How to Know if You Are Ready to Live Alone

By Alyssa Laffitte on March 25, 2019

College students are at a crucial point in their lives where they start considering major changes. For example, many college students could be considering living alone for the first time. But how do you know that you are ready to take on these major life changes? This is a big decision, so they must be sure they are ready before they do it. In this post, we will discuss signs that you are ready to live alone.

Image via Isorepublic.com

You are financially responsible

One of the first signs that you are ready to live on your own is that you are financially responsible. Living alone is obviously expensive, so you need to be wise with your money before you embark on this journey. If you do not know how to handle your finances, you will struggle when you live alone. Let’s dive deeper into the specifics of what it means to be “financially responsible”.

You have set up a budget.

Creating a budget is important for everyone. If you want to live alone, you should definitely have one. A budget will help keep your spending under control (because we all know it’s too easy to blow a lot of money in a short period of time), and will ensure that you have enough money to cover your basic expenses for the month. Without a budget, you might find that you spent too much money on a shopping trip and now you can’t afford groceries. Having a budget is the first step in preparing to be an adult and live alone. If you don’t know how to create a budget, a quick Google search can help you learn the basics.

You can control your spending.

Another reason a budget is so important is because it will help you control your spending. It’s way too easy nowadays to impulse buy, especially because online shopping is so popular. But if you are financially responsible, you know how to control your spending. You know the difference between needs and wants, and are mature enough to allocate your money to your needs first. You can always buy yourself something you want later. Don’t be that person who avoids looking at their bank statements; be aware of how much money is entering and exiting your accounts. Financially responsible people who are ready to live alone know how to control their spending.

Infographic by Alyssa Lafitte

At any given point in time, you know how much is in your bank account and when your bills are due.

As I said before, a financially responsible person is aware of the transactions in their bank account. If you don’t regularly check your account, you are not financially responsible. With online banking apps, there is no excuse to not check your account frequently. A financially responsible person will be able to, at any given point in time, know how much money is in their bank account. Of course, you do not need to know the precise dollar amount, but it is crucial to have a sense of how much money you have available to you.

Similarly, you should know the date your bills are due. Alternatively, you could have your bills deducted automatically (some companies offer automatic bill pay, some don’t) or you could set up a faithful system to remind you to pay your bills. This will help you make your payments on time, which will help you avoid late fees and bad credit. A financially responsible person knows the status of their finances, especially how much is in their bank account and the dates their bills are due. Someone who has this level of knowledge about their finances is ready to live alone.

You have good credit and a record of paying your bills on time.

Continuing from the previous point, a financially responsible person pays their bills on time. You can set up a reminder system to let you know when to pay your bills, or even an automatic payment system. You will not only avoid late fees, but you will gain a reputation as a faithful borrower.

This brings me to the next topic: financially responsible people have good credit. Credit is a measure of how well you can pay back borrowed money. Ideally, you will pay off your credit card balance in full, on time, every month. This means you shouldn’t have more charges on your card than you can pay off. Of course, sometimes this isn’t possible, but try your hardest to be in that situation. If you can handle paying your bills on time and maintaining good credit, you can live alone.

You have an emergency fund.

Unfortunately, emergencies can pop up when we least expect them. We don’t like to think about it, but what if you suddenly lose your job? What if you get into an accident or get sick? What if your car breaks down? The best way to soften the blow of an emergency is to be prepared for it by building up an emergency fund. You should save up as much money as you can and put it aside for emergencies. The rule of thumb is to have three months’ worth of living expenses in your emergency fund. If you have a solid emergency fund, you are ready to live alone.

Before you decide to live alone, you should be sure you meet the criteria for a financially responsible person.

You have an idea of how much living alone will cost, and you make enough money to cover this cost

Similarly, in order to live alone, you need to be aware of how much it will cost you. How much will you need to pay for necessities like rent, food, water, electricity, and transportation? Not to mention WiFi, too! Do some research to determine how much these things cost in your area.

Then, think about how much money you make. Will you realistically be able to produce the amount it costs to live alone every month and still have a little bit left over? If you cannot meet the basic costs of living alone and have a small surplus, then you are not ready to live alone. Wait until you make more money to live alone.

Another aspect to consider is that living alone has certain startup costs. For example, closing costs, security deposits, and application fees. You also need to furnish the place and have basic home essentials like kitchen and bathroom supplies. Do you know how much these things will cost? Do you have a stash of money set aside to meet these costs? If you do, you are ready to live alone.

You are responsible in general

Living alone requires a huge amount of responsibility, because you won’t have a roommate or family member to rescue you if you get in trouble. Sure, anyone can accidentally get locked out of their apartment occasionally. Everyone has had a split second heart attack when they don’t remember if they unplugged their hair straightener before leaving the house (I would not recommend this! Be 100% sure to unplug your heat tools before leaving, especially if you don’t have a roommate to check on it). But if things like this are happening often, it might be a sign that you need to work on being more responsible. You have to be trustworthy to your own self. However, if you know you can trust yourself, you are likely ready to live on your own.

You can cook, or are willing to improve your cooking skills

Eating out is convenient, especially for a busy college student, because restaurant food is quick and delicious. However, it’s not convenient for your wallet (or even your body) and is definitely not sustainable. You can’t rely on restaurant food all the time. This means that when you live alone, you will need to cook for yourself. Of course, you don’t need to be a professional chef, but you should have some basic kitchen proficiency when you live alone. I would highly recommend learning to cook at least a few dishes before living alone. Also, you should be open to expanding your cooking skills with new recipes you find online. You can quickly find healthy, easy, delicious recipes with a quick Google or Pinterest search. In fact, living alone is the perfect opportunity to improve your cooking skills.

Image via Isorepublic.com

You can maintain a clean living environment

If you can’t clean up after yourself, you shouldn’t live alone. There won’t be anyone to clean up after you if you live alone, so you will have to do it yourself. You don’t want to live in a filthy environment. You should be comfortable deep cleaning your place. In addition, you should not leave trash scattered around the place; trash belongs in the trash can!

Here are examples of some tasks you should feel comfortable cleaning when you live alone:

  • Taking out the trash- or else, it will start to smell! (Don’t forget to take out the trash in your bathroom, too.)
  • Sweeping and mopping the floors
  • Cleaning the toilet and shower
  • Wiping down surfaces- especially surfaces that you touch often like remotes and doorknobs.
  • Dusting surfaces- if you are allergic to dust like I am, this is crucial!
  • Doing laundry, including your bed sheets- don’t let your sweaty, dirty clothes pile up! You need to do laundry pretty often, especially your bed sheets and pillows.
  • Doing the dishes- you don’t want to let your dirty dishes pile up, either!

Being able to maintain a clean living environment is a sign you are ready to live on your own.

You know how to use basic tools

When you live alone, you won’t have anyone else to help you when something small breaks in your place. Of course, if something bigger breaks or if electricity/water is involved, you can always call in a professional. Sill, you might need to do things like changing lightbulbs and assemble furniture yourself. For that reason, if you want to live on your own, you should be able to use basic tools. You should know how to use tools such as a hammer, screwdriver, and a pair of pliers properly, and for their intended purposes. (Don’t use tools for purposes they were not intended for!) Buying a small set of tools and knowing how to use them is an indication that you are ready to live on your own. Still, always be careful when using tools!

You enjoy your “alone time”

Living alone can be very isolating, especially if you are used to living with your family members or roommates. You will have more alone time than you’ll know what to with. It can be difficult to transition to returning to a quiet, empty space if you are used to being greeted by loved ones (including pets!). However, if you enjoy your time alone and socialize enough throughout the day, you can manage living alone.

Sometimes, it’s nice and relaxing to live alone in a quiet place. Still, when you live alone, you do need to make an extra effort to socialize at school, work, and other extracurricular activities. It’s simply not healthy to go a whole day without some human interaction. But if your lifestyle naturally involves socializing (for example, if you deal with people at school/work or attend extracurricular activities), you will be fine.

Your ability to deal with alone time is a good sign that you are ready to live alone.

If you are in college and considering a major life change, such as living alone for the first time, you need to be sure you are prepared for it. Especially if you are embarking on this journey for the first time, it can be difficult to know when you are ready to take on these life changes. But you know you are ready to live alone if you are financially responsible, you make enough money to cover the costs, you can cook, you can maintain a clean environment, you know how to use tools, and you enjoy alone time. If you meet these criteria, you will be ready to live alone.

23, ISFJ. Biology student. College lifestyle blogger. Avid reader and writer. Dog lover. Nerd. Boyband enthusiast. Superhero in training. Here to help you become the best you can be!

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