Welcome to My (First-Ever) Apartment


This past weekend I moved into my first apartment ever in Ohio. It’s a simple two bedroom apartment and I share it with one of my best friends from high school.

Here’s a grand tour of the new abode…

The Living Room



Upon entering the apartment, the living room is the first thing you see. We have a couch, recliner, a TV, and a couple lamps. We have no interior design skills and the color scheme is atrocious, but it’s a relaxing space to lounge in and that’s all we care about.

The only decorations are a couple Cincinnati Bearcats banners, which is where my roommate is currently attending graduate school. If you ever happen to be in the Cincinnati area be sure to reach out and we can grab a coffee.

Chef Zach’s Sub-par Cooking Station, also known as The Kitchen

Next up we have the kitchen where I’ll attempt to learn how to cook along with the dining room where I’ll attempt to eat said food. The only appliance you can see in this picture is the Keurig in the corner, but I also have a rice cooker and a crock-pot.


On a side note, thank you to anyone who has sent me cooking tips already via email, I can use all the help I can get. If you happen to have any simple dishes you personally like making (and that a guy with minimal cooking experience fresh out of college could understand) definitely shoot me an email at fourpillarfreedom@gmail.com with your recipe.

My Room

Moving on down the hallway we arrive at my room on the left…





The only decoration I have is the world map above my desk, which serves as a nice reminder that there’s more to see out there outside of Ohio.

The minimal appearance of the room is intentional. I find that the less stuff I have in my room the more peaceful it feels. One of my friends commented “You need more stuff in here to show what your interests are” which I thought was a funny thing to say. I already know what my interests are and I’m the person who will be in my room the most so I don’t see the need to decorate it to remind myself what I like.

Of course I could hang up a Dallas Mavericks poster (my favorite basketball team) or a picture of Warren Buffett (my favorite investor) or souvenirs from my trip to Japan (my favorite country), but I already know I like those things. I don’t need decorations to remind me. I like to hold my interests and hobbies in my head and only own physical stuff that adds value to my life.

The Bathroom

Next up is the bathroom directly across the hall from my room.


Seen here are hand-stitched linen towels made by skilled towel-weavers in Bali and a French shower curtain made from rare orange silk.

Just kidding, the towels and the curtain are from Wal-mart. There’s nothing particularly fancy about the bathroom.

Looking Forward

This apartment is about a 12 minute drive from my workplace, which is an easy commute and much better than the 50 minute commute I had before I moved here. I have been scouting out the area for paths to ride a bike to work, but I haven’t been able to find a route that looks bike-friendly yet. 

The rent along with utilities is around $1400 per month, which I’ll be splitting with my roommate so I’ll be looking at a monthly bill of only $700. Grocery shopping and meal-prepping will be my next biggest expenses, which I’ll be blogging about as I figure out the best ways to keep these bills low.

Living outside of the house I grew up in for the first time in 23 years is still a very weird feeling and I’m not used to the new living arrangement yet. Obviously over time as I become more familiar with the area I live and I meet more people I’m sure it will start to feel more like home.

I’m excited to blog about this new chapter in both my personal and financial journey. I’m sure there will be plenty of mistakes, experiences, and insights to blog about along the way. Thanks for reading 🙂

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18 Replies to “Welcome to My (First-Ever) Apartment”

  1. Welcome to Ohio, home of Buckeye!!
    I hope you settle in quickly – just ready for our 7-8 months of winter:-)

    I am in Cleveland and not sure why the rent is so steep in Cinnci….here up north, our rent increased by almost 35% post RNC factor so it is now actually cheaper to buy a house with tax/insurance combine than renting a house. One of my son’s renting with his friend in the almost heart of downtown Cleveland and paying over $1200 ($600/person) – they both are also minimalists (well, they can’t really afford anything else after paying the basics) so mom is feeding them weekly. They pay more than my mortgage so I have to cringe without verbalizing too much 😉

    Speaking of cooking – do you know there are hundreds of ways to make rice and make sure you are full enough? I can whip up a dish that only cost $5 but will guarantee you having enough left-over for the next meal. I have been able to drill down to $100 / week grocery bill for the family of 3 1/2…..it all depends how your skill on cooking for the mass. And recently one of my daughters texted me with a new app ibotta, I was able to save on things I buy frequently. My last shopping trip rebated me $21 – not much but enough to buy 1 oz of pure silver coin for my retirement hard asset portfolio.

    The quickest way to convert a room – paint!! I will recommend buying a good gallon of paint so you don’t see various blotches and do it twice.

    Enjoy your new-found independence!!

    1. Thank you Tiffany! I have heard that rice is a key ingredient in many cheap/bulk food preparation recipes so I plan on using it frequently. My apartment is actually in one of the nicer areas of town which is why the rent is a bit steep. Luckily splitting it with my roommate allows me to save a significant chunk of money each month. Thanks for all the tips 🙂

      1. Some “quick” dishes

        Basic ingredients for making rice-based dishes
        Rice cooking: if your cooker is a standard one (with buttons show white rice, brown rice, warm, etc) the best way to make restaurant quality rice is 1 cup of white rice (usually regular size, not the skinny pointy kind) with 1 1/2 cup water. My favorite is the Korean rice which is hardy and filling – you can get a 40lb bag Koren rice for $35 here.

        Soy sauce
        Egg (optional)
        Roast chicken – you can roast this yourself or get the whole one from one of the grocery stores (it’s about $3-5 a whole roasted chicken here).

        Mix all the ingredients together(after rice is cooked, of course) – you got chicken fried rice. Change up the category of the meat (pork, ham, ground beef, etc ), you get different kind of fried rice.

        That’s how we Asians do it.
        Drop me a line if you need more recipes.

        1. I’ll definitely pick up some of these ingredients on my next grocery trip and I’ll let you know when I have mastered the rice cooker and am ready for more potential recipes to try! Thanks so much for all the helpful info 🙂

  2. Nice digs! I used to have the same model desk as you, but it was L-shaped in my office. What’s the view from the sliding door?

    1. My desk actually was L-shaped but I cut off the other half of it because it didn’t fit in the room. And the sliding door leads to a little patio that overlooks a parking lot…it doesn’t offer much of a view, which is why I didn’t include it haha. Thanks for the feedback! 🙂

  3. Congrats Zach. It’s great to see you practicing what you preach. Love the minimal vibes of the apartment.

  4. Very cool to see your new digs – nice place! Love the world map as your one room decoration.

    Awesome that you guys got a 2-bedroom place in a nice area of town for $1400. I think 2-BR apartments in desirable areas of Portland are in the $2000-$3000 range.

    Can’t wait to read about your learning experiences with managing monthly expenses.

    Do you like lentils? They are a very affordable nutrition powerhouse. Mr. G and I like to use them in salads and stir fries. Here’s a website with nutrition info if you’re interested:

    1. Yeah I recall when I was looking to move out to Oregon/Washington before I accepted this job that the rent was considerably higher, especially in cities like Portland and Oregon. For how nice our place is, I think we got a great deal.

      And I do like lentils, I’ll be sure to check out that website! I’m in the process of trying out tons of new recipes to see what works and what doesn’t, so I’ll be sure to reference that site. Thanks for the helpful info as always! 🙂

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