Adulting 101: Moving Out of Your Parents House
If you're like most young adults, the time is nearing when you need to start thinking about moving out of your parents house and into your own place (
). It's stressful to think about. But that's why our Delight contributor Meredith Sledge is going to share some "Adulting 101" tips with you so you can start preparing for this big step!
"I'm getting older and realistically will have to move out of my parents house soon. I have NO idea where to even start! What do I need to do to start getting prepared?" -Anony[miss]
Hi friends! My name is Meredith, I’m about to turn 23, and I’m a wedding photographer in Charlottesville, Virginia. I love the color turquoise, succulents, and miniature dachshunds. Traveling is when I come alive, and I’m always down for a dance party. I’m really excited to share a little bit about moving out with you today and not only when you know it’s the right time, but also some practical tips on finding a place to live, finding roommates, and how to be sure you can afford it.
Before I moved out, I was in a bit of a toxic home environment. I prayed many years for God to help me accept that I needed to move out and to provide a healthy, happy place for me to live. For a long time, I felt like I couldn’t leave or else things would fall apart, but when I was able to feel His peace and trust that the Lord had a plan, I knew it was time.
Before I tell you my experience with moving out, a little backstory. I did not go to college, and I was lucky enough to start my photography business from home without any loans or college debt. I saved all of that money, minus a few shopping trips, traveling, and expenses for my business. It was really helpful, and it definitely made the move much simpler.
I know it won’t be this way for everyone, but I had lived at home for three years after starting my business, and I didn’t move out until I had about $50K in the bank. You certainly don’t need that much to be okay, but I didn’t want to move out and then have to move back in with my parents. I wanted to know that if God forbid I didn’t book any weddings for a whole year, I could still live on my own. Haha!
So, first things first:
You need to set a housing budget.
1. How much money are you willing to spend on rent? Don’t forget you will have your trash, water, electric, wifi, rental insurance, and potentially a couple other bills along with your rent.
2. How many roommates do you want?
How many roommates determines how much you’ll pay. Usually, the more roommates you have, the less your rent and bills will be.
3. Where do you want to live?
Location will affect the cost as well. If you’re closer to town or in an apartment with a pool and a gym, you are going to pay for that.
1) Budgeting For Your Own Place
So let’s start with a budget. I am going to use myself as an example. I live in a 3-bedroom townhouse ten minutes from downtown Charlottesville, in a nice neighborhood with a lot of families. Our rent is $1500 total. I have the master bedroom with my own bathroom and walk-in closet, and I pay $600 a month for rent while my roommates pay $450. Per month on average, our total water bill is $60 ($20 split 3 ways), average electric is $100 ($33 split 3 ways), our trash is $22 a month ($7 split 3 ways), and our internet with Comcast is $50 a month ($17 split 3 ways). We currently don’t have renter’s insurance, (it’s on my to-do list) but that’s about $10 a month. So, if you do the math, I spend about $677 a month, give or take. Every house is going to have different costs on water, electric, wifi, etc. but hopefully this gives you an idea! The general rule of thumb is to not spend more than 30% of your gross income on rent. I spend about 10% of my gross income on rent. It’s much easier when you live with roommates. ☺
2) Finding Roommates
Okay, so now that you’ve set your budget, you can either start looking for roommates, or you can look at one-bedroom apartments. I would recommend finding great roommates because it’s really fun to live with people, and it helps you get connected wherever you’re moving. This is the hardest part. You don’t want to live with just anyone, so you’re probably going to have to be patient and pray that God provides you with the right people. I literally used every single avenue of finding Christian roommates I could think of. I posted on Facebook, messaged people in the town I was moving to, added myself to college Facebook groups, contacted churches, emailed Young Life area directors (I was involved with the ministry in high school), and I even wrote a very specific post on Craigslist of what I was looking for.
God is so, so good and although it didn’t happen in my perfect timing, the YL area director sent my email out to her leaders and one of her leaders (who is now a great friend of mine) connected me to my first roommate! We met for coffee, got along so well, and moved in together a month later. Our other roommate we actually found on Craigslist. Haha! Moral of the story – you really NEVER know what can happen. Just be sure to meet people in public or set up a Skype date beforehand. I have Skyped about seven people in the last two years with people moving in and out of my place! Thankfully, it has always worked out.
3) Choosing a Home
So now that you hopefully have a roommate or two (or five if you’re crazy enough) you can start house-hunting! This is the fun part. It can be stressful and time-consuming, but it’s fun! I found that the best time to look for a place is in the summer! It varies, but a lot of leases end in the summer, especially in college towns, so get on your search in late spring or early summer! I used Zillow, Apartments.com, Craigslist, and Trulia most often. You can set your budget and start searching every day until you see something you like! I visited about five places before I found ours. It takes time and places go fast, so don’t freak out if a place you really liked gets taken. You have to make pretty quick decisions, depending on the time of year, but places are always coming and going.
I will be honest and say I would much rather live in a house or a townhouse than an apartment, but to each their own! You pick what works best for you! Just be sure to take into consideration things like where you’ll park, if you have to take trash across the complex, taking groceries inside, how noisy it will be (living on the bottom floor can be loud), etc.
Moving out can be stressful and a lot of work, but it’s so freeing to be on your own and learn how to budget. I hope this was helpful! Please feel free to reach out to me anytime over at firstname.lastname@example.org and I can answer any other questions there! Below, I have attached the Excel document I use to keep track of my bills each month. You should be able to download it and use it yourself. Thanks for reading and have a great rest of your week!!
Download an Excel spreadsheet to track your spending HERE!