Being in your early 20s is challenging. You’re still newish to being an adult; you’re probably trying to balance study, work, and a social life while managing bills and student loans. The idea of moving out may seem daunting, so here’s our essential guide to flying the coop.
1. Carefully consider your roommate(s). While it may seem appealing to gather up your besties to create a Friends-like experience in your very first apartment, you may want to think twice before you all sign the lease. Now, don’t get me wrong: I have an amazing friend group who have supported me through the toughest of times. BUT, I’d sooner shave off my eyebrows before sharing a bathroom with most of them. Think logistically, if you aren’t willing to put up with your mates’ annoying tendencies on a weekend away, it’s probably best you don’t shack up.
2. Having money won’t be a thing. Unless you’re a thirty-year-old man-child who has leeched off your parents for so long you’ve saved a small fortune, or you’ve somehow landed an extremely well-paying job, you probably are going to be considerably worse off in the financial department, but that’s okay. Budget living can be challenging at times but will teach you lifelong lessons about saving money, op-shops, and ALDI.
3. Stuff breaks. Don’t make my mistake of thinking that “fancy” and expensive wine glasses won’t get broken because you’ll look after them. The very nature of wine drinking lowers the chance of you looking after most things in your house. Side-note: if you have light coloured carpets, avoid traveling with a full glass of red.
4. Takeaway should be a luxury. While no one’s expecting you to immediately become Gordon Ramsay in the kitchen, constant Uber-eating is just not sustainable. Think of your favourite foods and learn to master the basic versions of them. Books like Jamie’s 5 Ingredient Meals will become your friend.
5. Cleaning rosters. Unless you’re fine with bins overflowing (sometimes for days), rotten food in the fridge and the carpets (or floorboards) contracting you-don’t-want-to-know-what, I suggest creating a verbal or written cleaning roster. It doesn’t have to be a thousand-word essay, but you will thank yourself later.
6. Styling. It doesn’t come naturally to everyone and it can be challenging when on a budget – but it’s not impossible. While the fund-friendly classics like IKEA and Kmart are good for basics, it’s important not to go overboard and have your house looking like page three of their catalogue. Familiarise yourself with your local op-shops. Thrift shops are goldmines for furniture shopping and could be right around the corner from you. With their inventory of products changing more frequently than the home section of David Jones, you genuinely never know what you might find. Think greenery, think clutter-free and start with your larger furniture pieces then style the space accordingly. Take note of what markets are on and where. Market stalls are also great sources of unique and cheap goods.
7. Be employed. It’s an obvious one, but make sure you keep your day job and where possible and try to pick up as many shifts as you can. Make a budget and carefully consider your spendings. You need to think about more than just the rent. Electricity, gas, internet and phone bills pop up when least expected, and usually all at the same time. Don’t forgot petrol or topping up opal cards. If you think you’ve got some extra cash, avoid the temptation to go out for retail therapy as there’s usually an unexpected expense just around the corner.