If you’re living on your own for the first time at school, or if you’re getting your first apartment, there will be a few adjustments to make and things to learn. Being independent from your parents is a great joy and it’s an even greater one if you get into good living habits early on. Here are some tips for living alone or with roommates for the first time.
It’s easy to order take out or hang out with your pals eating pub fare with a pint regularly but making this your main source of food is not only a bad idea for your health but also your wallet. Now is the perfect time to learn how to cook the basics and get creative with it. It’s cheaper and healthier to buy fresh ingredients, and being able to cook is an admirable, and, quite frankly, attractive skill! Sharing food with roommates can cause unnecessary house drama, so it’s best for everyone to have their own stuff, clearly marked. If you want to share a meal, do a separate shopping trip together and split the bill, or be willing to donate ingredients that you may not be compensated for, like, ever. If you’re really strapped for cash, learn to make some delicious vegetarian meals like curries, stir-fries, and bean burritos. They’re healthier for less.
When there are issues with things malfunctioning or breaking, depending on the issue, hire professionals to take care of it. If you have a clogged shower drain, you can probably deal with this yourself, but if you have a toilet that won’t unclog, a water heater that is leaking, or a pipe that bursts in the night looking for a local plumber who can fix things in an emergency and ensure they’ll continue running smoothly is worth it. If you have a landlord, it’s their responsibility to call in the experts for regular maintenance or fix something that breaks in your rented home. Some will try to pull off a lazy job themselves, and it’s important to know your rights when it comes to tenant and landlord responsibilities. Looks for the rules for the province or state you’re in.
If you live with others, making a cleaning schedule is the wisest course of action – don’t just rely on people taking the initiative. If you’re alone, it’s still good to set a regular schedule. It’s much easier to do a little at a time throughout the day and week than it is to let dishes, clothes, dirt, and debris build up over time, and then have to use a whole afternoon to sort and dig your way through it. Cleaning is a pain but it’s totally easy if it’s habitual. Clean up after yourself every time something is used. It won’t take long at the moment and your living situation will be much more pleasant if you and your roommates do a tiny bit here and there.
Bills are straightforward these days with automatic withdrawals, payments, and paperless billing. If you live with roommates, you should be equally splitting the bills. Pick the most responsible among you to be the designated payer and collect money on a regularly scheduled date based on how frequent (likely monthly) your bills are. If you have a roommate who is late or refuses to pay up this will reflect badly on all of you, so notify your landlord if this is the case, and they might be able to put outside pressure on them. Unfortunately, you’re all at risk of losing a service or tenancy if you don’t pay up, so always live with responsible friends and not just the friends you like the most!