What happens after you give up your apartment to save money? Lots of things, apparently. Here’s a bit of what I’ve learned so far.
So last night, I bid farewell to the room I’ve been renting for the last three months. For the next two weeks, I’ll be staying with my mom until I leave for Hawaii for almost a month. As I was packing up my things, I started reflecting on my experience living in someone else’s home. Not only was it not as bad as I thought, but I’ll be exploring this option further in my travels very soon.
There are a lot of things you can live without. (Most of your “needs” are actually “wants.”)
Over the last three months, I went from having a 600-square foot apartment to having a small room in someone’s home. I had everything I needed in my old apartment – or so I thought. I didn’t actually need a walk-in closet. Or hardwood floors. Or a balcony. Those things were nice, but as I’ve downsized, I learned that I really don’t need much at all. Obviously, I need a furnished room since I gave up all my furniture. But very few things need to be in that room. A bed. A dresser (and even this I could do without as I have bins for my clothes). A desk where I can do my work. A private bathroom (still haven’t tried the shared bathroom set-up, though I likely will soon). A parking spot for my car (for now). Add kitchen and laundry privileges and I’m set.
What other people think about your living situation doesn’t matter.
In the DC area it’s pretty common for young professionals to live with several roommates, but in other parts of the country . . . maybe not so much. At 28, some people might look at you funny for not having your own spot. But it’s important to remember that those people are NOT paying your bills! Their opinion of you should not matter. Even my mom has referred to me as “homeless” on more than one occasion, which bothered me at first. But I had to immediately shift my mindset to stay in the power of the decision that I made to modify my lifestyle. Most homeless people have no choice but to wander, but thankfully I do. If I wanted to, I could do a lot of things the conventional way. But I am choosing to experiment with something different at this point in my life. There is so much power in that.
New possibilities open up when you start living with less.
I feel like there’s been such a weight lifted off of me over these past few months. Yes, there is the fact that I’m saving $600 a month by not having an apartment in the city, but there’s more to it than that. I feel free. I feel like I can go anywhere. And technically, I can! I just have to be able to get to an airport to travel to my various speaking engagements throughout the year. (And have clients who can pay for the flight!) By forcing myself to live with drastically fewer things for three months (all my clothes now fit into two 20-gallon plastic bins), I’ve seen how much more mobile I’ve become. Travel just seems much more possible for me now.
Overall, my experience renting a room has been positive. My next step is to figure out where I’ll be staying in January once I come back to the mainland from Hawaii (and after spending the Christmas holiday with family in Florida). But honestly, I’m really not ready to think about that just yet. Right now, I’m thinking of palm trees and mai tais. And maybe having a Happy Black Woman Happy Hour in Honolulu??? Let me know if I have any readers on the island and we’ll see if we can put something together during November 28-December 21!