If you are just about to clear campus or take a job in a different city, one of your greatest concerns must be how you will survive out of your parent’s home. Having moved out of the nest four months ago I can tell you for sure that it’s not a walk in the park but unless you want to hit 30 while still living with your mom you cannot avoid it. In retrospect, the benefits of having your own place outweigh the cons by a great margin. The following is a list 7 important guiding tips on moving out which will go a long way in easing the transition process.
1) Choose the location objectively
The greatest mistake most first time tenants do is to pick a location because people perceive it to be a cool neighborhood. I’m not saying you should move to shanties when you can easily afford to live in a leafy suburb. Pick the location based on merit.
To objectively choose a location, make a list of all the features you would like it to have. On top of this list should be reliable supply of water, security, and ease of access to public transport among other social amenities. This will give you the general idea of spots around the city that you can choose from. Remember to also find the general cost living and distance to your workplace.
2) Searching for an apartment
Once you have settled on the location the next step is to choose the apartment you would like to move into. At a small fee, you can hire an agent to help you with this. Otherwise, you can tag along with a mature friend and go view the vacant houses in person. Carry a camera so you can capture pictures of all the vacant units you visit and pick the caretakers contacts. Remember to also ask about the total amount you need to pay before moving into the house.
For most apartments in Nairobi and its environs, you are required to deposit a two month’s rent plus water and electricity deposit.
3) Selecting an apartment.
Now that you have a collection of pictures on a number of apartments and their charges, enlist the help of your family in choosing the most suitable one. This is the most crucial step. Be honest with yourself by choosing a house within your budget. This step involves a lot of trading off. Do you choose apartment A which is closest to the main road or apartment B which is at a significant distance but more spacious and secure?
It’s wise to pick a house which gives value for your money. Some of the features to consider include: are floor tiles in good condition? Does the building have adequate water storage tanks? Are the unit and corridors well-lit and ventilated? How are the kitchen and bathroom?
Once you’ve settled on the most suitable apartment call the caretaker to find out whether the unit is still vacant before paying up the deposit.
4) Prioritizing what to buy first
The hardest part is over, it’s now time to get a few things and move into your first bachelor’s pad. If you are moving into a place close to your parent’s house then you can easily carry some of your old stuff. However, if you are moving into a different town then you will need to get new belongings.
Write down a list of all the items you would need to make your new home comfortable. Once you have the list, break it down into 3 main phases based on priority. Phase one involves buying the essential items like beddings, cooker, curtains, food, toiletries and few utensils. Phase two should involve buying furniture, a music system, carpets etc. The final phase involves buying auxiliary items like a microwave, fridge, TV and paintings. This will help you channel your funds to what you need most before spending on luxuries.
5)Save money and cut expenses
Unless you have filthy rich parents, getting money to buy all you need at ago is impractical. Therefore, save a significant amount of money to supplement whatever you will get from them. Remember quality things often cost almost twice the average-quality items.
When you were living in your parent’s house, chances are you never bothered to conserve power or water but now that you will be paying your own bills this must change. Switch off the lights when not in use, turn off taps and cut-down your expenses on things like cellphone airtime. Avoid buying those cheap incandescent bulbs instead get the energy savers which consume up to 80% less power.
6) Buying new items
Resist the temptation of buying cheap second-hand furniture and beddings from a stranger as there is a high likelihood they could be bedbug infested. Before buying any major item seek the advice of friends who’ve lived alone longer than you so they can show you where to get good quality at a great bargain.
Don’t walk into a shopping mall and buy all your household items. Spare some time, visit at least four different supermarkets close by and compare their prices. I was shocked to learn that a glass-coffee-table at supermarket A goes for ksh 4,750 while the same at supermarket B barely 20 meters away goes for Ksh 3,250. The same applied to other things like carpets, foodstuff, cooking oil and plastic items. Buy each item from the outlet where it’s sold cheapest and believe you me the amount of money you can save using this technique is substantial.
7) Learn how to cook
This goes to guys like me who grew up with mothers who love cooking so they never had to prepare a meal throughout their time at home. It’s smart to learn how to make a few basic meals before moving out so you won’t have it rough like I did. My first meals were terrible, tasteless and gave me stomach aches more than once. Anyway, I’ve tremendously improved my culinary skills especially my favorite meal, Rice with friend pan liver which now rivals world-class chefs cooking.
What I was never warned about moving out is the fiscal shock I’d experience. Two weeks prior to moving out I had lots of cash to spend. I could go out every Friday, go to movies and dinner dates at least twice a week. A week after moving out I could barely afford to buy a cup of coffee at my favorite hang-out joint. It was so tough having to live on a tight budget.
Be psychologically prepared to experience sudden changes in your lifestyle especially the first two months before you adapt. The upside to facing this tough period is how it makes you smarter and ingenious. Within no time you will explore talents you never knew existed and make money out of them. So no need to worry, things indeed get better with time.
For those who have already moved out, what are some of the strategies you employed to survive the first few months?
Written by Mark Maish