A Beginner’s Guide: How To Move Out For The First Time On Your Own

A Beginner's Guide: How To Move Out On Your Own For The First Time
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If you’re at the age where you want your own freedom and independence and you’re looking to move out for the first time, you may have a whole bunch of thoughts on your mind.

From what type of place you want to live in, to if you’re going to live with roommates, and how much money you’re going to need, there is a lot to consider.

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 leave home, you’ll learn to truly be independent and grow immensely as a person.

move out for the first time

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.

Things like having a car (I relied on public transport for a few years before finally buying a used car), dining at fancy restaurants, and going on expensive vacations.

It wasn’t the easiest time then but looking back at my struggles today, I wouldn’t trade it for anything else in the world because I learned so much from the whole experience.

living room couch with pillows

Should You Move Out?

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.

Before we even get to my tips, I want you to check out my post on 10 signs it’s time for you to move out if you need a little more clarity.

Moving out is definitely a huge decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly.  There is a huge tradeoff between moving out versus staying at home.

If you stay at home, you’ll be able to enjoy living in a rent-free environment. If you pay a small amount for rent to your parents each month, that’s cool too!

You’ll also probably be able to enjoy meals already made for you, have a lot more spending money readily available at your disposal, and be able to save a lot faster for a downpayment for a house or condo.

It’s up to you to decide if the tradeoff is worth it or not.

Moving Planner

Before we get on to the tips, have you checked out my Moving Planner?

have a successful move with this moving planner

My 34-page Moving Planner will help you get organized so when you plan to move, everything will be a breeze.

You’ll receive a ton of checklists from a moving schedule, moving checklist, apartment hunting checklist, cleaning checklist, to labels (just to name a few). It even includes a 7-page bonus of essentials you’ll need for your first apartment.

All of it is laid out in an easy to follow package so you don’t have to feel overwhelmed.

Grab your moving planner here.

11 Tips On Moving Out On Your Own

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.

I’ll be covering what to expect when you’re finding your own place, how to be fully prepared, and what to expect after moving in.

I hope this is informative and helpful if you’re still contemplating on moving out or not.  It’s not an easy decision to make but it can be one of the most rewarding!

Important Note: This guide is targeted to those who are interested in renting. 

1.  Know your financial picture inside and out  

Before even thinking about moving out, you need to know exactly how much money you have in your bank account.

To get an idea of your financial picture, know these figures:

  • Monthly take-home income from your job
  • Monthly expenses (such as food, entertainment, transportation, other bills, etc)
  • How much you save up monthly for a rainy day and your retirement fund
  • Outstanding debt

To plan this out, I recommend keeping track of what you make and spend monthly for a few months prior to the move.

You can either input this into a digital budget planner on Google Sheets if you’re more into spreadsheets or in a printable finance planner if you like to physically write things down.

monthly budgeting spreadsheet google sheetsDigital Budget Planner

printable finance plannerPrintable Finance Planner

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 getting your own place, you need to have an emergency fund saved up just in case you lose your job or get sick.

You never know what can 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 have enough.

If you’re looking to help build your emergency fund, a few great ways to earn extra money each month is by:

3.  Decide if you want to move out alone or with roommates

living room chair with fur

Once you’ve figured out how much you can spend on rent monthly (this number should generally not be more than 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.

Living Alone

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 be 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 can split 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.

It’s all about finding the right people to room with, which I will talk about in my next tip.

4.  choose Your Roommates wisely

Your roommates can make the time you move out the best choice ever or they can make it your worst nightmare!

Moving In With Friends

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 well.

It may be more appropriate in some situations to choose someone you are not as close with or even a total stranger.

Please remember that living with a friend is not the same as hanging out with them.  In fact, sometimes it can tear your friendship apart so tread carefully.

If you need more guidance on who to room with, read my post on how to find the right roommate and my tips on how to avoid conflict.

Moving In With Your Significant Other

You can also decide to move in and live with your significant other if you’re in a relationship and it’s the right time for you guys.

I ended up moving in with my boyfriend a few years later and that brought about a whole different ball game!

Not sure if it’s the right move for you?  Check out my post on the 8 questions you need to ask yourself before you decide if living with your significant other is the right choice for you.

bedroom side table

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 need housing at the start of the semester.

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.

You don’t want to have to make a last minute decision that you might regret.

6.  Read the lease agreement carefully before signing

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.

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 places even allow you to pay rent each month by credit card (which is a lovely perk although more uncommon) so these are all things to look out for before signing.

Usually, landlords require your first and last month’s rent check 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.

moving out on my own for the first time

7.  Plan for the actual moving day

Sometimes it’s easy to forget how much money it actually takes to move, so you need to set aside a pile of cash 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.

Or if you have fewer belongings, you can rent a van or a moving truck with companies such as U-Haul or Enterprise and move your stuff yourself.

You can read more about this process and some tips and tricks in my guide on how to successful move without getting stressed.

Check out my Moving Planner for detailed checklists to help you plan for the big moving day.

8.  Set a monthly budget and stick to it

When you’re living at home and don’t have to pay rent, it’s easy to spend money on frivolous things while still being relatively well-off and save money.

When you have to pay for every single expense yourself, it’s very different and a lot more stressful.

Whether that means no more weekly brunches with the BFFs 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!

A Beginner's Guide: How To Move Out On Your Own For The First TimeEstimate how much money you can spend on 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 a budget spreadsheet either on a daily or weekly basis.  This helps 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.  Learn to be frugal

Moving out on your own for the first time as an adult can be a scary experience if you aren’t financially prepared.

A lot of times you’re not going to be super well off when you first move out.  You might just be starting your career in the workforce or you have a lot of student loans to pay off.

It’s always good to make it a habit to live frugally when you’re trying to accumulate wealth especially at the beginning.

Try your best to save money wherever you can and be mindful on how much you’re spending on groceries, your utility bill, or shopping for holiday gifts.

For example, if you’re used to eating out multiple times a week, reduce the number of times to only once or twice a week and make most of your meals at home instead.

I highly recommending meal prepping once or twice a week and bringing your lunch to work to save money.

eat at home meal plans - meal planning membership

Check out the Eat At Home Meal Plans if you’re looking to help yourself get out of the habit of spending unnecessary money eating out.

This meal plan membership includes access to ALL 4 of the following separate meal plans.  The great part is you can mix and match depending on your needs and tastes.

1. Traditional – This plan is family-friendly and includes a variety of meats and veggies, and the occasional meatless meal.

2. Whole Food Plant Based – This plan places more emphasis on natural foods including vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.  No meats, cheese, milk, fish, or eggs!

3. Slow Cooker/Instant Pot – This plan provides recipes that you can cook in your slow cooker and includes many Instant Pot recipes as well.  (Bonus: It includes 1 week of Slow Cooker Freezer meals that are ready to eat in an hour!)

4. No Flour, No Sugar – This plan includes easy-to-prepare meals made from veggies and protein from whole foods with no flour or artificial sugars added.

Other great advantages of the Eat At Home Meal Plans include:

  • Meal plans provided at the beginning of the month so you’ll have time to plan and minimize shopping trips
  • 15-minute meals for super busy nights
  • Color-coded lists so you can swap out ingredients or whole meals when needed
  • Printable recipes for easy cooking
  • Printable menus which are perfect to hang on your fridge or near your calendar for easy viewing

These will help you save time so you don’t have to think long and hard on what to make at home and it’ll keep you focused on staying healthy while saving you money.

eat at home cooks meal plans

More Frugal Tips

10.  Remember that saving is a priority

Remember that saving is still a priority at the end of the day even if you have to pay rent as well as the rest of your bills.

Even if 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 for retirement and in case of any emergencies.

You don’t want to be living paycheck to paycheck and constantly stressed that you don’t have enough money.

11.  Furnish Your Place


Once you move out, you’re going to need to furnish your empty place.

Don’t make the mistake of forgetting to factor in the price of furniture in your budget because the initial investment is not cheap!

If you’re not too squeamish about 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.

But if you don’t like the idea of buying second-hand and would rather buy new, try browsing these stores.  They have a ton of affordable furniture for great prices:

Check out my post on the first apartment essentials you’ll need for your own place.  I have a list of all of the essential furniture, appliances, and supplies that are necessary to get you started.

And if you live in a really small space, I wrote a post on clever furniture ideas to maximize your space that you can check out on how to best utilize your space.


Last but not least, try to keep calm, have fun, and don’t stress!

I hope you enjoyed my guide to moving out for the first time.

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.

More Moving Out Tips

move out for the first time

Are you thinking of moving out from home for the first time?  Or if you’ve recently done so, feel free to share your experiences in the comments below.


  1. This was incredibly helpful! There’s so much in this that I had no idea about, thank you for covering all grounds 🙂 I love the idea of creating a spreadsheet to track expenses thats such a brilliant idea, I’m definitely going to be doing that now! Thanks for sharing all your advice 🙂


    1. I’m glad this was helpful 🙂 Spreadsheets will definitely make tracking expenses easier and less time-consuming.

  2. This was so helpful! I’m moving out soon and love gathering tips from other twenty somethings out there who have been there done that ? Moving out is definitely a stressful process, but being independent has its perks making it all worth it. Thankyou for sharing your tips!

    1. You’re welcome, Sami 😀 I agree! The independence you get from moving out is so worth it. All the best with the move!

  3. I moved out on my own when I was 19, to a new city, without roommates or knowing anyone in the area. I think it took me 2 years to fully get used to the new situation – but I don’t think it would’ve been such a big deal had I not moved that far away. This is something I realized: If you live by yourself, you will have to LEARN how to live by yourself first. Especially if you are young like I was.

    1. Thanks for sharing your experience, Chantal 🙂 Not everyone can move out alone at such an early age nowadays so I applaud you! That must’ve been really hard, especially if you didn’t have a support group around you at the time.

  4. I think I will move out after I graduate from college and finding a full time job. I want to be able to travel too at the same time so I will have to figure out how am I gonna afford an apartment and go travel when I’m on vacation from work.

    1. You’ll probably want to set up a travel budget to see how much you’ll need to save each month until your trips. You might need to sacrifice some things that you like such as going out with friends, eating out, etc in order to do that. Or you can try to move out with roommates as that can really help reduce your costs. Thanks for reading and good luck ?

  5. this is a well thought out and helpful list and number one is one of the most important. it’s an exciting time and no fun to be financially stressed.

    1. Thank you! It definitely isn’t fun to move out if you’re financially stressed.

  6. Brenda Burns says:

    This is such a helpful list. Even now as I’m buying my first home, this list is still relevant!

  7. this is all such great & helpful advice… especially about the room mate situation – it seems like every young person I talk to that is there major gripe about living on their own – especially with college dorm mates

  8. Luci Cook says:

    These are really great ideas and super helpfully for those who new to not living with there parents things.

  9. Nicole Locorriere says:

    I’m SO PUMPED for my move-out day. Unfortunately, it’s about a year down the road. But still, this post was super inspiring!! 🙂 Makes me really want to start up that emergency fund and chat up my college roommates about living together again haha!

    1. Thanks Nicole! A year is a great time to start up your emergency fund! What an exciting time for you 😊Hope everything goes well next year!

  10. Bryce Rae says:

    I see you focussed a lot on money. When moving out on your own, many won’t realise the changes in the bank balance. Money may not buy happiness, but it does give you piece of mind.

    1. Yup, having a safety net is definitely super important when you move out 🙂 Thanks for reading Bryce!

  11. Bryan Carey says:

    Moving out can be financially challenging, which I know is one of the key reasons why young adults put it off. Rent was far less burdensome when I moved out, but regardless, my freedom was worth it. I’m far too independent of a person to live under someone else’s rules. I left home when I was still 17, went to a university, then moved into my own apartment immediately.

    1. Yes, the freedom is totally priceless and so worth it! Thanks for sharing, Bryan 🙂

  12. What a great friggin’ guide because moving out on your own can be insanely scary and overwhelming! I moved out on my own when I was 14 and I have to say, while young, I am really glad I did — I went to boarding school — because from a young age my horizons had been broadened.

    1. Wow you moved out so young! That must have been a great learning experience. I’m glad you liked this post Gigi!

  13. Samantha Kresz says:

    I just moved out myself and you shared some great tips. I am doing pretty well so far at sticking to my budget. Really happy about that cause it can be tough.

    1. Thanks Samantha! Sticking to a budget can be hard so it’s awesome you’re on track 👍🏻

  14. I think these are some great tips! I remember when I moved like it was yesterday:) I was really ready for it and I think that if you’re prepared its definitely great fun!
    xoxo Annaleid

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