Single teachers, how do you live??!!

Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out' started by Miss Kirby, Jun 17, 2011.

  1. Miss Kirby

    Miss Kirby Fanatic

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    Jun 17, 2011

    Single teachers, how do you afford to live??!!

    So, I'm about turn 27 and I've always lived at home. I pay rent, but only $300 a month. I've been able to pay for my master's degree, my car, two study abroad trips, fund my photography hobby, etc.... I know I spend more money than I should, but the money is there, so I spend it on things I want! I know I need to cut back on what I spend, and I'm okay with that. I want to move out, and know that a budget will need to be made and I won't be able to go on as many trips as I am used to, spend as much money on my classroom or my hobbies, etc. However, I do want to save some money every month, and I want some money to have fun and enjoy my hobbies. I don't want to be stuck in a tiny apartment never doing anything because I can't afford it. So, over the past two months, I have looked at over 20 different apartment complexes! I've also made sample budgets that I thought I could live with. I finally found a perfect complex... definitely not the fanciest area or complex, but it's nice and safe and in a very good location, in the middle of everything I need, close to school but not TOO close. However, the apartment is on hold for me and I need to let them know what I'm doing tomorrow, because other people are looking at it too. I keep looking at my budget, how much I spend now, and how much the rent and utilities are going to cost me. The rent and utilities alone are almost half of my monthly income. I have read articles online that say that your living expenses should be 30 percent of your income. Well, if I did that, I would have to live in a 500 sq ft apartment in a not very safe area. A roommate seems like the solution, I can get an apartment in a safe place and not be broke. However, I don't know anyone who needs a roommate, and have a hard time imagining getting one off of roommates.com or something. And of course there are a lot of other issues with roommates... Sigh... I need to tell them tomorrow if I am taking this apartment or not. And if I don't take it, I have no idea what I am going to do!
     
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  3. Miss Kirby

    Miss Kirby Fanatic

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    Another thing... I have been trying to get matched through a teacher exchange program in the UK. It didn't work out for this school year - which is why I decided to move out - to practice living on my own before I *hopefully* will live on my own NEXT year if I am matched. However, part of me thinks maybe it's just better to stay at home, really start sticking to a budget instead of throwing my money away, and saving so I have a lot of money available for the UK. However, if I don't get matched, it will be very sad that I've spent another year living at home and not traveling. Ugh.
     
  4. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    I live alone and I get by. However, like you described my rent/utilities is about half of my monthly paycheck. To me, it is worth it to not have roommates. I love having my own place. Other people would be terribly lonely- it really just depends on your personality. I had roommates all throughout college and I really prefer living on my own. I'm a very clean person and looking at others' mess irks me to no end. I like being able to come home and just relax and not have to worry about anyone else for a few hours, watch whatever I want on the tv, sleep whenever I want with no disturbance, stay up as late as I want without worrying about others, etc. I think having a totally stress-free apartment really helped me be less stressed at school too.

    One of my co-workers/friends lives in the same complex with 3 other roommates. I like all of them, go to their apartment often for parties, and I enjoy being there because there is always something going on. However, they are pretty messy! One of the roommates is leaving in a few weeks and they keep asking me if I'd like to move in since my lease is up soon. Right now since it's summer I am starting to get bored being on my own, but I have to remember that during the school year, I'm home only a few hours a day and really appreciate that time to myself. I'm also starting a part time job next week and have several friends from home coming up this summer. If I moved in with these people, I'd be paying roughly 500 dollars less per month than I pay now. It's very tempting, but I think I've decided my independence is worth it. I get by fine now (I don't manage to save a ton, but I've never worried about not having enough or been concerned I couldn't pay for things), so although more money would be nice I think having my own place is worth spending it on. You have to decide what is more important for you. If you found a roommate (there are plenty of listings and things like that, even if you can't think of one off the top of your head), you could cut your cost in half.

    A lot of the things you've mentioned (cars, masters) are already paid for, so that's not something you have to worry about. I honestly think you'd be fine as long as you spend wisely. You'll need to learn to budget as some point, and it's definitely a good idea to get that going now before you're off in a foreign country and don't have relatives or friends nearby that could help you out.

    As I mentioned, half of my current pay check goes to rent/utilities. I'm definitely not sitting around a tiny apartment because I can't afford to do things. I just spend smart and don't throw money away. Lots of fun things are low cost, and if you budget wisely you'll have plenty for hobbies. I've never really been into cooking, but I started cooking the great majority of my meals this year and I've actually saved a ton of money that way.

    If you're really concerned, you can also look into another part time job or a summer job. Personally, I'd go absolutely nuts not working at all in the summer. I managed to find a summer school job that will pay me almost 500 dollars a week to work less than 15 hours. The work is going to be tough (its for kids with severe cognitive needs) but the money is great! I also work at an afterschool program for at-risk youth during the year a couple hours a week, which gets me about an extra 200-400 a month 5 months out of the year. Most of that extra money ends up getting spent on plane tickets and travel arrangements home, which is something you wouldn't have to worry about.
     
  5. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    I don't have the two biggies of rent/mortgage & a car payment either, but I definitely have my bills. I would NEVER in a million yrs get a roommate because I'm just not the type who would. I like my own space, period. I want to buy as opposed to rent so that I'm paying towards OWNING something. If I can't afford to do any of the above, I'll wait & save up more until I can. I want what most people want, something nice & in a safe area. It doesn't need to be some swanky place or anything.

    Good luck finding a nice place that you'll be happy with!
     
  6. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    I lived with a roomie for the first three years of teaching and then alone for 4. Living alone especially was hard - I never saved anything, never was really able to put a good hole in my debt, and never felt that I could afford to buy a house or anything like that. Only now, because I live with my BF, do I feel like i don't really need to worry about money. My account still has a good amount of money in it at the end of the week!

    It is very hard for single teachers. I know all the stuff is tempting to buy, but the only way you will be able to afford a place is to save!
     
  7. MissScrimmage

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    A roommate is my solution. My roommate and I lived together all through university. We're still single and we get along great, so there hasn't been a reason for one of us to move out. I make a high enough salary that I could live on my own, but I wouldn't have nearly as much to save and play with. Besides, I enjoy the company.
     
  8. StudentTeach

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    I live in a multi-family home with a roommate and that has seemed to solve my problem of wanting to live in an actual house and has helped me save money :). I had roomies all through college and they were all messy but the one I have now is just about the same level of clean that I am and I love it. We get along great and our living habits are very similar.
     
  9. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    "Rent and utilities = 30 percent" is an outdated formula. When I was single I'm sure it was around 50%.
     
  10. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Virtuoso

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    I live in an area with a low cost of living. Most people other than teachers, railroad workers, and rhe one factory workers travel outside our community to work. It is cheaper to commute. I work in my town.

    I lived at home until age 29. During that time I paid for my masters, all my expenses, and a brand new car. I also paid $500 a month to my parents. They put it in an account, though. When I was looking for a house, they gave it back to me for a downpayment. I have a 1600 square foot house on 1.5 acres with a 15 year fixed mortgage.

    My big city friends pay a lot more for a lot less because of their area.
     
  11. PCdiva

    PCdiva Connoisseur

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    I also am your age and live at home, I pay the cable bill and groceries...so about $350-400/month. If I lived elsewhere- I would not be able to get a decent apartment for less than $1200- month. I get along great with my mom, have a huge closet and beautiful pool-wouldn't have that in an apartment.

    I should be saving more, but have been able to pay at least $1000-2000 towards my student loans each month...my goal is to pay that off and go from there.
     
  12. KinderCowgirl

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    It's hard. I had some unexpected medical expenses this past year and then repairs I needed to make on my house and now I don't really have savings. I'm also trying to cut back, but I really don't live an extravagant lifestyle or anything. My mortgage and bills are probably even more than 50% of my income.
     
  13. Miss Kirby

    Miss Kirby Fanatic

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    Thanks for your responses. :) I am not the neatest person at home - but I know if I'm sharing it with someone else I tend to be cleaner (I had two experiences with roommates during my study abroad trips). But right now I don't know anyone needing a roommate. One of my friends bought a condo and prefers to live alone, one moved in with her boyfriend, one lives alone her son but in a not very nice/safe area but she's been okay. I think she said she paid $400 for her one bedroom and now $500 for her two bedroom. That's way cheap, but then again it's in a bad area. I'm kind of torn between a) living at home for ANOTHER year (I keep saying one more year... one more year) and really save for teaching abroad (if I am accepted) or b) just taking the plunge and moving out and getting practice living on my own (even though I won't be saving money as much money as I'd like). With the teacher exchange thing, I'd be getting paid from my school, so I'd really have LESS money because of the awful exchange rate. So that savings is really important, because I will need it for traveling.... So I'm looking at this other place that's a few miles away from the apartment I love. It's right off a freeway, which is what I don't want. It's in an area that is not as nice. But there are some apartments available that are $100 cheaper... which is nice. But will I feel safe there??? I need to call the lady back from the place I love. They open in an hour, but I have some errands I need to go run. Ughhhh.
     
  14. Miss Kirby

    Miss Kirby Fanatic

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    Wow PC Diva, $2000 towards your student loans a month? That's more than my monthly income! A big closet and a pool are things that I don't have at home that I WOULD have in my own apartment. New York seems expensive! In AZ, nice (enough) apartments are at least $750, where the fancier ones are $850, 900 and up. And I'm talking about one bedrooms. I wonder if I should just stay at home while I can and really save (like I haven't been, because I keep spending). But that makes me sad, because I've been really hoping to move out and have my own place... but I don't know if it's worth it. Ahhhh!
     
  15. MissFroggy

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    I live in an area with a high cost of living, but I have always lived alone. I live in a city, and yes, I didn't live in the very best neighborhood- but my neighborhood does have character and I was safe! My neighborhood is diverse, interesting, and fun to be in.

    My first apartment was $650 a month, and I was making about $2200. I totally could do it. Like you, my car was paid off as are student loans. I never felt like I was deprived, though I lived month to month, and on cash only, which makes me happy looking back on it. I never got into huge amounts of credit card debt, because I know what I need and what I don't need.

    I got a pay increase, and was paying about $900 a month rent, and made about $2500-2800 over those years. (They raised the rent from 750 over the 5 years I lived there.) I even saved money during this time! With my savings, I bought a condo, and my payment is around 1200, and I still make about 2,800. I think it's worth it. (My SO now lives with me and pays half the house payment though, so that helps.) Now, I save that extra $600 a month for whatever I want to save for...

    Unlike you, however, I have not had the ability to travel internationally, like I wanted. I also don't have a lot of luxuries, and I don't buy things that are expensive, but pointless to me, like jewelry, purses, getting my hair and nails done, etc. I spend a nominal amount on clothing, make-up and so forth. I probably spend more on going out/eating out than necessary, but that's part of living in an urban area.

    I did need extra income and nannied and taught summer school. I also have a stipend position at my school that brings in another thousand dollars every quarter. That money always came in a big lump sum, so I bought my furniture pieces that way, or saved it for things like car repairs and so forth. I bought large things with that money, like my computer.

    Oh, and honestly, people who make a lot less than teachers don't have the luxury of living at home, and they do it. You can live on your own if you make the choice to. Single mothers, elderly people, young couples, all can make it on less than what we make. I am sure you can too.
     
  16. Miss Kirby

    Miss Kirby Fanatic

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    That's true, I can do it, somehow, if I choose to. I think I have just been spoiled too long living at home and getting used to living the way I do. The apartment I love, is almost $750 w/ tax, not including utilities, and my monthly income is $1870. I have money taken out for the union fees, my 403B account, so that's income that I'm not seeing. I also am not including the little extra I get for after school classes, but next year, due to budget cuts, I don't know if I'm going to be able to be teaching those classes. I am hoping to use my photography hobby to make something on the side, but really that money would be to help fund my photography hobby, as it's quite an expensive one. :\ So your apartment was $650, and you made a few hundred more a month than me. Which is why I'm thinking maybe this $750 apartment isn't going to work out. Which sucks because I LOVE it! It's in a safe enough area, convienient location, and the people who work there are really nice... ugh... Maybe I should go check out that apartment that's $630 today... even though it's not what I really wanted.
     
  17. TeacherNY

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    I also live in an area with a high cost of living and I lived with my parents until I got married (that's just how everyone in my family does it). I was pretty independent though since I did my own laundry and cooking. I also helped with grocery bills and other incidentals. I would have never liked living alone.
     
  18. Miss Kirby

    Miss Kirby Fanatic

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    When did you get married?? I am pretty independent too - but I am definitely not any close to getting married and I don't want to live at home forever. :( And I also don't want to have to rely on a man to live. But it's so hard to live on a single person's salary. But people do it, I guess! I am just really hoping this teacher exchange pulls through next year.. if it doesn't I might go crazy. :)
     
  19. Miss Kirby

    Miss Kirby Fanatic

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    And I guess it is cheaper to live in AZ than NY.
     
  20. teacherhoosier

    teacherhoosier Companion

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    Well, I do Ok I guess...I just have my car payment (around 330 a month), student loans (150 a month), insurance, and my phone bill..was able to get out of credit card debt when my dad died and left me a small inheritance. I get paid 2x a month..1st check pays my bills and the other goes toward helping pay house bills (I live at home), setting in my savings account, etc...
     
  21. Miss Kirby

    Miss Kirby Fanatic

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    I hate how indecisive I am. I have been debating this all last night, all this morning. The lady from the apartment I love called me an hour and a half ago. i need to call her back. See, they don't have a lot of availability, and when they do have one bedrooms available they go fast. So she is doing me a favor by holding it. I feel terrible because I haven't given her an answer yet. I don't know what to do. I'm panicking! My mom texted me 20 minutes ago saying "My gut is that it's too expensive for you" and then just now she said "My gut is that you can do it". Ahhhhh!!!

    I guess my options are:
    a) take the apartment and just figure out how to make it work for a year
    b) don't take it and look for others more in the low $600s
    c) stay at home for a year and really live on a budget and put that money into savings for England.
     
  22. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Honestly, if it were me, I'd do option C. The year at home would help you really know how living on a budget would be like. You could take the money that you would spend on rent/utilities and put into savings. Then, you could still go out and do stuff if you wanted.
     
  23. Miss Kirby

    Miss Kirby Fanatic

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    Yeah, that's true. Although I just have never gotten that experience of living away from home. I'm mad that I haven't saved as much as I wanted to this year.
     
  24. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    Did you ever go look at the lower apartment? Sometimes actually seeing it is the only way you'll know for sure. It might not be as bad as you think.
     
  25. Pisces_Fish

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    I live on my own and my rent + utilities is also half my rent. I can't fathom a roommate. I am so against one that I don't ever feel like I'm throwing money away on rent! The funny thing is, I think I could live with a guy a lot easier than a girl, but I think that would raise eyebrows....
     
  26. lnm130

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    I am finally moving out in July. I am 25, and the only reason I am able to move out is because I am moving in with my boyfriend. Our apartment is about $750 for a 2 bedroom.

    My advice is, sit down and budget everything out. Talk to people in the apartment complex and see what their average utility bill is. Is it a newer apartment? They tend to be more energy efficient.

    Figure out what you can live without (We are not getting cable, but will get netflix instead).

    Write everything down, rent, utilities, bills, expenses, and subtract from your salary. If you are comfortable with the number, give it a try.
     
  27. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    Pisces Fish, around here lots of guys/girls room together and it's no big deal. People don't even think about it. I thought that was a little strange too at first My friends that want me to move in are 1 girl and 2 guys, and I think that would be weird for me. My family would raise eyebrows at that, haha. However, I think I've pretty much decided I want to stay on my own, even though it does cost so much it's worth it to me.

    Miss Kirby, I think you should just do it. You will figure it out. You said you keep putting it off "one more year, one more year." I think it's time to take the plunge. I make a little over 2,000 a month and my rent/utilities is a little over 1,000. I have NEVER been worried that I wouldn't be able to make a payment. I have enough money to do fun things to, you just have to budget a little and not be stupid with your money. I had a roommate last year who would go to walmart for groceries and come back with 5 new dvd's. And she wondered why she never had any money. Just be smart and you'll be fine. Also, I assume since your family is so close if you were ever in a really tight pinch for some reason they could help you out with a small amount of money that you could pay back right away.
     
  28. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    I went from living with my parents to living with my then bf/now hubs. I've never lived alone.
     
  29. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Before I purchased my home, I lived alone in a one bedroom apartment. It was in a great area and I hate to admit this, but I paid $825/month. My current mortgage payment is only a few hundred dollars ($300) more than what I paid for a one bedroom/one bath apartment! (Keep in mind that I live in CA and the cost of living is pretty high here).

    Anyway, my take-home monthly pay is a little more than three times what my mortgage payment is. BUT...I'm working to pay back student loans PLUS my car payment is nearly $500.

    My money goes FAST!
     
  30. PCdiva

    PCdiva Connoisseur

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    We get paid more, but it costs more to live...so it all evens out. I was talking 1 bedroom for $1200- and then utilites would be extra.
     
  31. PCdiva

    PCdiva Connoisseur

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    That is not necessarily true, remember, she is not your friend- her one and only goal is to sell apartments. When I worked in retail-making commission, we would tell people the items went quick all the time.....that made them make the purchase immediately rather than holding off and then changing their minds.

    Just my 2 cents...don't be pressured bc she is doing you a favor.
     
  32. Blue

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    No matter how much money or how little money you make, it goes fast. We seem to adjust to our level of living.
     
  33. runsw/scissors

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    I have not read the full thread, but I will tell you what I have done to save money. I have generally worked another job outside of my full-time teaching position, but never more than 15 hours a week during the school year. Tax returns always go to only one of two places, either the credit card companies (to keep payments down) or savings. I collect all my loose change in a coffee can and that gets deposited into savings when the can is full. I have become quite adept at determining which generics are worth purchasing and which are dooky. Budget theaters and bargain bins are my best friends.

    That said, I DO have a life. I just have to find a cheap way to live it. I'll go to bookstores and drink coffee while reading magazines rather than buying them. I try to make most of my own food and freeze what I can for later. Leftovers always, pitching food out almost never. I like to scope out free or cheap entertainment offerings (especially during summer) such as festivals without a cover charge, jazz in the park, grocery stores that offer wine tasting evenings for $15, etc. I watch sports on TV at the sports bars nursing only one or two drinks rather than pay big bucks for tickets and parking. You find ways to get creative. I grew up in a tight budget household and never felt I was missing out, so this lifestyle doesn't bother me as an adult.
     
  34. Proud2BATeacher

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    I would live at home for another year and save, save, save. Decide on a certain amount to put into a savings account every month -- I would suggest the total that you would spend on rent & utilities if you were to move out and don't withdraw any of it. Maybe get this money automatically withdrawn from your account each month. In a separate account, put in some money for your trip to England.
     
  35. yellowdaisies

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    Wow, this thread has made me want to move out of my area SO badly!!!

    I'm in an EXTREMELY expensive area of California, and my husband and I pay $1200 a month for our 1 bedroom/1 bath apartment, and that does not include our utilities and other bills. Our apartment is actually a GREAT deal for this area - our friends in a 1 bedroom apt pay $1350. $1300-$1400 is actually pretty standard. Even the apartments in bad areas are over $1000. I wish I were making this up...

    Anyway, we do not make NEARLY 3 times the rent (I'm a graduate student, which isn't helping matters much...)

    As for ever affording a house around here...hahahaha don't even get me started on that subject...you can imagine that houses in my area are rather expensive..

    Thanks everyone for reminding me of why I want to move out of my area!! ;) Especially when we need to start paying off my loans...

    Anyway, good luck with whatever you decide. :)
     
  36. mom2ohc

    mom2ohc Habitué

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    I would say that rent/utilites is almost half of the take home that my Dh and I make, so 30 percent would be a dream :)
     
  37. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    You must either be:
    1. In the Bay Area
    2. So. Cal.
     
  38. Ms. I

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    This sounds like my area of S. CA. We just might live close to ea other! I just visited a set of model homes yesterday & for around a 1930 sq ft, one story home, the price was about $420K.
     
  39. Jem

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    Jun 19, 2011

    My first thought: Don't settle on an apartment in an area you think is bad. You'll feel sick every month you write the rent check. Only move out if you are moving in to a place you really love.

    I lived on my own off and on throughout college, but those rent prices aren't comparable because I was working part time and subletting. Dh and I have rented since being married, and our rent in MI was about 1/4 of our income, I think. Since moving to CA, it's gone to 1/2. If you all think your rent is sad, try $2700 for 600 square feet in the city-eek!!! We've since moved just north of the city and pay that much for a really nice 2 bedroom stand alone house. We make plenty, but we don't take trips, go out on the town, get new cars, etc. We sock the maximum amount into our retirement each year, make sure we have no debt, and enjoy our quiet time around the house each weekend.
     
  40. TeacherGrl7

    TeacherGrl7 Devotee

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    Jun 19, 2011

    I feel your pain, Miss Kirby. I'm 27 too, and still live at home. I pay rent, groceries, and my share of all bills, but it's still MUCH cheaper than living on my own on Long Island. I have a teaching job, but it's a strange one with a very low salary and on Long Island there is NO area that is safe and affordable for me. Honestly, right now I spend many nights at my boyfriend's and we are serious enough that my plan as of yet is to stay at home until I get married. I'm sad that I've never lived on my own (my college didn't have dorms and I had a scholarship I couldn't turn down), and I'm SO ready to go, but that's just the way it is. Could I make it if I was thrown on the street and really had to? I guess probably. But I can't justify leaving, paying rent, and most importantly paying for furnishing an apartment that in a year or so I will likely be moving out of and not need any of the furnishings.

    My advice is, if in one year you have a likelihood of leaving anyway, just wait it out. If in one year you are not picked again, revisit the subject. Good luck!
     
  41. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    Jun 19, 2011

    2. :D But believe me, there are areas of So Cal that are much cheaper than where I am....

    Ms. I - That sounds about right...although I would probably expect the price to be higher than that in most neighborhoods in my area. Sigh. :p
     

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