I graduated college with a tremendous amount of debt.
Between paying student loans, health insurance and car insurance, I barely had enough in my budget to afford a cheap apartment. I chose my living arrangements based on the cost of rent and ended up in a rundown place within walking distance of my job. I’d found an entry level position that didn’t pay very much and needed to trim my expenses in every way possible. I lived with a roof that leaked, squeaky floors, low water pressure and questionable electrical wiring for nearly three years. The refrigerator wasn’t cold enough to prevent meat from spoiling and the toilet ran non stop. The oven smoked so badly I had to take the batteries out of the smoke detector. I tried never to run the air conditioner because it used so much energy. Whenever the cooling system started up, my electric bill just about doubled. Plus, the air conditioner filled the apartment with such a musty smell that I always got a headache. It dripped water, tended to make a screeching sound and struggled to put out enough cool air to make much of a difference. Unfortunately, I had no choice but to rely on the heating system in the winter. I’d bundle up in layers of sweaters, set the thermostat as low as tolerable and shiver. The heating system was very inefficient, seemed to run non stop and spewed a great deal of dust. Whenever it started up, the lights flickered. I worried about air quality and safety issues, but my landlord wasn’t helpful. As soon as I got a pay raise at work, I found a better apartment.
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