Are you getting close to graduating high school and wondering How to Move Out at 18 and Afford It? This is one of the biggest milestones and important decisions young adults go through, with the freedom of moving out of their parents’ house and into your own place.
Everyone remembers their first apartment or home when they moved out of the nest. Ask any adult and you are bound to hear a story about crazy roommates, late nights, and hand-me-down sofas.
Moving out on your own for the first time can be one of the most exciting milestones of your life: the epitome of freedom, autonomy, and the beginning of a new life. However, when moving out unprepared for what lies ahead, everything escalates from exciting to terrifying in a split second.
Set yourself up for success before moving out! In this guide, we will show you everything you need to know about sustainably affording your own living situation, so you are not blindsided with fear and hidden expenses down the line.
Make a Plan to be Successful
If you want to be successful in moving out of your family home and into your own place, than the best thing you can do is create a plan. This sounds boring, but it is vital step on moving out the right way. Not planning your move is a recipe for disaster and you will find yourself struggling instead of enjoying your newfound freedom.
The best way to come up with your plan is to brainstorm and write-down all the necessary steps and goals you need to accomplish to be able to move out. Create a timeline for how long you will have to complete these tasks and start working towards knocking them out.
Having a hard time coming up with your move out plan? Luckily just about every adult family member or friend that you already know has moved out of their parents’ home and into their own space.
These people can offer a wealth of knowledge and can be a huge help in moving out at 18, as many have been in similar situations. Ask as many people as you can and find out all the things that went right with their move and all the things, they wish they could have done differently.
Important things you should consider planning for that we will discuss later in this guide are:
- How will you generate a monthly income to pay for your housing, food, and expenses?
- How will you build your credit to show landlords you will be a good renter?
- Where do I want to live?
- How much of an emergency fund will I need?
- How will I save up enough to afford a security deposit to get my new place?
- What will your monthly budget look like? How much will my monthly expenses be?
- How will I furnish my new place?
- Will I have enough money to live on my own or will I need a roommate to afford my new place?
- What is your desired move out date? Pick a date and work towards it.
Generate an Income
Get a Job
Getting a job is the most obvious way to generate an income. Some important factors you should consider when choosing the right job for you are should you work a full-time job or can you get by with a part-time job.
Everyone’s expenses and financial situation are different, so figure out how much you will need. If you can afford it and are going to school than a part-time job is recommended.
Remember you don’t have to jump right into your desired career right away. Gaining experience from any job will be invaluable and give you the experience to move up.
Get a Side Hustle
Side hustles are a great way to earn extra money on top of your normal job and on your own schedule. Most young people won’t have a lot of money and will be living on a tight budget. So, figuring out extra ways to generate extra income are key, until your salary begins to improve with experience.
Side Hustle Ideas
- Start a Website
- Drive for Uber or Lyft
- Delivery food for apps like DoorDash or GrubHub
- Sell your crafts on Etsy
- Mow Lawns
- Teach a class
- Sell your services on Fiverr
Sell Unwanted Items
It is a good idea to sell all your unwanted items before you move out. This will not only get you some much needed cash, but also reduce the costs associated with moving all your items into your new apartment or home.
Get a Bank Account
Getting a bank account is one of the easiest steps in the process but choosing the bank that is right for you is an important decision.
Your bank account will be used for everything from receiving your paycheck to paying your monthly rent. Having a bank account will allow you to get checks and a debit card, which will make paying your expenses a lot easier. Just think of a bank account as a secure place to store your money. A bank can also help you with much needed financial help.
Some important questions you should ask when choosing the right bank for you are:
- Do they have a local branch?
- What are their fees?
- Do they have overdraft protection?
- How is there customer service?
- How do other customers rate them?
Build Your Credit
Often overlooked, building your credit is an important part of securing a new place to live. A good credit score shows potential landlords that you can be trusted financially and are likely to pay your rent on-time every month.
Here are some factors that affect your credit score and how to improve them:
Pay Bills On Time
Remember to always pay your bills early or on time. This factor accounts for up to 35% of determining your credit score.
Just remember to never spend more money than you currently have. and never go into credit card debt.
Your credit history and length of time your accounts have been open play a big role in determining your credit score. Unfortunately, due to your age this isn’t completely possible.
Try opening a secured credit card as early as possible to start building credit. A secured credit card is the easiest way to start building credit. They require a deposit upfront that will be used to guarantee the credit. For example if you have a $200 deposit, then your credit limit for the card will be $200.
Maintain a Low Balance on All Your Credit Accounts
Now that you have credit accounts goal is to not use more than 30% of your available credit at any given time.
This will help your credit score grow quickly and to show landlords that you are responsible enough to rent from them.
Monitor Your Credit
Use free tools such as creditkarma.com and creditsesame.com to monitor your credit status and stay on top of any issues that may occur.
Learn our method on how we got our credit score over 800 to start building yours today.
Build a 3-6 Month Emergency Fund
Everyone knows Murphy’s Law, where anything that can go wrong will go wrong at the worst time. You will find this out very soon after moving out on your own!
Some of the things that might happen are your car will break down, you will get a flat tire, you have an emergency with high medical bills, your computer or phone will break, or you could be laid off your job. These are just some of the expensive things that could hit you at a moment’s notice.
An emergency fund is your safeguard to protect you financially against these unexpected costs. It is recommended to have 3-6 months’ worth of expenses to cover these unexpected costs.
For example, if your total monthly expenses are $1,000 than you would want to have $3,000-6,000 saved up for emergency situations.
Check out our article on Why You Absolutely Need an Emergency Fund to learn the importance of this step.
Save for the Security Deposit
One of the most overlooked and largest expenses when moving into a new home is the security deposit. If you plan on renting an apartment or home landlords will require an initial security deposit that on average is equal to 1-2 months’ rent.
Creating your Move-Out Budget:
Don’t let the word “budget” scare you away. A budget is merely a plan of how you spend your money, and all the places it goes after you collect your paycheck.
A very important step before moving out is to make sure you are prepared to fend for yourself and figure out how much money you will spend in a month and to make sure it is less than your monthly take-home pay. Now, let’s create a plan. Grab a piece of paper, a pen or pencil, and be prepared with (roughly) the amount of money you currently make per month.
1. Monthly Rent
It is no secret that housing is one of the largest expenses you will encounter and many young . As a general rule of thumb, your monthly cost of rent should take up approximately 1/3 of your monthly pay before taxes. Here is how to calculate the maximum monthly rent you can currently afford:
Maximum Monthly Rent = (Dollars you earn per hour, before taxes) X (average number of hours you work per month) % 3
Example: $15 (per hour) X 120 (hours per month) % 3 = $600 per month on rent!
Not only is this a widely accepted budgeting technique, but also a must-have to get approved for a lease. After all, your future landlord wants to be sure you will reliably pay them month after month. It’s very common for application reviewers to only accept candidates who make triple what the monthly rent costs, so be honest about what you can or cannot afford.
2. Monthly Living Expenses
By this point, we have carved out the largest expense you will be paying: rent. Unfortunately, this is not where your living expenses will end. For example, will you be eating organic produce or only buying ramen? Will you need reliable internet? If your new home comes without a washer and dryer, where will you do your laundry? How will you keep the lights on??
Here is a common list of expenses that may fall into your budget, along with a realistic range for young adults living on their own:
- Groceries: $100-300 per month
- Internet: $25-50 per month
- Electricity: $100-200 per month
- Renter’s Insurance: $10-20 per month
- Transportation Costs (ex: bus pass, car insurance, parking, gas): $20-150+ per month
- Car Insurance: $ 100-200 per month
- Cell Phone: $50-150 per month
Remember, these numbers can depend on your living situation, geographic location, and more. Some of these categories may not apply to you, and you might have to add some in that we haven’t mentioned. These are the must-haves (food and electricity), not the nice-to-haves (dining out & Netflix subscriptions).
Above all, just remember to have a realistic budget. Don’t put a few numbers down because you think it’s what you should write, especially if you expect these spending amounts to end up vastly different.
3. Hidden “One-Off” Costs
Getting settled in a new place requires making some big purchases on essential items. Unless you are lucky enough to receive ample hand-me-downs, odds are you will need to stock up on some household goods.
At this point, you will find yourself purchasing things you never thought you would need: shower curtain hooks, dish drying racks, extension cords, drain clog remover, and the like. Fortunately, these should not be a regular monthly expense, but rather something you save up to purchase only a few times.
All these costs together can end up – you guessed it – pretty expensive if you don’t do your research first. Here are the best ways to save big on preparing your new home.
Your first home away from home will NOT end up looking like the cover of a catalog. Embrace this by picking up everything you need gently used. Check our your local thrift stores, or stock up from Goodwill, Facebook Marketplace, and Salvation Army.
Not only is secondhand shopping eco-friendly, but also a budget-friendly way to source costly furniture pieces.
Shopping secondhand is also a great option to stock up on products. Check out Goodwill for a new-to-you set of dishes. Look on Facebook Marketplace for some accent lamps and side tables.
There is also no shame in asking for hand-me-downs from family and friends! (Pro Tip: Facebook often has “Buy Nothing” groups where you can pick things up for FREE near you!)
However, you may not want to buy everything pre-owned. No one wants to be stuck with a used toilet plunger or pre-owned bed sheets! When you cannot find what you need secondhand, try out a discount store.
Most likely, you do not need to hire a moving company. Residential moving services are best meant for people with several truckloads of belongings to move. In addition, moving companies have to pay for staffing, insurance for the moving trucks, and all the rest of the overhead costs.
Who do you think pays these expenses? You, as the consumer. Good luck getting a quote from a moving company for under $1000.
Fortunately, you are not the only one in this position. Go the “old-school” route and find some people you know who are willing to help out. Borrow a friend’s pickup truck, plan a couple hours for hauling and moving, and offer to buy pizza and drinks for everyone at the end of the day.
There you have it; this is how everyone ages 18-25 can find help when moving for under $100.
“What if this doesn’t apply to me?”
Everyone’s financial journey looks different. The reality is that most young people do not have the opportunity nor privilege to move out at 18, seamlessly paying for anything they could ever want or need. Instead, we adapt and find alternative ways to make ends meet.
Here are some of the other most popular ways to make the move.
You either love them or you hate them. Moving in with a roommate is one of the best ways to afford living alone when you can split the costs with someone else.
Finding the right roommate can be a beautiful and memorable relationship, but also the source of stress and less-than-desirable living situations.
Choose your living partners wisely and take your time finding the right fit. This is a great option if you don’t have a lot of money and want to share costs.
2. Student Housing
It’s uncommon, but a prestigious university scholarship can provide you will free room and board. In other words, you could find a college to pay for your housing AND 3 free meals per day!
3. Find a Co-Signer
Being approved for a rental unit is not simple: it requires a good credit score, a proven history of income, and in some cases, references.
If you do not meet all these requirements, there is a powerful loophole to be taken advantage of. If there is someone you trust that is more likely to be approved, you can have them sign their name on the lease with you to build credibility. This process is known as co-signing.
By entering the lease, the co-signer is legally saying “I am 100% responsible for this lease and all of the financial obligations that come with it”. This option is most popular among family members, as parents often co-sign for their children to help support them.
4. Off the Beaten Path
As a young professional building your new life, you have more options than you may think.
For example, have you ever heard of AmeriCorps? Similar to the Peace Corps, this government program invites young adults to travel across the country with subsidized living expenses, in exchange for rewarding volunteer work.
If you have ever considered a future in the military, perhaps the cost of living allowances and military benefits could offer an opportunity to build your career and move out on your own. The options are truly limitless!
Enjoy Your Newfound Freedom
By the end of this guide, we hope you feel excited, a bit more prepared and learned how to move out at 18 and afford it! Will the process be difficult? Most likely. Will moving out be scary? For most of us, it can be a very anxious transition. However, with a little bit of financial guidance along the way, and a road map of what to expect, getting where you need to go becomes that much easier. Best of luck in your future endeavors!