You hear the sound of freedom calling your name. If only you were out on your own, life would be so much better! Or would it?
Here are some things to consider before leaving the comfort and security of your parents’ home.
1. Do you currently live on a budget? You may feel don’t need a budget while living at home, and to some degree that is true. However, budgeting is a skill and a discipline that takes time to develop. You can’t expect to suddenly be financially disciplined if you haven’t been disciplined up to this point.
2. Do you know how much it will cost to live on your own? Obviously, you can’t know for certain how much various things will cost until you are actually living on your own, but with a little bit of homework, you can create a realistic projected future budget.
To create a realistic budget, start off by taking a look at what a typical apartment cost in your area. Then, ask around to find out what utilities such as electricity and gas will likely cost. Jot down everything you may need to spend money on not just in a typical month, but in a typical year. Be sure to include everything from car expenses (including a car payment, money for future repairs, gas, and insurance), groceries, clothing, utilities, and even things such as medical and dental expenses. Don’t forget to include money in your budget for fun!
Once you’ve added everything up, compare your budget to your income. Is your income more than sufficient to cover your projected budget? If you’re struggling to make your budget work on paper, it will be even harder to make it work in reality.
3. Do you know how to cook? While it’s not necessary to be a gourmet cook, you need at least basic cooking skills before you’re ready to move out on your own. Eating out all the time gets expensive, and sandwiches and canned soup get old fast. If you don’t already know how to cook, buy a basic cookbook and start preparing some meals on your own.
4. How are your housekeeping skills? You don’t need to be a domestic diva to live on your own, but you do need to now how to do basic housework such as mopping floors, washing dishes, cleaning the bathroom, vacuuming, and doing laundry.
5. Do you have a savings account? Life is unpredictable, and even seemingly steady jobs can come to a quick and unexpected end. If you become unemployed while living with mom and dad, you’ll still have a roof over your head and food to eat. But if you’re on your own and you lose your job, you may find yourself unable to pay your bills, unless you have a good-sized savings account that can tide you over until you find a new job. It’s a good idea to have at least three months of living expenses (based on your projected budget) socked away in a savings account before you move out on your own.
6. Do you currently have a good relationship with your parents? If you have a lousy relationship with your parents, you may be even more tempted to move out sooner rather than later, but it would be a good idea to mend broken relationships before moving. Moving out when you’re on bad terms with your parents will likely increase the rift between you and them. You may not be able to see it now, but maintaining a positive relationship with your parents and other family members is really important. If you don’t have family, what else do you have?
Moving out on your own is a big and exciting step. Following the above guidelines will help smooth out the bumpy road that is often encountered by those who are living on their own for the first time.