26-year-old Pays $1,157 a Month for a 240-Square-Foot Studio: ‘I Didn’t Even Know They Made Apartments This Tiny’
Chi Baik, a 26-year-old Ph.D. student at the University of Washington in Seattle, pays $1,157 per month for her micro-studio apartment which measures 240 square feet. Before moving into her apartment, Baik had no idea that such tiny apartments existed. Her open-concept micro-studio can fit a queen-size bed and a dresser with ample space for storage under the bed. Her furry friend, Bear, also has a bed in the apartment.
Baik moved to Seattle from the Washington, D.C., area last year, where she used to live with her friends and split the rent for an $800 townhouse. As a Ph.D. student, Baik’s annual income from funding and extra grading work is around $27,000, which allowed her to become eligible for an income-restricted building. In January, she received a rent reduction proportionate to her earnings, commencing her monthly rent of $1,157 now.
Baik’s kitchen features modern finishes with a two-burner stove but no oven. Since the studio is open, she uses shelving for decor and has two closets, including one with a washer/dryer in the unit, to keep everything tidy. Baik’s studio has a floor-to-ceiling window that allows natural light into the space, making it seem more spacious than it is. Baik also has a surprisingly large bathroom.
Baik enjoys the greenery and natural surroundings and living on her own for the first time in Seattle. Her 2-year-older brother inspired her to take on the move and face the challenges it brought. While Baik acknowledges that making $27,000 per year may not seem like much, she is grateful for her income and home. She considers herself fortunate as many individuals in Seattle are homeless.
For the month, rent accounts for roughly 40% to 50% of Baik’s expenses. Her other primary spending categories include food, subscriptions to HelloFresh, shopping for herself, and buying supplies for Bear. For now, Baik does not have any savings left at the end of the month; however, she already has $3,700 saved and nearly $70,000 across two retirement accounts from her teaching career days. Her brother suggested that she put 30% of her earnings toward retirement, which she found easy to follow because she is coming straight from college.
In summary, despite the high rent price, Baik is happy with her living situation and is excited to start a new chapter in her life.