10 Things I Love About Living Alone

One of the things I always regretted was living at home during my college years. I did eventually move out out of my childhood home, but I only lasted 3 months before deciding to move back home. For some reason I thought it was a good idea to move 20 miles away from campus (vs. 4) to live with friends on a part-time, college-employee paycheck. I quickly realized I was wrong. Living with friends rarely works out. I wasn’t prepared for the expenses. I was cooped up in 1 tiny room with 2 cats, and I definitely didn’t enjoy the long commute.

When it came time to move out a second time, naturally, I was terrified. I bought a home, so this time there was no turning back like before. It was also the first time I was truly living on my own, so everything was up to me.

This week is the 3-month mark of living on my own (the same amount of time I lasted when I moved out the first time), and today it occurred to me that I actually have no desire to move back home. To celebrate, I thought I’d include 10 reasons I enjoy living alone.

  1. No one tells me when to clean my house. – I certainly don’t live in a pigsty, but some days my house is defintely cleaner than others. Either way it doesn’t matter because if I choose to sit on the sofa and watch Netflix while letting my dishes pile up on the coffee table, that’s my choice.
  2. I can choose my own schedule. – If I’m tired at 4PM. I can sleep without someone worrying that I’m sick, and if I’m wide awake at 3AM, I can make myself food and watch TV in the living room without worrying about disturbing anyone.
  3. Sweatpants or no pants, it doesn’t matter. – It’s Winter right now, and quite chilly in my condo, so truthfully, there’s not much “no-pants-ing” happening, but if there was, it wouldn’t matter. I can wear whatever I want all day, and no one judges me.
  4. I save money on make-up. – I’m one of those people who wears at least a little make-up whenever I’m with other people. My skin is not perfect, and I like to at least look presentable in front of people, but now that I live alone, there are truly days where no one is seeing me. If I’m not going out, it might be 7PM when I finally discover that I’ve had raccoon eyes from remnants of yesterday’s mascara because I’ve not looked in the mirror all day.
  5. I can have anyone over whenever I want. – Sure, my mom said I could invite anyone I wanted over her house, but I never felt comfortable doing it. I spent most of my time in my room which was essentially a studio apartment. Bringing a guy friend over immediately created a sense of awkwardness even if we were just watching TV because it was my bedroom and of course boys weren’t allowed when I was younger.
  6. I can eat whatever I want. – If I decide to make myself a grilled cheese 9AM or have cupcakes for dinner, that’s my decision. I still try my best to have a real dinner before I eat dessert most nights though.
  7. Every decorating decision is mine, and mine alone. – Interior design has always been a passion of mine. I’m no expert, but I certainly enjoy seeing my Pinterest boards turn into reality little by little, and when it’s all done I know that it was 100% my vision.
  8. I can do laundry whenever I want. – Since I started doing my own laundry in high school, I’ve done laundry on Sundays. Sadly no one else in my house had any sort of schedule, and as more people moved in, I found myself having to wait for everyone else to finish their laundry before I could start mine. Sunday laundry turned into Sunday at 11PM laundry. Now that I live alone, I know the only time there’s ever going to be laundry left in the dryer is because I didn’t empty it from last time.
  9. No noisy, interrupting roomates or relatives to worry about. – I’m an introvert, so I love my quiet, alone time which is nonexistent when you have a house full of people. Now I can watch a show and not be interrupted by someone wanting to start a conversation with me or study in complete silence in the middle of the day.
  10. I can be weird without being judged. – If for some odd reason, I decide to turn my life into a musical for an hour, dance around the living room to 90s music, or race my cats down the hallway in socks, no one will ever know. (Tip: Don’t race your cats down the hallway in socks. You will probably slip, fall, and of course, because you live alone, no one will ever know.)

Moving out has been fantastic. Any fears I had were primarily about what other people were going to think: What if I became a crazy cat lady or a hermit? What if people thought I was weird for not going out all the time? What if my condo was a mess? Well guess what?! It’s my condo, and no one is there to judge me anyway. Who cares?!

Andrea

Condo Project – The Past Two Months

My how time flies. Apparently it’s already been two months since I last left you with any sort of update on the condo. By my calculations we’re approaching the 22 week mark of when I first started on this journey which is simply scary to me. That also means I’ve been a homeowner for nearly 5 months at this point!

When I wrote my last post about the condo, I was in a state of dismay. It seemed like every day something new was breaking, and if I wasn’t already at the condo, I was rushing back to it hoping the place wasn’t falling apart. I basically spent the first month questioning what I had gotten myself into and wishing I had decided to buy a a place rather than just rent. For now, *fingers crossed*, things have finally stopped breaking, at least on a daily basis, and I’ve been able to spend the past 2 months getting things livable. I’m naturally interested in finding efficient, organized solutions, so every day I find a new thing to tweak or fix. Nothing like actually living in a house to find out all its quirks.

The Living Room

One of the first things I did after moving in was pick up some necessities from IKEA. Most of what I bought were odds and ends for the kitchen, but I picked up some throw pillows and a sheepskin for the pink chair in attempts to pull the room together. Since taking this picture way back in December (Note: the Christmas tree…) I’ve moved the pink chair to the other side of the sofa, which has made it everyone’s favorite chair now that you can actually see the TV from it.

There’s still a ton on the list for this room:

  • Find artwork. The blank walls are driving me insane much faster than I anticipated.
  • Purchase a larger TV. My 42″ TV worked fine in my bedroom, but it looks minuscule in my Living Room. It will eventually be mounted to the wall.
  • Assemble the remaining Besta cabinet for additional TV storage – I have one remaining cabinet from my former bedroom’s wall unit to repurpose, and it will work perfectly next to my TV stand for more storage. I’m just waiting for any nearby IKEA to restock the feet that match what I already have. I already have one set of 2, so I only need one more box. Sadly they’ve been out of stock for months at this point and I’m worried they’ve been discontinued.
  • Up for debate – a rug. While I love the way rugs anchor a room, I don’t love how the catch dust. I’m not sure if I’m willing to give up the ease of sweeping for a rug.

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The Kitchen

The old black dishwasher that started leaking unexpectedly has been replaced with a new white one, and the mice-chewed wiring was replaced for both the garbage disposal and dishwasher. I can’t even begin to describe how excited I was to have a working dishwasher. My nights are no longer spent washing dishes. I did have to buy a lot more dishes and silverware though because I started running out of things before the dishwasher was full. (Worth noting, the day this picture was taken, the dishwasher had just been delivered hence the dishes in the sink still.)
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Another ongoing project is the cabinets. Little by little I’ve been lining them. I was so shocked at how much better the guest bathroom vanity looked lined, I had to snap a picture. Life without cabinet doors and drawer fronts has also been an interesting one, especially with my OCD. I had been planning to wait until the weather warmed up to paint them at my mom’s house, but I gave up and started bringing them back home to paint in the dining room. As of today, I’m happy to report that all drawer fronts except for one that needed to be repaired have been reinstalled. I’ve also started on the cabinet doors. I can’t wait to see what the bathrooms and kitchen look like with all the doors back up and the new hardware installed. It’s no Pinterest worthy dream kitchen, but for the $200 I spent, the before and after will be dramatic.

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The Entry Way

Thanks to all this winter weather, it didn’t take long for me to realize how much I desperately needed to do something with my entry way. Coming home with wet boots meant taking my shoes off at the door, carrying them to the fireplace (the closest place with tile), then walking back across the room to hang up my coat on a hook I hung on the coat closet door, and dropping my work bag somewhere in the process. And because my unit has a second bathroom where the coat closet would normally be, my unit’s coat closet is actually about 10 feet into the condo around a corner making it useless for storing things I need when heading in or out. So here’s my plan:

  • Hang up hooks on the angled wall by the front door paired with a boot tray so that I can hang my outdoor things up and take my shoes off on the way in. I plan to hang a Welcome sign above this too.
  • On the opposite wall, I’m going to purchase a Hemnes Shoe Cabinet. I don’t necessarily plan to use it for shoes but rather odds and ends like sunglasses or outgoing mail. I may stash the throw blankets that live on my sofa during the winter or when people stay over there too.

As of today, I’ve added some mirrors to the wall right by the door and a boot tray, both from Target.
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Other updates not pictured:

  • I’ve started repainting the louvered doors for both the utility closet and laundry closet.
  • I repaired the trim that was damaged when bringing the washer and dryer back in.
  • I replaced all of the interior door knobs (all 4 of them) from their mixture of brass and chrome to a satin nickel finish.

And last but not least, the cats have settled in nicely and spent a lot of time lounging around (well at least the boys lounged around). Skyler quickly took to watching the birds out the back windows.IMG_3739IMG_3728

 

Stay tuned for more updates.

Andrea

{February Topic: Finance} Using ReadyForZero to Pay Off Credit Cards

My most important goal in life right now is paying down my credit card debt. Now, I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I’ve been lucky enough to escape having a car payment and college loans. For that, I’m truly thankful. I can’t imagine having to deal with student loans or car payments on top of what else I owe like most of my friends. However, after graduating, I got a job that paid a fairly decent salary with little to no bills because I lived at home. In short, I made stupid decisions and money burned a hole in my pocket to the point that spending a couple hundred dollars on a Michael Kors bag or new clothes every month became regular purchases for me rather than something I saved up for.

Looking at my transactions in Mint, I somehow managed to rack up nearly $40,000 in transactions on credit cards in about 4 years. To my credit (no pun intended), the balances of those cards never exceeded more than a couple thousand dollars at any given time, but it’s not what the balances were, it’s that I had become comfortable with having balances on them in the first place. I bought whatever I wanted rather than what I needed. Looking back, I cringe at all the interest I’ve paid because I wanted to buy “stuff.” Even more cringeworthy is that most of that “stuff” I bought I probably don’t even use or have anymore.

Now that I’m trying to be a “responsible” homeowner, and am solely responsible for all the bills, I have no choice but to be mindful of my spending. The first step of that involves getting out of my habit of relying on credit cards.

On a regular basis, I keep three cards in my wallet:
My debit card, which gets used for most purchases.
A low interest credit card for routine bills, which I pay for at the end of each month. While I work to get my savings back in order, emergency expenses like the dishwasher I had to replace are also going on this card. (My goal is to build my savings back up so that these expenses can be paid for up front.)
Another credit card from a different vendor just in case they don’t accept the other cards I have since both my other cards are the same.

Unfortunately for me, that very last card, with the highest interest rate, is the one carrying the highest balance at the moment making it my first priority in my payoff plan, which brings me to a service I recently stumbled upon called Ready For Zero that makes putting a payoff plan together a piece of cake.

Like Mint, it’ll ask you to connect your accounts. From there, you tell it what you’re able to pay each month toward your credit card balances. With that amount, Ready for Zero will factor in your minimum payments and interest rates and tell you how much you should pay toward each account each month. However, it doesn’t stop there. Ready for Zero can estimate when you’ll be debt free and even plots out your payments on a graph. I like graphs so this is something I really enjoy.

My favorite feature, by far, has been seeing how much I pay in interest daily because of the balances I’m carrying. It’s a simple number that people don’t pay much attention to most likely because it’s often buried away. Watching that amount decrease with every payment triggers a little celebration in my head, and when it goes up, I actually feel it. It may be only a dollar or two, but that’s money each day I would have rather spent on something else.

Oh, by the way did I mention ReadyforZero is free? If you’re looking for an easy way to visually help you pay off your credit cards, this is fantastic. Definitely check it out.

Until next time,

Andrea

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