That’s it – the city is calling your name. Maybe you’re about to graduate in May, or you’ve been living in your hometown for sometime and you need a change. Maybe you just woke up this morning and decided you’d like to live in a place where you can get Chinese food at 2am and meet interesting people on a public-transportation-dependent commute to work. Congratulations, you’ve been bitten by the urban living bug (not talking about a cockroach, but we’ll discuss that later).
Before you pack your bags and move to your new city dwelling, whether it be New York City or Denver, there are a few things to make sure you’ve got a handle on, or at the very least understand come with the territory of living in the urban jungle. Below is a quick checklist before you make the big move. If you’re not quite aligned with the below yet, print this out and tack it to your fridge. Brainstorm ways you can get yourself to your dream destination over the next few months, whether you need to save up some dough or come to terms with giving up your dream of a big dog and a big backyard.
- Understand you’ll be paying more in rent than most people pay in their monthly mortgage payments (when my mother still reminds me of this fact, I die a little inside). Put aside 1/3 of your total pay for rent
- Be prepared to make compromises – it may be finding a roommate or giving up cable TV so you can cut costs of living
- You need to either work with a broker, or put in some serious time searching for apartments yourself
- Your dream couch may not fit in your starter apartment. Your bed might not fit into your starter apartment. Your collection of One Direction posters shouldn’t fit in your starter apartment. You need to buy new furniture
- If you haven’t before, you’ll be cooking for yourself now. May be good to experiment with a few recipes and take-along meals for work if you haven’t already so you’re not spending your paycheck on Seamless Web once you move in
- You’ll need to navigate public transit. Cabs are expensive in any city. New York is lucky to have a pretty comprehensive system. Though during the winter it’s annoying, walking to and from the subway is great exercise
- While dorm life is fun since everyone is at the same stage of life, apartment life is a bit different. You’ll hear what other people are doing around you, and it will get annoying. Your 21 year old neighbor may have just discovered old school ska music. Your 50 year old neighbor may have a thing for DIY projects at 3am. Your 80 year old neighbor may have a thing for inappropriately loud soap operas at 5am in the morning. Be prepared with ear plugs and a polite demeanor to ask for quiet at reasonable times
- You’ll also need to be respectful. If you have a quiet family living downstairs, you’ll need to try to avoid stomping around in heels or yelling on your phone in the hallway
- Do you have a family to support you back home? Even if you’re moving to a city where you know no one, having a “homebase” is key. You’ll need to call someone in tears when you find your first cockroach curled up behind your malfunctioning Time Warner Cable box
- You’re about to embark on one of the most exciting times of your life. Are you really ready? If you have some unfinished business, whether it’s relationships, work, network – make sure all loose ends are tied. This doesn’t mean cut ties necessarily, but bring those experiences and relationships with you that benefit you the most. They brought you to where you are today – a newly minted city girl