“It feels so good to be out of the house. I can’t wait to throw parties and live my life.” – Everyone in their 20s when they are moving out for the first time.
It’s exhilarating when you first move out of your parent/guardian’s house and taste freedom. You want to do it all until you see that your bank account is slowly being depleted. Then you suddenly realize that being on your own comes with a hefty price. You weren’t ready for any of this. You just wanted to experience independence.
While it is appropriate for young adults to begin thinking about leaving the nest, it isn’t just as simple as leaving. There is a lot of thought and planning that needs to go into moving out for the first time so that you don’t fall flat on your face.
Here’s what you need to know before moving out for the first time to help you ensure that it is a successful transition.
5 Things to Consider Before Moving Out for the First Time
“How much does a shower curtain cost?”
That was what I asked my partner at the time when we went shopping. I couldn’t believe that you actually had to buy a shower curtain and everything associated with your washroom. I thought that a washroom came with this stuff. I didn’t expect to have to pay for every little thing.
When I first moved out, I wasn’t ready for any of the expenses. I didn’t think that I would be spending that much money. As a personal finance blogger, I thought that I was prepared. I certainly wasn’t.
Here are the major things you need to think about before moving out on your own for the first time.
You need to find the perfect location for you.
You may think that location doesn’t matter because you want to taste the freedom that comes from living on your own. That’s the wrong way to look at it. Location can be everything. Finding the right place in the ideal location can make or break you financially in many ways.
Here’s what you need to think about when looking around for a new place:
- What’s around you? Can you walk anywhere? How will you get around? Will it be easy to get groceries? Will you need a car to get groceries?
- How far will your commute to work be? This will determine everything because nothing lowers the quality of your life like a long commute that you dread.
- Will you buy or rent? This is a discussion for another day. It’s important to note that renting isn’t throwing money away and that homeownership comes with many hidden costs.
- Are you around family or friends? We had a buddy who moved out about an hour away from the city. The problem is that he now has to commute for hours in traffic to see his friends or get to work. While he saved money on the place, he pays a steep price in fuel and time when he wants to do anything.
- What things are you willing to sacrifice or trade-off to save money?
It would be best if you didn’t rush into the first place that you see. You don’t want to spend a fortune on transportation, and you don’t want to waste hours of your life in transit. You also don’t want to buy if you’re not ready.
Many factors impact a mortgage payment and factors that impact your overall costs with your mortgage or rent. It’s important to analyze the factors and expenses that you may accrue carefully, so you make sure you’re not saving in one area but spending in another.
It may be worth it to pay a higher rent or mortgage amount if you can save on other monthly costs. Just make sure you’ve also determined how much rent you can afford or your monthly mortgage payment cap (these mortgage calculators can help), so you don’t become house-poor.
Life can be costly when living on your own.
Nobody tells you how expensive toilet paper can be and how you certainly can’t go without it. Life gets very expensive when you’re living on your own, and it feels like you can’t catch a break at times.
Here are other expenses to consider:
- You’ll want to plan for potentially hosting more events or other entertainment. While there are plenty of cheap date night ideas or frugal ways to have fun, you’re not going to want to sit around alone.
- You may need tools for lawn care. Mowing the lawn takes time, and it’s not cheap to buy a brand new lawnmower.
- Food isn’t cheap, even when you need to pay for your own meals. Grocery bills add up, and the food goes fairly quickly. Eating out can also become expensive even when you look for ways to save money eating out.
- There’s always a new subscription to sign up for (Netflix, Disney Plus, and so on, to name a few). Check out these cable alternatives to save money on your TV and media.
- Insurance. You need to invest in property insurance (read more about that by clicking here).
- Hidden expenses that you never saw coming (like buying flowers for your new garden).
What’s the solution here?
It’s important that you set extra money aside for when you move out.
You need more than just the basic costs of moving out (mortgage or first and last month’s rent), although you can even save money on your move depending on when you move.
You need to save aggressively so that you’re prepared. You don’t want to move out too soon and then be floundering or unable to buy some of the things you need.
I would take the time to look at the costs of furniture, setting up your place, and anything else you can think of. These expenses have to be factored in.
The next thing is to write down your fixed expenses and to look to eliminate what you can.
Do you really need every single subscription? Can you call your cell phone provider to negotiate a better plan? There are a surprising number of bills that can be renegotiated to save money.
It’s up to you to work on your fixed expenses so that they don’t destroy your monthly budget. Try to get these under control so that you’re able to have a clear monthly budget and you know exactly what you can and cannot afford.
Look to save on household items wherever you can.
You’re going to want to furnish every room with stylish furniture, decor, and the latest gadgets. You obviously want the newest things. I get that, but your bank account may not agree.
This is why it’s important to start looking around in advance for leads on furniture and other items so that you don’t spend a fortune to have a place to sit down.
How do you save money on furniture and other household items?
- Check Facebook Marketplace and Kijiji. There are usually plenty of items up for sale. There is also a myriad of Craigslist alternatives that you can check out to find good used items.
- Ask around. Are any friends moving? Is anyone throwing something out?
- Get creative. Can you try to get a little creative here? I know that you may not be handy, but you can try a restoration project or look into some retro furniture options.
- Are there cheap furniture stores where you can get quality items for less than the big brands?
One day, you’ll hopefully have your dream home with all the items you want to fill it up. For now, you have to get by with what you can. You don’t want to go bankrupt trying to make your place look fancy. When you see what your parents have, it’s important to note that it took them decades to obtain everything. Plus, you can often find quality items used that will still help your place look nice without spending a fortune.
You need insurance for your home and your personal property.
Insurance isn’t something most people moving out for the first time think about, but it is a critical item.
Most people will avoid insurance because they feel that they have enough expenses to worry about. I get the sentiment, but you can’t neglect insurance.
I don’t want to turn this into a huge post about renters insurance, but you need to protect yourself and your belongings.
Why do you need renters/homeowners insurance?
- Renters insurance will replace your items in the event of a covered loss (theft or damage). This refers to everything from your laptop to your furniture. You may think that you don’t have that much stuff, but you would be surprised by how valuable your items are when you start calculating everything. You don’t want to be stuck paying out of pocket for everything if a flood or theft were to occur.
- You’ll have a place to stay if your unit gets damaged. Insurance would cover you so that you’re not stuck begging friends for a couch to sleep on if your place were to get damaged. You would have a hotel to stay in, meals covered, and even other expenses covered (dry cleaning, for example).
- You’d be protected legally if someone were to sue for damages sustained on your property. This is likely the last thing on your mind, but you can easily get sued if a friend were to get hurt on your property or if a stranger were to fall on your property. Insurance would cover your personal liability and your insurance costs.
I don’t want to be the fun police. I want you to be insured and protected so that you can sleep at night knowing that you’re covered if something were to happen. My place was flooded last year, and my renter’s insurance policy saved me at least $20,000 in damages.
It can be a bit confusing but put simply if you are renting you should get renters insurance and if you buy a place you should have homeowners insurance.
You have to find ways to save money.
Here’s one thing that you learn as you get older: Nobody will help you save money. Your parents can only help you so much, and you don’t want to sour relationships with friends by borrowing money.
It’s on you to look for ways to save money. This is why it’s important that you make saving a priority until your income increases and you have enough savings to feel comfortable.
How do you look for ways to save money?
- Try to bundle your services. You can bundle your insurance packages to save.
- Go without a subscription. You don’t want to be spending all of your money on fixed expenses that you have. Don’t forget to cancel those trial runs.
- Try to bring in some extra money. Can you work a part-time job or work on a side hustle? We recently looked at the best online jobs if you’re interested.
I know that saving money isn’t the most glamorous thing to be focused on when you’re moving out for the first time, but saving for now and for your future is critical to your long-term financial success and money goals. Saving money can also be hard to sustain, but some great tips will help you stay motivated to save money.
Check out these tips for starting your financial foundation off on the right foot and see where you may need to make adjustments.
Moving out for the first time will likely be one of the most exciting times of your life, and I want you to enjoy it.
However, I want you to also think about your finances and your future to get started on the right foot and avoid falling flat on your face. There are many things to consider and plan for when moving out for the first time, but hopefully, these 5 things will get you started on the right path.
Now, get out there and start enjoying your freedom!