Helpful Hints for the First Time Mover?
January 5, 2006 1:33 AM   Subscribe

Me and the significant other are moving out in about 2 weeks time to our first 1 bedroom apartment. Rent is looking about 1/3 of total income including water, gas and trash (not bad for Southern California) and most of our major furniture/appliance costs seems to be taken care of already. Is there anything we should consider, highlight, or otherwise be aware of before we live the life of paupers?
posted by ilikebike to Work & Money (13 answers total)
Ramen is your friend. Do not taunt Ramen.
posted by thanotopsis at 5:10 AM on January 5, 2006

Make sure that you have a plan financially. Are you merging all of your finances, keeping them separate, or a mix of the two? Who will be in charge of the bills?

If you'll have a little bit of space in the yard a vegetable garden can be your friend. Fresh veggies can be expensive and spoil quickly, but you can grow your own and use them as needed.
posted by Alison at 5:39 AM on January 5, 2006

Watch out for those expenses which creep up on you. Are you going to have a car? (or two?) Have you priced out a new insurance policy? Is your commute going to be longer? (CA gas prices are even more insane than the rest of the country.)

Moving costs? Even if you are U-hauling it, expect to spend a month's rent on the mechanics and logistics of moving.

Just remember that cost of living includes much more than housing and extends to things like groceries, gas, insurance, and anything else that varies from region to region.

You should be fine, though, as long as you live smartly. Save, save, save, as much as possible. When I lived in DC five years ago, the money I saved by moving out to the far suburbs went into my 401k and will help pay for our down payment in a couple of years. So think ahead. Watch the spending, and do not carry any credit card debt.
posted by Saucy Intruder at 5:42 AM on January 5, 2006

Watch out for food costs. It can be surprisingly easy to piss away a ton of money on lunch, coffee, and snacks.
posted by oddman at 6:36 AM on January 5, 2006

Is there anything we should consider, highlight, or otherwise be aware of before we live the life of paupers?

(Dare I?)

posted by JamesMessick at 6:41 AM on January 5, 2006

Renter's insurance. Get it. Don't not get it. It's inexpensive and completely worth it. Check with the co that does your car insurance; you might get a small discount for multiple policies.
posted by SashaPT at 7:13 AM on January 5, 2006

Seconded renters insurance. I pay less than $200 a year, and if my apartment burns to the ground I get more than enough to replace everything in it.
posted by Kellydamnit at 7:49 AM on January 5, 2006

My father's advice on my first move: "Son, just remember: three moves equals one fire." Realize in advance that things you love (or hate) will break, protect the things you really care about but don't sweat it when something gets dinged up.
posted by bobot at 7:50 AM on January 5, 2006 [1 favorite]

There are two kinds of renter's insurance. Get the kind that pays you replacement cost, not depreciated cost.

If you have any expensive family heirlooms or things you treasure but don't actually need around you, leave them at home for a while until things settle down. Maybe even for a few years.

bobot: Thanks for sharing that, an excellent saying and very true.
posted by voidcontext at 7:55 AM on January 5, 2006

Invest in a decent collection of spices if you don't have them already. Cumin can make garbanzos and tomatos over rice feel like a real meal.
posted by ejaned8 at 8:16 AM on January 5, 2006

Depending on where you are in SoCal, there are many farmers markets where you can get cheap, fresh produce.

If you have a car, try to scope out places where you don't have to pay to park. Also, pay attention to the signs that tell you when street cleaning occurs. Those tickets are a real pain.
posted by kamikazegopher at 8:26 AM on January 5, 2006

If you are limiting rent to about a third of your monthly income, you are already doing the most important thing. Yes, think about a written budget, get renter's insurance, carefully consider your automotive expenses, look for ways to reduce bills on a periodic basis, and try to put aside some money every month. But frankly, you've already controlled your biggest expense.
posted by ilsa at 9:55 AM on January 5, 2006

There are several excellent Q&As on AskMetafilter about moving - if you haven't checked them out, you should do so. (Items to take separately, like toilet paper; what to set up first in your new home; getting rid of things you never use rather than moving them; etc.)
posted by WestCoaster at 9:59 AM on January 5, 2006

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