So I’m sure you’ve seen the pattern in these lessons so far, no rocket science just simple, common sense. Lesson #4 is no different. No matter how badly you want to live on your own after graduation, (after all you’ve spent four years with all sorts of kooky roommates), you should resist the urge.

A few months after graduation I moved into a group house in the heart of DC. The good part… my rent was $310 with utilities split 5 ways. The bad part… a messy house with five roommates, overwhelming trash in the kitchen, and a whole lot of fruit flies. Actually there were other perks. The house was only 5 blocks from my office and 2 blocks from a grocery store. So unless I was leaving the city I never needed to drive my car, which helped me save money on gas and car maintenance. And the size of my room, just slightly larger than a prison cell, was too small to fit anything new, so I had no choice but to save money.

The money I saved on rent went towards my 401(k) and a brand new Honda Civic that I paid off in just over one year. At the time a one bedroom apartment in the city would have cost me at least $1100. A one bedroom outside of the city at least $750. So given the same salary, ($30,000+) and the same age, (22), I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. Well maybe I wouldn’t find a house with 5 roommates, but I would definitely share a place with at least one other person.

There is no other time in your life when you’ll be willing to put up with roommates then just after graduation. I had a roommate for 3 of my 4 years in college, so just having a room of my own seemed like an upgrade. Don’t get me wrong, I would have loved to live on my own and there were definitely times that I hid in my room just so I wouldn’t be bothered, but suffering through a dirty house and rowdy roommates enabled me to save a ton of money.