1. Be Willing To Compromise When It Comes To The Property
Ideally, I'd love a 3 bedroom cottage in a the suburbs of a city, that's within budget but new, near to my work and with a hot tub. But you need to be realistic. Decide on what features you want and rank them before you start looking for a property. Is having a huge ensuite or being near bars and restaurants more important to you? Would you rather a more affordable do-er upper or pay more and have a newly kitted out home? Are you willing to go without a big garden, as long as you're near a beach? Figure out what you are and aren't willing to compromise on and stick to it.
2. Let Upcycle, Facebook Selling Groups and Family Hand-me-downs Be Your Friends
Chances are you have a Pinterest board or two and an idea of the aesthetic you want in every room of your abode. However the liklihood is you can't afford to move in and buy a top-of-the-range TV alongside furniture for every room in your new pad. Keep an eye out for freebies on Upcycle, selling groups on Facebook or family/friends throwing things out that you can get your hands on for next-to-nothing so you can splurge on the more important things. Then over coming months you can slowly replace your hand-me-downs for shining new things.
When you move in with someone you haven't shared a living space with before, you'll get to know them a lot more, some of it good, some of it not so good. Before you breathe a sigh of relief that you don't have your Dad lecturing you on how to load the dishwasher correctly any more, bear in mind that your housemate or significant other will have other personality traits that annoy the hell out of you at times, and vice versa. Some sound advice I've picked up is not to argue over money or housework, give people space when they need it and, on the (hopefully) rare occasion where you do have an argument, don't go to sleep without having made up.
4. Write a Menu
Plan your meals before you do a food shop and go armed with a list. I've lost count of the number of times I've gone to the supermarket hungry, with no real plan and come back with various forms of potato and bakery cookies, got home and realised I don't have the basis for any proper meals. Write a food menu, bearing in mind perishables. So, you fancy that recipe that has a couple of parnsips in, find another one so you know you'll use them all, keeping your waste minimal. Also, having a set plan deters you from ordering pizza delivery more frequently than you perhaps should!
When planning your finances, it's easy to remember the important stuff - rent, phone bill, elec bill etc. When I lived at home I had very few financial commitments whereas when I moved out obviously had much less disposable income. So if I were to realise I'd forgotten to factor in birthday presents one month, it's not so easy to spend £30 I hadn't previously allowed for. Now, I keep an annual budget which takes into account all my outgoings for the year then divided by 12. Then, just before the end of a given month, I plan my more precise monthly budget based on any social activities I have penned in my calendar or any limited edition make up bits I just totally need.
*Written in collaboration with The Personal Agent. All content and views are my own.
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