(Finally) On My Own

It took 20 minutes to say goodbye to my parents. I’ve already said my goodbyes to my brother and sister back home. My mother sat in the passenger seat of the black Sequoia, holding my hand and saying, “Behave, ok? Call me every night.”

I would tell her that yes I will call her and that I will definitely clean my room and keep it clean.

Soon after that, the car sped away, en route to Interstate 75, leading them back home.

“I’m free!” I shouted.

Call me a late bloomer but I’ve recently just started living on my own; I’ve become an independent person. I’ve finally moved away from my parents’ home and it feels great.

Attending the wonderful University of Florida required me to move a couple of hours away from home. To say that I was not nervous or scared is a total lie. The thought of moving in with random girls, in a new home living in a new town, was terrifying.

I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who felt that way. The queasiness brewing in my stomach, the feeling of dread that I was going to struggle living without my family freaked me out. I had a lot to think about: learning new street names (and why are they all numbers?!), the city bus system, and the weather is constantly humid.

Now, the two-and-a-half-hour drive from Tallahassee to Gainesville wasn’t that painful but it did give my mother a chance to educate me on what I should focus on while living on my own. Here are some of her life lessons I should remember:

  1. Study hard!
  2. Stay on top of things.
  3. Don’t spend money on things you don’t need.
  4. You don’t need to go grocery shopping every weekend.
  5. Clean your room (please, anak)
  6. Don’t work too much because you need to study!

Studying hard and saving money link all of the items on the list together; You need to earn good grades so that you can earn money from a good job to pay for your lifestyle. And you need money to buy more food.

This post is going to focus more on financial issues.

According to Emma Sorensen, former Editor of Property Portal Watch, it is expensive to move away. Not only are you paying for the deposit for your new apartment, you also need money for the gas to fill up your car, enough groceries to last you for a while and spend only when necessary.

Responsibility comes into play to gain self-control. And whether you are 18 or 23, you need to master self-control so you don’t buy all five boxes of pasta because it’s on sale, just like I did.

To achieve living independently, managing money through budgeting is the key, Sorensen said.

“… only one in three Americans have a detailed budget,” Sophie Miura, Lifestyle Editor of MyDomaine, said.

Miura suggests to spend 30 minutes at the end of each month to work through tallying up the monthly income, fixed expenses, variable expenses and savings. Miura’s version of a budget sheet is posted on MyDomaine.com, which I will link here.

Personally, it’s hard to change from one lifestyle to another; before, I lived with my parents, where I didn’t have to think about what food I needed to buy. Oftentimes back home, I wouldn’t even blink an eye while buying a new top or a pair of shoes.

I think I’ve prepared a little about living independently. I’ve scrolled through Pinterest to see what I would need to get before moving out. I’ve asked a few coworkers for a few tips about new roommates and tell them all about my “roomie nightmares.”

It’s been two months since I’ve moved. I’m not struggling that much but it’s been fun. I’ve learned to love Publix’s BOGO deals. It’s always great remember that Target is dangerous in ways that they’re selling cute shoes.

So my helpful tip to you, my dear reader, is to be smart about cash. Just because something is on sale doesn’t mean that you have to buy it. (I still have three unopened boxes of pasta and I don’t think I’m going to eat it soon.)

In a future post, I will be writing about studying habits and what other people have found that helps them be successful in school. Stay tuned for more! Stay awesome.


Emma Sorensen – A first timer’s guide to moving out on your own

Sophie Miura – The Millennial’s Guide to Not Going Broke


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