I moved out when I was 16 years old.
I didn’t have much money; actually, I believe I had around 200$ in my bank account, and I didn’t even have a job yet. I moved from Portland, Oregon to Washington, and was lucky enough to have a family member reach out to me and let me rent one of their bedrooms.
My rent was 450$. Now, I know that’s not much at all but to a 16-year-old with no job, that was a lot. Let’s not take into account car insurance, gas, food, and my phone bill.
My first month was rent-free, I struggled to land a job, and my 200$ diminished quickly. After sending out resumes to every restaurant in the area and even begging a few restaurant managers for a chance, I finally landed a hostess position at an Olive Garden.
Moving out on your own is hard, and I was lucky enough to have family members that allowed me to live with them, but when I turned 20, I decided to go out of my comfort zone and move to a completely different state.
I saved some money, found an apartment in Los Angeles, and went for it. With that being said, here are 5 things you can do to move out on your own.
Limit your belongings
It’s tough to move around when you have a Uhaul truck. I limited all of my belongings to the necessities such as clothes, toiletries, my own pillow, and sheets; I also refused to let go of my book collection.
This allowed me to rent rooms that were already furnished, and it was a lot easier to move around instead of constantly worrying about bringing along kitchen supplies, a bed, TV, etc.
Before moving out, identify what you’re willing to let go of and try to sell it for some extra cash in your pocket. I was able to sell my bed, desk, and bookshelf to my cousin whom I lived with before moving to Los Angeles; I made an extra few hundred bucks for that.
Sell everything you never know what people are in need of, and even if you find yourself selling things for 5–10 bucks apiece, that will compound, and you’ll come out with a decent amount of money.
If you’re low on $$, get roommates.
This is a given, but if you know you can’t afford your own place, seek out a roommate situation. Whether that be your friends, or in my case, I stayed with family members. You’d be surprised by how many family members are willing to make a little extra money on the side, don’t be afraid to ask.
I was able to stay with my cousin, her husband, and their daughter for approximately one year; I babysat for them, helped clean and cook, and kept my cousin company while her husband was at work.
My next residence was another cousin who just so happened to be buying a house at the time and needed a new roommate. It was a two-story house, and my room was downstairs, which basically felt like I had my own place.
I went to college and worked in various restaurant jobs to pay all of my bills. Sometimes, it felt like I didn't even have a roommate because we were both so caught up in our own lives.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with having roommates or living with family members, it’s not only fun, but it saves you a lot of money.
Plan your living situation accordingly
Depending on what you’ll be doing for money, you should try your best to find a place to live that’s fairly close to your job and/or school.
My first place was almost an hour's drive to the college I was attending; it was really annoying having to drive there for one class and drive back. The restaurant I worked at was a little over a 40-minute drive.
I’m not complaining; I’ve had commutes that were over an hour-long, but if you’re someone who struggles with time management, then try to put yourself in the best possible position to get to work and/or school on time.
Build your credit and stay on budget
Do you have a credit history? If you’re young, most likely not, which is completely okay. But, it’s in your best interest to get a credit card and start building it up.
I didn’t get a credit card for a long time, and if I had gotten one sooner, my credit score would have been a lot higher by the time I moved to Los Angeles.
One of the easiest ways to build your score up is by having bills in your name, so I took myself off my family’s phone plan and got my own. That was one bill in my name, another option would be to have your own car insurance instead of being on your family plan, but if you’re young, it’ll be a lot more expensive.
I allocated a certain amount of money for my bills, and the rest went straight into my savings account. I didn’t think twice about it. I had goals.
I saved $10,000 for my move to Los Angeles in under 3–4 months on top of paying off college expenses, rent, food, etc.
Practice good habits before you move out.
Unfortunately, when you move out, you’re not going to have your mom doing your laundry for you or cooking your dinner every night.
Start making those changes now and incorporate good habits into your life today rather than struggling to do it later. Pay attention to your cleanliness now; avoid letting your bedroom be a disaster for days on end.
Track your spending; how many lattes are you buying throughout the week when you have a perfectly great coffee machine at home? How often are you ordering Chipotle when you can buy all of the ingredients for under $20 and make 3–4 copycat chipotle bowls throughout the week?
Start creating a daily routine for yourself to prepare for the working world. You’re not going to be able to sleep in till noon every day, and you’re going to have to start going to bed early too.
When I moved out, one of the things I never considered before was having to buy my own toilet paper, paper towels, shampoo, body wash, soap, etc. Those things are pricey, and you won’t have mom around to change out your paper towel rolls anymore, so start doing it yourself now to make the transition as smooth as possible.
Moving out is hard, but it’s a great first step into adulthood. It allows you to gain a sense of responsibility that school or working doesn't offer. You don’t have people cleaning up behind you, or telling you to do x, y and z.
You’re all on your own, and you have the ability to make the best of this transition if you do it correctly.
Good luck, and have fun with it.