5 things I’ve learnt about living by myself (so far)

It’s been 5 months since I packed up my life in Northamptonshire and moved over to Bedfordshire and I’m loving it!

But I’ve also learned quite a lot about myself and how I take care of myself, my cottage, and how I handle myself in situations.

Living on your own and renting your own place can be an exciting and liberating experience. It’s something I’ve never experienced before and I’m 29 years old.

Previous to this, I lived with housemates at University and shared a mortgage with my ex-boyfriend.

So taking the leap to do it alone was huge for me and quite honestly… I thought I’d have a breakdown at one point – ha!

However, it also comes with its own set of challenges and responsibilities which I’m slowly learning.

Here are 5 things I’ve learned so far:

Budgeting skills

When you live alone, you are solely responsible for your expenses. From rent, utilities, groceries, and other expenses, you must learn to manage your finances efficiently.

So far, I’ve been tracking my expenses and budget via a spreadsheet that my dad set up for me on Excel (thanks dad) so I know going forward what my budget is for each category of outgoings.

I try and ensure all my bills and rent are set aside, but I also try and put a certain percentage of my salary to the side for short and long term savings. I’m also lucky that I do some side hustle work which gives me some extra income that allows me to spend on social activities too.

The first few weeks were slightly over budget just due to getting things I needed for the house and extra big shops to ensure I had cupboard essentials and kitchen utilities I needed to survive.

Now? It varies depending on what’s on but I do my best to budget to my means without going over or dipping into my savings.

I’m in that in-between stage of saving for the future, ensuring I have enough to live on but also enjoying the moments!

Maintenance and repair skills

When you live on your own, you become responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of your living space.

Hands up: I used to rely on everyone else but myself to help me fix things or when it came to doing any DIY job which scared me.

At the age of 28, I had never once done the basic things like putting IKEA flatpack furniture together. That all changed when I had two big IKEA flatpack bits to put up myself and I won’t lie, there was such a sense of achievement when I did it all myself in my own home.

There’s no one with you who can pick up the maintenance for you, so I’ve definitely learned to be more self-reliant and if a light bulb goes out, you bet I’ve ensured there’s plenty of spare ones put aside just in case!

My challenge going forward is to only ask for help when needed, but ultimately if I need to learn how to do something, I will attempt to do it myself.

Luckily I don’t have to do anything major like boiler repairs or big appliance fixes as I’m currently renting and that’s the landlord’s responsibility – thank goodness. otherwise, it’d be a disaster!

There may be things I want to change or do DIY for in the future, but I’ll live here for a bit longer before I think about doing any drastic changes.

Time management skills

Living on your own means you are in charge of your own schedule. And boy, you have to make sure you keep sane at every moment of the day!

There’s no one else with you to keep you company or keep you entertained: you are your own entertainment and you have to make sure you’re living like an actual adult human being.

Since living by myself, I’ve had to manage my time effectively between balancing work, social life, studying and personal responsibilities. I won’t lie, it’s hard, but it’s so rewarding.

Little things that help include ensuring I have a set morning and evening routine; which is still a working progress almost 6 months in. Also I may or may not have accidentally slept in when I was supposed to go into the office and nope, there’s no one next to you to make sure you get up and go!

Hitting the snooze button is still a thing, so I always have to make sure I get up and go!

And if I have plans with someone and say I’ll meet them at a certain time, I can’t be late and there’s no one to remind me to get going!

I’ve never suffered too badly with time management but I certainly feel the pressure of it more.

Independence and self-reliance

Living and renting on your own will teach you to be independent and self-reliant.

I feel I am learning to take better care of myself, manage my own affairs, and rely on my own judgment more.

Living and renting on my own so far has been a valuable learning experience that’s taught me lots of essential life skills such as budgeting, maintenance, time management, communication, independence, and self-reliance.

I admit in the past, as much as I’m quite independent, I have been very self-reliant on other people for security, happiness, things to do and for company.

Living on my own has taught me that it’s important to make yourself happy and you need to rely on yourself before you make someone else happy/rely on others.

Sometimes you get lonely

Living on your own is fun, but when you get lonely, it’s the worse feeling in the world when you can’t get out of the rut.

Whilst I love spending time by myself and feel this time alone has been great for me to really find myself, it can get really lonely.

Some of the things that have helped me is picking up the phone to speak to my mum or a friend when I just need to chit chat, getting out of my own head and go on a walk, or see if a friend is available to meet up and express that I’m feeling a bit down and on my own.

I’ve also gone as far as signing up to Bumble BFF where I’m attempting to make local friends, as since moving, my social circle has gotten a lot smaller and I feel it would be nice to make local connections.

If you ever feel on your own, definitely reach out to someone.

What things have you learned or what did you learn when you lived by yourself? I’d love some tips from anyone who has navigated it themselves

Have any questions about living by yourself? Shoot them below in the comments.

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