So, you’re ready to move out, huh? You’re either sick of your parents, ready to start your adult life, or have some driving force pushing you out of your home, and you need a little advice. If you’re reading this, you are probably seeking that advice from someone who has been in your shoes, and knows their way around the situation, while also being young enough to relate what you are really thinking and feeling.
I’ve picked up a few essential tips while struggling to make it on my own after graduating. I’m sure that if you follow these you will do just fine out there in “the real world”. Congratulations, you just took your first step in becoming a smart and informed consumer.
1. Make a mental budget
Decide how much you are willing to pay for a place to stay. I have found that cheap apartments usually run from $450 to $750 a month in the area that I live in. Do a little research on average costs of rentals around the area. Once you have found a low average, try searching for those that fit the criteria. Then add in additional costs to see what you will need to have in hand by the end of the month.
Here’s some help:
2. Explore your options
Sites like Craigslist have multiple postings on housing availability daily. Not only can you find apartments, but trailers, rooms for rent, and roommate options in your local area. Don’t confine yourself to one concept or real estate sites. Depending on your budget, you will be able to find cottages (for high end budgets) and studio/loft apartments (for low end budgets) for less than you expected.
Low Income Housing
3. Explore your motives
Make sure to ask your self why exactly you have decided to move out. If it is just to get away from the parents, weigh out the pros and cons of living with them for just a little longer. The mental and emotional stress of having to deal with bills and payments on a person working minimum wage can take a serious toll. Ensure that this is the best decision for you personally, and not being done out of rage, angst, or rebelliousness. Everyone wants to be independent, but sometimes it’s better to mooch while you can.
Here’s a few sites to help keep you on the right track:
Signs It’s Time to Move Out
Things to Think About
4.Set up a savings account
Even the world’s best budgeter encounters a few surprise fees here and there. Especially when starting out on their own. Having a savings account will ensure that you can easily have cash on hand when a bill is too high or a car breaks down. You may tell yourself you will start one once you move out, but once the bills come in you will be dying to keep every bit of cash you can in your pocket.
A couple of sites to help you out:
Bank of America
Why You Need Multiple Accounts
5. Talk to your parents
No, not for permission, and not to help convince you to stay either. See what they can help you with, and if you can take any furniture with you. Ask them about help during emergencies, and see where they stand. Once you lay out your plan with them and come to an agreement, you will feel much more secure about getting your own place, and you won’t run into any unexpected arguments.
Breaking the news:
How to Tell Them
6. Reduce variable costs
If you can, try to find an apartment that has utilities included and that doesn’t do weekly payments. The less variable costs there are the easier to budget. You’ll never have to worry if you saved the appropriate amount of cash and end up in debt.
7. Get the most bang for your buck!
There is no real reason to go to a big department store looking for furniture. Most times you can find practically new furniture and home furnishings at local thrift stores, yard sales, and on sites like Craigslist for practically nothing. Becoming bestfriends with Craigslist will help you in the long run. Make sure that you are getting the lowest price for the most value. Sometimes you can even find free stuff offers.
Here’s the link:
8. Asses all your payments
Realize that moving out often means taking on car insurance payments, renter’s insurance payments, cell phone payments, grocery bills, power bills, water bills, heating bills, garbage disposal fees, and any other costs that may apply to you. Look at your monthly income after taxes and see what is left over after factoring in all costs. Take about 25-50% of the left over income to put in a savings account. After you have completed all this you have your monthly entertainment budget. This includes buying new stuff, grabbing a snack, cigarettes (if you smoke), drinks, etc. Make sure that you are okay with living off of that amount.
This will help you out:
Creating a Budget
Normal Utility Costs
9.Decide where you want to live
Look over housing that is close to work and shopping areas. This will help save on gas. I recommend staying close to home when choosing a place. Not only will this make it easier to stop over for dinner (once you start paying for all your groceries you never take a free meal for granted), or if there was ever an emergency it would be easy to drive there. Plus, you have the security of knowing if your first attempt at freedom does not work out, you don’t have to drive across the country to get back on your feet and try again.
Here are some sites to help you with that:
10. Make sure you’re secure!
No, I’m not advising on investing in an overpriced security system to prevent a robbery. Ensure your financial security. Think over your job and whether or not you have a chance of being fired or let go any time withing the next 3-6 months. If it is a strong possibility then don’t begin taking the initial steps to move out before you have another one secured. Look at the amount of money you have saved and ask yourself if you could easily pay for a hospital bill or car repairs. If even with financing options you won’t be able to pay those off, you may want to reconsider before rushing into the process. Don’t set yourself up for failure. Keep a safety net below you.
Check this out:
Learn About Emergency Funds
11. Do your research
Make sure you know about all the laws of the area you are moving into. It’s easy to accidentally break a law when you are new to residential life. Not only that, but look up all the costs of renting a place to stay. Learn about security deposits, contract signing fees, and credit checks. Know all your stuff before going out into the big world. It is easy to be misguided and taken advantage of when you are uninformed.
Here are some sites to help you do a bit of research:
How Credit History impacts Renting
How To Find Out About Local Ordinances
12. Avoid Scams
Last but not least, avoid paying too much, or not getting what you payed for. Always ask for a tour of the place before you sign a contract, and ask people about the area. It is easy to look at full furnished pictures of a new place with dreamy eyes, then crash hard when reality sets in and there are cockroaches crawling on your bare walls. Look for leaks and problems with the apartment. No one wants to be stuck paying for constant repairs. Always ensure you are getting what you pay for.
Here are some sites on how to avoid scams:
Once you are positive you have everything together and you are financially secure (for a young adult) you are ready to make your move. Call some places and view as many as you can before you make a final choice. When you do move out, kick back, enjoy your freedom, and plan even further into the future. I wish you the best of luck on your journey.