For young adults, moving into your own place is an exciting new adventure but there are many challenges one will have to face.
The prospect of leaving the nest, one day, and living independently would have crossed our minds while growing up.
Be it a student living and studying overseas for the first time or a young working adult who can finally afford to rent his/her own place, the independence and freedom that comes with living on your own can be quite exhilarating at first.
However, many adults often overlook the potential challenges that come with living away from the family and might be taken by surprise by the number of newfound responsibilities associated with maintaining a home.
The amount of money spent on living expenses and time required for chores to keep the home functional can give new homeowners a better appreciation for their parents or guardians.
Here are 10 most common challenges faced when living on your own for the first time and ways to deal with the situation.
1. Grocery shopping
If you have never helped your parents to shop for groceries at the supermarket, then this can be quite a chore. Knowing what food or home supplies to stock up on is important. It can be tempting to simply grab things that you like the most off the supermarket shelf but it is important to have a healthy supply of food such as meat, vegetables and fruit. Knowing exactly how much to buy when stocking up for a household of one can also be a challenge that takes getting used to. Do not forget other essentials, too, such as toilet paper and bath soap.
2. Monthly spending
Few are aware of the costs incurred when one is not dependent on anyone else for finances. Eating out every single day can be expensive, and putting aside a substantial amount of money every month to pay for rent or housing loan as well as utilities can make one feel outright poor with what is leftover. The importance of good financial planning should never be overestimated.
3. Household appliances
Knowing which appliances your home will need can be a challenge sometimes, especially for young adults who grew up without having to do much work around the house. Some may only realise after their first shopping trip that having an electric kettle is a necessity. It is always a good idea to consult a more experienced person and take the time to sit down and think about what the home needs before moving in.
4. Time spent cooking
Those who rarely or never cook will be shocked, at first, by the amount of time spent cooking and washing up afterwards compared to the amount of time spent eating. It can be a task to prepare a wholesome meal for one, and then washing the saucepan, frying pan, rice cooker, cooking knife, spatula, ladle, dinner plate, bowl and cutlery twice a day. It may be a good idea to take turns hosting meals with friends to cut down on cooking and cleaning.
5. Doing laundry
After dealing with the responsibilities of classes or work, taking care of meals, personal hygiene, and a social life, it can be easy to forget about doing laundry until you realise there are no clean clothes to wear. Ideally, one should note the amount of time it takes to go through their wardrobe and set aside a fixed day in the week for laundry.
6. Cleaning the home
Keeping the home clean and tidy is easily the most overlooked chore among young adults. After all, why spend so much time cleaning when it is going to be messy again? It is easier to constantly maintain a clean home than to clean up a dirty one infrequently. A clean home also gives one peace of mind and makes it less likely for one to misplace items around the home.
Needless to say, most people get homesick from living away from their families for an extended period of time. Thankfully, modern technology allows us to reconnect over a video call at the touch of a button. Living away from home gives one a better appreciation for how your parents took on so many responsibilities to provide a comfortable life for you.
8. Living in a new place
The biggest change from moving to a new place, especially if it is in a faraway country, is the culture shock of adapting to local customs. Malaysians wait for cars to pass before crossing a road but in countries like Australia where road rules are strictly enforced, Malaysians often forget that pedestrians have the right of way at zebra crossings. Even if it is a just a move to another city, it will take a while to adapt to the local rules, laws and culture.
9. Food expiry dates
One also needs to be mindful of expiry dates when maintaining a healthy supply of food. Discovering spoiled food is never a pleasant experience. Coming up with a plan for the week's worth of meals when grocery shopping is advisable so that you can finish your food before they rot. Look out for expiry dates when purchasing bread and fresh milk.
10. Getting along with your neighbours
Many millennials rarely talk to their neighbours these days, but it is important to make friends in the local community whom they can rely on. A good neighbour can be helpful in an emergency or help look out for the home when you are away. It is as simple as striking up a short conversation when you see your neighbour outside, and one can even take the extra step to get to know the local community beyond their doorstep.