Now that it’s June, I’m seeing graduation gifts everywhere, and it’s made me think back to my own graduation from university many years ago. I didn’t have a lot of down time between graduating and starting my first job (and yes, I know I’m lucky to have graduated with a job waiting for me!), and I didn’t want to select an apartment in a hurry. So, I rented a basement apartment for the summer months, and then found my first real apartment over the course of the summer. I highly recommend this route for people looking to save some extra money up, or wanting to be sure they like where they are before they commit to a full year with something.
So – when September came, I moved into my first real apartment. And while I’d paid rent before, and moved before, there were definitely some costs that cropped up that I hadn’t considered before I had a place of my own.
1. Moving costs. I was extremely lucky in that my new job covered them. I’d never had to worry about them before – most places just came furnished and I moved the rest of my stuff by car. But here I took my stuff from parents as well as somethings they kindly lent me on long term loan (e.g. my dining room table).
2. Cleaning supplies. I was living across the street from a Zeller’s (for Americans, think Wal-Mart or Target), which was great, because when I got there, I realized I had nothing. No broom. No dustpan. No rags. Nothing at all. Not even a toilet brush.
3. Blinds. My new apartment did not supply blinds – you had to supply them. So, while I managed with old sheets tacked up over the windows for a while, I eventually had to break down and pay the money for blinds.
4. Laundry. Well, this one actually goes to Mr. Canuck Buck. He’d lived at home during college, and so when he got his first apartment, it was the first time he’d not lived at home at all. He was greatly shocked when he realized he’d have to pay for laundry.
5. Odds and ends. I’d realized that I’d need a couch, so I went practical and bought a futon – that way, it could double as a bed for overnight guests. What I didn’t think about was that some of those guests would actually expect sheets on it – so I had buy sheets. And they also seemed to need towels – so I had to pick up some of those. Etc. etc..
On the whole, I didn’t come off too badly – I came with a fairly good supply of second hand kitchen stuff, which helped cut down costs a lot, and my parents were willing to lend me things or find me things cheaply at garage sales (they get a lot of credit for me having any money sense at all).
So, if you’re looking for your first “real” place, do keep this list in mind when you’re figuring out everything you’ll need. If you can be prepared ahead of time, it’s much easier to find things cheaply or free, rather than running out and paying full price.
What did you suddenly realize you didn’t have or you’d have to pay for when you got your first place?