I still currently live at home because I have to tackle one major expense at a time, but I got some great advice from some friends who live on their own. Don't get an apartment. Try to get a house to buy. I know it seems extreme because you're young, but does it make sense to put out $1000+ a month towards something you'll never really be able to call your own? It basically is just throwing your money away, where as putting it towards a house, you're investing your money.
A lot of my friends have been asking me about this because I work in real estate, and while buying a house has its share of benefits, it's important to consider the significant risks as well. Unlike having an apartment, you're locked in for longer than your lease. What happens if you lose your job? If you have an apartment, you can talk to your landlord about finding a replacement tenant; or, if you have savings and/or helpful parents, you can hopefully pay off the remainder of the lease while you look for a new job. Given the weak housing market, you're stuck with it unless you are lucky enough to stumble across a very aggressive buyer so soon after your purchase. Accounting for broker and legal fees, depending on the amount of time you've held the house and the equity you've put into it, you might end up losing money before your investment has a chance to grow. Keeping in mind that many housing markets are still in a downturn, continued depreciation in housing prices may also hurt your investment (depending on where you live). Additionally, when you live in an apartment, landlords handle maintenance at the property. Unless you're particularly handy, you have to expect that the costs of upkeep will mount a few years down the road. Lastly, don't overlook the fact that you pay taxes on property ownership (though there are tax breaks for new homeowners that ease the burden early on), so your general costs go up.
My advice (though broad and obvious) is to live within your means. If you have reached a point where you can afford sinking yourself into very long term debt, saved up enough money for a down payment on a house, and have the credit to back yourself, then a mortgage can be comparable (if not cheaper) to paying rent depending on where you live. A large reason that so many homeowners foreclosed in the past few years is because they were swindled into a mortgage that they didn't understand/couldn't afford while completely disregarding the reality of their job security, salary/wage growth, and the costs of home-ownership. I manage to save money while renting and paying off student loans because I carefully budget my spending and found a place to live that I knew I could afford. Just don't break the bank because you want to jump the gun on a 15 to 30 year investment in a lagging, cyclical, and very localized market that hasn't even recovered from a continued downturn.