Reality and Expectations: What’s It Like Living Alone?

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Moving out and venturing out on your own are a milestone for many. And although the prospect of fully embodying adulthood through this process is exciting, living alone for the very first time can also be challenging. It is a choice, and one that entails many ups and downs. From that choice comes a ton of other choices, a huge responsibility and mostly time spent alone. 

Before deciding to live alone for the first time, it pays to become aware of the many hidden difficulties surrounding it (as with the hidden benefits). With that, here are the things to expect when living alone for the first time, all of which are experiences gathered from the experts: 

Budgets will be trickier to manage

Budgets are already hard enough. Living alone, though, is an entirely new definition of “expensive.” While you think that you may have planned well for rent, bills, and other loans you need to pay, it’s easy to let slip all the other costs you’ll be handling on your own. On that list will be your weekly food, shampoo and soap bars, laundry detergent, bedsheets, and perhaps even a new chair. 

According to financial experts, the best way to budget is through the “envelope system.” Once you’ve determined your monthly budget, set specific amounts of money in individual envelopes, which should be labeled accordingly. This way, you ensure that you won’t be overspending. For instance, if you’ve decided to allocate $650 for groceries each month, withdraw that amount from your bank account and put the cash in an envelope labeled “groceries.” 

You will be forced to learn “Bob the Builder” skills

Problems with your home always seemed to fix themselves up only after a day in school, but this time it’s different. That leaky faucet will still be leaky, and your door handle will remain loose unless you do something about it. Living alone means forcing you to develop problem-solving and handyman skills. You’ll soon find that a toolbox is necessary, filled with screwdrivers, a wrench, hammers, screws and bolts, and a whole lot of stuff that you never thought you’d need. 

Most apartment complexes receive hundreds of maintenance requests every single day, and you’re perfectly entitled to get one. But if your problems mostly comprise of squeaky doors and faucet leaks, it’s best to just solve things on your own. Experts also note that keeping emergency contacts can be handy. For instance, it’s advisable to keep contact numbers of reliable plumbing companies in Salt Lake City or any area near you. You never know; your toilet may just start overflowing one day.

Living alone can both be liberating and lonely at the same time

It’s Friday night. You’ve decided to decline on every single invitation to hang out. So you’re cooking some tomato and basil pasta recipe you’ve seen on YouTube, with Ella Fitzgerald playing in the background. With a glass of wine in hand and a city view to look at every now and then, you will realize how rewarding living alone can be. 

It’s peaceful and relaxing. But then, you’ll also realize how incredibly sad it is. Without Ella singing in the background, your apartment will be incredibly quiet. You’ll be missing those rowdy family dinners for sure.

It can get messy

Unfortunately, with no one to keep you in check, your apartment may end up looking like a jungle of mess. Your overflowing laundry will be screaming for detergent, as with your stacked pile of dishes. Your bedsheets may need changing and your carpets a heavy session of vacuuming. That is what weekends are for: many rounds of cleaning, which can surprisingly be more than rewarding and relaxing to do. After a long week of slaving away at work, you’ll find that cleaning your safe space can help you get in tune with yourself once again—that is, until your floor disappears once again.

Although frightening, the rewards of living alone will be worth it. It’s just a matter of planning, budgeting, and accepting the fact that this is your life now. More than the actual idea of living alone, it’s now both a responsibility and a choice that you will need to make every single day.

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