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 it 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. 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.
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 definitely 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. It’s up to you to decide if the tradeoff is worth it or not!
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 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 if you’re still contemplating on moving out or not. It’s not an easy decision to make but it could be one of the most rewarding!
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
Knowing your financial picture inside and out basically means you know exactly how much money you have in your bank account. This includes your monthly take-home income from your job, your current monthly expenses (ex. 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 starting your own side hustle, getting an extra part-time job, selling your belongings that you no longer want, starting a blog, and 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.
Update: 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! You can read about it in my post on 6 Lessons You Learn When You Move In With Your Boyfriend.
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 and not have to make it a last minute decision that you may regret.
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 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 may decide to rent a van or a truck.
You can read more about this process and some tips and tricks in my guide on how to have a successful, stress-free move.
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 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 an Excel 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 full time or you have a lot of student loans to pay off.
It’s always good to make it a habit to live frugally especially at the beginning when you’re trying to accumulate wealth. Try your best to save money wherever you can, such as when you’re buying groceries, paying your utility bill, or shopping for 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.
Enroll in a program such as the $5 Meal Plan where you’ll learn to meal plan for under $2 a meal so you’ll always have food ready in the fridge and you’re not spending unnecessary money eating out at lunchtime on a regular workday.
And if you’re really bad at budgeting for food, learn how you can make the most of your grocery budget and maximize every dollar you spend with Grocery University.
To learn how to save more money and be more frugal, here are a few posts you can check out:
- 13 Easy Ways To Save Money On Groceries Each Month
- 10 Simple Ways To Save Money On Utilities Each Month
- How To Get Through The Holidays Without Going Broke
- Ibotta: The One Shopping App That Will Actually Save You Money
- The 7 Best Shopping Apps To Save You Money Every Day
- Save Money Every Time You Shop Online And Get A $10 Free Giftcard
- The Best Dollar Tree Essentials Every Household Needs
- 29 Ways To Save Money & Cut Down Your Monthly Expenses
- 50 Fun And Frugal Date Ideas To Save Money
- 10 Tips On How To Survive A Shopping Ban
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.
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 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. Furniture 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.
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 affordable furniture for great prices.
Also, don’t forget to check out my post on the first apartment essentials you’ll need for your own place. I talk about 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 18 clever furniture ideas to maximize your space in a small apartment 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 tips for 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.
Are you thinking of moving out from home 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!