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How to Live on Your Own

You've overstayed your welcome after a certain age -- whether you parents think that's 18 or 20 -- and it's time to get a life anyway. You'll survive and thrive on your own, once you figure out the responsibilities required for independence.


  • Step 1: Work at resorts to get subsidized accommodations in exotic locales. Find affordable hostels if rent isn't included.
  • Step 2: Track your spending and pay for everything with cash. Discipline yourself and eat cheap meals. Put part of your income each month in a savings account. Attend happy hours for free meals and cheap drinks.
  • Step 3: Turn down the heat, get rid of the cell phone, ditch the TV, sell the car, and use friends' washers to launder your clothing -- anything to avoid crawling back to mom and dad. Set your sights on saving enough to be independent as soon as you can.
  • FACT: One-person American households increased from 17 percent in 1970 to 26 percent in 2005, according to the U. S. Census Bureau.
  • Step 4: Go back to camp as a counselor for free room and board. You'll be doing something worthwhile and supporting yourself. Plus, you won't have to dress up, answer phones, or sit at a desk.
  • Step 5: Consider working abroad for a year or two, and find a program that includes housing. It's a great way to exercise your independence while still having a reliable place to hang your hat at the end of each day.
  • TIP: Crash on a sibling's couch for a short period to start out.
  • Step 6: Make a budget and figure out what you can afford. Live with roommates if you can't afford your own place.
  • Step 7: House sit for others to get a taste of what it's like to live alone.
  • Step 8: Take advantage of your parents' desire to see you strike out on your own -- ask them for a small cash loan or gift to start out in your own place.

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