Author Topic: Moving out in a year. Looking for tips/tricks for a first-timer.  (Read 8074 times)

GiantTaco

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Hi everyone. I'm just about 22, graduating with a B.S. in Computer Science in December. I should be working "in the real world" immediately after graduation, and at that point I'll finally be moving out of my mom's place.

I'm looking for mustachian tips and tricks for someone going into his own place for the first time. There's a bunch I've picked up through MMM's posts, like minimizing dryer usage with a clothes drying rack, and finding ways to trap heat in the winter (Minnesota!) and keep cool during the summer. I imagine there are plenty more tips that all you wonderful people can contribute. It could be anything from things to watch out for when picking an apartment, to certain must-have purchases, to clothing tips (my wardrobe is pathetic, and I'll need a revamp for a business-casual environment).

What do you have for me?

eman resu

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Re: Moving out in a year. Looking for tips/tricks for a first-timer.
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2014, 12:56:18 PM »
If you aren't "moving away," don't miss the opportunity to minimize just because it won't be hard to carry your past along. I stayed in my hometown after school and found (in hindsight) that I dragged way too much stuff to my first place because it was an easy move physically.
 

GoldenStache

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Re: Moving out in a year. Looking for tips/tricks for a first-timer.
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2014, 01:05:24 PM »
Are you moving away from "Moms place"?  There is a great independence factor, but if you can live rent free for a year and save up for a deposit for your own place it would be worth it.  If you afford to buy your own place a year or two after college you would be far ahead of the power curve.  I would recommend explaining it to her and show her that you are actually saving instead of blowing the savings and just being a mooch. 

GiantTaco

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Re: Moving out in a year. Looking for tips/tricks for a first-timer.
« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2014, 02:07:49 PM »
If you aren't "moving away," don't miss the opportunity to minimize just because it won't be hard to carry your past along. I stayed in my hometown after school and found (in hindsight) that I dragged way too much stuff to my first place because it was an easy move physically.

Heh, fortunately I have very few belongings. I can fit everything into my hatchback. :P

Are you moving away from "Moms place"?  There is a great independence factor, but if you can live rent free for a year and save up for a deposit for your own place it would be worth it.  If you afford to buy your own place a year or two after college you would be far ahead of the power curve.  I would recommend explaining it to her and show her that you are actually saving instead of blowing the savings and just being a mooch.

I think if it was up to her, she'd have me stick around. For personal reasons, I'd like to move out (partially the whole "I have to start my own life" thing). Fortunately I'm somewhat frugal, and I'll be raking in that sweet, sweet software engineer salary.

Comella

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Re: Moving out in a year. Looking for tips/tricks for a first-timer.
« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2014, 03:10:58 PM »
Any idea on how much you will be making?  Do you have any debts? I think if you can take advantage of your current lifestyle (no wife, kids, or even much stuff) now is the time to live CHEAP!!!  See if you can rent a small place... sounds like you don't need anything big, and having a real small place would keep you from feeling the need to "fill it up with stuff."  I think one of the toughest things to realize that living the Mustachian life is so different than the "average crowd."  That's a good thing, because being "normal" in American financially SUCKS. :)  Just realize if you can live real cheap right now and save up a crazy amount of money, then you can really set yourself up for when you do want to settle down, get your own place, and you will really be able to stash away money for retirement... And hopefully you know how powerful compounding interest is when you start as young as you are. :)

Good luck and keep us updated.

Comella

LadyMuMu

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Re: Moving out in a year. Looking for tips/tricks for a first-timer.
« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2014, 03:17:35 PM »
One word: roommates.

GiantTaco

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Re: Moving out in a year. Looking for tips/tricks for a first-timer.
« Reply #6 on: March 29, 2014, 03:32:56 PM »
Any idea on how much you will be making?  Do you have any debts? I think if you can take advantage of your current lifestyle (no wife, kids, or even much stuff) now is the time to live CHEAP!!!  See if you can rent a small place... sounds like you don't need anything big, and having a real small place would keep you from feeling the need to "fill it up with stuff."  I think one of the toughest things to realize that living the Mustachian life is so different than the "average crowd."  That's a good thing, because being "normal" in American financially SUCKS. :)  Just realize if you can live real cheap right now and save up a crazy amount of money, then you can really set yourself up for when you do want to settle down, get your own place, and you will really be able to stash away money for retirement... And hopefully you know how powerful compounding interest is when you start as young as you are. :)

Good luck and keep us updated.

Comella

I'll probably be starting somewhere between 60-70k; I still have an internship to go through and there isn't much salary info available for the software roles on Glassdoor. And depending on a few things, I'll have anywhere between 25-50k in loan debt. I'm actually not sweating the finances all that much. There's lots of great info available, and what I lack in experience I make up for in awareness. Once that initial bump of moving and settling into a new life passes, I expect to settle things down, and I can be aggressive with paying off debt. Except for anything employer-matched, I will likely eschew much savings until I'm debt-free. That way I can get it done in a few years.

For now, I'm just trying to pick up other little things to make my life better as I transition.

One word: roommates.

Ah yes, that was on my mind. I didn't pick up many friends at college, so this will be tough. I'm going to have to get lucky :)

mxt0133

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Re: Moving out in a year. Looking for tips/tricks for a first-timer.
« Reply #7 on: March 29, 2014, 10:17:29 PM »
Don't fall into lifestyle inflation.  Most of my friends started buying new cars, taking expensive vacations, eating/bars every day.  I resisted it for a while but eventually fell into the crowd mentality and the whole YOLO thing.  I wish I had this community back then, I would be light years ahead of where I am now.  Your frugality will be tested as you will not have socially valid excuses for not doing what all the other young new graduates are doing.

Regarding roommates you don't have to be friends with them.  I would actually recommend against rooming with one of your friends.  I did that knowing that they were not very  responsible and it made it harder to talk about some issues because we were friends.  As long as you are the primary tenant then you can choose who your roommates are. 

Another thing is learn how to cook simple meals and learn to eat leftovers.  Not every meal should be a banquet, sometimes oatmeal with some fruits for breakfast/lunch/dinner is all you need.  Your second biggest expense after rent will be food if you do not know how to cook your own meals.  You'll also prevent weight gain and stay healthy.

Regarding your career just because you graduated college doesn't mean that you should stop expand your skill set.  The first few years learn as much as you can, even if it's not your 'job' or required of you.  Do not confuse your personal goals with those of the company that you work for.  If you are interested in X and your company doesn't value it and need you to focus on Y, find a company that will pay you to do X.  If your goals and the company's goals are in alignment great, if not do not let them side track you because of a pay check.  That is one of the benefits of working towards FI, you are not beholden to a pay check to make your next months rent.

Good Luck!

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: Moving out in a year. Looking for tips/tricks for a first-timer.
« Reply #8 on: March 30, 2014, 06:13:31 AM »
Watch your utilities. You don't need cable TV or a land line telephone. Watch out for spending creep--$10/month for this and that service really adds up. Don't join a gym--learn to work out at home. (I belong to a gym--but I have toddlers and I need the child care. You don't.)

Even if you like animals, resist the urge to get a pet. It will eat your money and tie you down. Plenty of time for that later if you want to go the spouse and kids route.

+1 on the cooking. Freezer bags are your friend. (Reusable freezer containers are also, of course, great, but they might not fit in your little freezer.) Since you will, I hope, be eating beans like there's no tomorrow, you might want to see if you can get your hands on either a pressure cooker or a crockpot from Goodwill/Craigslist/your mom's basement (which is where I found "my" crockpot--why my mother owned two crockpots is an excellent question).

Pressure cooker can cook beans quickly after work. Crockpot can cook them slowly all day while you're at work. Do a whole pound, eat some and freeze the rest.

Kudos to you on starting out right! I think a lot of us on here wish we'd been smarter in our earlier twenties :-).

Blindsquirrel

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Re: Moving out in a year. Looking for tips/tricks for a first-timer.
« Reply #9 on: March 30, 2014, 06:32:52 AM »
   Anything you want or need, CL, Goodwill/thrift store, garage sale, Ebay. Everything you want is for sale without paying sales tax and half off or less of new.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Moving out in a year. Looking for tips/tricks for a first-timer.
« Reply #10 on: March 30, 2014, 07:00:15 AM »
Live as simply and cheaply as you can. (E.g. no mattress, mattress on the floor only, etc.)

We bought so much crap for our first apartment that we no longer have or need, and that was only 8 years ago. For things you can't find on Craigslist or thrift stores (unlikely), use The Wirecutter/The Sweethome and Reddit's "buy it once, buy it for life" thread.

If Freecycle is active in your area, that's even better.

If your student loans are over 5%, kill them off ASAP. If below 5, then max 401(k) and other savings.

Emg03063

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Re: Moving out in a year. Looking for tips/tricks for a first-timer.
« Reply #11 on: March 30, 2014, 07:01:50 AM »
You can find roommates on craigslist. 

jpo

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Re: Moving out in a year. Looking for tips/tricks for a first-timer.
« Reply #12 on: March 30, 2014, 07:22:50 AM »
I'll probably be starting somewhere between 60-70k; I still have an internship to go through and there isn't much salary info available for the software roles on Glassdoor. And depending on a few things, I'll have anywhere between 25-50k in loan debt. I'm actually not sweating the finances all that much. There's lots of great info available, and what I lack in experience I make up for in awareness. Once that initial bump of moving and settling into a new life passes, I expect to settle things down, and I can be aggressive with paying off debt. Except for anything employer-matched, I will likely eschew much savings until I'm debt-free. That way I can get it done in a few years.
That sounds high to me. Maybe Minnesota has higher salaries than here (RTP, NC). I was in your shoes in 2009, started out at ~$50k.

A bit of advice:
  • Max out 401k as soon as you start. Any way you can minimize taxes will get you paid overall more money.
  • Contract for a while, try out multiple different companies and even cities if you want. Now is the time to do it unless you strongly want to stay near family, have a serious girlfriend who doesn't want to move, etc.
  • Rent the smallest apartment you can. More space means more cleaning, more utilities, etc. Personally at $50k I wouldn't worry about sharing with a roommate.
  • No cable, and have a reasonable cell phone bill.
  • Never tell a recruiter what you make or want to make, ask them what the position pays instead. If you give a number first and it's a lowball for the position, you just shortchanged yourself.

Ayanka

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Re: Moving out in a year. Looking for tips/tricks for a first-timer.
« Reply #13 on: March 30, 2014, 07:36:05 AM »
Just as a reference, I moved out half a year ago at the age of 25.

Try to get your furniture second hand. Ask around with friends/family if they have old stuff they are willing to sell and do the whole craigslist stuff. Go for the solid wooden furniture if you can get it. Cheap second hand stuff is good as a starter, but it might become more of a headache after a while. Get small furniture pieces, they are easier to place in an appartment/condo whatever and they are easier to move.

Do check if anything is clean and the landlord will help you if necessary. Having a bad landlord can be an incredible pain if something goes wrong. And no it doesn't have to be your fault that something goes wrong.

I have a small freezer and I do use freezer containers (its my weakness even). Plus you don't have to eat rice and beans every day, even when cooking a more expensive dish that I can freeze it is still way cheaper per portion than eating out and generally the premade stuff in the supermarket (unless the cheap stuff that is not as healthy.

Ask your mum for some cleaning lessons. Yes it sounds ridiculous, but is one of the things I regret not doing. It can be a lot of help to know which product to use for what and how to use it. Depending on your mums level of cleanlyness of course.

And finally don't be affraid to screw up. You will feel like jeez I don't feel like doing X right now at times etc or I should have done Y or whatever. Fix it and go on. Good luck!

CarDude

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Re: Moving out in a year. Looking for tips/tricks for a first-timer.
« Reply #14 on: March 30, 2014, 08:14:50 AM »
Don't fall into lifestyle inflation.  Most of my friends started buying new cars, taking expensive vacations, eating/bars every day.  I resisted it for a while but eventually fell into the crowd mentality and the whole YOLO thing.  I wish I had this community back then, I would be light years ahead of where I am now.  Your frugality will be tested as you will not have socially valid excuses for not doing what all the other young new graduates are doing.

Absolutely. Perhaps print out the chart that shows savings rates vs. retirement dates if that helps you.

NinetyFour

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Re: Moving out in a year. Looking for tips/tricks for a first-timer.
« Reply #15 on: March 30, 2014, 08:37:43 AM »
Get a bike, if you do not already have one.  Try to live close enough to your workplace so that you can bike or walk to work.

Check out this thread (and other similar ones) before you go crazy buying all sorts of cleaning products:  http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/forum/throw-down-the-gauntlet/make-your-own-products-%28cleaning-condiments-bodycare-etc-%29/

Good luck!  Sounds like you are beginning your grown-up life with a great mindset!

GiantTaco

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Re: Moving out in a year. Looking for tips/tricks for a first-timer.
« Reply #16 on: March 30, 2014, 12:42:12 PM »
Lots of great input so I won't respond to each. Thanks everyone!

There are a couple things that I'll do a differently, like getting myself a really good chair (e.g. Herman Miller Aeron/Embody), and a good sleeping setup, even though they'll be pricey; both are problem points for me but at least they're long-term.

Check out this thread (and other similar ones) before you go crazy buying all sorts of cleaning products:  http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/forum/throw-down-the-gauntlet/make-your-own-products-%28cleaning-condiments-bodycare-etc-%29/

I did want to respond to this specifically: it's exactly the kind of thing I'm looking for from the thread. My mom raised me to be very particular about cleaning, so that's going to get a lot of use (and everything else there is handy too).

phred

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Re: Moving out in a year. Looking for tips/tricks for a first-timer.
« Reply #17 on: March 30, 2014, 01:16:47 PM »
Apartment hunting (and the moving) in MN in December or January is not on my short list for fun.  I would stay with Mom until the weather warms up. I would spend January through April spreading the word you're looking for a cheap apt. in a good area.  The professional contacts you make should give you better leads than the classifieds or the student housing office.

I wouldn't buy sets of anything.  You don't need a set of knives, a set of cookware, a bedroom suite.  Just buy the pieces you actually need

fixer-upper

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Re: Moving out in a year. Looking for tips/tricks for a first-timer.
« Reply #18 on: March 30, 2014, 02:02:04 PM »
If the rental market is tight, try renting a place just as the college kids are moving out.  You might be able to get a deal from someone who doesn't want their rental sitting empty over the summer.

In the meanwhile, hint to relatives that if they're wanting to upgrade their stuff, you'd be happy to use their old stuff.  You'll be surprised at what people want to get rid of.

I'll second not living with friends.  People you can stand but don't give a **** about make the best room-mates.

Upstairs is more expensive on rent/utilities.
Downstairs is cheaper on rent/utilities, but tends to be dark and people stomp on your ceiling.


NinetyFour

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Re: Moving out in a year. Looking for tips/tricks for a first-timer.
« Reply #19 on: March 30, 2014, 02:05:40 PM »
Oh--one other things related to the above comment about finding a place when college students tend to leave town--try dumpster diving on college campuses when students are moving out of their dorms.  You can find some awesome treasures.  A lot of it doesn't even make it into the dumpsters because they fill up so quickly.  The kids just place their (often only gently used) stuff next to the dumpsters.

MrsPete

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Re: Moving out in a year. Looking for tips/tricks for a first-timer.
« Reply #20 on: March 30, 2014, 08:12:01 PM »
Start now buying work-appropriate clothes at discount prices. 

Take whatever kitchen goods and furniture your family will give you. 

When you do begin to buy "adult stuff", research your purchases and buy with longevity in mind.  For example, we bought a cheap sofa that began to look worn within months, whereas our old oak table is 30 years old and still looks great. 


GiantTaco

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Re: Moving out in a year. Looking for tips/tricks for a first-timer.
« Reply #21 on: March 31, 2014, 09:01:42 PM »
Oooh, more good stuff. Thanks again, everyone.

As much as I'd like to move out, I'm leaning towards waiting it out at home at least for a few months as phred mentioned. I know the company I'll (hopefully) end up at does living assistance for incoming interns, so I'm thinking they'll have some contacts I can get in touch with.

mm1970

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Re: Moving out in a year. Looking for tips/tricks for a first-timer.
« Reply #22 on: March 31, 2014, 09:32:01 PM »
One word: roommates.
This.

When I was 22 with a freshly minted engineering degree, I moved to DC.  I was also a freshly minted US Navy Ensign (the price I paid for that degree), and hence, was paid at a rate of 1/2 of what "civilian" fellow grads were getting.

One of my acquaintances, a sorority sister, needed a roommate.  I ended up renting a room in a basement of a house.  It was cold.  As I was looking at the place before graduation, the roommie moving out mentioned that she wanted to sell her mattress/ box spring.  I opted not to buy it.  She just left it there anyway.  Free bed.  Of course it had a dent in the middle because she was on the heavier side, but I slept in that bed just fine for 5 years.

So there you go.  I got a cheap place with roommates (1/2 the cost of a studio apartment).  My belongings fit in my hatch back.  I took the metro to work (cheaper than parking).  I cooked pasta a lot for dinners.  I didn't join the subsidized gym at $240/year (hey it was the early 90's), I joined the local community center for $45/year.

I started grad school after a couple of years,  nights, paid for by the Navy.  If you are busy working and studying, there is less opportunity to spend money (if only that were true).

As my income went up, I put more into savings, but I didn't really learn to cook very well until my 30's, so the amount of money I spent eating out went WAY up.  Embarrassingly so.  Learn from me.  Don't do that.  Hundreds a month eating out.  Ouch.

Cwadda

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Re: Moving out in a year. Looking for tips/tricks for a first-timer.
« Reply #23 on: March 31, 2014, 09:35:30 PM »
If you stay home for a year or so, saving up for a deposit on your own place seems like a fine idea. That way you can start building home equity.

When you start working, don't be "that guy" that goes and buys lunch every day. Do your shopping for the week beforehand and bring lunches. Such a waste of money to eat out.

Osprey

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Re: Moving out in a year. Looking for tips/tricks for a first-timer.
« Reply #24 on: April 01, 2014, 05:58:01 AM »
It sounds like you have this covered! I just wanted to add that before you get that first paycheck, you need to know what you are willing to spend money on and what is not worth it to you. A la YMOYL.
Some bright young people, when trying to live a frugal lifestyle on a seemingly enormous salary fresh out of school, will slip up and end up binge spending. OK, that was me. I woke up one day having spent three years' savings in a couple of weeks. If I had allowed myself to have some lifestyle inflation and been honest about my priorities, this would not have happened.
So go ahead and live at home on a futon if that kind of thing is not important to you. But if you're reallllly into, say, craft beer or cowboy hats or computer games and spending a little bit more on that stuff brings you joy, then you should really give yourself some space to indulge.

MrsPete

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Re: Moving out in a year. Looking for tips/tricks for a first-timer.
« Reply #25 on: April 01, 2014, 06:10:11 AM »
If you stay home for a year or so, saving up for a deposit on your own place seems like a fine idea. That way you can start building home equity.
Emphasis on "saving up for a deposit on your own place".  If you live at home and spend all you earn, you'll build up bad spending habits.  If you live at home and pretend you're making a full house payment, your savings will grow fast and you'll become accustomed to living on what you'll actually have out on your own. 

thurston howell iv

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Re: Moving out in a year. Looking for tips/tricks for a first-timer.
« Reply #26 on: April 01, 2014, 10:29:15 AM »
GTaco: A lot of the things the community has recommended is sound advice.   I didn't see anyone mention this so I'll throw it out there for you... Learn to do things on your own. I'm not just talking doing laundry and ironing clothes... I mean around the house type stuff like how to unclog a sink or toilet, how to fix a leaky faucet, how to do basic and maybe some not-so-basic repairs.  This way, you're adding to your skill set, you don't need to bother the landlord (he'll appreciate that) and you don't need to rely on others to fix things for you.

Heck, you might even parlay this skill into a few bucks off your rent if the landlord doesn't want to fool with things and you can handle them.

This is just my thinking as the more young people I meet, the more they seem to not have any idea how to do basic stuff (like simple repairs, driving a stick shift, changing their oil...)- Maybe I'm old fashioned but I think a person should be at least a little handy. (This includes women too not just the lads here...)

Besides, having the DIY mentality will save you a bunch of cash.

LadyMuMu

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Re: Moving out in a year. Looking for tips/tricks for a first-timer.
« Reply #27 on: April 01, 2014, 10:42:08 AM »
If you live at home, please do yourself a favor for your relationship with your folks and at least offer to pay nominal rent. Buy your own groceries and mow the lawn. Basically, treat your folks as housemates more than mommy and daddy. It will do wonders for your relationship and be good training for future roommates and/or spouse.

GiantTaco

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Re: Moving out in a year. Looking for tips/tricks for a first-timer.
« Reply #28 on: April 01, 2014, 02:06:33 PM »
People are keen to remind me to be frugal as I transition. Looks like a lot have been burned in the past :)

Emphasis on "saving up for a deposit on your own place".  If you live at home and spend all you earn, you'll build up bad spending habits.  If you live at home and pretend you're making a full house payment, your savings will grow fast and you'll become accustomed to living on what you'll actually have out on your own. 

Actually, that brings up a certain point. Do people tend to "buy" in their 20s? I don't want a big house, just a condo. I've been toying with the idea of going into a purchase once I get over my school debts. There's also the option of getting into it even earlier to make the best use of the money I'd spend on rent. I don't know what people tend to do.

GTaco: A lot of the things the community has recommended is sound advice.   I didn't see anyone mention this so I'll throw it out there for you... Learn to do things on your own.

Ahh yes, this. Our current neighbor is sort of a handyman, so we've depended on him for a lot of stuff around the house. But at least I can say I'm all about researching stuff; there's no doubt I'll be able to do simple fixes on my own.

If you live at home, please do yourself a favor for your relationship with your folks and at least offer to pay nominal rent. Buy your own groceries and mow the lawn. Basically, treat your folks as housemates more than mommy and daddy. It will do wonders for your relationship and be good training for future roommates and/or spouse.

That's a no-brainer for me, especially considering my mom is not in the best financial state. Good tip!

mahina

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Re: Moving out in a year. Looking for tips/tricks for a first-timer.
« Reply #29 on: April 02, 2014, 03:16:36 AM »
lots of great advice here. let me add, keep track of your expenses for at least several months. be meticulous.

for instance, separate out food, liquor, cleaning supplies, paper/plasticware, toiletries, etc from your grocery receipt. track your spending on packaged snacks, such as candy bars, sodas, chips--all that impulse stuff that adds up. break down your travel expense into categories--taxi, bus, gasoline, car repairs, auto registration, insurance, bicycle maintenance, etc. you get the idea.

start this now, so you'll have a clear idea how to budget for your needs while you're saving that big new salary!

GiantTaco

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Re: Moving out in a year. Looking for tips/tricks for a first-timer.
« Reply #30 on: April 02, 2014, 03:18:00 AM »
lots of great advice here. let me add, keep track of your expenses for at least several months. be meticulous.

for instance, separate out food, liquor, cleaning supplies, paper/plasticware, toiletries, etc from your grocery receipt. track your spending on packaged snacks, such as candy bars, sodas, chips--all that impulse stuff that adds up. break down your travel expense into categories--taxi, bus, gasoline, car repairs, auto registration, insurance, bicycle maintenance, etc. you get the idea.

start this now, so you'll have a clear idea how to budget for your needs while you're saving that big new salary!

Not only great advice, but really easy for someone who only uses cards to pay. I can track everything with Mint and statements :D

NinetyFour

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Re: Moving out in a year. Looking for tips/tricks for a first-timer.
« Reply #31 on: April 02, 2014, 05:18:17 AM »
Funny--I bet most of us who are chiming in here are giving you ideas that we WISH we had thought of and actually used when we were in our twenties!