Five things I’ve learned in four years of renting

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Two months after graduating college I got my first apartment (I lived in the dorms all four years of college to save money). I roomed with two girls I went to church with and made it a year to ‘find myself and find a stable job’. It was an interesting experience and probably the roughest year for me due to feeling ‘lost’ and my mom battling cancer. Since then, I’ve lived in three other apartments and in the last five years I’ve learned a lot about renting. I plan on buying a house when I’m in my 30s and decide where I want to settle. Until then, I have travel plans! So what have I learned?

Cheap appliances aren’t worth a hoot

My current apartment complex buys cheap appliances, the carpet and tile are clearly lower end and bottom line, you can tell it’s a rental they expect to fix every couple of tenants. Previous apartments haven’ been quite this bad. My former landlord bought quality appliances and boy could you tell a difference. When I do buy a house, you can bet your bottom dollar I’ll buy something that is reliable as opposed to the cheap option!

Check the lease

Life happens and sometimes you need to break a lease. Personally I prefer month to month leases, but those are rare. When I sign a lease, I make sure I can afford to get out if something bad happens AND have an emergency fund to help me along if that happens to pay bills and find a new place. I review my lease quarterly to check for any small things that need to be done as well as when it ends.


(I pay a lot in rent, but being close to festivals, 5K’s, stores and more is worth it!)

Getting what you pay for

Somethings are worth paying extra in terms of rent. It pays to live in a nicer area as opposed to a seedy area. Sometimes amenities factor in here as each person has their own list of what they need/want. For me, it’s worth paying extra for convience and not having roommates. Yes, I could save $500 a month sharing my place, but I’m an introvert and I’d rather pay the extra to live alone. Also, I live close enough to walk to the library, grocery store and work, so the $1200 I pay a month is worth it in what I save in gas and sanity.


Consider moving

I’m very blessed to have an amazing family. Moving often serves as a reminder to that as I often have a large moving crew of family and friends when I move. I’m sorry to say I do have a lot of stuff (hence my ‘declutter goal’ I set every year), so it comes in handy. That said, it does make me hesitate to move since packing is draining. It was costly for me to move last time due to a broken lease, but hopefully I don’t find myself in that situation again!



Remember, the place you pay money to rent is your home. If you’re not happy with it, consider ways to make it a happy place. For me, home is a place where I can relax, be productive, feel safe and have space for friends who come by or need a place to stay. I’m very happy with where I live now and I enjoy being home (not to sound like a homebody—I mean I have all my crafts, books and video games here!) My apartment is also a reflection of myself in some ways from my book collection to wall of famous people, it feels like home and I feel happy and relaxed here.

What are things you’ve learned from renting?

As Summer gives way to Fall

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Firstly, wow.  How has it been over two months since my last post?  In my defense, it’s been a whirlwind the last two months between house sitting, work, traveling and moving.  That said, I’ve officially moved into my own place (and close to work to boot).   I’m currently on break (we have a week off between summer school and our week of teacher workdays) and it’s been amazing so far.  Lots of downtime, catching up on appointments and catching up with friends who I don’t get to see often enough.


Since Fall is around the corner, I’ve started to prep for the coming months.  Fall is my second favorite season and I love the atmosphere of the fall season.  The weather has already started to cool down and the crisp morning air has a distinct fall feel.  I do two big cleans (spring and fall) and moving has helped move it along pretty rapidly.  I won’t need to do a big deep clean this fall, but I will do my typical declutter that I do twice a year.  I’ve exceeded my goal of getting rid of things this year and I might hit my 3 year goal of 500 things by the end of the year at this rate.


Life Changers: 15 of the Most Inspirational Books For Entrepreneurs #HarlequinBooks #Bookish

As I mentioned in previous posts, I’m currently pursuing my endorsement in Special Education.  I signed up for classes recently and I’m registered to start them on September 8th.  The weekend before one of my best friends is getting married!  It seems like only yesterday they got engaged (November 2014).  Otherwise, September and October will be scattered months of 5Ks, friend visits and my families annual trip to Lancaster, PA.


I’m definitely looking forward to all that fall brings between classes, activities, travels and 2015-2016 school year!  What are you looking forward to most in the Fall?

Alexis the nomad

Stay in #Ireland free this summer in this stunning home FREE via housesitting, see details by clicking on the above house you could be staying in soon! (

Yesterday I was offered not one, not two, but three house sitting opportunities. I said yes to all three and they actually lined up perfectly in terms of timing. One starts the day I get back from Toomanygames and the other two follow suit afterwards on that Saturday. It means that I’ll be ‘working’ during my week off, but it’s going to be a pretty lazy week overall. The following week we start summer school and since I’ll be house sitting in the same city, there won’t be a huge rush to go home. I’ll have one more week of driving after that and then I’ll be moving, no more hour commute!

The Angry Video Game Nerd - AVGN

The next few weeks/weekends will be a nice balance of fun and work. Next weekend I’ll be going to Toomanygames with one of my closest friends and we’re overwhelmed with excitement for it. There are several youtubers and podcast hosts there who I’ve been following for a few years. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing The Angry Video Game Nerd (James Rolfe), Mike Matei, Pat the NES Punk, Team Four Star and Clan of the Grey Wolf!

Being a teacher has many perks and equally, as many challenges. Here are just a few hilarious and true quips about teachers in summer captured in the form of a meme.

This week also marks my one month anniversary of becoming a fulltime teacher! I love being a teacher, but it’s definitely not an easy job. All those things they say about your first year of teaching is true—right down to the insane hours you put in after the kids leave. Most of what I’m doing now involves fixing up the classroom since they didn’t have a teacher (just a substitute) for six months. I do plan on putting in some time over break, mostly just to clean up the room and reorganize things, but again, it’s mostly going to be a week to relax.

This all said, with the exception of returning home after going to Pennyslvania, it doesn’t look like I’ll be back home for the following two weeks. I’ll be living out of a suitcase and backback (well and my laptop case) and it’ll be exciting. It’s really hard to complain about not commuting for two weeks, with a house to yourself and free internet (when you’re an introvert). It’s a dream come true!

Apartment acquired!

Piano Door Bell. (

Following up on my previous post about the woes of commuting, I’m happy to announce that I found an apartment!  I reserved it on Wednesday and got the official call on Thursday to confirm that my application was approved and it was mine. I’m very excited about it and I’m counting down the days until I have an extra 2.5 hours in my life (I commute roughly 2.5-3 hours a day right now) and no longer have to put the miles on my car.


There is going to be a little bit of a wait time before I move since the lease doesn’t start until the end of July.   I have another six full weeks to commute, though it may be only 5 depending on if I end up house-sitting for some friends one week in July.  I have a moving crew scheduled (family and friends) and since I’ll only be moving an hour away and the trailer is loaded with my non-essentials, it should be my easiest move yet!

Great way to display tickets

The apartment itself is a good price, especially considering the high cost of living in the area.  It’s close to work and in a safe place (there are plenty of cops who live in the apartment complex) and I have a lot of space!  I’ve started to mentally decorate the apartment I’ll be moving into since I have an idea of the layout I want.  After not having a place to decorate for a while (or having the extra money to spend on decorating), it’ll be nice to do both!


Since I have a nice sized window before moving in, it gives me time to get done with odds and ends to make moving easier.  I went through my things thoroughly when I was packing up to move three months ago and I anticipate doing it again once I get settled.  I have more space at this place than my old one, but some things are going to go to make space for more things.  My list of things to buy and do in the next 50 days is quite sizeable, but some are progress points for my goals I set for the year.

Doctor Who TARDIS Night Light

It’s nice to know my commute is coming to an end!  Equally exciting is knowing I’ll be in a place with plenty to do, friends nearby and a place all to myself again.  Have you moved recently?

Memorial Day weekend

Mission Organization: 21 Ideas on Organizing Your Teacher Area (Creative chalkboard)

What a week it’s been since last Sunday! I was waiting until the official announcement, but I was promoted from Teaching Assistant to Teacher at my school recently and started this past Monday. It’s going to take a while to get used to, but I’m off to a good start! I couldn’t ask for a more supportive group of people to work with either. The next couple of weeks will be devoted to setting up my classroom, getting to know my students and learning the joy of paperwork in Special Education. It’s a process and one that I’m taking over gradually, but I love it!

coffee(pretty much these days!)

It does mean extra time at work, but I haven’t minded the drive since I found a shortcut to work that’s cut my 90 minute commute to 60 minutes. Last post, I said that my commute was a killer, but it seems more doable now and I’ve decided to prolong it until August. I’ll be housesitting one week in July and off for a week in June and July, which makes things easier (plus I have vacation time if I get to my wits end OR I can stay with friends in the area or nearby). This plan also allows me to pay off a good chunk of debt and buy a few things I need/want in the next few months. Not stressing about money for the first time in my life is an amazing, wonderful feeling!


Life rattles aside, I’ve been reading a good bit this past week and lately I’ve been tackling this monster;


It’s a fantastic book and every Marvel comic lovers dream.  Admitably I got into Marvel through the movies, but it got me into the comic book origins (but even those have different origins).  It’s going to take a while to get through, but I’m savoring every character sheet.  I’m also still making my way through a few novels on the side since this is more of a reference book.


Since it’s Memorial weekend here in the US, I have tomorrow off and I’m enjoying have an extra day off with no driving.  Yesterday I volunteered at a nearby festival with a friend and attended a Veteran memorial dedication.  Today I plan on taking it easy, though I may run a few shopping errands nearby this evening or tomorrow.  It’s nice to have a short week and by Tuesday I should be rested enough for a 4 day work week!


What are your plans for the weekend? 


Finding the will to commute

Wits End

Commuting an hour to work and another hour back home is rough. When traffic is bad the commute can range between an extra fifteen minutes to an additional hour. It’s not fun, yet many people do commute 30+ minutes to work and do it for years. My cousin has been driving two hours to work and another two back for the last four years. He has a really good job and doesn’t mind it. Some enjoy the drive and I did too at first. However..


My commute is slowly killing me.


I’ve been through my small CD collection to the point I have no interest in my CDs. Audiobooks don’t work and most radio stations don’t help. When I get to work I sit at my desk for 10 minutes, drinking coffee and feeling like a zombie. I’m fine during the day—it’s not affecting me at work at all, but when it comes time to make that drive, I half want to run to a friends house nearby and crash for the night.   The good thing is that I’m finally recovered from my moving expenses and have enough saved up that I could move. The bad thing is I want to pay off some student loans to help myself out and get a few things (i.e. replace my laptop).


I work in Northern Virginia and the cost of living there is insane! The nice apartments start at $1000 for a 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom and that’s before utilities like internet and electric! Some may offer the suggestion of a roommate, but it’s out of the question for me. I like living by myself and I’m willing to pay the difference to not have one.

End Road Work #protest #funny #humor

My original plan was to move June 20th, but now I’m not sure since I could use the rent to pay off a student loan and then some. Due to pre-planned trips and holidays, I couldn’t move again until the middle of July. It’d give me time to pay off some serious debt, but it’d mean extending my time to commute. Not moving until July 11th means I’d have to commute another 7 weeks (we’re off a week in June so no driving, hurray!) I don’t know if I can handle it, but if I could, I could pay off two student loans and still have money for rent and deposit without putting any stress on my wallet.


Being someone who needs to plan ahead, it’s causing me a bit of stress. I can’t really do anything about it right now, of course. I’ve been reminding myself that I’m saving a ton of money not renting and to just let things happen. If it’s meant for me to move the 20th, I’ll move. If not, moving July 11th won’t be the worst thing in the world, at least it’d be a definite move date. I’ve commuted ten weeks so far, what’s another 7 weeks? We’ll see if I can hold until July!    

What’s the longest you’ve commuted to work?  How long did you do it?

1st Quarter Goal Report

Thursday, on my way home, I ran into an unwelcome foe—snow. It was isolated to a random backroad, but there was around an inch of snow on the grass around the road and the road itself had snow slush. Hopefully that was the last bite of winter and we can fully enjoy spring now!

Ask yourself if what you're doing today is getting you closer to where you want to be tomorrow. #quote

In error I forgot to post my 1st quarter success on my 2015 goals. For that reason I’m throwing in April and I’ll do a half year analysis come June 30th/July 1st. I’ve made decent progress on my goals across the board. The first quarter of the year was full of change too since I left my old school after almost three years and moved back home to start a new job (an hour away). I’m hoping this next quarter brings a big positive change and I’ll know for sure this coming week!

This playful Final Fantasy 7-inspired bookmark. | 24 Brilliant Bookmarks You Need In Your Life

Goal #1: Beat 15 video games (4/15)

Persona 4, New Super Mario Bros 2, Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride, Alphadia Genesis

I have two games going currently-Final Fantasy V & Doctor Who Legacy. I’m close to finishing up Legacy and maybe ¼ of the way through Final Fantasy V. This girl needs to play more video games.


Goal #2: Read 150 books

Total read: 36

Reading has become one of my biggest hobbies lately so I’ve been reading 2-3+ books a week. I’m hoping to get in more reading this month since I finally have a few weekends without plans!

 Lucca helmet

Goal #3 Complete 10 craft or DIY projects

Total completed: 4

I went to a convention two months ago and made a three things for it. My crafting has slacked off due to moving, but hopefully I’ll jump back into it soon!


Goal #4 Pay off $10,000 of student loans, pay off two full loans


It’s lower than I’d like right now, but with my moving expenses, it’s sadly what it has to be. Luckily in the next few months I’ll be upping my monthly minimum and paying off two loans.



Goal #5 Watch 100 new movies

 I’ve watched 22 movies as of April 30th.



Goal #6 Travel

3 conventions: Star City Anime (Roanoke, VA) Wizard World Raleigh (Raleigh, NC)

2 festivals : Matsuri,

1 out of state trip

Goal #7: Earn $2,000 in extra income


Goal #8: Donate or volunteer for 12 causes/organizations

Art council (1/12)

Goal #9: Get rid of 200 items


This goal is done! It’s amazing how much you can get rid of by moving! Once I move again, this number is likely to increase😉


Goal #10: Retirement saving goal

I added a bit to my retirement savings and while it’s not what some contribute, something now is going to equal more down the road!


With two more months until we hit the halfway mark for the year, I think my goals have a decent start (and having one done already makes up for the lack of progress on certain goals). I’m excited for what the rest of the year will bring and I can’t wait to see these goals crossed off by the end of the year!

Do you set goals? How did you do on your goals during the first quarter?