I split an awesome 1 bedroom in the heart of Virginia Highlands for a year and paid $375.00 a month while I worked a series of off jobs in tourism, temping, and computer retail. Sure, I shared the apartment, but I still paid a stupidly low rent and lived within walking distance of Whole Foods, El Bar... even Murder Kroger! Next I lived for free with a friend and her then-husband for a month. I would have continued to live with them for whatever ungodly low amount of rent they might have charged me had it not been for the black mold growing in the crevices of their abode. Then, after that, I lived with a cartoonist/freelance media professional in his house where I had my own room, bathroom where the tub had steps leading up to it, and access to a ridiculous kitchen.
After coming to Los Angeles, I lived for free with a fellow blogger who graciously offered her apartment to me for as long as I needed. Then I lived for free - in the monetary sense, at least - as an apartment manager during a short stint in Korea Town. After high tailing it out of that situation, I then took a room nestled in a gorgeous, 30's style apartment near the corner of Melrose and Highland. For a whopping $680 a month. At the time, it was the most I had ever paid in rent. It scared the living hell out of me.
"How am I going to make this work?" I asked myself. In Atlanta, $680 got you a nice little studio in a fun area of town. It could get you a really nice 1 bedroom if you decided to go *OTP. I used to think that $680 was what I later learned to call "fuck you money."
In retrospect, I have no idea why I panicked so much. I'd slap me if I could re-visit myself as I moved in to my old place. I'd almost kill to be paying $680 a month in rent again. My new place, amazing as it is, is just on the cusp of being too expensive for me. In fact, it might actually be too expensive for me. Granted, this includes utilities, internet, a central location, and the plus of not having to share it with anyone except the wiener cat.
|I do have to share with Taxi.|
Any and all fears of monthly rent before this apartment were silly and unfounded. I am now living paycheck to paycheck - something I have never done before and swore I'd avoid at all costs - and now I'm learning what it actually means to cut corners, manage credit cards, and forgo trips out into the world. There are only so many times one can join others for dinner or drinks and say, "Oh, I already ____, so I'll just have water," before people begin to assume that a) you are a square and have no idea how to have fun or b) you are broke.
It's hard to get out there and network, take classes, and act like a mover and a shaker when all of those things require money.
Yet people do it all the time. It's just a matter of figuring out how to squeeze in through the cracks.
This is all a roundabout way of saying I will cut corners by quitting coffee altogether before I ever buy coffee from Big Lots again.
*OTP - outside the perimeter