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How to Move Out of Your Parents’ House

Living with your parents is bliss. You’ve got a rent-free place to crash, an endless supply of food in the fridge, and a built-in housekeeping service. However, there comes a time when your freedom becomes more important.

1. Leave for the Right Reasons

The first thing you should ask yourself is why you want to move out. Be honest with yourself. If it’s because your parents are always nagging you for being lazy and irresponsible, maybe cleaning up your act is a better strategy — especially since you may be unable to take care of yourself properly anyway. Moving out should be a joyous celebration of freedom and independence. It should never be a snap decision made to fix a problem.

2. Make a Financial Plan

Tracking your living expenses is perhaps the most challenging task. Your budget should be laid out and include things that you may currently be taking for granted. For example, an internet connection doesn’t just fall out of the sky (well, with Wi-Fi, it sort of does). 

Don’t forget to factor in entertainment. You’ll also want to set aside an emergency fund in case your car breaks down or something. Your budget should cover an entire year because it’ll likely be included in the terms of your lease and it will have to cover annual expenses such as tuition, auto registration, and other stuff that isn’t paid for month-to-month.

3. Stage a “Moving Out Simulation”

Every day, list everything that you use (or even touch), including sheets, can openers, and toothpaste. Yes, the list will be long but, if you’ve touched something, you’re using it, which means you’ll need it when you leave. Sort out what your parents will let you take, and plan a budget to cover the rest.

For the next few months, pretend that your parents are roommates and pay them your share of the rent. Buy everything that you consume on a regular basis, such as paper towels, toilet paper, cleaning supplies, and food (including condiments). Cover your own cellphone, gas, and even the utilities that you use. Track every little thing so that you won’t be surprised when you’re on your own.

4. Use Credit Wisely

It’s tempting to use credit cards for everything, but this can cause lifelong problems. Understand that merely sending the minimum payment can double (or even triple) what you spent initially. Instead, play the system. Get a card with great kickbacks (2 percent cash back is a good one), flight miles, or store credit bonuses. Spend only what you can pay off each month so you’ll never waste a penny on interest. Just make sure the card has no annual fees or other hidden costs.

If you’ve scored a student loan, don’t waste it. Sure, use the money as you want, but don’t forget about the current student loan crisis. If you become part of that mess, you’ll ruin your life!

5. Get Some Roomies

It’s likely that you can’t afford to live alone, so finding some people to split expenses with is a good idea. There are many resources that you can use to find other home-seekers, but first, you should try finding someone you know. Use word-of-mouth, social media, schoolmates, and co-workers to determine the best fit. 

Choose someone who’s responsible. Your favorite drinking buddy and the shopaholic who’s so fun to browse the mall with are probably not the best candidates. Imagine how they’ll panic if a pipe bursts or if they run out of milk. Decide whether they’d step up to the plate (“Let’s split the costs of a plumber”) or take the slacker’s way out (“Water is just as good on Cheerios as milk, dude”).

6. Find Your Nest

Once you have your finances and friends in order, start searching. There are many online resources for finding houses and apartments but start with your own circle. Ask around on Facebook and in person. The internet is full of scams and bad rentals, so use it only as a last resort.

Enlist your parents’ help. When you tour a place, bring them along. Your potential future landlord will know that you mean business and won’t try taking advantage of you. Plus, if your parents are part of the process, they might be more inclined to help fund your venture. They might pony up the deposit, for example.

If you’re anything like Jill from That Moment When, it’s likely that, one day, you’ll show up on your parents’ doorstep, ragged hat in hand, to ask for bailout money. However, you’ve probably made better decisions than she did — unless you were also dumped while eating dinner at an upscale restaurant (becoming homeless in the process), lost your job because you lied about being sick, and ran into your supervisor while shopping for clothes.

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