When you first went to college, you might have stayed in the dorms. Now that you’re in one of your later years of college or now that you have graduated, you might be moving into an apartment of your own. This is a big adjustment to make, but it doesn’t have to be as tough as you might think. Following these tips can help you make the adjustment from dorm to apartment life.
1. Set a Budget
First, as someone who has been living in the dorms, you might not really be used to living off of much of a budget. Instead, most of your living expenses might have been included with the room and board part of your tuition. Now that you’re going to have to pay rent, utilities and other expenses related to living in an apartment, you’re going to need to set a budget. Sitting down and writing out your other expenses and your income can help you determine how much you can afford to spend on a place to live.
2. Find the Right Roommates
If you’re like many people who are just moving into an apartment of their own, you might be planning on sharing the place with at least one roommate. Many people have multiple roommates. When choosing roommates, make sure that you choose people who you feel are responsible and who you get along well with.
3. Look for the Right Apartment
The apartment that you choose is going to make a big difference in your quality of life. Look for a place that is affordable, conveniently located and safe. You may also want to compare amenities between apartments so that you can choose the one that offers things that interest you the most.
4. Buy the Right Furniture
Now that you aren’t living in a dorm, you’re going to need your own furniture. Look for pieces that will hold up well but that don’t cost too much. You might find that buying furniture used is smart when you first move in. You can always upgrade to newer and better furniture later, as your budget allows.
5. Make it Feel Like Home
You might be really excited about moving into your apartment, and one of the first things you’ll want to do is make it feel like home. Put out decorations or hang up pictures that suit your personality and personal style. This doesn’t have to cost a lot but can make a big difference in how at-home you feel in your new apartment.
6. Come Up with a Plan for Tackling Chores
Cleaning a whole apartment is a little different than just cleaning up after yourself in a dorm. Making up a list of chores that need to be done and setting up a schedule for when you’ll do them will help you stay on track. If you have roommates, you can talk to them about how you’re going to divvy up the chores among yourselves. This will help you keep the place clean and will help prevent arguments.
7. Pay Your Bills on Time
To avoid putting yourself at risk of getting evicted and to maintain your credit score — which is going to be important as you get older and may want to eventually buy a car or even a house — make sure that you pay your bills on time. Budgeting well and setting up bills on auto-pay when possible will help with this.
8. Stay in Contact with Your Landlord
You’re probably going to have to communicate with your landlord from time to time. For example, you will need to let him or her know about any problems that you might be having in your apartment, such as a leaky faucet, or if you’re going to be going back home for a while and are going to be leaving the apartment empty.
Transitioning into apartment life after living with your parents and then living in the dorms at your college can be tough, but it can also be a lot of fun to finally have a place that you can call your own. Follow these tips, and making the adjustment will be easier than you might think.