How to Live on Your Own and Make the Best of It

December 2, 2021Moving Tips
Daisy Wilson

Daisy was born in Salt Lake City and in her free time, she writes about moving and watches Charmed.

Learning how to live on your own is an inevitable part of life, and sooner or later, it will be something you will have to do. And even though this step can be scary and emotionally hard, it will also be extremely rewarding. Still, you can not just live alone without a plan. There are a lot of things you must consider. For starters, how much does it cost to live on your own? Luckily we have answers for this and many more questions.

Living alone can be a blessing, but it can also be hell. It all depends on how you prepare yourself for this chapter of your life and how good you are at organizing yourself. Discipline and hard work are especially important if you are relocating to another state alone. As you can imagine, relocating to a new state means you will be alone for real. There will be no safety net if anything goes wrong. So no matter your reasons for the move, you must be aware that relocating to another state is way more complicated than simply relocating from a house to an apartment.

Can I Survive Living on My Own?

Before you choose a moving company or start house hunting, you must figure out whether you can live on your own. For starters you must see if you are comfortable just being alone, can you spend time with yourself. Go to a restaurant or bar alone and see how it will feel. Just keep in mind that you will learn new ways of keeping in touch with friends and family, and of course, in time you will make friends in a new city.

One of the best tips for a period before relocating is a trial run of your independent life. Just practice – do house chores and other errands, set aside money for rent and bills and pay them, buy groceries. This way, you can save money and get a picture of how hard it is to maintain yourself in life. You can move to your parents’ basement, pay them rent and be in some way independent but yet financially safe. And once you think you can handle complete separation, you can move out.

When Is It Time to Leave Your Parents?

For some people, this moment arrives when they leave for college, some when they meet their significant other, and others decide when they get a decent job. But there are people who can meet all the criteria listed above and still decide not to take this step. They just don’t feel they are ready.  Which is fine, everyone should do this when they feel ready.

Woman sitting on the couch watching TV
Leaving a nest is never easy, but it will be liberating

What Are the Key Ingredients to Independent Life

No matter if you plan to move out of state or just down the block, the ingredients to successful independent living are similar. First, you need to start saving for your move, which involves money for your movers, moving services, auto transport company, and down payment for an apartment. So as soon as you decide where to live, search about the neighborhoods in your city of choice and see which one has the lowest rent or the rent your salary can handle. Go on Zillow, see the average rents, and start saving for a down payment.

Also, a very important part of your plans must be a good credit score, so if you have a bad one, try to fix it before you relocate. On the other hand, if you don’t have any credit score, now is time to start building one. For example, the best thing you can do is to buy a new car on credit.

Financial Stability Is the Most Important Part of Independent Living

Only if you are part of 1% and come from the money can you live alone without a job and be financially stable. We, mortals, have to work to achieve the paradise of privacy and autonomy. Because the rent will not pay for itself, you will have to have a steady income. And it doesn’t matter what job you have. What matters is that your position there is safe and that you have a backup plan if you lose a job. This means financial stability. Also, it would be great if you could pay off all your debts before you move.

You Will Need You Car to Get Around – Consider Hiring Car Shipping Company

A huge part of independent living is owning a car. And even though driving in New York or, even better, in Los Angeles can be a nightmare, you will still need a car to get around if you relocate there. Naturally, if you don’t have a car, you should start thinking about getting one. The best would be to buy a car in your current town. You will know the best dealers in town, and maybe you could even buy a car from a dealer who purchased from an auction which will be one of the options for saving cash. Or, as we mentioned above, you can buy a car on credit and build up your score this way. But, no matter if you just buy a car or you already own one, you will need an auto transport service.

When choosing ways to ship a car across the country, the best option is with enclosed auto transport and door-to-door auto transport. Your car will be fully protected and delivered in front of your new home. But there is a cheaper way to ship a car, with a terminal to terminal car shipping and on an open trailer. It will demand some effort from your side (you will have to pick up and leave your car at the nearest terminal), but it will save you some additional cash.

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Create a Financial Plan and Stick To It

Living-on-your-own expenses can get pretty high if you are not carefully spending your salary. This is why it is crucial to create a budget and follow it no matter what. First, divide your expenses into three categories: rent, bills, and food. One-third of your salary should go to each category. Of course, each category will include other things. For example, in the food category will be expenses for meals at the restaurant, a night out at the bar, or tickets to a movie. Bill group should cover all your monthly subscriptions, no matter if it is electricity or gym.

But, when making a plan, the first things on the list must be your priorities. So don’t pay for a gym if you don’t have enough for gas. Rent and bills will be the same each month, so part of your salary will always be unavailable. You can manage food and other expenses and try to cut some costs if you wish to save some cash.

How Much Money Do I Need to Live on Your Own?

We will now have to break down each category and see where your salary will actually go to answer this question. So let’s start with rent. We sad you will need one-third of your salary, but the actual amount will depend on where you are living and how hefty your salary is. The national average rent is $1,670 for a one-bedroom apartment, but this can be lower or higher depending on the city and neighborhood you live in. Here are other expenditures you must include in your budget and an average cost of them according to the specialized website Numbeo:

Utilities:

  • Electricity,gas and water $160,
  • Streaming services $47,
  • Broadband internet $60,
  • Trash/recycling $14.

Insurance:

Food:

  • The average meal in a cheap restaurant $15,
  • Meal for two in mid-range restaurant $60,
  • Groceries cost per month $300,
  • Average drink price at bars $5 to $15.

Is It Cheaper to Live By Yourself?

Well, this depends. If you are willing to live a more modest life, living alone will be cheaper. But if you aim for a more luxurious lifestyle, like a bigger apartment, it’s better to share expenses with someone. Also, this will be much different depending on the city you are relocating to. So renting a place in New York or San Francisco, even the most modest one, is hard without the help of another person sharing your bills. Of course, we don’t say this is impossible, only that your cost will be significantly smaller if you cohabitate with someone.

Woman holding money
Try alone for a couple of months, and if it is not working, get a roommate

Be Responsible and Pay Your Bills on Time

When relocating for the first time, you must know that nobody will remind you to pay your bills on time. The only reminder you will get is darkness in your house once electricity is turned off. One of the best tips we can give you is to set up automatic bill payments with your bank. This way, you will never end up without electricity, internet, or heating, which is crucial, especially if you are relocating to a cold climate. Next time you are relocating, just remember to put these utility providers on the list of those you must notify about relocation, so you don’t end up paying someone else’s bills.

Don't forget to add taxes on a list of things you must pay

Discipline Yourself and Make Schedules for Your Chores

Another thing about independence is that it comes with responsibilities, and one of the things you will have to take care of is house chores. From dishwashing to dusting, it will all be up to you. And if you don’t make a schedule and don’t maintain the house daily, it can soon become cluttered and messy. So to avoid this, do some chores every day. Or at least every week. For example, dishes will have to be managed daily, while laundry you can do on weekends. Dusting and vacuuming can be done once or twice a week. Designate the day for each chore and make sure you never skip it.

Woman washing dishes
Don't pile up your dishes. Clean them every night

How to Live on Your Own – Living Alone Will Come With Challenges Learn How to Cope

As soon as you unpack after relocating, it will hit you – “you are alone in a strange house and the even stranger city.” So, how to deal with depression after moving and the challenges that will come from loneliness. The first thing you must do when you settle in is try to make your apartment feel like home. Put as much memorabilia around the apartment as you can, from photos to favorite pillows or blankets. This will help you deal with the nostalgia of leaving home. If you are relocating with a pet, there is no better way to cope with depression than with the company of your furry friend. Keep in mind that dog is now solely your responsibility, so vet bills will be all on you. But that doesn’t change the fact that their company is priceless.

Dog getting examination at the vet
Leave money on the side for the vet each month

You Will Have to Learn to Fix Thighs Around the House

From changing a tail light on your car to fixing a sink leak, maintaining a healthy house will be your job too. And if you do something you have never done before, it will be amazing for your confidence. So if the floor is squeaking, figure out how to fix it. If anything, the internet is full of video instructions on fixing household items and structural issues. Just do not overstep your boundaries and try to fix something that could get you killed, like a fuse box. In the end, calling someone to help you fix the problem is also a responsible way of dealing with it. Check this video on the most important house maintenance stuff you must learn.

What Is the Cheapest Way to Live By Yourself?

This is probably the biggest question every person asks when thinking about living alone. And there are pretty extreme ways you can save money on living costs. For example, some people decide to live in their cars until they don’t save enough money for rent. And even if you hire  USA auto transport for car shipping, there is no need to go to such extremes. But there are ways you can cut some expenses. You can eat at home and cook your meals – at least all the work of packing pots and pans will pay off. Or you can relocate to suburban parts – the rent is usually cheaper there.

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