From binge-watching shows to eating cookie dough for breakfast, living by yourself for the first time may make even the most responsible adult feel giddy with freedom. But soon, reality — no one is going to ensure your pantry is full but you — sets in. While living alone has plenty of perks, there are also responsibilities that can be different than when you were living with roommates or your folks.

Preparing for these responsibilities and having a plan in place can make it that much easier to enjoy the sweet freedom that comes from knowing no one’s going to barge into the bathroom in the middle of your morning routine.

Have Your Finances in Order

How much will you be paying in rent? Before you begin looking at apartments, it’s smart to have a number in mind — including the cost for utilities, parking and other monthly expenditures.

How much should you pay in rent? The common rule of thumb is no more than 30 percent of your gross income, according to Apartments.com, but that number is just a rough guideline and typically dependent on where you live, your other bills and how you wish to spend your money.

It may also be a good idea to make sure your emergency savings fund is in good shape, so you’ll be able to cover your rent if you were to lose your job or experience a dip in cash flow. Finally, it’s also smart to think about how your budget will shift now that you live alone. For example, you’re now wholly responsible for paying for the internet and your favorite streaming services, as well as for all groceries and sundry purchases. Setting up a budget can be a smart idea to help you stay on track.

Have a Routine in Place

Having a roommate can naturally help keep you on a routine, says Fran Walfish, a psychologist in Beverly Hills. “When you’re living by yourself, it may be more challenging to commit to a bedtime or make sure that you’re up on time to go to work.”

Of course, you can set an alarm clock, but a more creative way to stay on track is to have an accountability buddy. For example, find a friend who also lives solo and commit to giving each other wake-up calls or “go to bed” texts.

If you’re coming from living with roomies, you may have gotten used to your shared monthly rent coming with a built-in social life. Going out of your way to make weekly plans or setting up a standing date — like on Saturday night, people gather at your house for dinner — can give you both time to socialize and time for yourself.

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Create a Community

When you go away, who’s going to water the plants or grab your mail? Everybody who lives alone is likely facing the same set of challenges, so it might be a good idea to band together and set up a group text or direct message thread to help out with situations, suggests Walfish.

Maybe one friend is a pro at household maintenance, while another has a flexible schedule that can help if you get locked out. On that note, it may be a good idea to have a few extra sets of keys made. Maybe you keep one in your desk drawer at work and give another set to someone you trust who lives nearby, like a good friend or neighbor.

Know Yourself

Some people live by themselves and find that the arrangement may not make sense for them, either financially or emotionally. And that’s fine.

“Living by yourself isn’t a sign of how independent or mature you are,” reminds Walfish.

Living by yourself can also be a great opportunity to really clue in to your own likes and dislikes when it comes to your living situation. Are you happy when the place is comfortably cluttered or do you like it more neat? Do you like ambient noise in the background or do you need silence to sleep? When you live with other people, the choices are often made for you.

Even if living by yourself feels challenging, it may be a great way to figure out exactly what you want in your next living situation.

Legal Disclaimer: This site is for educational purposes and is not a substitute for professional advice. The material on this site is not intended to provide legal, investment, or financial advice and does not indicate the availability of any Discover product or service. It does not guarantee that Discover offers or endorses a product or service. For specific advice about your unique circumstances, you may wish to consult a qualified professional.

Legal Disclaimer: This site is for educational purposes and is not a substitute for professional advice. The material on this site is not intended to provide legal, investment, or financial advice and does not indicate the availability of any Discover product or service. It does not guarantee that Discover offers or endorses a product or service. For specific advice about your unique circumstances, you may wish to consult a qualified professional.