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6 Tips for Moving Out On Your Own for the First Time

6 Tips for Moving Out On Your Own for the First Time

It’s easy to get wrapped up in the excitement of moving out on your own for the first time. Maybe you’re headed to college, or finally moving beyond dorm life and out into the “real world” — apartments! Rent! Landlords! Electric bills! Suddenly excitement turns to dread. How the heck are you supposed to manage all those details?! MOM! DAD! HELP! Before you go running back to your childhood bedroom in your parents’ house (you’re a bit beyond those Ninja Turtles sheets, don’t you think?), read through these 6 tips for moving out on your own for the first time. With a little bit of focus and a few fairly easy tricks, it won’t seem quite so daunting.

1. Invest in a good bed

It can be tempting to skimp on your furniture purchases when you’re outfitting your first place, but even if you buy everything else second-hand or for cheap, you should at least buy a good mattress. If you’re not sleeping well, the rest of your life will suffer. Nothing makes you feel older, grumpier, and less excited about your new life than back pain and chronic fatigue. Unless you’re willing to spend time bargain hunting at your local furniture stores, you’re likely to find the best deals online. Amazon.com, for example, has mega deals on high-quality mattresses for under $300 — and if you want to go with Memory Foam, it’ll show up vacuum packed into a box on your doorstep. Your only job? Build yourself a platform, a DIY project that can be done on the cheap.

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    2. Let someone else do the heavy lifting

    Hiring movers might seem like a decadent choice, but you won’t regret it. You have enough to worry about with your move without having to figure out how to get that sofa up the staircase or straining your back with heavy boxes. A well qualified team will make your move quick, easy, and relatively painless — at least, until you have to figure out where to put all of those knick knacks you decided to take with you. Be sure to hire movers who are professional, insured, and experienced, and read their reviews on a third-party site before handing over your cash! Using online tools is a great way to prepare for your move, as it will save you time and money, and help you stay organized. Price comparison and booking tools make finding and booking a mover much easier. You can find information about movers in your area, all in one place, and make inquiries directly in the platform – no need to make endless phone calls. Most of these online moving tools let you see real reviews from past customers, too.

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      3. Learn to cook simple, healthy things

      One of the expenditures Americans spend a whole lot of money is on food. Pre-made meals, takeout, and frozen pizzas cost way more than preparing simple meals for yourself, and are generally full of preservatives or other unpronounceable ingredients that you don’t really want to put in your body. Start by getting to know your local grocery store — and stick to the periphery as much as possible. That’s where you’ll find foods in their most natural form. Make friends with the Bulk Section as well, where you can find large amounts of rice, oats, and other staples typically at lower prices.

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        There are plenty of amazing blogs out there with an abundance of recipes, all downloadable for free. ThugKitchen.com delivers clean eating with some mega sass and humor (steer clear if swear words bother you!). You can also check out Allrecipes.com and The Food Network for easy, quick and healthy recipes. Choose a few recipes that appeal to you, and master them before you worry about becoming any sort of world class chef.

        4. Ditch the fancy cleaning supplies

        All of those different spray bottles of cleaners for wood, porcelain and glass are a waste of money, and generally full of chemicals and synthetic fragrances. You can make your own cleaners for less money and sans chemicals with a few easy ingredients: white vinegar, baking soda, and castile soap. Need to scour your tub? Mix castile soap with baking soda and scrub away the grime. A 50/50 mix of vinegar and water, wiped with a microfiber cloth, will remove the minerals from sink fixtures, the streaks from mirrors, and clean your windows. Pour baking soda into the toilet to coat the bowl, then spray with vinegar and scrub with your toilet brush. And if you’ve got really tough stains, Borax is a natural but really effective powder you can add to your baking soda-castile soap mix.

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        5. Unplug to save electricity

        There’s this thing called the “Phantom Load” – an energy draw that happens when your electronics are plugged in, but not on. That means that the electric meter is still ticking away, racking up your bill, even though you thought you were being good by turning everything off. If you’d really like to keep the electric bill down, unplug your electronics when you’re not using them. Make this easy by plugging things into a power strip/surge protector that has an on/off switch so that you can kill the electricity to your entertainment system, for example, with one flick of a switch.

        6. Make a budget you can follow

        With the technology available these days, it’s really not that difficult to get a picture of your spending habits and create a budget that will help you stay on track. You can either do this yourself by using an Excel sheet, or you can opt to use a mobile app. Mint.com is one such app that, year after year, has raked in the accolades for being easy to use and free — It links to your bank and credit card accounts to seamlessly import all of your purchases and spending. The program categorizes everything the best it can, but you can easily program it to categorize certain locations or purchases under specific budget categories. From there, you can track your spending by category or overall, set savings goals, and even get alerts if you’re nearing your budget limit. With this handy tool in your pocket, there’s no room for overdrafting or missing rent payments!  There are plenty of budget apps out there, so do your research, and choose one that is right for you. Moving out on your own for the first time is a huge milestone in your life.  With these simple hacks and tips, not only will it be a positive next step, but they will help you pave the way for future success in your adult life, for years to come.

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        Last Updated on September 28, 2020

        The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

        The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

        At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

        Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

        One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

        When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

        So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

        Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

        This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

        Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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        When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

        Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

        One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

        Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

        An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

        When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

        Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

        Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

        We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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        By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

        Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

        While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

        I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

        You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

        Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

        When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

        Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

        Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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        Con #2: Less Human Interaction

        One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

        Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

        Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

        This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

        While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

        Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

        Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

        This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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        For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

        Con #4: Unique Distractions

        Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

        For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

        To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

        Final Thoughts

        Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

        We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

        More About Working From Home

        Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

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