Leaving your parents and getting your first place is an exciting milestone. However, it takes careful preparation and planning to ensure that you remain independent after moving out. An estimated 65 percent of individuals that move out end up moving back with their parents in three months or less.
Independence is tempting, but are you sure you are ready for it? Being on your own requires a lot of responsibility and careful planning. The following guide will provide you with some advice and tips on how to move out successfully for the first time.
Plan your budget before moving out
The most important part of planning to move out is making sure you can afford it. Make a list of all your bills and expenses for the month. These include, but are not limited to:
- Car payment
- Car insurance
- Cell phone
- Groceries/paper products/toiletries
Compare this total to your monthly wage. If you aren't left with much after everything is paid, you may not be financially stable enough to support yourself. If you are living paycheck to paycheck, it might be necessary to reconsider moving out until you have enough savings to live comfortably.
The suggested amount to have saved when moving out is the down payment plus three months rent. You will also want additional money set aside in case of emergencies. How much money would you want for personal expenses? How important is saving to you? You should have at least several hundred dollars left after bills and expenses each month.
Decide if you need roommates to move out
If you have never lived on your own before, the reality of bills and responsibilities will be a rude awakening. Sharing your space with one or more roommates can ease the burden of financial obligations since you can share rent, utility and grocery bills.
However, the convenience of decreased living expenses often comes at a price. The independence you sought by leaving your parents may feel compromised when sharing a place with others, even if they are your peers. Additionally, you run the risk of sharing space with people you are incompatible with -- making the living experience unpleasant for everyone involved.
Be smart when apartment-hunting
Start looking for housing several months in advance. This will give you plenty of time to shop around and evaluate your options. Don't stop searching if you fall in love with the first place you visit. Submit applications for several places in case your first choice ends up taken.
Bring a parent, relative, or a friend with you when apartment hunting. Test the appliances to make sure they function well. Check the faucets, the toilet(s) and the shower(s). Inspect the walls and ceilings for cracks that could result in leaks. If you decide to rent the apartment, and the landlord promises to make any repairs before you move in, it should be included in the lease agreement.
Have a parent or trusted advisor read over the lease with you as well before signing. Make sure you understand the conditions, such as:
- The length of the lease
- When rent is due
- If there are late fees for rent and how much they are
- How much notice you will have to give before moving out
- How much your security deposit will be and the conditions for getting it back
- Pet regulations or fees
- Maintenance regulations (who is responsible for repairs and what are they accountable for repairing)
Make a list of supplies you'll need before you move out
Once you've found a place, it's time to figure out what you will need. Make a list of all the things you'll be bringing with you. If you have roommates, they should do the same. It is unlikely you'll be provided with more than bedroom amenities, so buy everything you will need in advance.
Go room by room, and list the items you need:
- Dishware, glassware and cutlery
- Pots, pans and cooking utensils
- Vacuum, broom and cleaning supplies
- Toothpaste, paper towels, toilet paper, shampoo, soap and other toiletries
- Laundry detergent
- Coffee-maker, toaster, microwave and other kitchen appliances
If you have roommates, decide how the cost of these items will be split. For items like shampoo, toothpaste and toilet paper, devise a plan with your roommates to share the expense. Will you each buy your own toiletries or take turns? Discuss in advance so there is no conflict later.
Bargain shop for furniture before you move in
Unless you are lucky enough to receive extra furniture from family, your apartment will need to be furnished. It may seem overwhelming when you consider you may need to buy:
- Couches or chairs
- Kitchen table
- Entertainment center
- Coffee table
However, there are plenty of places where you can find affordable furniture. Discount furniture stores, garage sales and thrift stores are great for affordable and unique finds.
Learn to cook before you move out
Eating at restaurants, ordering take-out or constantly buying ready-made meals can get expensive. It is much more cost-efficient to purchase a week's worth of groceries and prepare your own dishes. Even if you don't have much experience in the kitchen, there are many ways you can educate yourself.
- Start out simple. Don't attempt anything too complicated in the beginning. Start with easy and basic recipes so you don't overwhelm yourself.
- Watch videos.YouTube is a wealth of cooking knowledge. There are thousands of channels dedicated to cooking basics and recipes. These channels contain creative recipes and easy-to-follow steps that will have you cooking in no time.
- Buy cookbooks. While cookbooks might seem old-fashioned, a lot of them contain classic recipes that are easy to make and don't require a lot of ingredients. Cookbooks are also less expensive to replace in comparison to a laptop or tablet.
- Experiment. Have fun with cooking -- try new things, experiment with different spices and put your own twist on dishes.