Moving Out of Home? Here are a few things to consider

201308-youth-focusThe decision to move out of home is both exciting and scary for many young people. You no longer have to be answerable to anyone about your whereabouts or what time you will be expected back. You don’t even have to fold your clothes or cook! But what if you’re unable pay your bills or afford the basics? With a well thought-out plan and careful consideration, moving out needn’t be a stressful event.

Though challenging in some ways, moving out can be a rewarding experience that helps you build a solid foundation for your future life. People move out of home for different reasons. Maybe you wish to live independently or need to move closer to your job. Or it could be the constant conflicts and disagreements with your family that have pushed you to this decision.

Whatever your reason for moving out, the independence that comes with being on your own is exhilarating. You are your own boss now. There’s no one to tell you what to do. Interestingly, this is one of the scary parts of moving out – being on our own. You no longer have the comfort of knowing that most things have or will be taken care of by your parents or guardians. You are responsible for paying your bills and covering all your expenses. Nevertheless, good preparation can help you take this life-changing event in its stride.

Proper planning…

If planning to move out, it’s vital that you have a stable source of income. Where are you planning to live and how much are you willing to spend on rent? Start looking for potential places months before you actually decide to move. Visit the places you are considering, look at the surroundings, and consider the convenience of living there in relation to your day-to-day activities. By the time you move out of home, it will be prudent for you to have money saved in advance, enough for at least three months rent.

Find out what you will need the most and if possible, start buying your basic household items before moving out. There are smart ways of saving even as you do this. Your parents, relatives or friends may have household items they don’t use or need anymore that they may be willing to give you for your new place. Also, be on the look out for sales and find out what you can buy at discounted prices or second hand. 

Before moving…

Once you have identified a place you are fairly confident you like and start making arrangements to move in, make sure you read and understand the lease (legally binding contract between you and the landlord, spelling out each of your rights and the rules you must abide by while living in the space) before signing. Ask for clarifications where you don’t understand.

Also ensure that you inspect the actual place you’ll be moving into. Try to visualise your furniture in that space. Take note of the number and location of phone and cable jacks and electrical outlets. Turn on the faucets and flush the toilet to make sure that there’s water and that it’s running properly (and that it isn’t of a different colour).

Examine the space for damage and request that serious problems be fixed before you move in. Also inspect the surrounding areas. Are the building’s hallways, common areas and parking lots clean and well lit? Is your cell phone getting reception?

When moving…

Moving can be a tiring affair so, if possible, get your family or friends to help with the packing. When packing, put aside all your valuable items like documents, jewellery, and electronic devices to avoid losing them. Also label your boxes so you know where everything is once you start unpacking. List items that need special packing and wrapping to avoid unnecessary damage.

If you will be hiring a moving company or transport to move your items, ensure that you find one that is known for good service and is reasonably priced. On the moving day, start early so you have time to move everything you need to your new place. Prepare a bag with personal essentials for the first few days in your new home before you settle in.

Budgeting…

When you finally move out and settle into your new place, you will need to budget your money more than ever before. Using your take-home pay, draw up a budget that includes necessary expenses, optional expenses and savings. Your necessary expenses will include your rent, utility bills and groceries, among others. Optional expenses may include eating out and entertainment. These are things you do not absolutely need to survive but that you may spend money on occasionally.

Note that the savings category is not optional. It’s very important that you put some money away for unexpected expenses, for instance, utilities that are higher than you had budgeted for, and any unexpected expense. Also, find ways to stretch your money by reducing your expenses. Avoid the temptation to eat out frequently and instead make your meals at home as this will go a long way in helping you save.

Turn lights off and unplug electronic items when not in use and also ensure that your taps are tightly shut to avoid water wastage. Do a little research and find a place where you can get your groceries and household items for the best price.

Published in August 2013