Moving Out: Are You Ready?
Between crippling student debt and a slow start in the job market, many young adults are delaying the move into their first apartments. Some are opting to move back in with Mom and Dad until they’re back on their feet financially.
That’s a good strategy, but it can get old. If you’re tired of Dad asking when you’ll get home at night, or Mom nagging you to pick up your socks, it’s time to start thinking about getting your own place.
Start by calculating whether you’ve got the financial wherewithal to go out on your own. Here are four factors to consider:
Q. Can you afford your own place?
Tally what’s coming in every month (i.e. your paycheck after taxes) and compare that to what you’ll need to get by. Estimate how much you’ll pay for rent, utilities, groceries, car payments and gasoline, renters’ insurance, loan payments, and any other monthly costs. Then face the facts. If you can’t make ends meet, you can’t afford to move out. You can, however, start looking for ways to make it work. Can you share costs with a roommate? Bring in extra cash with a side hustle?
Q. Can you afford the move?
You’ll need some cash to cover the cost of the move itself, including hiring movers and paying a deposit for the apartment lease, which can run as high as one or two months of rent, depending on the local market. You’ll also need to make deposits for utilities like electricity.
Q. What will you need to set up housekeeping?
If you don’t already own some furniture and basic household supplies, you’ll need to purchase these or find a way to get them. Make a checklist of needed items. Shop garage sales and thrift shops for bargain prices on gently used furniture. Also shop the Mom and Dad Mart, if you can. Maybe your parents have been thinking of getting rid of that old sofa in the basement anyway; now’s the time to claim it!
Q. Can you cover emergencies?
Once you sign a lease, you’re responsible for your monthly rent. If you can’t pay, you’ll get evicted AND seriously ding your credit rating. If you’re living with your parents, now’s the time to open a savings account and accumulate enough cash to cover expenses, like rent, should you need a few months to find a new job.