Whether you've recently hit 18 or are pushing 30, if you're still living with mom and dad and looking to move out on your own for the first time, be prepared to spend a hefty sum of money. Some expenses, such as first and last months' rent and a security deposit on your new place and furnishings, may be expected, while others, like your first big trip to the grocery store and cleaning supplies, may surprise you.
No actual statistics exist on how much it costs, on average, to move out of your parents' house. This is, in part, because costs for renting the same calibre of apartment can vary wildly depending on location. Making things ever harder to quantify is the fact that while an 18-year-old may have no choice but to rent a place of his own, someone who has been living with her parents for a decade while working to sock away money may also be moving out for the first time, but into a house she's just purchased. Another challenge is that housing is not the only expense: While some people will need to furnish an entire apartment, others may have hand-me-down furnishings and may need to purchase very little.
Finding Your Housing Cost
In the absence of national statistics, you will need to do some work to come up with an average of what it may cost you to move out of your parents' home. First, research rents in the area you plan to live. Triple that, since most landlords expect first and last months' rent, plus a security deposit. Aim to spend no more than a quarter of your net income on rent, suggests The Dollar Stretcher website. If necessary, consider a roommate arrangement. If buying, look at housing costs in your area for the type and size of housing you need, as well as how much you can afford to pay in mortgage, taxes and homeowners' insurance each month.
While housing will be the biggest cost associated with moving out of your parents' house, it won't be the only one. If you need furniture, new furnishings can wipe out your savings. Instead, look for used furniture at local thrift or consignment stores; add a few hundred dollars to the purchase of used furniture for delivery and steam cleaning. You may also need to make deposits to get your electricity and water turned on, and that will require a couple hundred dollars, too. Expect to spend another few hundred dollars on your first trip to the grocery store, as you'll not only need your usual groceries, but things like cleaning supplies.
When preparing to move out of your parents' home, it's important not just that you can afford the actual move, but that living on your own is a sustainable enterprise. Create a budget of all your monthly expenses, such as rent, utilities, groceries, gas, car and renter's or homeowner's insurance. Your tally should be smaller than your total take-home pay. In 2007, the median monthly housing cost (rent, utilities, and garbage and trash collection) for renter-occupied homes was £490, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. On the other hand, a survey of rents across the country by Rentjungle.com found that in 2010, Americans were paying an average of £706 a month for rent alone, noted a UPI.com article.
The loss of a job or an unexpected expense like pricey car repairs can leave you scrambling for money if, like a lot of people, you're living paycheck to paycheck after moving out of your parents' house. Aim to create an emergency savings account. Live under your means so you can put money into the account each pay period. That way, when the unexpected happens, you don't find yourself having to make the move back to mom and dad's.