Getting Out on Your Own Like This Heiress - Without the Petra-fying Price Tag

…and I thought I was doing good to be renting an apartment on my own.

By , Columnist

Petra Ecclestone, heiress to her famous father's multi-billion dollar Formula One fortune, is buying a house.

This would hardly be newsworthy if, at 22, she wasn't snapping up the LA residence of Candy and (the late) Aaron Spelling for a jaw-dropping $85 million. While Candy admits she's fuzzy on the exact number of rooms in the palatial pad, there are definitely 57,000 square feet . . . and a bowling alley. Yep.

Basically, Miss Ecclestone (who's just a few months younger than me!) won't be hurting for luxury or space.

While an audacious abode like the Spelling mansion is definitely beyond, oh, 99.9% of the population, there's something to be said for making a life for yourself in your own place. Moving back with mom and dad after college can be a great option. But here are a few tips to take you from graduation to your first place (and beyond):

Set a timeline. Don't wait to get kicked out, and don't just relax and figure you can stay indefinitely. Set an expiration date for your time at home - I decided I wanted to live at home for a year, tops, then take a run at being on my own. Once I started working/saving, I moved out within eight months.

In general, always plan and prepare for big residence changes in advance.

SAVE, SAVE, SAVE. My best idea while living at home was to set aside however much I anticipated my future rent to be every month and put it in a high-interest savings account. Also, any extra income - like overtime - went to savings, too. That savings piles up so quickly! Because I saved intelligently, I was able to invest in really nice pieces for my apartment, decorate beautifully, and still afford to live on my own in an almost 1,100 square foot place that's well-maintained, safe, and convenient.

 Continue to save after moving, when possible. Emergency funds will help next time you have to move or in - yes - emergencies.

Make a budget. Estimate how much you'll be spending when living on your own; call utility companies for estimates and research cable and Internet costs. Take a walk through a grocery store to price out the foods you're pretty sure you'll be eating (especially staples); when pricing food, shop like you'd shop for an average week and multiply the cost of the items in your cart by 4.3 to get your average monthly grocery bill.

Know that budgets are essential for EVERYONE, not just first-time movers. Re-evaluate yours on a regular basis to compensate for any change in lifestyle or goals.

Stick to your budget. If this is your first time out, determine how much rent will be feasible based on income and the budget you determined above. DON'T EXCEED THIS AMOUNT.

This is also something to re-evaluate whenever you move. Once you get settled, little splurges once in awhile are okay, but stick as close to your budget as possible to ensure coverage of essential expenses.

Once you're in. . . enjoy decorating and getting settled, and have fun!!

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Emmie Scott is an English major-turned-marketing exec, with a passion for writing, humor, sharing knowledge, and "pink drinks." After hours, she started Are Toe Rings Professional Attire?, a blog for college grads and twenty-somethings looking to find their way through that daunting labyrinth called…

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