Living independently: The best advice I received

Krista Garcia
Living independently: The best advice I received
A compilation of real-life tips

MANILA, Philippines – Adulthood = Independence. Do you agree?

It’s a concept that’s loaded with meaning (it can really mean anything), and it can happen to different people at different times. But it’s usually defined not by age, but by key milestones (READ: 5 signs that you’re ready for more in life).

Getting a place of your own, for example, is one of the most accepted and significant rites of passage towards adulthood. Nothing says independence quite like the decision to finally move out of your parent’s nest or buy a property as an investment (READ: 5 things you ought to do before that first car or house).

Being truly independent is hard, but those who’ve done it say that it’s worth it (not to mention that it’s inevitable). So what is it really like, and what are the important things that you need to know before you make your own leap?

We asked around for some advice. Here’s a compilation of 10 real-life tips:

“Move out for the right reasons. Living independently is a personal decision, no less than choosing your career path.” – Isaac, 30, Operational Excellence

Even before you decide where you want to live, and what kind of house or condo you will move into, you need to be certain about your reasons, your means, and your capabilities. “Make sure you are moving out because you know this will be the bridge to your future,” Isaac adds. Being independent is not merely stepping away from curfews and endless nagging questions. It’s about finally being brave enough to find the answers on your own, like a real adult should.

 Yapusin mo lang ang kaya mo’ng yapusin (embrace only what you can). Invest and spend within your means.” – Michelle, 25, MBA student

Being independent is not just a decision. It’s actually a journey, and it’s often a long one. When you’re starting out, don’t expect your lifestyle to be the same as when you had your income all to yourself. You may have to sacrifice a few luxuries, in order to attain bigger goals such as paying for your first house or condo unit through a home loan. The earlier you start, the better. Once you’ve fulfilled those goals, nothing’s going to stop you from pursuing bigger things.

 “Living independently means you’ll be footing your own bills. Keep your finances in order. Make sure that you have your own system for keeping track of them.”  – Steph, 30, Managing Editor

Keeping house is not just about worrying about laundry, locks, and turning the lights off before you leave (although these are essential things too). You’ll also be in charge of a larger set of bills – your phone, electricity, water, home loan, car expenses, and so on. In order to avoid overdue notices, calendar all your due payments, set up alarms if necessary, and find ways to make things more convenient – such as enrolling in auto-debit or e-banking.

  Dapat daw may 20+ briefs na ako na hindi gamit, bago ako magpakasal (It’s a must that I should have about 20 pairs of brand-new underwear before I get married).” – Eljay, 27, Playwright

This unorthodox piece of advice has a very practical explanation: after marriage, and especially when children enter the picture, your financial priorities will shift drastically. Instead of allocating a certain amount for your shopping, for example, you’ll have to focus your funds on bigger and more important things. Personal garments will be the least of your worries, so it’s better to stock up ahead. While you don’t need to heed this advice literally, you can apply the same approach to your savings: make sure to start setting aside for yourself, even before you move out, so that you’ll always have something to dip into in the future – even if it’s just for a brand new set of underwear.

 “There will always be sales. Whether it be for furniture, gadgets, or food. You don’t have to spend a fortune to get the good stuff, you just have to be diligent and patient.” – Jericho, 32, Java Developer

Most of the time, researching and waiting will yield the best results. For big purchases and financial decisions (even things such as home loans), don’t say yes at the first interesting offer. Canvass, look around, and compare benefits. Don’t compromise until you find the perfect deal for your needs.

 “Learn to cook!” – Yenie, Trainer at Indonesia’s National Population and Family Planning Board

Independence means learning to do things on your own. Mastering kitchen skills should be at the top of your list. For one thing, eating out all the time will take a toll on your expenses. Knowing a few killer recipes comes in handy if you have guests over. And if you’re missing home, whipping up your mom or dad’s signature caldereta or adobo is a surefire way to feel better instantly.

 “Get to know the people who are around you.” – Ana, 26, Content Strategist

When you move into a new place, it’s not just your inner space that you need to take account of. Make friends with your neighbors, the staff in your building or village, and even the person who makes weekly deliveries to your street or floor. It’s a must to build a network of people whom you can easily reach out to for any query or emergency. Always surround yourself with people whom you can trust for advice, assistance, and to show up at your annual holiday potluck.

 “When you’re budgeting, always make food your top priority.” – Franco, 28, writer and law student

Make sure that before you invest in your own space, your income and budget will be enough to cover not just the big bills, but also your daily needs. Don’t scrimp on the essentials such as food and transportation. At first, you might have to give up on certain indulgences to make things work. But it will be worth it in the long run. The earlier you start, the earlier you’ll become adept at managing your own life. And as you move up in your career, you’ll be able to easily set aside for more of your other goals.

 “Don’t get anyone pregnant.” – Jason, 25, Content Producer

Pretty sure that this is not a mandate against reproduction as much as advice on planning properly. Don’t take risks if you’re not ready for the responsibility. Don’t be in a rush to fulfill all your goals in one go. Plot them in a mental timeline, and prioritize which one you need to achieve first. Don’t be pressured by other people’s notion of the “right age” for settling down. The right time will be when you are fully ready and prepared on all aspects: financially, physically, and emotionally.

 “Be less emotional on situations that will burden you. Do a reality check – meaning situation versus goal – regularly.” – Rene, 50, Card Services Representative

There will be days when things will be just “too much.” Yes, living independently entails a slew of unexpected challenges and issues, but that’s just the way it is. Even those people with so-called perfect lives have their daily dose of problems. But there will be even more “high’s” and rewards, too. The best way to survive? Keep a positive mindset. Convince yourself that you’re in charge, and that you can handle the situation. At the same time, it’s time to be more practical and realistic. Bear in mind that it’s OK to tweak or even give up some prior goals, and to adjust them depending on where life leads you.

What life lessons have you learned about being independent? Share them with us. –

Move in to your own home. Apply for a BDO Home Loan now and make your first payment 60 days later. Click HERE

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