If you’re at the age where you want your own freedom and independence and you’re thinking of moving out from your parents’ house, you may have a whole bunch of thoughts on your mind such as what type of place you want to live in, if you’re going to share with roommates, or how much money you’re going to need to spend.
Deciding to move out of your parents’ house is a huge decision and I applaud you if you’re thinking of taking the plunge! There are so many factors to consider when moving out for the first time and it can be a very scary yet exciting and exhilarating time of your life. Once you permanently move out for the first time, you’ll learn to truly be independent and grow immensely as a person.
My Experience With Moving Out
I decided to officially move out from my parent’s house in the suburbs into my own apartment in the city when I was 23 years old. After graduating, I started working full-time when I was 22 and planned my move months ahead by saving a large portion of all my paychecks to fully prepare myself.
It was a straightforward decision for me at the time to find my own place. For the previous 4 years, I had lived abroad for university and had been so used to living with roommates. What I really missed about living away from home was having my own freedom and independence that I didn’t have when I lived with my parents.
You can probably guess that the adjustment from living under my parent’s roof to actually living on my own without roommates wasn’t easy at first as it was a huge change. I had to learn to be responsible for myself by juggling work, finances, and seeing friends while at the same time still feeding myself properly, paying my bills on time, cleaning up the house, and other big girl tasks!
I sacrificed a lot in order to make it on my own and I gave up things that my friends who stayed at home didn’t have to, like having a car at the time (I relied on public transport for a few years before finally buying a used car last year), dining at fancy restaurants, and going on expensive vacations. It wasn’t the easiest time but looking back at my struggles now, I wouldn’t trade it for anything else in the world because I learned so much from the whole experience.
If you’re like me and you want independence, freedom, and a little place to call your own but aren’t quite sure if it’s the right choice or how you’re going to get there, it’s totally okay to take your time to figure it all out! Moving out is a huge decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly because there is a huge tradeoff between moving out versus staying at home. If you stay at home, you can enjoy living in a rent-free environment (or if you pay rent to your parents each month, that’s cool too!), enjoy meals already made for you, have a lot more spending money readily available at your disposal, and you’ll be able to save a lot faster for a downpayment for a house or condo.
My Tips On How To Move Out On Your Own For The First Time
Now if you find that you’re leaning more towards moving out after weighing the pros and cons, keep reading! In this post, I’ll be sharing some pointers that I’ve learned along the way based on my past experience on what to expect when you’re finding your own place, how much to save to be fully prepared, and what to expect after moving in.
I hope this is informative and helpful to those who are still contemplating on moving out or are about to make the move. It’s not an easy decision to make but it may be one of the most rewarding decisions you’ll make!
Sidenote: I haven’t bought my own place yet and am currently renting until I’m ready to purchase my own place, so this guide is targeted to those who are interested in renting.
1. Know your financial picture inside and out
This means knowing exactly how much money you have in your bank account. Know your monthly take-home income, your current monthly expenses (ex. rent, food, entertainment, transportation, etc), and how much you save up monthly for a rainy day and your retirement fund.
To plan this out, I recommend jotting down what you make and spend monthly for a few months prior to the move. You can either input this into Excel if you’re more into spreadsheets or in a notebook if you like to physically write things down. After figuring out your gross income, if you think that you’re able to handle the added expenses of rent and other miscellaneous expenses, you can now proceed to the next tip.
2. Be prepared by having an emergency fund
It’s not enough to only have the bare minimum amount in your bank account that just covers your monthly rent and expenses. Before even thinking of moving out, you need to have an emergency fund saved up just in case you lose your job or get sick once you move out. You never know what may happen in the future so it’s best to have the equivalent of 6 months worth of expenses saved in your bank account to be fully prepared for the unexpected. If you don’t, you probably aren’t ready to move out just yet and it’s best to continue saving until you do have enough.
If you’re looking to help build your emergency fund, a few great ways to earn extra money each month is by getting an extra part-time job, selling your old belongings online that you no longer need, starting a blog, and/or filling out online paid surveys.
3. Decide if you want to move out alone or with roommates
Once you’ve figured out how much you can spend on rent monthly (this number should be no more than 25-30% of your gross monthly income), decide if you can afford to get your own place or if you need to live with roommates. Each option has its own set of pros and cons.
It’s awesome living on your own because you can do things your own way and not have to worry about anyone telling you otherwise. On the other hand, it can get quite pricey because you have to pay for rent, utilities, furniture, appliances, tenant insurance, and more all by yourself without sharing the cost with someone else. It can also get a little lonely so it’s important to constantly motivate yourself to go out and interact with others.
Living With Roommates
Living with others is a great way to save money because you will be splitting rent, utilities, furniture, appliances, and household items. There will most likely also be constant interaction with your roommates so there is less of a chance for feeling lonely. Although there are cost savings and more chances for social interaction, there can be a lot of headaches that come with living with roommates as well. It’s all about finding the right people to room with, which I will talk about in my next tip.
4. If you decide to live with roommates, choose them wisely
Your roommates can make the time you move out the best choice ever or they can make it your worst nightmare!
You may think that living with your best friend is all rainbows and lollipops but that’s not always the case. Your best friend may not be the best choice if you guys have very different lifestyles and habits. For example, if they like to constantly bring people over late at night when you’re an early bird and like to hit the sack at 10 pm every night, it may not work out that well.
It may be more appropriate in some situations to choose someone you are not as close with (or even a total stranger!) because living with a friend is not the same as hanging out with them. Sometimes living with a friend can tear your friendship apart so tread carefully.
5. Time your move carefully
It’s very important to time when you move out. There are certain times of the year when there will be fewer choices of places to rent such as when students go back to school and need housing. Be proactive and keep a look out of places available at least two months in advance so you can choose a place that you like and not have to make it a last minute decision.
6. Read the lease agreement carefully before signing it
After you’ve found the perfect place, you will be required to sign a lease agreement, which is a binding document. Sometimes lease agreements can be a little sneaky so be sure to read all of the fine print even if it’s a bore.
The length of your lease may vary so you need to make sure you are agreeing to something that you can afford. Some leases include free parking, a portion of utilities paid for you, and free Internet or TV while others don’t. Some even allow you to pay rent each month by credit card (which would be a lovely perk, although this payment method is much more uncommon) so these are all things to look out for before signing.
Usually, landlords require your first and last month’s rent cheque upon signing a lease as well as an employment letter, credit check, etc. Check your state’s laws for more information on what you would need to prepare beforehand.
7. Plan for the actual moving day
Sometimes it’s easy to forget how much money it actually takes to move, so you should set aside a pile of money just for the move-in day.
If you have a lot of furniture or personal belongings that you are planning on moving into your new place, you may need to hire a moving company to help you pack everything and unload. This costs quite a bit of money so plan out the expenses for this ahead of time.
If you have fewer belongings, you may decide to rent a van or a truck.
8. Set a monthly budget and stick to it
When you’re living at home and you don’t have to pay rent, it’s easy to spend money on frivolous things while still being relatively well-off and save money. But when you move out and you have to pay for every single expense, it’s very different and a lot more stressful.
Whether that means no more weekly brunches with the BFFs, skipping out on a weekend trip with your family, or swapping your car for public transit, you may need to sacrifice a few of your favorite things in order to move out and still have peace of mind that you aren’t going to be house poor.
Budgeting requires persistence and willpower in order to do it right. You want to spend within your means and live by yourself while still having a life at the same time, right? It’s not easy but it’s doable!
Estimate how much money you can spend for each category of expenses per month and stick with this plan. If you no longer have funds left over to spend in a category, that’s it for the month.
I like to input what I spend into an Excel spreadsheet either on a daily or weekly basis. This will help me note how much money I have used so far and how much of each expense category I have left over for the month. From there, I’m able to gather information on the average amount spent per month in each category. This helps make me feel more on top of my expenses and I can further evaluate how to improve my budget in the future.
9. Remember that saving is a priority
So let’s say you have enough funds to cover your rent and monthly expenses, you need to also make sure that you are saving at least 10% of your paychecks each month (I personally strive to save 20% or more) for retirement and in case of any emergencies. You don’t want to be living paycheck to paycheck and constantly stressed.
10. Buy second-hand furniture
Once you move out, you’re going to need to furnish your empty place. Furniture is not cheap! If you’re not too squeamish with buying second-hand things or you don’t plan on keeping your furniture for a long period of time, you can purchase second-hand furniture for a discount price.
If you don’t like the idea of buying second-hand and would rather buy new, try browsing these stores because they have a ton of furniture for great prices.
Also, don’t forget to check out my post about the apartment essentials you’ll need for your own place. I talk all about the essential furniture, appliances, and supplies that are necessary to get you started.
Last but not least, try to keep calm, have fun, and don’t stress!
Living on your own will not only come with a new set of responsibilities but also a whole new set of (hopefully positive) experiences, a sense of freedom and independence. If you plan and prepare yourself ahead of time as well as budget your money properly, you’ll be ready to take on any challenges that come your way.
Are you thinking of moving out for the first time? Or if you’ve just moved out for the first time, feel free to share your experiences in the comments below!