The day you move out of your parents’ house is a defining moment in your life. You are finally on your own and officially an adult. As a Millennial, you’re not the only one of your generation facing this major transition. Now the largest generation in history, Millennials are projected to make up 24 million new households between 2015 and 2025. As exciting as moving out and living on your own is, it’s definitely harder than TV shows make it seem. The first few years of living on your own will be more “2 Broke Girls” than “Sex and the City.” (Trust me.)
Before you begin packing your bags and renting your first place, make sure you are thoroughly prepared.
It’s Normal to Be Scared
As excited as you are, you are also probably nervous about the big move. This is natural. You’re faced with new responsibilities like budgeting your expenses. When you move into your new place, you will likely feel anxious about these things. Living on your own is hard, but it gets easier every month. You’ll get the hang of setting a budget and eventually you’ll remember to save your quarters for the laundromat.
Your First Place Won’t Be Your Dream Home
As much as we all want to live in our dream place right away, it’s probably not possible. The rule of thumb says your rent should be no more than 30 percent of your income after taxes, and at the very most it shouldn’t exceed 50 percent. Even if an apartment fits within this range, you also usually need a good credit rating or three months’ worth of living expenses saved for a landlord to consider you a serious tenant.
You Need a Budget After You Move, Too
You set a budget, saved as much as you could, and paid your first and last month’s rent on your first apartment. Congratulations! We hate to burst your bubble, but budgeting doesn’t end here. It’s critical to continue following a budget, particularly during the first year of living on your own. Based on your income and savings, evaluate how much you can afford to spend each month on groceries, utilities, and miscellaneous items. If you overspend in one category, cut back in another.
Expenses Quickly Add Up
While rent is typically your biggest expense, utilities also quickly add up. Closely monitor your water and electricity usage. Don’t let the water run long before jumping in the shower, and turn off the lights whenever you leave the room. Investigate less expensive options for Internet: research the types of broadband services you can get and decide which option is the right balance of speedy Internet and a low monthly bill. Avoid cable TV, which doesn’t come cheap, and consider an online streaming service, such as Netflix or Hulu, instead.
Your Furniture Will Be Exclusively From Ikea
Furniture quickly adds up — and if you’re moving out for the first time, you likely don’t own much kitchenware or furniture. If you haven’t already, you’ll soon discover IKEA and its inexpensive furniture that isn’t always easy to build. From $5 towels to $1 cups, it’s hard to beat this stellar Scandinavian chain’s cheap prices. If you’re on a very strict budget and aren’t ready to invest in your own furniture, rely on the kindness of family and friends to donate unused tables and couches.
Yes, You Need Renters Insurance
You may not have expensive furniture, but you still have a computer, TV, and other belongings. Don’t risk losing everything and having to start over. Renters insurance can cost as little as $12 per month —which you can easily make up by skipping a Starbucks run a few times each month.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask For Help
Just because you’re on your own now doesn’t mean you can’t turn to Mom and Dad — or other trusted friends — in times of need. While they may not be able to bail you out, they can provide support and guidance. Remember, they’ve been exactly where you are, even if it was what seems like 100 years ago.
Living on your own is a big moment in every Millennial’s life. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll learn how to fix a clogged toilet. Perhaps the greatest part of moving out is the simultaneous excitement and nervousness you’ll feel. Embrace it and savor the moments, good and bad. In 30 years, you can share these lessons learned with your kids.