Living alone for the first time can be challenging and yet fantastic. There will be so many adjustments to be made. For instance,For the past four years I have been living with my family. The four years have been filled so many amazing memories. We were four youths in the house. My family is lovely and always took care of me. I did not have to worry about paying rent, electricity, food, Wi Fi, and taxi or gym membership. I also did not have to save up for shopping or entertainment. All was taken care of by my loving guardian
Eventually you finish school and graduate. Then the universe grants you an opportunity in a different town far away from your comfort zone. Then you are left to make a choice whether to go live with another family member that have been living in that town or whether to go the free spirit route of finding your own place.
Well this time around, I chose the latter. It is my first time living on my own in Namibia. Well I have left on my own for ten years in boarding school but I would say I was still under the care of the matrons and teachers. This time around I am on my own, responsible for my own cooking, washing, cleaning and all you can think of.
I am out of my comfort zone. Where I would go to bed with a full tummy after eating a hearty home cooked meal, where Wi fi is strong and connects instantly, where I have a roommate ( A fellow October baby, hence our energies sometimes collide). Home where I have a tech cousin who trouble shoots and fix all my tech problems. My comfort zone where all you have to do is inform the guardian of your plans to somewhere and she will drop you off: No need to worry about cab money.
Home where a full television bouquet is available at your fingertips and you can watch television the whole day. Home where I did not have to worry about food prices. All I have to do was look forward to mom coming home with grocery bags and my favorite part was to curiously go through the grocery, checking if my favorite condiments were purchased. You know at home I also did not have to worry about toiletries such as shower gel, toothpaste, toilet paper or washing powder.
The point is all was provided and I did not have to worry about anything. But eventually the life card flips and changes the entire game.
As you read this, It has been a month now that I have not been living in my comfort zone.
I am writing this from the comfortable airbed that is located in one of the 3 compartments of my granny flat. I am four hours’ drive from my comfort zone. Yes I have a very beautiful flat. Freshly painted with white gloss paint just for me. My kitchen and bathroom cabinets look exactly like those in a Hilton hotel, I got a big build in wardrobe (big enough to fit all clothes on display in a Mango shop.
All in all my flat is beautiful and suit my personal preferences. I couldn’t have asked for anything else, ah maybe a heater and wooden floors would have sealed the deal.
However, as perfect as it may seem, my flat is empty. Apart from my blender and three plastic containers, there is no sign of any other kitchen appliances you can think of. There is no study table/work station where I can sit and work on the perfect blog post for you. The floors that were shining when I moved in are now filled with biscuits crumbs.
Argh…That is not what I intended to share with you today.
I would like to share with you how to survive the first month living on your own, while waiting for that first cheque. Yes that one cheque that you have worked so hard for by giving your new colleagues the best smile that hurts till the jaws. That first cheque you worked so hard for by nodding every time in agreement to all the instructions your line supervisor or manager gave you throughout the month. Yes that first cheque that your mother is eagerly waiting for her fair share of… Life Though. Sigh.
Well this is how I survived the first month living alone in my new flat in a new job with no adequate resources that I previously had in my comfort zone.
I developed a morning routine: I wake up 4 am then I work on my abs for 30 minutes. Followed by 30 minutes of mind stillness and balancing the unconsciousness as Ester Hicks would have put it. Then I pray and take a shower, read a chapter from a book: At the moment I am reading She means business by Carrie Green. It is a must read.
My morning routine helps me to prepare emotionally and physically for the day ahead. Anyways all successful people have a morning routine.
I bike: Often I commute by bicycle to my work place which is 15 minutes ride away. To be honest in the country where I live, bicycles are not a common means of commuting. To make matters worse, it is a lady riding it. I wish I lived in cities like Copenhagen or Amsterdam where bikes are the mean of commuting. Allas, I do not care what people think though and do not mind the stares. I enjoy pedaling my bike to work. After all riding a bike is freedom.
Bonus point is that biking not only strengthen my muscles and abs but save me a whooping N$400 in Taxi fares.
I buy on promo: I admit, I am frugal with money. In fact I have been frugal from a very young age. Back in school my teachers knew how good I was with savings. I am the kind that buy goods on discounted prices and would go the extra mile of making comparisons of goods from one shop to the other. In fact I will always know the price of a specific good in all shops. I have survived the month by eating all my favorite food such as Bananas, cheese and many more for as little as N$350.
I ate at lunch at work:
I am grateful to be working for a company that has a catering service. Yes the food does not have my preferred flavours but I indulge in it. Remember my 10 years hostel lessons. Tis way I save up to N$250 in lunch snacks.
I work extra hours at work: Instead of knocking off at my designated hour, I go the extra mile and work till late. This saves me from the temptation of grabbing a fast food snack or eat out.
I skipped taking up a medical aid:
Let’s face it. I have not been in a critical condition since my day on earth. Thank you sweet Jesus. My parents also never placed me on any medical aid. So why take it up now? Now that I am working would I eventually get sick? Allas, I chose against the medical aid. That way I save up to N$1094 per month.
With this money I aim to get my own internet connection as my landlord’s connection hardly reach my flat. With strong internet connections I can work on my blog every night and grow it. Then I can set up an online shop and sell my artwork. I will also put some money away to visit my friend from: Irina in Zambia.
I sleep on an airbed: I bought this when I was still in Uni.. The initial purpose of it was for the camping.. I bought it at a bargain sale when Cape Union Mart first came to Namibia. Although I have not used it in a very long time, it now serve as my place of refuge in my empty flat. It is not that I cannot afford a bed, I just love my airbed. In fact I am thinking of buying the double sized airbed (N$250 in Cymot now). A double 4 posture bed like the on almost my friends have cost approximately N$5000. I can put that in a fixed deposit account for future endeavors.
I travelled during weekends:
I have done the Brandberg Marathon in Uis, I have visited my friend in Swakopmund mainly hitchhiking. I have saved up approximately N$250 in weekend food.
I used my landlords broom and vacuum cleaner: I have the best landlord. When she learnt that I basically had nothing, she was willing to give me almost everything needed in a flat. A bed, microwave, stove, crockery, table and many more. However I declined, I chose this lifestyle and with time I will get all that I need. Blessed be you ladylord. I however refrain from buying a broom and vacuum, which area must have in tis windy dune town. I borrow her’s. I have saved N$150.
I have no T.V set and do not plan on having one until I get married ( if it ever happens):
I admit I have wasted so much time on television in the past four years. I loved to watch the cooking and travel channels but now it is time to ditch television. I now spend much of my time reading and learning new skills. DStv cost N$ 749 per month. Hell no I refuse to waste so much money.
I use WhatsApp call:
The good part of it all is that my family and friends that matter are all on WhatsApp and that is how I communicate to them. I do not need to top up my phone airtime. MTC mobile have increased their airtime fares. I saved up N$40 in airtime fares.I have not been in any clothing shop: In life they say: “Find a job that resonate with your personality”, I did. I am the kind that does not like waking up worrying about what to wear to work or how to style my hair. I now wear Personal Protective Equipment (overalls in short).While I am the laid back kind, I am big on shopping clothes. The fact that I have ditched corporate wear for PPE means I do not have to shop a lot for new cardigans or flats to impress that male office colleague (the current male colleagues are not my type though). I have saved up to N$200 in clothing this month.
I have no more gym membership:
I used to enjoy the subscription that my guardian used to pay for me back in my comfort zone. At some point I took it for granted by skipping fitness studio. For now, I no longer have the gym membership but I am still fit. Well I cycle for 8km to the beautiful lagoon and 8 km back home. Yes I know that I am tough.
The bonus point is that I work for at a fuel terminal where the morning routine include climbing a staircase of 16 m to get on top of the tank for inspection. Now imagine the muscles in my thighs. I saved up to N$350 in gym subscription.
All in all this post was to show you how you do not need a lifestyle inflation upon securing a new job. Take it slow and aim to save as much as possible. With the current economic crises we need to save more than we spend. The earlier you develop a financial discipline the better.
What was your first month living on your own like.
Did you have all the appliances you needed? How did you get to work? Any other savings hack you would like to share? Comment below and let’s connect.