You’ve graduated college and, with dozens of resumes sent to companies within your field, you’re staying with your parents for a few months until you land a job and find an apartment of your own to call home. 

Getting Started 

Now that you have several job prospects in the works it’s time to search for an apartment. Before you start looking, it’s essential that you create a budget and figure out exactly what you can afford to pay. Factor in food, utility bills like electric and cable, and other expenses. This way you’ll start off the right way, instead of getting in over your head before you get a chance to enjoy your new-found freedom. You can always opt to find a new place once the lease on your first place is up. 

Taking Care of You 

Being on your own for the first time is exciting and seeing a first real paycheck can make you think you have a lot of money that you can spend. Of course, that feeling goes away once you start to factor in all of your expenses. With the holidays just around the corner, you may want to buy gifts for family and friends. However, you now have to support yourself and that must come first. This doesn’t mean that you can’t buy anything. Just keep the gifts limited to small things and, when possible (especially with friends), opt to send paper cards or personalized holiday ecards instead. 

Finding Ways to Save on Monthly Bills 

For the first 6 months, you should hold off on buying anything on credit or using your stashed away cash for unnecessary items. The extras will happen. You, however, must be patient. It’s also beneficial to reduce costs where you are able. This will allow you to make the adjustment into adulthood easier. For example, start out with basic cable and the internet instead of signing up for tons of pay channels that you will hardly ever watch. And, when it comes to your cell phone, if you are already under your parents’ plan, see if you can remain there for a little while and pay them the additional fees to include you. 

Food Shopping 

Since you live alone, your food shopping bill shouldn’t be tremendous. However, often young adults find it easier to order takeout instead of cooking a meal for one. Try to avoid this, as the costs involved will take away from the extra money you have each month, which will ultimately make it hard for you to enjoy an evening out with friends. Instead, make a list of the basic foods you need, and then each week you can add a spice or seasoning to your cupboard until you have all the essentials to cook just about anything. You should also use coupons when you can, and check the weekly flyers of the local stores to see who has what you need on sale. 

Brown Bagging 

It’s your first job and you are so excited to be doing exactly what you want. Don’t let your new-found independence go away due to your overspending. When it comes to work, make a habit of bringing your lunch and your coffee from home. Just those two items alone can consume hundreds of dollars monthly, and before you know it you have nothing left to spend on you. 

Start a Savings Account 

You are making money and, before you start to run up bills, make it a practice of taking a small portion of each paycheck and putting it into a savings account. This money will help to pay for your first car or even provide you with a down payment for your first home. 

Living on your own for the first time is exciting. You have the freedom to make all your own decisions. Just make them wisely so that you can enjoy being an adult.