5 Things I Learned When I Got Locked Out of My Apartment

Like any recent college graduate, I thought I was quite the grownup when I signed the lease on my very first apartment in Boston five years ago. But unlike getting locked out of a dorm room, getting locked out of a real city apartment was quite the challenge. It all started when my new roommate, who I was just getting to know, left for a weeklong vacation. No problem. I could handle a week on my own in the big city, right? WRONG. The second I stepped out of my apartment for my post-work jog, (such a grown-up activity!) I realized I left my keys inside. It eventually happens to everyone, but getting locked out is never fun. Here are the five life lessons I learned when it happened to me: Neighbors are nice After realizing I was locked out, I needed a place to collect myself, but more importantly, I had to borrow someone’s phone to call my landlord for help. I knocked on my neighbors’ doors – something I had never done, and was relieved when a couple of normal-looking girls around my age answered the door downstairs. Immediately I wondered why I hadn’t reached out to them before – we should have been friends! They were super gracious and sat with me while I made calls all over the city trying to find a way back into my new Boston abode. Landlords don’t know everything The first call I made was to my landlord, who I was sure would have a spare set of keys. Unfortunately, she said that she wouldn’t be able to drive into the city that night to let me in. I asked her what to do next. Her suggestion: call AAA. Yes, the AAA that provides car tows. But hey, I was new to the grown-up world and thought maybe there was an AAA apartment service I wasn’t yet aware of. I called AAA and inquired about having them unlock my apartment – the customer service agent’s confusion quickly turned into laughter at my question. I hung up, defeated. Turns out that landlords don’t always have a good solution and sometimes you have to take things into your own hands. Patience is a virtue After finally getting ahold of a locksmith that would let me into my apartment, I was told I’d have to wait three hours for him to arrive. Yes, three full hours with these neighbors I barely knew. Getting locked out definitely requires a certain amount of zen in order to stay sane. Locksmiths are expensive! My hero locksmith arrived, cut off my lock, and installed a new doorknob. Safe at home at last to the tune of $500. Of course he requested this money in cash, which seemed shady, but I got a receipt. If you leave your keys at home, be ready to pay the price – literally. This might require giving up happy hours and grocery delivery for a while. Hide a spare Of course, the single most important lesson I learned by getting locked out is to have a spare set of keys hidden somewhere (and please, don’t hide your keys under the one pair of boots in the hallway…so obvious). A great solution is having a trustworthy friend keep a set for safe keeping and you can do the same for them. You never know when this will save you $500, 3 hours, and an embarrassing call to AAA. What embarrassing things have you done to get back in to your apartment after you were locked out?  Tell us in comments! ...

5 Easy Ways to Save on Moving Costs

As someone who has moved three times in the past three years, I have definitely learned most of the dos and don’ts of moving to a new apartment.  These tips below will help you save time and money and remain (mostly) sane during your move! Tip #1: Sell or donate what you don’t need Take some time to go through your belongings.  Figure out what you don’t really need or want and either sell or donate those items.  During my most recent move, I sold a few miscellaneous items on eBay, gave some knick knacks to a coworker, and donated a good amount of clothing.  By getting rid of these items, I saved money on packing supplies, saved time on packing and unpacking, and saved myself from the laborious task of moving more boxes.  Plus, someone else will be able to enjoy the items you don’t need! Tip #2: Gather moving supplies in advance Don’t wait until a few days before the big move to pick up moving supplies.  Start strategizing weeks (or even months) in advance. If any friends have moved recently, see if they have boxes leftover from their move.  Use empty boxes from paper reams at work or pick up empty boxes from a nearby liquor store.  Hold onto boxes from packages in the mail in the months leading up to the move.  Get creative! Save bubble wrap from packages prior to the move.  Buy packing tape when it’s on sale or buy it online in bulk. Tip #3: Pack smarter When packing, make sure that your items are sufficiently protected to prevent breakage.  Use towels, newspaper, paper towels, or even socks.  I made sure that I had plenty of supplies (see tip #2) to ensure that all of my items made it to the new apartment without being damaged. Tip #4: Research, research, research Whether you are renting a U-Haul and moving yourself or hiring movers, do your research.  Make sure that you look into all aspects of the move and ask questions as needed.  For example, did you know that U-Haul can change your requested pickup location only a few days in advance?  Try to be flexible if everything doesn’t go according to plan – it won’t, trust me – but doing the necessary research ahead of time will make you much more prepared. Tip #5: Change your address When you change your address with USPS, you will receive a ton of high value coupons.  When I moved earlier this year, I got the following coupons via email and in the mail from USPS:         10% off Target in-store         10% off Best Buy in-store         15% off Crate&Barrel in-store, online, or via phone         20% off Pier1 in-store         10% off wayfair.com online Use these coupons strategically!  My boyfriend and I used the 10% off coupon (along with a handful of other coupons) in Target when we did a huge shopping trip for groceries, household items, apartment decorations, and more.  We also saved the 20% off Pier1 coupon for when we were ready to purchase a few major pieces of furniture at one time. Following these tips will make the whole moving process much easier and will help you save money, which you can later spend on enjoying restaurants in your new neighborhood and decorating your apartment! How do you save money when you move?  What have been the worst financial burdens when moving?  Tell us in the comments! ...