DEAR AMY: I finish my college program at the end of this month. I plan to move out of my parents' house in June. I've looked up a few places nearby and have done some research. It's exciting! The only thing I fret about is that my parents will try to hold me home another year or more and I really don't want to live at home anymore. My plan is to be out before my 23rd birthday. I'll start saving up money so by June I'll have at least $1,000. How can I do what I want to do -- not what they want me to do?
-- Almost Graduate
DEAR ALMOST: Your parents will want to talk your plans through with you -- and they may try to persuade you to stay home until you have more money saved.
While you are doing your research, ask potential landlords what money they require "up front." This is typically first and last months' rent, plus a security deposit. This would likely add up to more than $1,000 -- and that's before you even move in. Add to that the cost of utilities, food and transportation, and you can see why it is so difficult for young adults to attain true financial independence.
I love your spunk, and I hope your parents do, too. Your enthusiasm is priceless.
DEAR AMY: For my whole life, my mother has instilled in me the importance of handwritten thank-you notes. Suddenly she is saying it's OK to email thank-yous to some people. I'm very confused! What is the best etiquette for me and my children regarding thank-yous?
-- Thanking You, Too!
DEAR THANKING: The best etiquette still involves pen (or crayon), paper, envelope and a stamp. Certainly this is a wonderful habit to instill in your children.
However, I think people get so fixated on the propriety of thanking that they ignore other lively and valid thank-yous -- not only verbal ones but email (and text). Using technology can be a great way to thank people -- it's quick and so easy to
attach a photo or video showing gift recipient enjoying the gift.
One of my favorite recent thank-yous was sent through text message. I was thrilled to see my cousin's baby cooing over the onesie I had sent -- and I felt thoroughly and personally thanked.