accommodation, but many of us Millennials don’t have an option. Studio apartments in major cities can often cost over $1,000 per month on top of the general monthly expenses! If you decide to have roommates, it can greatly reduce your cost of living. It might be necessary in your twenties to live in shared accommodation and if you’re lucky enough you will move in with your friends. On the contrary, if you happen to live with strangers, then you have got to be adaptable. You might not be best buddies with every roommate, but at least learn to respect their space and avoid any negative contact.
These are the main challenges of living independently and will certainly be discussing these topics more in-depth over time. Now, do you feel you ready to live on your own? What are you most concerned about?