Living Solo: Finding A Place of Your Own

One of the most daunting challenges of anyone who’s out to live independently is finding a place to stay. I’ve been living on my own since 18- and I’d like to think that I’ve tried out all kinds of living arrangements. Enough to pass on some wisdom to people who’s seriously considering the bachelor lifestyle.

Your options in terms of living arrangements totally depends on your incoming cash flow. A typical 9-to-5 white collar job in Metro Manila is barely enough. At Php10,000-15,000 a month for someone starting out in 2008, it does present itself as a challenge, even if you are single and without any dependents.

Let’s assume that you are making that much, and let’s assume you’re single, and you have no one else to worry about but yourself for now- don’t go blowing away your whole monthly salary on rent. Yes, you control your own cash now, but you’ll need to set aside some for your…

  • Daily expenditures. This includes transportation, food, and even a modest allowance.
  • Monthly bills. Electric and water. Also, your mobile phone/s, landline, cable TV and internet.
  • Weekend money. You do need to spend some on yourself, you know.
  • Savings.

So that leaves you with about 20 to 30% of your monthly income just on rent alone. What are your options?

If you have about Php2,000 to Php4,500 a month allotted for your own place, you may consider a couple of things:

1. You can rent a bedspace. A number of people rent out these modest-sized rooms which you actually share with 3 or more people, depending on the arrangements. Renting bedspace is not more than that: you have your own bed, some closet space for your stuff, maybe even a desk- not unlike dormitory conditions back in college.

Pros: it’s cheap. It’s available just about anywhere- particularly near business and commercial districts and schools/universities. Cons: you get what you pay for; so there’s not much in the way of privacy, you’re sharing a bathroom with everybody else on the floor, and if you’re unfortunate enough, you end up with roommates that go through your stuff.

2. You can rent a room. If you’re lucky enough, you might actually be able to find yourself a house that’s willing to rent out a room for your own. Sure you have your own privacy, and your stuff’s a lot more secure, but it might be a stretch to have your own bathroom. In any case, it’s a step up from #1.

Pros: Improved privacy and security. Cons: Just a little more expensive, and chances are, you’re probably still sharing a bathroom with others.

3. Get some friends together and rent an apartment. Sure Php2,000 to Php4,500 isn’t much, but if there are three or four of you, and if you pool your money together, you might actually get yourself a fairly good deal.

Pros: At least you get to pick who you’re staying with. Shared resources. Shared bills. Even better if you and your homies all get along. Cons: Gotta come down hard if someone’s late with rent or the monthly bills. Sometimes, you find out after a while that you don’t get along with some of your homies.

Remember, it takes some sacrifices at first. But as you climb up the ranks at work, or at least find other sources of income or improved livelihood, then your living conditions can improve as well. It’s all part of building character: you get to appreciate where your hard-earned money goes, and you get better at spotting opportunities and better deals for yourself.

Cheers, everyone!


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