Hey, girl, the time has finally come for your first apartment — congrats! While being granted your new set of keys is exciting (just don't lose them!), the list of essentials can be rather overwhelming. Making style the main priority (as always), we set out to prove that you can do it on a budget. Sticking with necessities — like plates that aren't paper — we found you ways to save without sacrificing style. And for the times when only the best will do? Well, we found those options, too. Sure, welcome the hand-me-downs, but with a little savvy shopping and this guide, you can furnish your apartment with enough cash to spare for that security deposit.
Even when you have a limited amount of space, certain living essentials help make life easier. And these pint-size versions of their bigger counterparts are perfect for those with cozy living quarters.
Along with helping out around the house, most of these picks are budget-friendly and cute in any decor. Click through for a collection of the cutest mini essentials for your small living space.
It's always a waste when you can't finish the fresh produce you bought at the grocery store and end up throwing away the wilting remains. Here's a solution that will save you money and avoid unnecessary waste: grow your own greens. There are many fruits and vegetables you can grow in your home — yes, even if you live in a cramped studio. I've picked a couple of foods that you most likely use in your kitchen:
You probably use tomatoes in all types of food — soup, sandwiches, salads, and more — so it only makes sense to grow your own. Pick tomato plants that do well indoors. You'll have higher chances of success with the smaller variety such as cherry tomatoes. Find more instructions on how to grow them here.
Herbs are a must to add fragrance to your dishes, but when you buy them from the grocery store, they are not always fresh, and they may wilt way before you're done with them. Many herbs can be grown indoors and are perfect for small spaces, so do your research before deciding to grow them. Some herbs that don't take up much space and don't require as much sunlight include parsley and chives.
You've probably seen lots of mushroom growing kits around, which goes to show how easy it is to grow them yourself. And they are perfect for apartment dwellers because they need to be grown in the dark. You can always start with a kit to get the basics of mushroom growing down before venturing out on your own.
What fruits and vegetables have you successfully grown indoors?
Someone who lives in a small apartment might know all the tricks for maximizing space, but the truth is she probably feels like there's never enough of it. Make her holidays by gifting her space-saving home items that are both practical and affordable — all gifts are under $50!
When you're shopping for one, it can be very easy to overbuy and ending up with more than you can consume. And you certainly don't want to go to the other extreme, where you don't buy enough and end up going back to the supermarket the very next day.
Here are some tips to help you save money when you're grocery shopping for one:
Check out the salad bar. It might even be cheaper for you to do your fresh produce shopping at the salad bar. You can get what you want in smaller portions, which means you are more likely to use what you bought before it goes bad. Of course, some of the markups may be really high, so do some calculations to see if the savings are worth it.
Watch what you buy in bulk. As a solo shopper, you don't really need to buy too many things in bulk, which can result in unused items that go to waste. You definitely need to stay away from this list of items you shouldn't buy in bulk.
Plan your meals. Make sure you're properly planning your meals ahead of time so you're not stuck eating the same soup for days on end. This is good for your wallet, because it will help make eating out less tempting.
Make the most of what you have. Take stock of your pantry and fridge to see what you have and if you can come up with meal ideas for grocery items you've already purchased. If you're looking for recipes, just Google "What to do with leftover [insert food]," and you'll find plenty of ideas.
And if the foods are approaching their expiration date or are starting to lose their luster, then make it a priority to cook them before using your new groceries. For example, make a stir-fry out of the old produce, or make baked goods from the really ripe fruits, such as banana bread out of old bananas.
In a YouTube video that has gone viral, professional organizer Felice Cohen displays plenty of savvy when she shows viewers how she makes a 90-square-foot apartment fit her lifestyle. For one, it already fits her budget as she's paying $700 to live alone in an apartment in New York, a city with one of the highest real estate prices in the country. Another appealing aspect of the small space is that the location is prime — Felice resides a block away from Central Park and two blocks from the subway (If the allure of the apartment's prime locale makes you want to pack up and move ASAP to a smaller home, be sure to check out these savvy moving tips!).
Although Felice initially rented the apartment with the aim of only staying for a year, she's been living there for "three years and counting." In the video she admits that some compromises had to be made, but ultimately it works out. She doesn't have to stress about rent, and when she travels, she doesn't feel like she's leaving behind a huge space that needs to be taken care of. A big influence on her frugal living is having a bankruptcy lawyer as a father. She says she "learned early on that you don't acquire what you can't afford." Watch the video below to see how she manages to make a small space work for her.
To learn some tips from Felice, read on.