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Magic_Marker
01-19-2010, 09:52 AM
Dearest NPF,

I have decided to release my inner-man-raptor and move out on my own. This will be my first time being independent and I would like to ask you for advice. What was your first time like? What should I do to make sure I'm a good neighbor or not go bankrupt and things of the sort?

Recipes Wanted.

Yours,

Magic_Marker,
Independent Man of Mystery.

Professor Smarmiarty
01-19-2010, 09:54 AM
Move in with someone. It'll help immensely.

Also learn how to make P.

krogothwolf
01-19-2010, 10:31 AM
Make sure you play loud music until 4am in the morning, have a dog barking all hours of the night, And rev a motorcycle at 5am because you got bored, drive it around the block for half an hour before parking it again, followed by more loud music.

Oh wait, that's the guys who house I want to burn down...nevermind don't do that.

Bangers and Mash is a good and easy thing to cook :D

phil_
01-19-2010, 12:44 PM
Don't take up drinking.

Osterbaum
01-19-2010, 01:38 PM
Start buying cheap food.

Don't take up drinking.
Why...?

Magic_Marker
01-19-2010, 01:43 PM
Why...?

I think he's advising against the costs. I'll be living frugally as I can until I can get reasonable ideas on my overall expenses.


Example: I'll probably just drink water for the first month I'm there. It's better for me and it costs less than Bud Light or Coke.

Professor Smarmiarty
01-19-2010, 01:45 PM
I was confused by that too. I found it useful to meet people and neighbours.

On food tips- if you have an asian supermarket or tofu shop near you look into tofu. It's got a bad reputation as tasting bad but that is only when it is poorly prepared- it really has no taste and can be flavoured to whatever you want. More importantly it is cheap like a mofo and useful if you running low on cash (unfortunately we don't have such things int he shitty place where I live).

Lost in Time
01-19-2010, 01:51 PM
Mac and Cheese and Hot dogs were all I had in the month of me first moving out on my own and getting a job. Cheep as hell and doesn't taste as shitty as Ramen noodles. Also I leached off of the 20 unsecured wi-fi connections in my apartment complex before I finally got around to ordering internet.

Also get used to knowing where you live by walking! I walked everywhere, saved more cash and a good workout.

Edit about neighbors: It's a good idea to talk to them, introduce them to yourself! True story, my old neighbors where three hot young girls. I didn't see them until the day before they moved out, when they asked me to take pictures of them. Totally missed opportunity to hang out with them.

Magic_Marker
01-19-2010, 02:10 PM
Move in with someone. It'll help immensely.

Wish I could, every good friend I have can't move right now and I decided it was time. I've been wanting to do this since about last July and told my friends and family that if I didn't find someone to move out with by the end of January that I'd move out on my own. I set a deadline and I'm keeping to it, that might turn out to be a stupid thing to do but I've got some money saved up and I'm prepared to get my ass handed to me by this real world everyone talks about. I've crunched the numbers and I can afford it. It's in a decent area of town and the apartment is about the size I would use. All in all it's nothing special but there's nothing wrong with it which is what I was going for.

Things I intend to use this time exprience for:

-I can now read/watch/play what I want without catching flak.
-I get a certain measure of privacy and silence I've been wanting. My Mom runs a home daycare so there is no end to interuptions.
-Learn to cook. I want to be frugal and relying on my own wits to feed myself will help in this.
-Walk everywhere. I am within walking distance (As defined as 1 mile or less) of a theatre, resturants, laundry, grocery, Comic and Game Shop (I will admit the nearness of this shop was a reason for choosing this place) two coffee shops (Both Starbucks) a bookstore, a mall, and a used game store. I am 4 miles away from work, on good days I fancy I may ride a bike there instead of driving.

bluestarultor
01-19-2010, 02:15 PM
For food:
- Do your own cooking. It's cheaper than eating out.
- Buy meat on sale and stock up when you do. Frozen, it will last you ages. I had 20-year-old duck once and it tasted great.
- Frozen veggies are actually better for you then fresh sometimes. Stock up on frozen veggies. Also, freeze yourself some grapes. They're delicious that way.
- Buy milk by the gallon. It's overall cheaper and you get a good two weeks out of it if you don't drink it first.
- Eat a lot of oatmeal. It sticks with you, so you aren't hungry again for a while.

For heat:
- Set your thermostat to 68 if you can bear it. I personally need it at 70 or it's impossible for me to wake up in the morning.
- Got a dishwasher? Does it heat dry? Don't use the heat dry. Open it up and let the dishes air dry. It'll add heat and humidity to your home.
- Keep closets and such shut. They just mean more space that needs to be heated if left open.
- Is it warm out? Open a window and let it in. Close it when it gets cool.
- Do you take showers? Don't turn on the fan. You're siphoning out heat and humidity that could be going into your home. Leave the bathroom door open, instead.

For cooling:
- Is it cool out? Open a window and let it in. Close it when it heats up.
- Fans go a long way unless it's unbearably humid.
- If you have the sun beating in from a southern exposure or something, pull the blinds/shades/drapes to keep it out.

For electricity:
- Do you have a TV? A laptop? A console? A device with a clock? Unplug it when you're not using it. They still eat energy even when off, because they don't actually turn off so much as go into a standby mode. Minus laptops. The computer shuts off, but the power supply on the cord doesn't, and you don't need it pulling juice if it's not being used.
- This may sound simple, but turn the lights off when you leave a room.
- Invest in a shake flash light. It saves on batteries. Make sure it has a capacitor and not an internal battery that will wear out.

Pip Boy
01-19-2010, 02:17 PM
Rice with Gravy on it is easy, cheap, and has just enough of a taste that you won't want to kill yourself. Its not a coincidence that thats the stuff they eat for weeks on end in post-hurricane Louisiana.

Nikose Tyris
01-19-2010, 02:20 PM
Life lessons:

- All-inclusive is a fun term that lies to you sometimes. Make sure that All-inclusive means that your rent ALREADY INCLUDES Heat, Hydro, Water Tax.

- Don't get cable. You don't watch TV enough to justify it. Get a good Internet plan with a high bandwidth and just download anything you want to watch. [Cost for basic cable + comedy channel here: $80+. Cost of Internet: $60.]

- For God's sake get an all inclusive place. Make sure the apartment fits your needs. Try and get a 2 bedroom apartment regardless of not having a roommate, so you can move someone in.

- Leases are pretty standard. Unfortunately, leases also are legally binding contracts that you shouldn't duck out on. [I did this. Don't do this. It makes you a bad person.] If you're going to sign a lease, they tend to be 1 year. After that, the landlord is very likely to try and raise the rent. Try your best to be a good tenant, quiet and polite, and sometimes you can avoid getting a huge increase.

Professor Smarmiarty
01-19-2010, 02:33 PM
Wish I could, every good friend I have can't move right now and I decided it was time. I've been wanting to do this since about last July and told my friends and family that if I didn't find someone to move out with by the end of January that I'd move out on my own. I set a deadline and I'm keeping to it, that might turn out to be a stupid thing to do but I've got some money saved up and I'm prepared to get my ass handed to me by this real world everyone talks about. I've crunched the numbers and I can afford it. It's in a decent area of town and the apartment is about the size I would use. All in all it's nothing special but there's nothing wrong with it which is what I was going for.


Have you considered looking online for flatmates? It's how I've done it since moving to a new city and it's worked pretty well so far.

Funka Genocide
01-19-2010, 03:40 PM
Make sure to have lots of questionable sex.

It's free!

Professor Smarmiarty
01-19-2010, 03:58 PM
Make sure to have lots of questionable sex.

It's free!

Bail isn't however...

Magic_Marker
01-19-2010, 04:01 PM
Make sure to have lots of questionable sex.

It's free!

That is part of the plan, yes.

Bail isn't however...

My state's age of consent is 16. Giggity.

I keed, I keed. I joke, I joke.

Azisien
01-19-2010, 04:06 PM
For food:
- Buy milk by the gallon. It's overall cheaper and you get a good two weeks out of it if you don't drink it first.

Not for milkaholics like me! I go through a gallon of milk every 3 or 4 days. :D


Find new people that will become roommates with you. All these cost saving measures are like, tiny subtractions. Roommates? Hardcore division!

Eltargrim
01-19-2010, 06:14 PM
Make sure you put away some of your paychecks. Living paycheck to paycheck is just a bad idea, if you can avoid it at all. Savings are nice; if you're new to saving, try to set a benchmark of at least 10% of your pay away from any other fund. This shouldn't be used for beer money or a new game; strictly a rainy-day fund.

Other than that, congrats, and good luck. You'll enjoy it :)

Azisien
01-19-2010, 06:23 PM
Make sure you put away some of your paychecks. Living paycheck to paycheck is just a bad idea, if you can avoid it at all. Savings are nice; if you're new to saving, try to set a benchmark of at least 10% of your pay away from any other fund. This shouldn't be used for beer money or a new game; strictly a rainy-day fund.

Other than that, congrats, and good luck. You'll enjoy it :)

Good advice. I would add on to this by saying the rainy-day fund should be about three months of living if you, say, were suddenly laid off or injured or sick or what not.

I went to my bank and set things up so that $50 is drawn out of my spending account and into my savings account every week. That's $2400 a year, plus a couple extra bucks depending on the interest rate on your savings account. And then you can start investing for long term.

Eltargrim
01-19-2010, 06:36 PM
Beyond that, once you have a 3 month rainy day fund (4 or 5 could be better, depending on the stability of your job), don't stop saving money! Put it into longer-term savings options, if they're available. It may seem premature to start saving for your retirement, but it builds good money habits.

On that note, avoid carrying a balance on credit cards. There's good credit, bad credit, and stupid credit. Generally, credit cards are stupid credit.

This doesn't mean not to use them; I pay with my credit card for basically everything. But every day I come home and pay it off; for me, credit is faster (than debit), more secure (debit and credit liability are about the same for me, but they can void the balance a lot faster on credit than they pay back a lost bank account), and easy to keep track of. Plus I get Airmiles!

Also: sales are godly for getting indulgences. Your favourite snack too expensive? Wait until it goes on sale and buy a decent supply. It's a bit of a splurge, but you deserve nice things too :)

bluestarultor
01-19-2010, 08:04 PM
Not for milkaholics like me! I go through a gallon of milk every 3 or 4 days. :D
So, yes, you drink it before it expires in 2 weeks. ;)

Find new people that will become roommates with you. All these cost saving measures are like, tiny subtractions. Roommates? Hardcore division!

This is true, but then you have to deal with the possibility of moochers not paying their share of the rent and/or stealing your food. Food is expensive, too.

If you get some good ones, then yeah, it's great. If you get some bad ones, you're in for a load of trouble. Really, it's best to go with people you know, or try to find an uptight sort, so even if you don't end up best friends 4eva, you can still rely on them for their costs and live and let live. Definitely interview these people thoroughly.

Eltargrim
01-19-2010, 08:57 PM
Really, it's best to go with people you know, or try to find an upright sort, so even if you don't end up best friends 4eva, you can still rely on them for their costs and live and let live. Definitely interview these people thoroughly.

Fixed that for you. You don't necessarily have to be friends (and friends can often make bad roommates), but having a hardass as a roommate can be D:

Look for someone who you know enough to know that they're responsible, and that you get along better than wet cats in a barrel. And someone that you know won't keep you up by banging on the walls every night ;)

pochercoaster
01-19-2010, 09:43 PM
Here's a couple things that I followed when I moved out on my own:

1. Absolutely buy dishes and furniture second hand. Second hand dishes are fine as it's not hard to find decent looking ones and you can just sterilize them with hot water and bleach. They're also like 25 cents apiece as opposed to like $5. Spending $100 on kitchenware when you could spend $5 is just silly.

If you luck out you might find some decent pots and pans as well. Even if you don't find great ones you can find functional ones until you can afford nicer stuff.

99% of second hand furniture is ugly shitty garbage but if you make rounds to several thrift stores you should be able to find some decent stuff. When I moved out I bought the following:

-Dresser: $5
-Coffee table: $5
-Kitchen table: $10
-Dining chairs: $60 (they were very nice hand-crafted chairs)
-TV: $12
-Microwave stand: $20
-Shelf: $10

My furniture was very sturdy and looked decent. Even if you find and ugly but well built table you can just throw a tablecloth over it and you're set.

2. Make a list of EVERYTHING you need (cleaning supplies, groceries, housewares, etc. etc.) and then check your local fliers to see what's on sale. Highlight anything on your list that's on sale and then buy it from that store.

I had a month to prepare for my apartment so I checked the fliers every week until I moved. Sure enough various kitchen appliances and towels and things like that were on sale at various stores and I saved a lot of money that way. Not everything at Wal-Mart is cheap compared to other stores (at least, certainly not here- comparison shop! In fact, if I bought everything at Wal Mart I would've easily spent an extra $150, at least, on lower quality products).

3. Ask around to find out if anyone's trying to get rid of their stuff. My hairdresser happened to be redecorating her house and she gave away a bunch of her furniture to me for free!

4. For groceries: Cooking certainly helps. Invest in some nice sturdy containers that you can store leftovers in. Find recipes where you can freeze the leftovers- cooking one big batch of something is cheaper than cooking smaller meals. Soups, stews and chilis are an example of this. If your bananas are really brown and spotty you can throw them in the freezer and use them for baking later. You can freeze most doughs, so if you like cookies but don't feel like mixing a fresh batch everytime, just make a lot at once, roll into balls and throw in the freezer. (Cheaper and tastier than store-bought cookies!)

Also, freeze meat! Buy it when it's marked down a few dollars because it expires the next day, or buy it when it's on sale. Most meats last in the freezer for a good long time.

And routinely check grocery fliers, of course.

5. Buy clothing that's on clearance as often as you can. You can also try thrift stores. At the least, if you just need some comfortable loafing around clothes you can get t-shirts and sometimes jeans for a good price.

It's not difficult to live frugally and comfortably unless you were living a wealthy style beforehand or the cost of rent/transportation/other necessities are fucktardedly high in your area (in which case you really need to put in the extra effort to hunt around for cheaper alternatives). But as for expenses that you have a lot of control over (groceries, entertainment, etc.) it's not hard to cut them down. Don't buy anything on a whim unless it's really cheap and barely noticeable as far as your overall budget goes. But otherwise, consider your purchases very carefully

Being a good neighbour is pretty straightforward if you aren't drunk, noisy, or generally obnoxious.

I also want to reiterate how important it is to save a portion of your income. It doesn't have to be large; it just should be something. My savings tided me over when I had to quit my old job due to health reasons. You never know what will happen so it's important to have some sort of financial cushion.

Also have a back-up plan ready. Shit happens and you might end up broke or unable to stay in your apartment, etc. For most people this means moving back in with their family or otherwise getting assistance from them. Assuming you have good relations with your family this shouldn't be too much of a problem. Otherwise you should consider this carefully, i.e. propose to yourself, "what would realistically happen if I lost my job and were unable to find a new one within X amount of time, and what could I do about it?" sort of thing. I'll admit that I didn't really think about this much when I moved out but I didn't have much of a choice, so I just went with it and crossed my fingers. So far I've had pretty good luck.

Now I'm going to contradict my earlier statements:

I set a deadline and I'm keeping to it, that might turn out to be a stupid thing to do but I've got some money saved up and I'm prepared to get my ass handed to me by this real world everyone talks about.

Prepare to be underwhelmed. As long as you have a brain and pay attention to what's going on around you and you're not extremely unlucky, you shouldn't have any difficulty.

01Archangel
01-19-2010, 10:01 PM
Seconded on not skipping out on your lease. Screws with your credit if you live in the States (I'm assuming the same everywhere else).

If you decide to get a roomate, make sure that you can still pay the entire monthly bill on your own at all times so that when they do have to skip town, you won't be high and dry.

Pay your rent a day early. You wouldn't believe how many people pay late fees because you just missed the deadline.

synkr0nized
01-19-2010, 10:04 PM
The more you cook for yourself, the more you save. Going out adds up. On a related note, learn to cook if you can't. You don't need to be amazing, but don't subsist on ramen and cereal and crap like that. It's not college. Buy a cookbook or two. Get familiar with the kitchen.

Be prepared to pile on clothes in the winter. Heating bills suck, especially in older buildings. Depending on your utility situation, of course. Space heaters may help.

Your first dishes and things will probably all be mismatched. This is fine. Worry about matching sets of crap like that for when you get married.

Don't force relationships with neighbors. Perhaps that's just me, but just because you live near each other doesn't mean you have to hang out. If it works out that way, great! If not, no worries -- you can still be courteous to one another and friendly and all that. In that light, use headphones late at night if you are listening to music or playing a game; don't let your parties get too loud if people stay over late. And be careful about loud sex. This all depends on the walls of wherever you are staying, of course. In some cases you might be free to yell as much as you want ;)

Budget. Know how much money you have coming in vs. how much you MUST send out (bills, food). Then you'll have a good idea of how much you might be able to spend per month, for example. It is even better to estimate what you might typically spend (eg: going out a few times, getting gas, buying a movie or game) and budget for that so that you can bank the rest. You may need it later.

I was fortunate [unfortunate?] in that I inherited pieces of furniture and things from passed on family members / stuff that wasn't being used any more, which significantly lightened my initial overhead. Really, though, living alone wasn't a very difficult transition. I'm no super cook, but I can eat well enough left to my own devices [I can always call up mom for some advice/help], and I've never gone backwards enough with my account that I haven't quickly paid myself back and saved some more. It helps if you have an income, though, of course.