The new year is approaching, and for many people, that means a fresh start. While more and more millennials are staying in their family homes for longer periods of time, most of them want to move out as soon as they can. However, there’s a reason so many young people are spending more time in their childhood home. The cost of rent has skyrocketed in a number of major cities. Plus, the job market can be extremely difficult to navigate. Moving out has become more burdensome than ever before. When you do finally feel prepared to leave the nest, here are five tips to guide you along the way:
1. Have Enough Saved
Going out on your own can be pretty costly. The security deposit, new furniture, monthly rent, groceries, and utilities can all add up quickly. Right when you think you have enough saved up to move out, you should probably save some more. The first few months on your own will seem overwhelming when it comes to finances. However, after a few months on your own, you should be well-prepared for any curveballs that come your way. To help give you an idea of how much you should save in a given city, check out our cost of living calculator.
2. Try to Find Roommates
You may want to have an apartment all to yourself, but that can be unrealistic with rent as high as it is now. Finding roommates allows you to live in apartments you could never afford on your own. Additionally, living with others can help you make the adjustment to independent adulthood without being completely alone. Sure, roommates can sometimes cause headaches. Arguments about splitting utility costs, cleaning, or noises will certainly happen. However, the positives of savings and possibly friendship far outweigh the negatives when it comes to having a roommate.
3. Time it properly
Certain times of the year are busier than others. If you’re in the midst of a really stressful time of year at work or school, that may not be the time to move out. While it can be difficult, try your best to find a slower time of year. That way, you can work on planning your move and saving up as much as possible. Another factor to consider is that apartment leases usually begin at certain times of the year. In most cities, summer is the most common season for people to move into apartments. With all of the turnover, the early summer should leave plenty of apartment vacancies. On the other hand, the demand for leases that begin in the summer could lead to higher rental rates. Planning exactly when to move out is a balancing act between your schedule, apartment availability, and your parents’ wishes. You may never find a perfect time to move out, but make sure you’re ready to go and not rushed.
4. Plan a Budget… and Stick to It
When you live with your parents, you may be paying no rent at all, or paying a drastically reduced rate. When you’re paying little or no rent, keeping a strict budget may not be as necessary. Even if you spend on food and entertainment, you will still save more than you would be if you were paying rent. Moving out on your own will require much more careful planning. Rent and utilities will take up a good chunk of your paycheck each month. If you were used to being able to go out for lunch every day or going to the movies every weekend, your habits may have to change. Of course, living on your own doesn’t mean you can’t have any fun. However, when you’re personally responsible for your finances, you’ll find that you have to be more selective when it comes to your social life and entertainment.
5. Don’t Eat Out, Buy Groceries
Most Americans are fully aware that preparing food at home is much cheaper than eating out. And yet, according to a 2016 Time article, Americans spend more per year eating out than on groceries. In a big city, the average meal at a restaurant can run as high as $15 and maybe even $20 per person. While going to the grocery store and spending $70-100 may seem like a lot, that food can last you for weeks and sometimes even months if you freeze it. On the other hand, every time you go to a restaurant, you are paying for one single meal and maybe a few leftovers. Yes, going to the grocery store and cooking can be a hassle. However, you can save hundreds and maybe even thousands of dollars per year by limiting meals outside your kitchen.
Moving out of your parent or guardian’s home is a big step for many young adults. While the big move comes with plenty of excitement, it also requires plenty of preparation. Obviously, the first step to moving out is making sure you have enough saved up. Next, it’s a good idea to find roommates and the right time to move. Once you’ve moved into your new apartment, you’ll quickly have to adjust to personal financial responsibility. By keeping a meticulous budget and staying in more than eating out, you should still be able to save a little bit each month. After a few months of living on your own, you’ll be an “adulting” pro!