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Serevaetse's avatar

What should I know before moving out on my own for the first time?

Asked by Serevaetse (766points) September 15th, 2010

Ok, so I am an 18-year-old girl. Going to college, has a job, and enjoys independence. I live with my mother, and we all know how that goes. She does a lot for me, but then I ‘owe her’ for it. I’d like to just live on my own.

So my question is, is there more to just moving out then I would assume?
Is there things I should know about it, like how much I should have saved up before I attempt to live on my own, should I apply for food stamps, should I get two jobs, what should I do to prepare myself properly and to have a successful life of my own? Suggestions, ideas, past experiences, anything would be wonderful.

Thank you.

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17 Answers

wgallios's avatar

Don’t run up any credit card debt. Try to live on cash as much as possible I say. Other then that, have fun, be safe, and don’t drive drunk =D

wundayatta's avatar

Obviously, you need a place. You will have to look at ads on the internet, and trek around to see the places. You should have an idea of your criteria. For example, I hate street noise. I didn’t know that when I first found a place. Later on, one of my top criteria was finding a place it was quiet.

You can negotiate with landlords. But find a place you can afford.

That means you have to do a budget. On one side is the income you have. On the other, your expenses. Make sure your income is greater than your expenses, or else you can’t afford to live that way. Your budget should include house, food, utilities, cell phone, internet, entertainment, transportation at the very least.

If your expenses are greater than your income, you will be in trouble. You will be tempted to use credit cards to pay for things and then not pay off in full. DO NOT DO THIS!!!!! Do not take on any credit card debt at all! Pay it off in full every month! now @wgallios is there before me

Find a good job. Use public services if necessary (Medicaid, food stamps, etc). Get an education. The more education you have, the more money you will make over the course of your life and the happier you will. Money can’t buy you happiness, but it sure can pave the road to happiness.

DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar

The first thing to do is to draw up a budget. Figure in:

1. Housing
2. Electricity/Water/Trash
3. Phone
4. Car Payment
5. Car Insurance
6. Cable/Internet
7. Food
8. Clothing
9. Health Insurance
1O. Outstanding Loan Payments (College, Cards, etc)

When you have calculated all this…as your monthly expenditures add another $300 as cushion and that will be your estimated monthly living expenses.

To move out, you will have to calculate any deposits on apartments, too as a one time deal.

Answer the Questions:

1. If I can rent…do I rent an apartment or a room in a house? How much is that costing these days?
2. If I rent an apartment, I will need a deposit, one or two months is the usual…do I have that much saved yet?
3. I will also need deposits for utilities (usually) I have that?
4. Will I need a car? Or can I get other transport? (Figure in insurance/car payments/transport)
5. Will I have to pay back any college loans?
6. Do I have insurance?

Put this all in a notebook and start doing the math….see what you can come up with. I know that you want to live alone, but it costs a lot of money, more than you probably envisioned. If you still want to do it, be prepared….and save, save, save for the move.

Good luck!

PS I agree with previous posters….do not use credit cards!

Randy's avatar

Know the value of money and how to set up a realistic budget and you’ll do fine.

Serevaetse's avatar

@DarlingRhadamanthus and @wundayatta: Thank you so much, those are very great answers and just what I was looking for. I am still open to more answers, but those helped so much. Thank you (: I have been saving up money for quite some time. I am a girl who doesn’t go shopping for clothes, eats healthy, and doesn’t feel the need to buy things that are a waste of money. I have started a notebook to keep track of expenses, but since the job I have is fairly new, I still need to wait a few months to see what my ‘average’ income will be. Thanks again, you’re a big help (:

Austinlad's avatar

May I also suggest that you add an item into your budget called “Unexpected Expense” and set aside a small amount of money each paycheck just for this? Because no matter how carefully you plan your expenses—and you’re certainly off to great start by asking this question—you can expect unexpected ones to crop up from time to time.

Cruiser's avatar

You can take all the suggestions above and start living on a simulated budget while you are still at home. If you don’t already have one get a savings/debit account and start “paying the rent” and other bills you expect to have. Watch every penny you spend and prove you can do this. A good job is everything to cutting the cord with home and two jobs may be a good idea until you meet and exceed your desired standard of living. Try to plan to save at least 10% of your income for investment and unforeseen emergencies only!! Good luck!

zzc's avatar

I managed apartments for a number of years that had a lot of first time renters. Get some ear phones so you can listen to your music at hours and volumes without bothering others. It’s important to be considerate of those around you, with parking, having guests, watching TV, when you decide to move furniture or dance, talk on the phone etc. People don’t realize how loud they are and how sound travels to the people living in apts. around and over and under you. If you have to go outside to talk on the phone, remember the volume. You actually may not have as much freedom, in some ways, as at home….and the tolerance for your schedule and noise. People work and sleep all sorts of schedules, so you have to be considerate all the time. Walls are thin. You may not have the privacy you have at home. Neighbors watch and listen to each other, be aware of that. Make sure your mail is secure. Are you familiar with shopping for food? Make a grocery list and stick to it, Look at the ads and buy foods that are on sale, seasonal, local, use coupons, don’t buy impulse food, realize junk and desserts are costly. Do you cook other than cereal, opening cans and microwaving frozen food? Are you familiar with doing your own laundry and ironing? Laundry is an expense you need to add to your budget. When you rent, consider, where will you do your laundry? How far do you have to go, how much will it cost (coin operated?) laundry soap, fabric softener, stain removal products cost and you have to haul them to where you do wash and back. Will you be exposed to the weather going and coming from where you do laundry? Be sure to check the condition of the washer & drier before you use them…you’ll be real unhappy, if you wash good clothes right after the construction worker that had tar and rocks left over! And be considerate of those that follow you. There will be others wanting to wash, so do yours in a timely fashion, don’t go off and leave laundry in the washer. Don’t leave a mess, use other’s products, and clean the lint filter before, for efficiency and after, to be considerate. Cleaning products supplies and equipment are another expense, as are paper products (like T.P.) that are forgotten, in the budget. Are you used to buying your own shampoo, conditioner, feminine products? You’ll find out about how much long showers cost, or leaving lights on and heat up etc. Find out about the cheapest places to shop, like the Dollar store and discount and thrift stores. Think about having renter’s insurance. Consider safety and security when looking for a place. Potlucks are a good way to entertain. Netflicks instead of going out to movies. Realize you will have to be patient and tolerant of your neighbors, because they may not do some of the above. Good luck!

deni's avatar

If you can do it without taking out loans and getting a credit card then you should. Save up a little bit of money and keep working so you have a steady income and never need to resort to the aforementioned two things which we all know only turn out badly. And when it comes to furnishing, seriously, PLEASE, hit up thrift stores. If you find good ones, you can get some awesome shit at a tiny fraction of what it would normally cost. Its more expensive than you think it will be, because there are things you never even take into consideration. Especially basic baking and cooking products, spices, etc. It all adds up. But its worth it. Good luck.

Nially_Bob's avatar

Having read the previous comments (each offering excellent advice) all I have to add is to not have overwhelming expectations of your living space. It’s difficult to realise how hard your family has worked to get their cosy home and indulgent possessions until you’ve become independent of them. That’s not to say that you have to live in perpetual misery in a downtown warehouse but just note that you’re not likely to have as much space and luxuries at your disposal as you may be accustomed to; it’s important to adapt to this rather than immediately spending vital money on $60/month internet and satelite TV to feel more at home.
Oh, and have fun! Independent life has its ups and downs but having experienced it once you’ll never want to give it up :)

filmfann's avatar

You are going to put on about 15 pounds that first year.
Setting up a place to live is expensive. Salt, pepper, peanut butter, butter… all that stuff will end up costing a lot. You should have $1500 in the bank, and be ready to spend it.
Suddenly being by yourself can cause depression.
Make a schedule, and stick to it. When you are on your own, it’s easy to start losing lots of sleep, and it’s hard on your health.

zzc's avatar

Oh yes, I meant to mention setting up a kitchen, pots, pans, utensils adds up- look at garage sales, estate sales. Those are also good for bed and bathroom linens. Does your area have FreeCycle? It’s things people will give or trade. Another source are consignment stores, but usually more than those I’ve already mentioned, for furnishings. I don’t know where you want to live. I recommend second floor, at least, rather than first floor apts., for security. If your family is one that doesn’t lock doors, develop the habit. Always, always make sure you have your keys. Manys the renter who locks themselves out. It is common, besides first and last month’s rent to also have to pay cleaning and damage deposits. Find out how much they are, is any of it refundable, and what you have to do before you are refunded those deposits. Many think running the vacuum around gets their cleaning deposit back. The apt. has to be clean for the next renter, if the management has to clean the kitchen, stove, oven, refrigerator, bathroom etc., don’t count on a full, if any refund. READ your rental agreement. Have the info. ready, so you can fill out the rental application. I always liked to see a parent with a first time renter and/or ones that have parents as emergency contacts. Being on good terms with your folks, always was a good sign, as a manager. Be prepared to give personal references. Be sure to have any damages documented, dated and signed by the manager, so you don’t get nailed for it when you move out and you don’t get your damage deposit back, if it is refundable. If you’re a pet person, realize there are restrictions, rules and fees 9 commonly, not refundable) that go with them (besides the food and vet expenses). Have you ever lived alone? You may be surprised how lonely or stir crazy you can become, just because you’re used to someone else being in the house. If you decide to have someone move in, to help with expenses, realize you have to go through the manager, or there can be trouble. Young people having unknowns move in and out, is not cool, as a manager. Having housemates, that deserves a question all it’s own!!! You have gotten really good input by responders, can’t echo the don’t go into debt, over extend or use credit cards, enough! Start humble and build as you are able. It actually can be fun planning, budgeting and getting, in a wise manner, nicer things. But in the meantime, a cardboard box with material over it serves just fine as an end table! Oh yeah, and think of multi-use furnishings, like a trunk as a coffee table, can be used for storage too. Look at magazines, the internet etc. for decorating ideas. Articles on decorating dorm rooms would be helpful. And don’t let “friends” take advantage of you, usually catches young people off guard, can be done in many ways, be alert for it, it’s trouble you want to head off!!! It’s all an adventure and can be great, but takes some planning and foresight. Be smart about it! Good luck!

Artistree's avatar

The toilet doesn’t clean itself.

sliceswiththings's avatar

General home upkeep stuff. I was shocked that in my first apartment last year I was the only one of the four of us who was aware of all the stuff that goes into upkeep. If you’re somewhere that gets cold you push up the screens and pull down the storm windows in the winter. If the house will be empty for a long time in the winter, you’re in danger of the pipes freezing, so keep the thermostat at at least 50 degrees. You’ll need to unhinge the shower drain to take chunks of hair out every few months. Know how to plunge a toilet. Don’t be afraid to administer your own mouse traps, flypapers, ant things, whatever. Taking out the trash. What to do with those annoying pizza boxes.

Even though I felt prepared, I called home all the time to ask my parents stuff. For example my burner turned off mid-cooking and I didn’t notice, so I called to make sure my kitchen wasn’t full of gas, and they told me. You’ll realize what you’re used to your mom doing for you once you move out.

Good luck!! Being on your own is super fun. You’ll feel super grown-up and independent. You might need a little guidance for things, but I’m sure you’ll have no trouble finding answers.

DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar

You sound like a fabulous young woman….I know that you will do well especially if you are already keeping a notebook and charting everything. One thing to do is to stay positive and keep visualizing what you want.

Get another notebook…:) This is your “fun” notebook. Find one that really appeals to you or get a plain one and decorate it. This is your “Dream Notebook”.

In it, keep sections for all the things you want to attract into your life.

Keep a section for : House/Apt and cut out photos from magazines of what you would like your apt to look like or things you would like to put in there when you have it.
Keep a section for: Education and put a photo of a library, students, a photo of you and next to you write: Diploma, B.A. (or whatever you are studying)
Keep a section for: Qualities I Want and find words in magazines (Joy, Love, Gratitude, Prosperity) or write them out and illustrate them.
Keep a section for: Spirit/God and put things in there that symbolize your faith
Keep a section for Family: Put pictures of your family and/or the things that symbolize that for you.
Keep a section for Love/Relationship and put pictures of things that symbolize that for you, including friends, too.

Keep a section for all the different things that you want to bring into your life But at the bottom of each page write: “May this or what is the best for me come into my life in the highest and most wonderful way.”

One of the best books for you to read and to inspire you is this (you can get a used copy for 91 cents and postage——though I’m not sure where you live. But even if you live in Europe you can get it at amazon or the book depository) Here it is:


(Make sure it’s the women’s edition that you buy…Game of Life for Women)

And keep coming back to the Fluther with your questions…as you can see from the answers above….we all care!

Serevaetse's avatar

To everyone: I don’t have time to reply since I am leaving to california, but I have skimmed through all of your answers and can’t wait to read them in depth and respond to each of you.
Thanks and I will reply soon!!

livingchoice's avatar

Here are my top 5

1. Create a budget of things you are going to spend your money on (rent, utilities, transportation etc.) and include all income.
2. Be sure to put away a little cash for emergencies or to buy your first home.
3. Be VERY cautious when using your credit card. Shun debt like a poison.
4. Shop around for EVERYTHING – Before I buy anything I look to see if i can get if for free on or really cheap off If those two fail then and only then do I go to a store.
5. Don’t drink/text and drive and don’t let your fiends drive drunk.

Be true to yourself and take care.

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