Finally Moving Out of the Basement? You Don't Have to Ditch Your Geeky Hobbies!

It’s inevitable – every geek grows up, moves out of mom’s house, and into a big boy (or, big girl) apartment. Or maybe not. After all, we’ve heard those stories about some people never leaving their mom’s basement.

If you do grow up and get out of your parents’ house, though, you’ll find out that this transition isn’t easy – for many reasons, not the least because it’s expensive. In the real world, you may be forced to give up some of your geeky hobbies, such as your World of Warcraft or Game Informer subscriptions, in order to save money for living expenses. Or at least cut back on them. Which is not what any geek would want to do.

You might find yourself wanting to run back and hide behind your momma’s skirts, but hey, you don’t have to. Remember, you a nerd/geek. You’re smart. You can live on your own, even if you have to exert a little bit of effort – like learning how to do your own laundry and making your own meals.

It all starts with your paycheck. Learn how to budget, and you will find it’s totally possible to afford your geeky hobbies, and your living expenses.

First, figure out your monthly net income after expenses (the real necessities). If you find that you’re in the red each month, you’re going to have to make some changes.

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Here’s a breakdown of real necessities:

  • Rent
  • Utilities
  • Food
  • Transportation

What you can do is to make as much savings in the hopes that you won’t have to sacrifice any of your geeky hobbies.

Save on Housing Costs

Yahoo Finance recommends negotiating for a lower price before signing a lease: “…talk to your landlord about price…Discounts may be awarded if you can prove that you will be a great tenant that always pays rent on time…

If you don’t have renting history, you may be able to negotiate a lower price by signing a longer lease, or researching competing apartments in the area and proving the landlord is overcharging for the unit you want.

You’re a geek. You know how to do research. You’ll do just fine.

Save on Utilities

You’ll need to live a little greener to save on utilities and be more aware of your consumption. Simple things add up:

  • unplug the TV/PlayStation/Xbox when you’re not using them
  • turn off the lights when not in use; it more fun playing in the dark anyway
  • use energy saving bulbs

For geeks, the biggest pain-in-the-butt utility is cable television and Internet. If you can’t live without marathon gaming sessions, you’re going to need to look for the best deals on cable and Internet. It may seem like dropping cable, and subscribing only to Internet, is the best way to save, but that’s not always true. Bundling services, and taking advantage of long-term promotional prices and coupons, is the best way to save. There is only one AT&T coupon code needed for U-verse discounts, which can result in huge savings.

New customers always reap the most rewards from cable television and Internet providers, and you can take advantage of those promotions.

Save on Food

Your mom’s favorite magazine, Eating Well, has an article: 15 Tricks to Save Money on Food But Still Eat Well. The article lists a lot of sage advice for saving money on groceries, including:

  • buy fresh veggies because they are cheaper and last longer (be prepared to eat more salads than cheeseburgers)
  • buy some things in bulk, such as nuts and flours
  • eat lots of potatoes (High in starch, low in cost)

If all else fails, cup noodles. I know that’s not really healthy, but they’ll stave off hunger when you’re desperate.

Seriously, though, learn to cook the most basic meals so that you don’t always have to eat out or get takeaway.

Save on Transportation Costs

It’s not easy to save on transportation. You can’t really lower your car payments if you buy a car, but you can look for discounts on your insurance. If you’ve been in the military, or are currently a student, you may be entitled to some discounts. Also, use a bike or public transportation whenever possible to cut back on gas. And then there are your feet! Geeks are stereotyped as couch potatoes, but you don’t have to live up to that stereotype. Go walk to your weekly D&D sessions.

There’s a whole bunch of other stuff that’s going to cost you money, but with the right mindset (I can survive in the wild!) and the willingness to make adjustments to your living expenses (which I’m sure you will be, bearing your geeky hobbies in mind), then you’ll probably not have to say bye to your pleasures in life.

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