Let's start with the biggest physical change: I've moved from Seattle down to Federal Way. Travel-wise it's about a 30-45 minute change in location but the change in price for the new apartment is about 30% less than what the rent was going to be raised to. The new apartment has basic things like a dishwasher and an in-unit washer and dryer; it even has a balcony but until I get an outdoor-appropriate chair and some privacy screening I won't be using it as much (there's this one guy in the community who spends most of the day walking around near the area of the balcony. I can't understand a word he says and he yells everything). Another downside of the new place is it's not extremely close to the main transit center; it takes about 15 minutes to walk or grab a connecting bus to it.
Luckily I don't need to go into Seattle for my new job which I'll be starting on Monday. The downside is the public transit in this neck of the woods is less than ideal (and likely to get even less so once the funding cuts get put into place) and taking the buses to work would take 60 to 90 minutes each way. The reality is that I need a car. I thought about getting a bicycle, which would have been useful for cutting down a transit to Seattle or getting around the area, but it wouldn't shave anything significant off getting to where the new job is (due to needing 2-3 different buses to get there). It's only 12 miles away, 20 minutes by car even with some traffic, so that pretty much spells out my next item.
For the third time in my life I'll need a car of my own. I hate driving cars in traffic and I dislike these big lugs of metal for a single person so I started to look into the Smart Fortwo car. Unfortunately they're not exactly cheap and given that I have no credit no one was willing to lend the money. In the mean time I have a few grand I could put into a vehicle of some sort, or blow it on taking a taxi or renting a car, until I can afford a car with cash. The salesman at the Smart dealer made a big deal about staying at a job for at least a year or two, domicile for at least a couple of years, getting a cosigner, and keeping the loan for 6-12 months, among other things for building credit, but I could pay for the entire thing in cash in just 2-3 months so I'm not sure why I'd really care.
Next item on the agenda: Banking and Credit. With the new job I'll also be switching banks to a local credit union. I've already got the account set up and will designate it for Direct Deposit so in about 2-3 weeks (bi-weekly pay periods) there will be money in it. After that I'll start switching automatic payments off the Washington Mutual / Chase account until I can go in and close it down. Once that is done I'll go back to the credit union and look into getting a secured card or something. I'm still thinking about buying a house at some point.
Note to self: Get my credit report and dispute that Comcast collections report because they deposited it to the wrong account and haven't fixed it from 5 years ago when they 'found' the money after I faxed them a copy of the check with the account number on it. Clearly calling them up a couple of times hasn't worked on getting it removed so might as well go directly to the credit agencies to dispute it.