Spread your wings and fly! But also, budget, cook, clean and pay rent
One day you’re thinking about what you’re going to eat for lunch when you get home from school and if you can beat your sister to the TV remote. And the next, you’re wondering why some of your white clothes are now a light shade of pink — all you did was throw in a couple of red socks into the load. It’s Adulting 101 – and it’s usually learnt the hard way.
And while some of your friends might seem to have all their ducks in a row, remember this:
“We are all just children in grown up bodies, stumbling our toddler-legged ways through life and figuring it out as we go along.”– Emily Kate
When you first plan to move out, it’s all about the exciting things like where to move to, how much rent is and the logistics of getting there. But once you’re all moved in, there are a few realities that start to sink in, such as budgeting for food and fun, cooking (sometimes), cleaning (again, sometimes) and doing your own laundry.
Reality bites. But we’re here to help. Several of our Naked team members are young enough to have done this recently, so we asked them what they wish they had known before they first moved into their own places. Here are their tips to help you with project ‘spread-the-wings’.
Ten tips from Team Naked for living on your own for the first time
1. Make store brands your friend
“You’ll often find that store brand products and name brand products are essentially the same thing except for one having a bigger price tag. And given that groceries are quite expensive (you’ll be shocked at how much they cost each month), store brands will quickly become your friend. It’s not surprising that every time you tried to sneak a chocolate into the shopping cart your mum quickly took it out and told you to put it back.” – Emily
2. Store a notepad in the kitchen and keep a running list of anything you finish (like a can of tuna or soap)
“This way you’ll know exactly what to buy when you go to the shops again and can easily prevent unnecessary (double) buying.” – Arne
3. Keep a file where you can store all your warranties
“You’ll most likely buy a few new (expensive) appliances and you want to hang on to their guarantees, just in case something goes wrong. Keep the slips in separate sheets so you know where everything is.” ‒ Arne
4. Give a set of keys to a friend/relative who lives nearby
“You will at some point leave the house in a hurry and lock yourself and/or someone else out. It helps to have someone who can come and bail you out, rather than wait for a locksmith or landlord.” ‒ Ross
5. Always buy toiletries in bulk, especially when Clicks or Dis-chem have their famous 3-for-2 specials
“Toiletries are the most expensive part of monthly shopping and buying in bulk on sales saves a lot of money. I only buy toiletries about four times a year, because I buy in large quantities.” ‒ Lebo
6. Pay a little more for nice non-stick pots and pans
“Otherwise washing the dishes will be a nightmare every time and you’ll lose the motivation to try new recipes or host friends.” ‒ Louise
7. If you're not into grocery shopping, get extra freezer space
“Grocery shopping can be very draining for some people. If you’re not up for it every Sunday or Monday, work out a list of groceries that can last you three weeks and identify the closest fresh-food store for quick weekly top-ups.” ‒ Ross
8. Learn to cook
“It’ll make eating alone a lot more fun, easy and takeaways are expensive. Make sure you get the recipes for all your family favourites before you move out, or maybe even cook them once with your parents. It also helps to stock up on many spices at once so you always have them handy if required in a recipe.
“When all else fails, there is always YouTube. Check out Foodies of SA and Tasty on YouTube for inspiration and tips.” ‒ Damian
9. Ask your family and friends for hand-me-downs
“You might dream of brand new, colour-coordinated everything, but prepare yourself for the fact that your first home is not going to be a replica of everything you pinned on Pinterest. Ask around for as many second-hand furniture items you can find. Cutting down on expenses is the most important thing for your first move. Fancy new furniture can come when you are more established.” ‒ Emily
10. Save up and budget
“It’s a good idea to have an emergency fund for unexpected emergencies. When you get paid, and if you can, pay yourself first (put money in a savings account). If you’re not sure how much to put away, do a monthly budget. I always overestimate the amounts in my budget because things are a lot more expensive than you think. Plus, when doing grocery shopping, you may always say to yourself, “Ooh, I think I deserve this bottle of wine; it’s been a long week.” ‒ Courtney
Like any big decision, deciding to move out of your parents’ place and forego all the luxuries that come with it, is not an easy one. But once you’re out there on your own, doing it for yourself, you’ll soon realise that it’s one of the most rewarding things you can do. As much as memes tell us that adulting is a drag (granted, it sometimes is), it can be super fulfilling too!