Moving out of your parents’ house and into your apartment can be terrifying, exhilarating, or both. You might be worried about making it on your own in the real world and whether you can handle living without your mom’s home-cooked meals, but there are plenty of resources to help you make this transition as smooth as possible. Check out these eight tips on how to live on your own, plus some pro tips from other young adults who have already made the jump.
1) Before You Move Out
Regardless of how long you’ve been saving up or how confident you are in your plans, being prepared is always a good idea. Moving out of your parents’ home is often quite an undertaking. You might want to take advantage of their experience by writing down a list of questions that they can answer. Having an idea about everything from cost to moving companies will help make the transition easier and ensure you don’t leave anything important behind when it comes time to pack up and move out. And as hard as it may be, try not to rely too much on your parents—they’ll still be there after you move out!
2) Decide What Kind of Space You Want
Think about what kind of space you want to live in. Do you like having your bedroom, or are you more comfortable in a shared area? Will your living situation be permanent or temporary? You’ll want to figure out how much rent will cost and how many roommates you’re likely to have. If you’re sharing with another person, they will already know what part of the house is yours. One trick: If there’s room on a floor plan that lists bedrooms and their corresponding dimensions, put your name next to one of them; people will think they can kick you out at any time! Also, be sure to look into whether utilities are included—or not—in your rental price. In some cases, it may make sense to get an electric heater instead of a full-on furnace; when it comes to utilities like water and electricity, consider getting something smaller than you might initially expect. The less money you spend on utilities, the more money you’ll have leftover for other expenses (like food!).
What About All Your Stuff?
3) Find a Place That Fits Those Requirements
It can be hard to find a place that fits your exact needs, but there are some ways to make it easier. When searching for an apartment, prioritize a location that’s close to work and public transportation. If you’re looking for roommates, consider apartment building bulletin boards instead of online sites like Craigslist or apartment listing services. They tend to have more specific listings and are frequented by people who live in the area already. Finally, once you’ve found a place that meets your requirements and feels like a good fit—make sure you have enough money set aside for security deposits and other fees. These often cost thousands of dollars, so while they aren’t necessarily something you should avoid at all costs, know how much is typically expected of renters in your area before signing anything. Also, keep in mind that most landlords require at least one month’s rent upfront when you move into a new place. If you don’t have enough saved up, you’ll need to borrow from family or friends until payday rolls around again.
4) Know How Much Things Will Cost
One of the first things that new adults have to deal with when living alone is bills. There are many different types of accounts—electricity, gas, water and heating, telephone, and internet service (to name a few)—and they can vary significantly in cost depending on where you live. Before you decide which utilities to sign up for and how much to spend on them each month (especially before you make any commitments), run a quick search online to know exactly what your monthly bill will be. It will help keep your bank account healthy and happy; it’ll also help prevent your neighbors from kicking you out because of all those unpaid late-night pizza deliveries. (If you get kicked out, check out our guide to finding an apartment.)
But it’s not just utility bills that you need to budget for. Suppose there are things you want or need—like a television or computer, laptop or cell phone—research their prices at retailers in your area before shopping. New electronics like televisions, DVD players and computers tend to hold their value well. Still, after a year or two, even high-end models may become outdated and lose significant weight quickly if you decide to sell them again later. It’s still better than getting into credit card debt because an exciting model was released last week!
Also, don’t forget about regular household items like furniture, bedding and dishes: unless you’re lucky enough to inherit a table from family members who move away, buying everything brand new isn’t always cheap!
5) Talk to People Who Have Done It
Many people will tell you that living alone is lonely and boring, but that’s not always true. You can mitigate those fears by talking to other people who have lived alone before. There are plenty of resources—both formal (re: books and TV shows) and informal (friends or family). If you’re nervous about it, take someone with you for apartment hunting. Having a lousy roommate story is common among post-college professionals, so don’t be afraid to get honest advice from friends who have been through it before!
6) Prepare Yourself Emotionally and Financially
There’s no doubt about it: Moving out of your parents’ house and into a place of your own is a big step. It can be fascinating, but it can also be highly stressful. It’s essential to have everything in order before moving, including emotionally and financially. Do some soul searching first to know if living alone is suitable for you. If it is, start looking at apartments and preparing to pay rent and utilities by saving money or asking family members or friends if they will cosign a lease with you (many landlords require co-signers). That way, even if your credit isn’t perfect or you don’t have much cash saved up, you’ll still be able to find an apartment.
7) Get Help From Friends and Family To Live On Your Own
Moving into your first apartment or house is an exciting time in your life, but it can also be overwhelming. You’ll need to do things that you haven’t had to deal with before—like figuring out what furniture and household items you need, paying bills and buying groceries. Start by asking friends and family for help when you can. They will have more experience doing these things than you do, but they will also be less judgmental of your organizational skills (or lack thereof). If that’s not enough support, seek out a community group dedicated to helping young adults transition into living on their own.
8) Don’t Be Afraid To Live On Your Own
For many young adults, moving into their first apartment is an exciting—if nerve-wracking—experience. You’ll undoubtedly encounter things you aren’t used to yet, like cooking your meals or paying rent and utility bills every month. You may even face some tough decisions about whether or not to get a roommate. But remember: These are new challenges that are temporary. Don’t let them intimidate you; it will all be worth it in time! Instead of feeling overwhelmed by your situation, focus on taking it one day at a time and enjoying yourself while living independently.
Bottom Line How To Live On Your Own
Having your place is a good feeling. You do not have to answer mom or dad, but you’re also living life on your terms. But it’s not all pizza and beer—moving into a new apartment or house means learning new skills to live comfortably and happily (and cheaply). Here are 8 tips that will help make your first year of living on your own as comfortable as possible.