Trixy's picture

I have to move out pretty quickly here (see my latest post in "A Baby in the Mix"), and since I have never had to go out on my own before, I was wondering if anyone had any tips.  I have a couple places I can stay temporarily while I find my own place, but once I move into an apartment of my own...  I will have nothing in terms of practical belongings to speak of.  I don't have any furniture of my own...  I don't even have dishes.  Yipes!

damn if i would have joined like 2 weeks earlyer i would have been able to set you up with most of what you needed we had a full apartments worth of stuff we had to take to goodwill  cause were living in a  rv park right now we have to dogs and couldnt find a house or apartment to move in  to that and its pretty cheap free cable power water and its only 380  if we find anything  that we still have left and dont need ill let you know

I can further vouch for this method.  When I was studenting in Peterborough, many of us furnished our houses with foundling couches/chairs/kitchen tables. 

Other things student living taught me about living on a budget:

Milk crates were also common furnishings for those just starting out.  Good for book shelves, cubby holes, table bases.  An extra set of bed sheets makes a passible curtain.  Having no television is an excellent opportunity to catch up on reading.  Good friends and a deck of cards is an excellent, low-cost form of entertainment.  Bars often comp sodas to designated drivers.  When shopping for groceries, pasta and rice are cheap but filling (Kraft Dinner is more expensive than you might think - all that butter and milk).  An apple a day helps keep scurvy away.  Though I didn't drive, I had friends that did, and periodic gas money collection was not unheard of.  Further cut down on gas by walking everywhere possible.  Who needs a gym membership when you can carry six bags of groceries for 4 kilometres. ;)  I lived in sublets for three summers.  They are considerably cheaper than other accomodations, but you do have to move more often.  I moved over ten times between the ages of 20 and 26.

When my brother first moved out to BC (in the late 80s), all his cutlery was plastic and supplied by KFC.  It may take a couple of orders, but you will eventually have a full set.

I know you probably won't need much of this, but it can give you an idea of how some people manage.

Good luck once again.

Another slightly bizarre trick for new furniture that some of my friends employed in Victoria when we were all fresh out of high-school (I didn't have a furniture problem then since my father, who was an upholsterer, was still alive) was to find out when the oversize garbage day is for the swankiest neighbourhood (there is usually one a month) and then to scour said neighbourhood for perfectly good furniture thrown out because someone is redecorating. Some of the things that people scored were utterly amazing.

Having done a fair bit of apartment hunting, I do have a few tips to watch out for that some people overlook. keep these in mind of you're looking at apartments. (if not, just ignore this whole post)

First off, find out about the lease agreement. Is it monthly, 6 months, 1 year? Consider how long you plan to be there. The best option is usually month-by-month, but those places are a little harder to find.

Second, the application process can be tricky. Most buildings want a portion, or even all, of the damage deposit up front at the time you apply, regardless of whether or not you actually get the place. It's almost like a processing fee. This is pretty standard and not really a big deal if you're sure you want the apartment. Where the catch comes in is if you apply and get the place, but you find something better in the meantime. If you apply, get it, and turn it down some landlords will keep that damage deposit money you used to apply. So make sure you find out all the application details before making any decisions. The best option here is to find a building where they won't ask for any DD$ until AFTER you've been given the apartment.

There are other little things to watch for as well. Make sure you have enough power outlets in the suite, for example, to power your appliances etc. (I have 3 outlets in my place in total, which means lots of power bars. yuck).

Find out about laundry facilities - what kind, where in the building, how much does it cost? Some places don't even have laundry, so always be sure to ask if they don't tell you up front.

Pets or no pets? If you have a pet and it's a "no pets" building, ask them to clarify their pets policy. Some places will still allow fish, cats, reptiles etc, and advertise "no pets" just to avoid big dogs. So if you have a pet or plan to get one, it is sometimes possible to work around the no pets policy.

Are utilities included in the rent, and which ones if any?

Do you need internet access or cable? Ask about that too. High speed access isn't available everywhere, and neither is cable TV.

And most importantly, what kind of a vibe/impression do you get from the landlord? That last thing you want is to a live in a building with a landlord you don't get along with, that steals your money, etc etc. It's never happened to me, but I've had a few friends get royally screwed by their building management.

Second to this is ROOMATES! Lesson learned the hard way: your best friend isn't necessarily the best person for a roomate. If you're planning on having roomates, make sure that you can stand the people you live with, and that there aren't more people living in one place than you can handle. make sure you'll have personal space. (I had some friends in a townhouse that had 10 people living there at one point. most of them hate each other now, and it's directly related to living together.)

Others might argue a few of these points, but these are all things I've encountered. I hope this helps a little bit, or at least gives you some idea of what kind of things to consider. Good luck with your move.

Value Village is your friend when it comes to getting basic pots and pans, plates, and stuff together on the cheap if you don't mind it all be being mismatched. Furniture can be more challenging on a next-to-nothing budget, ,beds especially. My first three years in Vancouver my nightly routine was to take the pillows off the couch, pull a top-sheet over them (when lain out on the floor the seat and back cushions just happened to be the same size as a single mattress) and sleep on that. I'll keep my eyes out for anyone ditching any old furniture - it's a building tradition here that things people no longer want get left in the basement for a week or two in case anyone wants them before being thrown out. Occasionally this has included some pretty substantial furniture.

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