Living Solo: Moving Into Your Very Own Place

Share This Post: more tips on independent living, with Renzie Baluyut.

A friend of mine sought my advice the other day and was asking what she needed to get ready for, now that she was dead set on moving out of the house.

Personally, I think making a move from the comfy confines of the traditional Filipino home setup to getting a place of your own is a bold and admirable move.  I’m all for independent living, and you can build so much character by managing your own household, all by yourself.

Obviously, one of the first things to consider when you want to set out on your own is to find your own place.

It would be great if you actually buy your own piece of property (you can get a decent condo for a good deal these days), or at least get something rent-to-own.  It’s still alright to rent one, but keep costs manageable.

As a rule of thumb, I’d say 20-30% of your monthly income could go to your rent.  Factor in bills for utilities, groceries and daily transportation, you should only be spending at most half of your monthly income on all your living expenses for the month.

Any more than that, and you’re probably living beyond your means.   Take some time to sit down and assess your spending habits, so you can see where all your money is going.  If you think you might be spending too much, either scale down some, or make more money.

Don’t forget to figure in location.  Ideally, you would want a place as close to work as possible, to cut down on daily travel time.  The further away from work, the cheaper it gets (in terms of monthly rent and maintenance), but you’ll be spending more time on the road rather than doing something else like sleeping or relaxing.  So strike out a good balance.

Usually you will be needing two to three months’ deposit and one month advance.  So expect to cough out a little more cash at the start.  In most cases, the deposit gets used up when you decide to leave, so you get your last couple of months for free (assuming of course, you have fulfilled the terms of your contract).

Moving in will also entail some costs, as well as renovating and cleaning up your new place, and even buying new fixtures, furnitures and other personal effects.

At the very least, your new place should have a decent bed, a desk and chair, and some closet space.

As for appliances, you should probably start getting a few essential pieces…

  • An electric fan or two, because the Philippines is hot and humid like that,
  • A refrigerator, so you can store all the essential food you need living on your own, stock up on deli meats, sandwich stuff and other grocery items, have cold drinks, and essentially make life a lot easier for yourself,
  • A one- or two-burner stove, so you can do basic cooking and reheating, allowing you to save some money by not relying too much on eating out or having food delivered at home,
  • A basic oven toaster, for heating up bread and other food, or for doing some simple roasting  or baking,
  • A lamp, for controlled lighting at night.
  • A rice cooker, not only because Pinoys love rice, but also because you can do more cooking in it.

For utilities, apartments usually come with electricity and running water.  Depending on your needs, you will probably end up getting…

  • Cable TV.  Only if you’re more into TV.  Personally, I’m not a TV person.  I’d rather put my money into…
  • Broadband Internet.  You might actually be better off using a provider like Smart Bro, only because I haven’t had any issues with them these past couple of months (I had a couple of terrible experiences with Globe last year, one in June and another in November).
  • A landline service.  Landline phones are so easy to get these days.  In fact, you can load a landline sim onto an old mobile phone of yours, so you can take your landline with you wherever you go.

As you gain a little more money, you can probably afford to but yourself a few more high-ticket items:

  • A radio/CD/mp3 player. Because everything is so much better with music.
  • A TV.  Used best with cable, or with a DVD player, or even a gaming console- totally up to you.
  • A PC.  Used best with internet or broadband connection.  Depending on your needs, you can make it more work-friendly, or more gaming-intensive.  Even better if you’re seriously considering doing more work from home.
  • Air-conditioning.  Particularly useful during the summer months.
  • A microwave oven.  Cooking and reheating gets even more convenient that way.

Of course, later on you can put in money from time to time for new curtains, or even those aromatic oil lamps, throw pillows or little decorative pieces.  Maybe you might even decide to invest on a better bed, so you can get more quality sleep, or you can build up your kitchen some more, spruce up the bathroom, work towards a more impressive home entertainment center- you can have whatever you like.

With hard work, and some smart spending decisions, you’ll eventually have the home away from home you’ve always wanted- a place where you can chill, relax or crash, or have a DVD marathon with some friends, or just spend some much needed alone time with yourself.

Cheers, everyone!

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