Moving into your first apartment is quite a thrilling experience. It’s a mix of freedom and stress that keeps you in a good work routine. Even when things get hairy, you find the drive to keep going because, after all, this is your place.
I can’t begin to tell you the number of things that are likely to go wrong… it’s something you’ll have to experience. Yet, I do want you to know what can be done to keep costs low so you’re able to build an emergency fund for these tough times.
Stock that pantry
A well-stocked pantry saves. Period. I suggest asking your parents for their suggestions or finding a pantry check list and working off that as a starting point.
You’ll stock up on:
- Spices & sweeteners
- Canned goods
- Dry goods
- Sauces & broths
Start with the dry goods and make your way into what’s going into the fridge and freezer. It’s a little more upfront but will save hundreds if you get into the routine of cooking at home.
Ease up on the entertainment
Now that you set the rules, it’s easy to want to go out each night – take it easy because this adds up.
Learn to be okay with staying in and doing a movie or arts & craft night. Have a potluck instead of going out to eat with friends. Play retro games you pick up on Steam or at a second-hand shop versus new.
Save money on your media with local DIRECTV options, YouTube or Twitch streaming, and, of course, Netflix, Amazon Video, and Redbox. Cutting down on the cable bill alone could save you hundreds a year.
Learn to love thrifting
Type in “thrift stores near me” and make those the only locations to shop at (outside of groceries).
You need to get over this idea that your stuff must be new. You’re bound to break a few things at your first apartment so don’t waste the money on expensive things.
Thrift stores will have the essentials from clothes to small appliances.
Thrifting is going to save you 50-75% of your apartment and personal expenses on stuff. Then it’s going to save extra because it’s a fun activity that could replace expensive outings. Or, you could always find stuff and flip it for a profit online.
Never say no to free
This goes for things like:
Don’t take advantage of the good will of others but also don’t let an opportunity slip by. Go have dinner with your parents or catch a ride with friends. Say “yes” if your mom insists on doing the laundry or if you spot something neat on the side of the road.
You’re lucky to have time and energy at your age. Money is going to be a problem but there are decades of work ahead of you. Now’s the time to take risks, especially when it comes to investments and jobs.
- Find what it takes to keep you dedicated to a budget
- Play around with simple stock trading using apps
- Hop jobs for better opportunities to grow
This is the time to do it because you aren’t held down by a family, career, and other major bills. Use this as an opportunity to learn. Then use that knowledge to take control of your time and finances.
It’s a hard kick in the rear to take control of your life, push past your comfort zone, and get out from under the umbrella of your parents or guardians. You’ll learn more within that first year about personal finance, relationships, work, and life balance than any other time. So, put in all your effort, adapt when times get tough and have a blast.
You now rule the domain!