So you’re all grown up and ready to move out to your first grown up place! Maybe you’ve just graduated college (or not). Maybe you just don’t want to live in the gross dorms anymore so you found an apartment with friends. Maybe you’re fortunate enough to have even bought your first place…congrats! Regardless of the circumstances, this is exciting and probably (understandably) a little nerve-wracking. Here are a few tips I have for you to help you prepare for this next adventure. These tips are primarily for someone getting ready to move into a rental.
You’re going to need a financial buffer for all those “other” costs.
There’s more to consider than just your monthly rent. You will most likely have an application fee and at least first month’s rent due in advance (maybe more if you don’t have much of or a good credit history).
If your apartment doesn’t cover your utilities (and most don’t anymore) then you might have fees/deposits to set up utility accounts under your name.
Moving costs-moving truck rentals, boxes, some pizza and beer as payment to the suckers you con into helping you move…
Furnishings for your new place. If this is the first time you’re leaving your parents house then you are probably going to need a lot but even if you’ve lived away from home before, whether it be a dorm or somewhere else, I can assure you that you will still need some new things for your new place.
Other miscellaneous expenses: internet, streaming services/cable, laundry money if you don’t have hookups in your apartment.
My 5 Most Important Tips
Create a dummy budget before you move.
Set up a budget with your anticipated expenses and see if you can make that work with your current income. Plug in the rent of the place you’re interested in and add in the utility bills you’ll be responsible for. Don’t forget to budget in your food and miscellaneous grocery costs (toilet paper is not cheap!). Will your new location increase or decrease the amount of of gasoline you budget for now?
Ideally you will do this at least a month if not two before you plan to move. I’m assuming for most people moving for the first time that this is going to be a huge increase in what you’ve been paying (especially if you’ve been living at home and mom and dad have been paying for most of your stuff!) Start living off this new budget and and putting the extra expenses into your savings account.
Example: Your current monthly expenses are $300 living at home (thanks mom and dad!). Living in the swanky new apartment with granite counter tops and infinity pool is going to cost you $1400 a month (it’s going to cost more than that but let’s just keep the math simple for this example). You need to go ahead and pay your current $300 of living expenses and put that extra $1100 into your savings. If you can easily manage this with your paychecks then great, you’re getting used to paying the increased expenses AND you now have some money in savings. If this is a struggle on you financially then you either need to reconsider your move or adjust your budget to make it financially feasible.
2. Reach Out and Let Your People Know What You Need
Let people know what you need. You will be surprised at what people might have for you. I would much rather give something to people I know rather than trash items or donate to random places. Someone might be shopping for a brand new couch and be thrilled for you to have their comfy, broken in one that is perfect for a first apartment.
3. Renter’s Insurance
This is non-negotiable! Most apartment rentals will require this. If they don’t, get it anyway! It’s relatively cheap and believe me, $20 or so a month is small change if a catastrophe were to happen and you would need to replace your possessions. Take a look around and start thinking about how much everything would cost to replace on your own.
4. Set Ground Rules With Your Roommates
It’s hard to live with people. I don’t care if it’s a spouse, if it’s your kids, if it’s your very favorite BFF. I would definitely tall ahead of time about what’s important to you with your living arrangements.
Who is going to be in charge of keeping the place clean? Is a household of frequent guests at all hours good with you? Sleepovers allowed if your roommate has a significant other? Are you sharing a bathroom? Who gets it first in the morning if you both have to be at work early?
I guarantee you there will be things that come up but early discussions might curb some arguments. And remember, you’re probably not as easy to live with you as you really think you are either!!
5. Pay Your Rent On Time
Paying your rent on time is essential! It’s key to building a good credit history and it’s the right thing to do. If you’re grown up enough to live on your own then be sure you’re grown up enough to handle your financial responsibilities. That means rent gets paid before you throw that great party for your friends or head out on a long vacation with your friends to the lake or Vegas.
Ultimately, enjoy your new adventure! It’s exciting being on your own. You’re going to make mistakes because that’s part of life but it’s all good.
What other tips do my readers have for the young people out there?