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Author Topic: Unexpected Aspects of Living Independently?  (Read 458 times)

Parsely

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Unexpected Aspects of Living Independently?
« on: April 07, 2018, 10:01:29 pm »

Hey y'all!

I'm a student and a part time worker, moving into my first apartment next Friday with a roommate. I'm very excited and optimistic, looking forward to having more privacy and choice, I feel ready for this.

I thought I would ask though, what are some things that you didn't expect about living independently for the first time? Practical or otherwise, I'd be interested to hear what people's (hopefully positive) experience has been.

Khan Boyzitbig

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Re: Unexpected Aspects of Living Independently?
« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2018, 03:55:56 pm »

I found that I spent far more free time going for a walk outside then before. And that I became far less nocturnal. As a result I encountered wildlife that I had never seen before (and some that are incredibly rare). That and I started cooking a lot more and experimenting with methods of cooking. Surprisingly low costs to feed myself too.

Though I did miss my family the first few days quite badly.
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Baffler

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Re: Unexpected Aspects of Living Independently?
« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2018, 12:01:40 am »

Hey y'all!

I'm a student and a part time worker, moving into my first apartment next Friday with a roommate. I'm very excited and optimistic, looking forward to having more privacy and choice, I feel ready for this.

I thought I would ask though, what are some things that you didn't expect about living independently for the first time? Practical or otherwise, I'd be interested to hear what people's (hopefully positive) experience has been.

The biggest surprise for me was just how much it costs to have more than the bare necessities. If your job pays like mine, and your rent and utilities come out like mine, it'll be a very slow game of accumulation.

As an example, furniture. I personally didn't really notice furniture all that much before I moved out. Luckily I had relatives with spare stuff lying around, so I got a cheap bedframe to go with the mattress I bought, a plastic folding cardtable with chairs plus a table cloth, and a bunch of surprisingly versatile wicker baskets to start off - which is a damn sight more than the singular mattress my parents started off with, heh. Since then I've acquired a desk for my room and a standing shelf for the kitchen, and I didn't buy those, I built them with hand tools out of a few pallets (in surprisingly good shape) I got for literal pocket change from a local scrapyard a few months after I moved in. They're good looking, but they were a lot of work and I would've had to save for a month or two each otherwise, even if I bought them very cheaply. There is nothing else in the house besides my roommate's bed and IKEA desk, plus the fridge, sink, small counter, stove, and bathroom fixtures the place came with, so the place looks really barren even though it's quite small. Food is another thing. Like Boyzitbig I honestly take a lot of joy in cooking (and have gotten quite good at getting the most out of a very limited inventory of ingredients too, heh) but again if your experience is like mine things that you probably don't really notice now will probably either fall by the wayside entirely, or become luxuries in the name of saving money. I do meal planning now, and I highly recommend you do something like that too, but when I first started shopping for myself I had a tendency to go in and either spend too much or buy too little, causing much hardship. I also rarely ate out before, so I didn't miss it too much, but even going to someplace McDonalds tier is for me a rare treat, and I never bother even with that unless I'm going with friends. Not drinking or smoking helped as well.

Other smaller things surprised me too, like exactly how much my gas bill went up when it came time to turn the heat on, but those two things above are what mainly stand out in my mind. It was kinda rough at first but after a dedicated week or two of squaring my shit away I've been thoroughly enjoying living independently, and even small advancements like my pallet furniture or the rug from the thrift store I got and cleaned up like new are extremely satisfying. I seriously can't wait until graduate and actually have disposable income. I'm probably not really selling it all that well, but it's probably the best thing that ever happened to me, and I hope it goes as well (or better) for you.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2018, 12:03:29 am by Baffler »
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nenjin

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Re: Unexpected Aspects of Living Independently?
« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2018, 10:37:39 am »

Yes, the sticker shock of all your combined utilities takes getting used to. I agree that furnishings are also something you don't realize you need until you don't have it. Towels, plates, silverware, kitchen utensils, and the dozens and dozens of small items that makes up a fully stocked house. Get stuff a little bit at a time as you need it, don't try to make a list and buy it all at once.

Also get very, very used to paying attention to the state of your home. Stuff breaks and fails in a home on a regular basis and you're the only one watching out for it. Toilets, faucets, seals, electronics, door jams and door knobs. All that shit can break. Within 4 months of moving in to my apartment my bedroom door knob started to act weird. Then one day it simply wouldn't turn anymore. Took my room mate taking the door knob off from the outside before I could leave my bedroom.
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Shazbot

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Re: Unexpected Aspects of Living Independently?
« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2018, 04:26:56 pm »

I learned cheap red wine and Rome Total War were an excellent combination.
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Retropunch

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Re: Unexpected Aspects of Living Independently?
« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2018, 06:53:41 pm »

Hey y'all!

I'm a student and a part time worker, moving into my first apartment next Friday with a roommate. I'm very excited and optimistic, looking forward to having more privacy and choice, I feel ready for this.

I thought I would ask though, what are some things that you didn't expect about living independently for the first time? Practical or otherwise, I'd be interested to hear what people's (hopefully positive) experience has been.

Learn how to cook, and cook well. It doesn't matter if you have basic tastes or whatever, you'll save a fortune and you'll impress everyone.

Secondly, think about buying stuff in bulk/in advance - I don't just mean for things like beans and whatever. If there's a super cheap deal on something that doesn't expire/perish, then stock up!! Think long term basically, as you'll also save a fortune doing so.

Lastly, you'll want to make your boundaries really clear with your flatmate. Don't be a dick, but make sure that you make stuff that annoys you clear straight up, and always think about if something you're doing could be annoying. Put boundaries on your personal space too - I always used to do the thing of 'if my room door is open, I'm up for chatting/whatever, if not then don't disturb unless really necessary'. These won't feel like big things at the start, but they will eat away at you if you don't get them right straight away.

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lestmurphy

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Re: Unexpected Aspects of Living Independently?
« Reply #6 on: April 15, 2018, 05:28:55 pm »

If you're a single, straight male, and are actively dating women, keep a box of condoms in your room jic. Get a small box of Super absorbent Tampons with Plastic applicators and put them in a cabinet near each toilet. Keep you toilets clean and scrubbed. Get a small trash can for your bathroom if you don't have one already and keep trash out of it as best you can. If a lady feels gross or dirty at you apartment, they may not want come back.

If your flat has a dishwasher, use dishwasher soap. If you use anything else, especially dish soap, you're going to have a bad day.

Don't smoke cigarettes. I smoked for about 5 years and I have mild but permanent health problems now. I'm only 32. It's also very hard on your finances.

Depending on your income level, get you set up an IRA retirement account in your name at Vangaurd and slowly start buying indexed mutual funds OR indexed ETFs for the purpose of retirement. For example, I buy quite a bit of VYM - Vanguard High Dividend Yield ETF. It pays generous quarterly dividends and has milder swings in value compared to others like it. If you can afford it, $50 a month can go a long way!

Good luck!

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Ghills

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Re: Unexpected Aspects of Living Independently?
« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2018, 08:54:16 pm »

Buy a good toilet plunger. 

You might not need it, but if you do need it and don't have one you'll really wish you'd bought it.

You only need 1 of:
sheet set
towel
hand towel
comforter/duvet
frying pan
pot (get a soup pot)
cutting board

But you do need multiple:
washcloths
knives (chef's knife, paring knife)
spatulas & stirring spoons
place setting, unless you really, really love washing dishes

Buy non-perishable supplies like rice, beans, toilet paper, dish soap, laundry soap, cleaning stuff in bulk from discount suppliers.

If you have in-apartment laundry, use cotton rags or super-cheap kitchen towels or baby towels instead of paper towels.

If you don't have in-apartment laundry it's not worth it.  Also, get laundry soap pods. Yes, it's more expensive, but lugging a big bottle or box to the laundromat gets old really fast.
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Retropunch

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Re: Unexpected Aspects of Living Independently?
« Reply #8 on: April 18, 2018, 02:55:05 pm »

You only need 1 of:
...
frying pan
pot (get a soup pot)
cutting board


The big thing about any cooking equipment is: ALWAYS BUY QUALITY

A cheap pan will warp/lose it's coating/etc. after a very short time, whereas a good quality one will last you forever (as in, I've got a good one from 12 years ago still going strong and got through 3-4 cheap ones in about 2 years). If you have to pay double it's definitely worth it. I'd also suggest buying a big and a small frying pan and pot - if you're living alone you'll one to cook some stuff in batches and then heat it up in smaller pans, or cook a small amount of whatever.

Woks are a good investment and aren't usually too expensive. Two cutting boards help for separating meat and vegetables which makes things quicker when cooking, and you'll probably want more than one towel in case you have a guest over/yours is too damp etc. Think about getting a cheap blender for soups etc, and if possible have a few herb plants in a garden or on a windowsill basket.

As Ghills says, anything non perishable should be bought in bulk - it'll save you a fortune.
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nenjin

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Re: Unexpected Aspects of Living Independently?
« Reply #9 on: April 18, 2018, 05:00:44 pm »

Skip teflon coated pans. Just get a cast iron skillet with a lid. You can make everything in it, and it will wear slower than any other piece of cooking equipment you own. Bonus points for not slowing poisoning you as the teflon coating abrades. And if you take care of it, by properly seasoning it and cleaning it the correct way....the thing can literally last generations.
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Ghills

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Re: Unexpected Aspects of Living Independently?
« Reply #10 on: April 19, 2018, 04:21:05 pm »

Skip teflon coated pans. Just get a cast iron skillet with a lid. You can make everything in it, and it will wear slower than any other piece of cooking equipment you own. Bonus points for not slowing poisoning you as the teflon coating abrades. And if you take care of it, by properly seasoning it and cleaning it the correct way....the thing can literally last generations.

Cast iron is such a complete pain to use and care for, in addition to being extremely heavy. I would not suggest it for someone just starting out.  Stainless steel, especially tri-ply stainless steel, lasts just as long but is much easier to manage.

Cast iron is great if you know you'll be in one place for a while, know how to keep up with regular item care, and are cooking recipes that really are better with the thermal qualities of cast iron.   But only under those circumstances.
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Ye know, being an usurper overseer gone mad with power isn't too bad. It's honestly not that different from being a normal overseer.
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nenjin

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Re: Unexpected Aspects of Living Independently?
« Reply #11 on: April 19, 2018, 05:48:19 pm »

The only disadvantage to cast iron IMO is the time it takes to heat up. That's pretty much it. They come in all shapes and varieties, big and small, for weight and space considerations. Cleaning is often as easy as a paper towel to wipe it out, you generally don't even want to use soap and water on them unless you really burned the shit out of something. After you've cleaned out all the grease and crud from your last meal, you take a little more oil and a paper towel and coat the inside with it, put it away. Bam, done. Seasoning doesn't have to be done very often if it's done right.

To each their own, of course. It's true you need to know a little about cooking so you can moderate some of the properties of a cast iron skillet for some dishes. But I've sauted in cast iron, made soups and stews in cast iron, marinara sauce, rice, cooked proteins flat iron style in it, makes spot on grilled cheese.....there aren't many things you can't do with a cast iron skillet. Alfredo is like one of the few things I wouldn't use cast iron for, simply because of the coloration it would impart.

Also it is obviously one of the best and most iconic defensive weapons in the pot and pan family.
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If you're going to try, go all the way. There is no other feeling like that. You will be alone with the Gods, and the nights will flame with fire.
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Retropunch

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Re: Unexpected Aspects of Living Independently?
« Reply #12 on: April 20, 2018, 03:37:37 am »

Id agree that cast iron is great - I have them and love them. However, I definitely wouldn't advise it to someone starting out who hasn't done a lot of cooking before. A really good non-stick pan will be much easier to work with. It heats up quickly, as well as loses heat quickly (which can be useful) and a good one is pretty much impossible to burn on. You don't have to worry about seasoning the pan or looking after it at all, other than not using metal implements in it.

Cast iron definitely isn't difficult to work with (and is so much better in some ways), it's just that non-stick is a world easier when starting out.
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Scarlet_Avenger

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Re: Unexpected Aspects of Living Independently?
« Reply #13 on: April 22, 2018, 05:37:15 pm »

I'd recommend a set of hand tools, for odds and ends around the place that you might not foresee at first. Phillips and Flathead screwdrivers, vise grips, pliers, wire cutters, and scissors. You could also use metal shears, if you're feeling kinky. Also, bring a hammer and some loose nails and screws, if possible.

Last but not least: Decorations! Why live on your own if you can't do it in style?  8)
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martinuzz

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Re: Unexpected Aspects of Living Independently?
« Reply #14 on: April 22, 2018, 06:54:10 pm »

Always keep a spare roll of toilet paper hidden away somewhere, and pretend you do not have it when making shopping lists. One day you'll be thankful.
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