Depends on where you're living but the one thing I regret above all else was not checking out my landlord. They are useless. I took 10 days to get the light bulb in my kitchen replace and 2 and a half weeks of me sleeping on my living room floor before they took care of the bedbugs.
Now that I'm done scaring you, here are some other tips:
1. You're going to feel poor. You won't have as much money as you're used to since you'll need to buy things you never thought of before. You never realize how expensive paper towels are and how fast soap runs until it comes out of your pocket. Frequently.
2. Ikea is cool, if you've got the money. If not, there's nothing wrong with craigslist as long as you follow some simple rules. NEVER purchase or pick up mattresses. You don't know what they've been through and there's nothing like smell of urine and the millions of bed bugs running through your bed to learn from. If a listing doesn't have pictures, don't bother. Don't pick up items off the street. Inspect all items carefully for infestation via bedbugs (check out www.bedbugger.com on how to spot them), roaches, mice or other vermin. (We got most of our furniture including a bedframe, coffee table, two night stands and a cupboard from craigslist for under 100 dollars and it was worth everyhigh school. Don't take on roommates unless you're sure you can handle it. It may seem cool to live with your bud from high school. Until he repeatedly gives you the rent and bill money weeks late. Or brings his friends over at 3 AM to play GOW.
4. Do an inspection on the apartment before you move in. You can find checklists online. Make sure to do a walk through with your landlord so they can't try to screw you over when the lease is up.
5. Visit the apartment at different times a day. When we first came, the place was quiet. For the next six months, our neighbors had parties until 6 in the morning.
6. Save your money. Calculate two to three months rent. Calculate two to three months of bills. Add these two together. This is what you need saved, at the very least, to move out. (You'll need to pay a security deposit +first month and -and sometimes last months- rent). God forbid you lose your job or you need to take time off for whatever reason, you have a cushion. Make sure to add to this as oftenland lineible. The more you have saved up, the better.
7. Look for free, legal entertainment. My mom insisted I have a land line and my sister/roommate insisted we get cable. We settle on Optimum and as a bonus, my husband and I see movparades on Tuesdays. WE also visit the zoo and aquarium on the free days. And don't forget the park, beach and holiday parades.
8. COOK! You can save hundreds of dollars a month eating at home. We frequent www.kraftfoods.com for recipes and try new things all the time. We even learned to bake apple pies which we give as presents during the holidays.
Man, there are so many things to tell you and not enough time. Just stay safe and smart. If you have any other questions, feel free to email me.