Living on your own is something we all dream of; what’s not to like about no pesky parents or roommates, no curfews, and no rules! But with great power comes great responsibility. And with this new freedom, here is what you need to know when moving out for the first time.
What You Need
It is tempting to buy the most fun bits and pieces, but that doesn’t come until later in the process. Start with these first to make sure you’re off to a great start.
- Home basics. There are many great checklists already online. Start here first, then splurge on the fun stuff afterward. Things like a plunger, trash bags, and a shower curtain aren’t as fun as an extra gaming controller and that fabulous wall décor, but trust us, you don’t want to go without them.
- Get your finances in order. Ideally, your job is nearby, or you work from home. Don’t fall into the temptation of signing a lease that’s out of your price point (usually a third of your monthly income), or else your stress will make it hard to enjoy the change.
- Renter’s insurance. Some apartments require this, but if they don’t, you should still consider getting some. It’s a meager cost and is addable to your car insurance policy. Rental insurance covers everything inside the home if anything is ever flooded or stolen.
- Learn the area. Spend some time the first week learning where the neighborhood essentials are: urgent care, grocery store, a gym, and a 24-hour vet if you have a pet. Branch out from here by exploring new streets to get to these places.
What You Don’t Need
Contrary to what vlogs and marketing campaigns tells you, there isn’t a real need to squeeze as many items as possible into your new crib.
- Buying things on impulse. Give it some time before you completely furnish and decorate a place. Shop around for better prices from other stores, local marketplaces like Craigslist, or thrift stores. You may also find hand-me-downs from friends or family.
- Doubles of items. If you are living with a roommate, coordinate buying items for the house. You don’t need two complete sets of forks or two pots the same size.
- Too much stuff. Stick with the necessities until you know that you can afford everything, have money left over for emergencies, and have extra money to spend.
You never know what costs can blindside you. While things like rent and car payments are predictable, there are just as many irregular expenses waiting right around the corner. Having a solid rental insurance policy can help protect you. Plan for your future self and learn what you need to know when moving out for the first time.
- Everything. No, but really. It’s hard to imagine how much things add up, like toilet paper or olive oil. Even a few of $25 trips a week adds up to over couple hundred dollars a month.
- Vet or doctor trips. Getting sick is rarely convenient or cheap. Always have at least a few hundred extra dollars lying around in case you or your pet need to make a trip to the doc.
With a few preparations, you’re all set with everything for a successful leap into this next chapter!