At Some point, everyone finds themselves in a financial pinch. How tight the pinch, depends on your resources, but hopefully you’re not at zero for options. If you don’t have a job, then that will be the first thing you need to secure.
This is more for the guy or gal who isn’t making enough to go solo, not yet, but needs to figure out a new living situation. You may be post-break-up, where your old flame kept all the stuff.
Before you have time to pick up the pieces, you need a roof over your head and mattress under your back. This is not permanent. We just need to get you on your feet, in shoes that fit you.
The first thing you have to do is get yourself some digs you won’t hate coming home to. Then you need to outfit those digs with furnishings you want to use, which is easier than you think.
Then you need the right clothes so you can go out in the world to fool them all about how you live. This is gonna be fun, trust me.
If the word roommates, turns your stomach, try the words parent’s house or better, homeless shelter.
Roomies may not be your first choice, but accepting them as a temporary reality can afford you more spacious accommodations, less rent. That means you have more scratch for a (new) bed, clothes, savings.
In time, if you are smart, you can buy your way out of your roomie situation. Flying solo when your chips are down can not only limit your options, it can turn you out. Then you’ll wish you had roomies.
Remember, none of this is permanent. Don’t be silly.
If you have any repair skills, it’s worth scanning the classifieds (paper or online) for caretaker positions. Often they want someone with experience, but you may have that already.
Caretakers do not always have to be grand wizards of maintenance, but they do have to know how to work a plunger and call for backup.
Most of what you’ll do as a caretaker is, collect rent, network help when someone needs it, maybe manage a spreadsheet for expenses. Some caretaker opportunities are more like babysitting, but for aging adults. Those can be tough to balance with a job.
The best part about caretaking is deep discounts or free rent. Owners who hire caretakers tend to work hands-off too, for better or worse; they leave you alone as long as you collect rents.
Garage Sale Sites
Once you get your place set up, roomies or otherwise, you’re gonna need some furnishings.
The strategy with furnishings is to get what you need, then upgrade and trash the old stuff as you go. Consider your furnishings as an ecosystem, one you will turn over and over as time marches forward.
You want to avoid clutter, so be judicious. If the couch is ragged, dump it. If the bed is stained, move on. You don’t need brand new, but gross is not something royalty accepts.
Good places to start searching are Craigslist and Facebook garage sale groups. You can try searching Facebook with the name of your town plus the words garage sale to find a group. if that doesn’t work, try the nearest larger town.
I’ve found free or cheap items on both. Never forget you can haggle the price, but better to do it in person, not via messaging.
Friends & Family
If the above don’t turn out enough options or you’re pressed for somewhere to set your beer, try family and friends. A quick private message to each person can be effective.
Don’t group blast or post something public. Instead, write a nice message apologizing for being out of touch, asking about the kids and such. Explain that you are on the lookout for “furnishings they’d be willing to sell for a good price.”
Often, they’ll insist on gifting items to you, if they have something.
Perhaps you’re used to having all the freshest gear. It’s time to let all that go. The greatest thing about living in the land of plenty is you can find clothing that is not out of style, made by solid manufacturers.
You may not live on the cutting edge of fashion for a little while, but you will not look like a tramp.
Avoid Target and Wal-Mart’s cohorts. They sell cheap clothes that look cheap and don’t last. You’ll waste more money replacing your clothes after washing them than if you came correct from the start.
Hit up Marshall’s, Ross Dress For Less or any versions of “brand names for less.” These stores buy up factory seconds, surplus or last year’s clothing, then sell them cheap. You can buy quality without breaking your bank.
Just remember, work with a budget or you will never get out of this mess.
If you’ve played your cards right, you’re cash heavy at the end of the month. If you’re still just keeping your head above water, then be grateful for that. It beats drowning.
Meanwhile, enjoy the pleasure of roomies; company every day. Take off your comfy new shoes. Grab a seat and a beer. For now, you have what you need.
Keep your chin up; you’ll get what you want in time.