Maybe COVID-19 derailed your moving plans or you moved back home because you’re stuck in that liminal space between post-grad and job hunting. Whatever the reason may be, you now feel ready to move. The fact is, you’re not alone. A study conducted in September 2020 found that 52% of young adults in the United States currently live with their parents, and the unforgiving burden of student loans ranks chiefly among the reasons that are keeping young adults in their parents’ houses longer.
The newfound freedom of living on your own comes at a cost, so we’ve selected three important tips to help you prepare for life on your own.
1. Learn how to budget.
Learning how to make a budget and sticking to it is one of the first things you need to learn. This is because it can teach you how to make your money however little work for you. A budget can help you keep track of monthly expenses and income, but first, you need to figure out what your expenses will be. There are two types of expenses: variable, and fixed. Your fixed expenses stay the same each month, and your variable expenses are likely to change each month. Using your current income, figure out your cost of living to help you figure out how much you can spend on each category.
Your fixed expenses should include rent, health insurance, utilities, car payments, student loan payments, and transport. On the other hand, your variable expenses could include entertainment, groceries, and clothing. The fact that you’re moving out means that you don’t have any plans to move back home. This is why it’s so important to figure out how much you need to have saved up before you move out. To be on the safe side, have about six months of living expenses saved up.
Review old bank statements to figure out how much you spend in a month, and what you spend it on. This will give you a sensible idea of how much you’ll need to maintain your current lifestyle.
2. Learn how to find great deals.
Once you move out, you’ll need to set up utilities—electricity, internet, gas, water—in your name at your new home. Learn how to compare electricity providers, for instance, to find ways to save on your monthly electric bill. When you compare electric rates, you’ll be better placed to make informed decisions on the different types of electricity plans that are available to you at the lowest price.
As you do your research, also ask the prospective utility company about contract terms. For instance, will there be a penalty fee applied if you decide to break your contract? Also, to avoid any customer service hiccups, also ask who you should speak to for billing inquiries and other issues.
3. Figure out how you’ll pay rent.
Some cities are more expensive to live in than others, so depending on where you’re moving to, a roommate can help you keep your rent down. Not only will this help you save some money, but it can also allow you to live on a better side of town, or in a better apartment. Living with a new person can have its challenges, so it’s all about finding the right fit.
Some ways you can find a roommate are through a mutual connection, asking your network on social media, or using roommate finder apps. As you interview new roommates, ask about their daily schedule, whether they have a steady source of income, if they keep any pets, and if they have any allergies.
Finally, make sure that you’re ready to move by having your finances in place, doing your research, and making sure that you’re moving for the right reasons.