With the cost of rent on a steep incline and the future of the housing market a mystery, many young adults are living with roommates — sometimes multiple — just to make ends meet. While there’s nothing wrong with sharing the burden of rent, this situation has caused many young people to skip out on what used to be seen as a landmark of adulthood: living alone.
As with many luxuries, there’s a time and place for doling out some extra cash in exchange for the privilege of privacy. Read on to find out if you’re the type of person who would benefit from living alone.
When you work from home.
When you work a traditional 9-to-5 job, living with roommates means you only see them a few hours every day. If you’re busy on the weekends, you may hardly ever even cross paths.
But when you work from home, your apartment is not only where you live, it’s where you work. Having roommates can disrupt your work schedule and lead to decreased productivity (and fewer earnings).
This can also apply to someone going to school and managing a full- or part-time job. Noisy roommates can make it harder to concentrate on academics.
When you’re an introvert.
While extroverts get their energy from being around other people, introverts need time alone to recharge and feel like themselves. Having roommates, no matter how quiet, can make it impossible to find enough time to regroup – especially if you have a job that requires you be around people.
There’s no price tag you can put on sanity. If you can afford to live alone and pay your bills, it may be worth the cost.
When you’ve never lived alone before.
While having roommates is a great way to save money, living alone can teach you a variety of life skills you might not learn otherwise.
Most importantly, it can teach you how to solve your own problems. Whether it’s calling the landlord for a leaky faucet or assembling your futon, people living alone for the first time quickly learn to be proactive. It may seem intimidating at first, but taking that kind of ownership of your life is a crucial step on the path to adulthood.
Living alone can also show you how to be alone with your thoughts, how to figure out what you really want and how to motivate yourself. You can find time for hobbies and interests you didn’t know how you had or didn’t have the space to explore with roommates around.
How to make it work.
Find a studio instead of a one-bedroom. Those worried about the cost of living alone should aim to rent a studio instead of a one bedroom. You can save more than $100 per month and will also likely pay less in utilities. A studio also needs less furniture and decorating, so you won’t feel obligated to spend money on making it seem homey.
Live in a less desirable part of town. Everyone wants to be within walking distance of bars, shops and restaurants, but not all of that is feasible if you also want to live alone. You may have to move out to the suburbs or a not-yet-gentrified neighborhood if you want to be by yourself and can’t afford $1,000 on rent.
Give up other luxuries. If you really want to live alone and are worried about your budget, it may be time to rethink what else you’re spending money on. Can you eat out less, find a cheaper grocery store or take public transportation? You may have to cut non-essentials like shopping and going to the movies to make it work if living alone is a top priority.