General Question

OpryLeigh's avatar

I'm (finally) flying the nest and moving into my own place this week. Do you have any tips or advice that helped you when you moved out of your parents house?

Asked by OpryLeigh (24251 points ) April 28th, 2009

I’m excited but also a little nervous. I don’t mind being alone and I will be taking my little dog with me bt if you have any practical tips that might help me survive I would be most grateful.

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44 Answers

wundayatta's avatar

Pay your bills on time. Don’t borrow money on your credit card. Save as much as you can. You never know when a rainy day will arrive. Set a budget and stick with it. Buy less than you want to.

Party responsibly. You have neighbors. Respect them. Don’t eat out all the time. Learn to cook if you don’t already know. Don’t shop at a supermarket, but find a place that sells fresh food. Join organizations in the neighborhood. Explore your neighborhood. Social ties are very important. People will watch out for you if they know who you are.

Likeradar's avatar

Congrats! :)
Get window alarms and mace. It might seem alarmist, but as a female living alone it makes me feel more secure even though I’ve never had a use for either in the 10 years since I’ve flown the nest. Practice normal safety stuff, like not letting strangers in, blah blah blah.
Meet your neighbors (I’m assuming it’s an apartment?). Being friendly with the people around you makes a living situation better, even if it’s just saying hi in the hallways.
And what @daloon said about partying responsibly.

MrItty's avatar

For the rest of the time you’re at your parents’ house, carry a small notepad with you. Every time you grab something from a drawer, off the table, out of the fridge, etc, write it down. Those are all the things you’re going to need to buy that you more than likely haven’t thought about, because they’re just “always there”. Things like scisors, tape, napkins, a dustpan, etc.

elijah's avatar

Congratulations on your exciting move! A few tips- take as much stuff as you can smuggle out of your parents house. Get a house plant. Hang real pictures on the walls, not posters of your favorite band. Don’t invite all your friends over to party every weekend, your neighbors will hate you. Keep your doors locked, leave a light on for when you’re coming home at night. Utilities cost more than you think. Mind the thermostat and unplug things when not in use. Don’t forget to eat fruits and veggies. Dont let dirty dishes pile up in the sink. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to call your mom or dad if you get scared or lonely. You may hear weird noises that you’ve never noticed before, like pipes. Good luck!

Darwin's avatar

One thing I learned when I moved into my first place was to envision my apartment as if I wear a potential burglar and thus arrange my valuables in a way that no one could see them through the windows or when talking to me while standing at my open front door. I also got inexpensive window locks and, importantly, a separate sliding glass door lock. Those doors are very easily opened.

Always pay the rent on time and get to know the landlord or their representative. That will help you get repairs done in a timely manner.

Make sure you know how to do laundry. Your parents will love to see you periodically, but won’t be as happy if every time you come over you bring all your dirty clothes.

Figure out what to do with your dog on those days that the exterminator comes. You don’t want them to let him out accidentally, nor do you want him to get upset and possibly bite someone.

Also, as others have said, get to know your neighbors and find several you can trust or even want to hang out with, say, at the pool or walking over to get the mail, or who could walk your dog for you in case you can’t get home in time.

Additionally, figure out a well-lit place to park your car close to your apartment, both for security and for ease of carrying things in.

Finally, what everybody else said.

PupnTaco's avatar

Don’t use credit cards, and if you do, pay them off monthly.

Learn to cook vs. eating out.

IKEA.

Lupin's avatar

Don’t expect your parents to keep all your junk forever. Please…

eadinad's avatar

DO use credit cards – just pay them off monthly. Never spend more on a credit card than you have in your bank account (and that you can afford, obviously).

When grocery shopping, choose 75% percent of your food from the “outsides” of the store. This is where fruits, vegetables, fresh meat, dairy, fresh bread, etc is contained. Only a small amount of your diet should come from the “inside” of the grocery store – almost everything in the center is processed food (cereal, chips, cookies, etc) and should be eaten minimally. The exception to this rule is usually in the “ethnic” food aisles, where things like rice, beans, spices etc are stored.

Wash your dishes right after you use them. You’ll tell yourself, “Oh I’ll wash them weekly” or “Oh I’ll wash them tomorrow” or even “Oh I’ll just do them all at the end of the day” and so on and so forth. It never works. The only good system is to wash them immediately after use – even before you eat, if possible. If you’re only cooking for yourself, we should be talking about a pan and/or a pot and some utensils. Wash those, eat, then wash your plate/fork/spoon glass. Ta-da. The kitchen stays clean, smells good, and you never have to devote a large chunk of time to dishes.

DragonFace's avatar

PARTY HARD
MAX OUT CREDIT CARDS
GET PREGNANT
DRIVE DRUNK
CRASH CAR
AND DONT WORRY MOMMY AND DADDY WILL TAKE CARE OF IT
;D

aprilsimnel's avatar

Along with all this great advice (oh, @DragonFace! Cheeky!), I’ll just add this: I’ve had my cast iron skillets for 15 years now, since I left university. Friends, apartments, bf’s and jobs have come and gone, but I still have my two cast iron skillets, a 7” and a 10”.

Some mornings, you’ll just want to scramble an egg, you know?

Go to the fabric store and pick a couple of fabrics that you like and get a few yards of each. Two straight seams on a sewing machine and you’ve got curtains. Curtains make a place feel home-y.

wundayatta's avatar

I second the cast iron skillets! Good call, @aprilsimnel!

OpryLeigh's avatar

Thanks everyone, there is some interesting stuff here that I never thought about. I have already got to know one of my neighbours, I have a credit card for “just in case” but that is looked after by someone else who I know will only let me use it in an emergency, I don’t like parties very much (that makes me sound like a loner, I’m not that bad just suffer from a few social anxieties), I will be getting a plant (peace lily to be exact) and I have a driveway of my own right outside the apartments.

Now all that’s left to do….....learn to cook!!!

OpryLeigh's avatar

@Darwin I forgot to mention, I am a bit funny about laundry, I hate the idea of anyone else doing my laundry (much to my parents joy!) so there is NO chance of me giving it to anyone else to do!!!

squirbel's avatar

If your parents aren’t buying you furniture, don’t pay top dollar for furniture. You will grow out of it – it’s better to buy furniture once you are married and settled.

Go to thrift stores and purchase sofas, loveseats, dining sets, chairs, etc. The only thing you seriously need [and don’t buy used] is a mattress. Do not scrimp on the mattress. :)

Buy your kitchen/cooking utensils/cookware new. Have fun junking! [that’s what we call going to thrift stores and garage sales.]

RedPowerLady's avatar

Here is a great tip. You have probably already been told this.
But when you move in fill out a sheet of paper that states everything, even to the tiniest detail, that is wrong with the place AND the equipment in the place (i.e. stove, fridge, etc..).
Have your landlord sign it.

Landlords seem brilliant and beatiful and oh-so-kind when you first get to know them. But for some it changes without warning. Especially for someone moving into their first place because they assume you don’t know your rights.

You should also know that if something breaks in your house then you have the right to get it repaired immediately especially if it poses any kind of health threat. Even if it is during a weekend. And if the landlord does not come out you can call someone and pay them yourself. The landlord has to reimburse you for that expense.

Another good tip is to pack your boxes according to what goes where. It is tedious but will save you a lot of work in the long run.

RedPowerLady's avatar

Along with the tip pay your bills on time. If you cannot pay them for some reason then call the company right away. Most of the time they will work with you, no matter the reason you can’t pay. If you don’t call you get charged interest or late charges and the companies get quite annoyed with you.

Along with safety. Make sure the locks on all your doors and windows work. many people I know has had their place broke into at one time or another. Usually nothing serious but safety is a top priority. Also in the line of safety. Get a spare set of keys made and let someone else hold it. Also know at least one neighbor you can trust in case of an emergency.

Also I just want to ditto pretty much every other tip. I read some great ones.

miasmom's avatar

To go along with @RedPowerLady, maybe even photograph the place in the beginning so you have a visual and a written description of anything wrong.

Change your filters for your heating/cooling system, if you have those. I speak from experience here, my first apartment on my own, I never did it once because I didn’t know you had to. After a year I moved out and when they were doing the final walkthru, they asked me when I changed my filter last…never??? It was disgusting!

cak's avatar

Congratulations! I was nervous, too; however, enjoy it! It’s just that first big step into “real” life.

Things that will surprise you…medical stuff. You know, Advil, Tylenol, Neosporin…all of that stuff? Buy generic! It’s your friend and will say you lots of money!!

Go online to websites of your favorite products and register for coupons; then, while at the store, compare the “name brand” to the generic. See if there is a big difference and figure out which one if really the best one to buy. Also, when grocery shopping, the products on the aisle (remember, processed foods really add up!) the ones that are at eye-level, generally cost more because they are paying for premium space on the shelves. Try a few generics, here and there – you might just be surprised!

Buy a good, basic cookbook. Start with the “simple” things and build your way up. Cooking is like anything else, follow the directions and most of the time, you will be just fine. Also, who does the cooking at home, now? Have them write out some of your favorite recipes. Follow those and learn to make them, yourself. If you cook too much and it’s a food that can be frozen, freeze the leftovers for another night. Just make sure to write the date that you froze it (and what it is!) and don’t let it sit in the freezer, forever.

Ah…speaking of replacing filters, your refrigerator. Don’t forget to dust the vent at the bottom. Keep that clean…it can lead to some issues, if you don’t.

janbb's avatar

On the cooking front – “The Joy of Cooking” is a great basic cookbook with a lot of explanations of cooking methods and food preparation. I recommend it heartily as a good first cookbook acquisition.

For a simple dinner party; lasagna (which can be made far ahead of time), salad and crusty bread or garlic bread is a meal that is inexpensive to make and a crowd pleaser.

Don’t feel reluctant to go visit your folks when you need some homecooking or home company. They will be delighted to see you. They’re probably feeling some “separation anxiety” too!

Good luck and enjoy yourself!

RedPowerLady's avatar

@cak I have never dusted my refrigerator vent…. Why did no one tell me about this? Well I must have dusted it the last time I deep cleaned but I don’t know when that was. What problems does it cause??

SpatzieLover's avatar

@RedPowerLady It costs you energy (i.e. your electric bill will be higher) and your fridge is one of the largest sources of energy usage in your apartment/dorm/home.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@Leanne1986 Everyone has given great tips.

As a property manager, I fully agree with PAYING your RENT on time :) as this does affect your credit, and your ability to buy a home in the future.

Park your car in a well-lighted area AND keep NOTHING of value in it (my cousin’s son JUST lost his iPod and had a smashed car window whilst in college)

Rummages and thrift stores should be your go to places for extra dishes, cookbooks, general house ware items, too.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@SpatzieLover I’ll clean it to save energy but my landlord pays the electric bill so that doesn’t quite affect us. Lucky us.

MrItty's avatar

@RedPowerLady It probably does indirectly. The more money your landlord has to pay in bills, the lower his net income, and thus the more likely he is to raise your rent when your lease comes around for renewal.

flameboi's avatar

if you think you want to come back to your parents house, don’t think twice and just do it!

RedPowerLady's avatar

@MrItty Shhh don’t mention those words….

Darwin's avatar

@flameboi What if they’ve rented out her room?

cyndyh's avatar

There’s some great advice up there. I’d add that you want to rotate your household chores throughout the week (assuming you have something of a weekend) so that you’re not eating up your whole Saturday with chores. If you do a quick vacuum every Monday, clean the bathroom every Tuesday, clean out your fridge and grocery shop every Wednesday, etc. then your Saturday is all free and you can do something fun. Yes, work hard, be responsible, pay you bills on time, but also enjoy your life. Make sure you make time for yourself that way. It doesn’t all have to be a grind.

benjaminlevi's avatar

No unattended fires.

Likeradar's avatar

OH! Renters Insurance!

I know you probably don’t think you need it. I didn’t either… until my apartment flooded due to the guy upstairs about 9 months ago. It was a complete and total nightmare. Now, I have renters insurance, and I will hopefully never ever need it. It’s like $10/month, and worth a zillion in peace of mind.

See if your car insurance company carries it.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@Likeradar I can’t believe I forgot to mention that! DOH!

Yes! Make certain you are insured. And, often it’s less than $10 per month if combined with Auto insurance. (Often it’s about $100 annually)

cak's avatar

@LikeradarThat is a wonderful suggestion and should be considered a must! It’s so inexpensive and really should just be required.

Another thing about the insurance, you can get separate riders for things like computer equipment so it will cover a true replacement cost, not just the estimated value of your current equipment. We all know how things depreciate! Also, if you have jewelry of value, get a separate rider – if possible. Usually it is just one lump sum; however, you can get a separate rider for it, too.

great answer, Likeradar!

Likeradar's avatar

@cak Thanks! Too bad I learned the hard way…

cak's avatar

@Likeradar Yes, I am so sorry you had to learn the hard way! It’s great that you have turned it into a lesson for others to learn from you!

Jeruba's avatar

See if you can get away with your mother’s best frying pan, granny fork, and casserole or baking dish. Worked for me. Also raid the basement for castoff furniture.

Jack79's avatar

There’s so much great advice up there that I have to try hard to think of any tips the others missed. I did notice that setting up house (and I’ve had to do it several times) costs a lot more than you imagine, especially if you end up going to the supermarket and buying a full set of plates, or a 6-pack of glasses etc every time. Even a broom, soap, detergents. As someone up there said, things you take for granted cost a lot of money to buy.

If you’re short of cash (and I’m sure you are), try and make do with just 1 mug and 1 fork for now, and maybe a plastic plate for your breakfast (which after a while will consist solely of stale bread). But if you have a job, try and stock up on things little by little.

Good luck with whatever you do. Hope it works out for you :)

RedPowerLady's avatar

On top of what @Jack79 said , and I believe someone else fantastically mentioned this as well, but I would shop at low-price stores. Goodwill is fantastic. As a young person I was too embarrassed to go there even though we were horribly poor. Now as an adult I love it. Everything is so cheap and most of it is really good quality. I swear everytime I ask someone where they got a piece of clothes or some smaller household item they tell me it was from Goodwill. Also Ross Dress for Less has fantastic prices for household items and for clothes.

Darwin's avatar

Goodwill is great, especially the Goodwill closest to the toniest place in town. Our local Goodwill even gets brand-new, unworn clothing with the tags still on it.

filmfann's avatar

Stay away from TV dinners. They are not healthy.
Figure $400 just for food stables in the house. Really, you can spend a lot of money on just basic stuff like mayonese, mustard, and canned food.
If a lot of your friends don’t have a place yet, they will be over a lot. Popcorn is cheap.
Don’t live on soda. Water is a lot healthier.
Top Ramin is not food.

Darwin's avatar

Top Ramen can almost be food if you add some leftover veg and stir in an egg to boost the protein.

Jack79's avatar

….amazed at what the Yanks are willing to eat when they’re hungry enough

cyndyh's avatar

There’s nothing wrong with Top Ramen with a half a bag of frozen veggies in a pinch.

doxie_chick's avatar

oddly enough the biggest expense i seemed to have was groceries. try to cut cost of groceries by going with less name brand foods or buying ingredients that will provide you with leftovers

be careful with your energy sources. light bill, gas bill. ect. even still it’s usually safer for security reasons to leave 1 front light on so you’re less likely to have an invasion.

depending on your neighborhood you might want to make friends with your neighbors. my neighbors were very friendly in my apartment complex and we would go back and forth walking each others dogs when the other had work.

snowberry's avatar

About insurance. If you do have a claim, the insurance company won’t be as willing to work with you unless you have taken pictures and have proof of purchase (or a professional estimate of replacement cost) that you can present to them after the incident. You will want to keep that info in a secure location (fireproof, water proof location), perhaps a safety deposit box. So if you’ve bought a used dresser, table, and couch, but you have a new mattress and box springs, save all those receipts. If you’ve bought from someone down the street, get them to write you a receipt.

IM me if you have an antique and I’ll tell you how to get your stuff appraised inexpensively.

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