The first financial decision I had to make was moving out of our shared apartment and getting my own place, since we needed to be separated for six months prior to filing.
I found an apartment north of Atlanta and within commutable distance of my job that was safe and met what I thought my budget was. Looking back, I should have spoken with a financial counselor and established a better budget before taking this step, but being young and having never had to make my own financial decisions until now, I thought I knew what I was doing.
Rent was $990 a month, and the apartment required a down payment equal to a month of rent to move in. Since I had no savings, I had to pay in multiple installments in order to equal the down payment required, which I split over two paychecks.
Being young and poor, I didn't have many possessions. My family offered to come help me move what little I did have, so I didn't need to pay for a U-Haul or moving truck.
I then needed to buy the basic necessities — cooking utensils, pots and pans, a bed, toilet paper, towels, and so on. My mattress was $600, and I found an Ikea bed frame on Craigslist for $100. I would estimate that the remaining necessities cost me around $500, since I wasn't buying anything fancy and tried to get things on sale where possible.
For furniture, I purchased things at Rooms To Go. The total that I spent on a coffee table, side tables, a large shelf, and a couch was $1,250.
Those expenses alone totaled $3,440.