Estimating the Cost of Moving Out for the First Time

By Christine DiMaria

House MoneyMaking the big step to move out of your parents’ home is a huge deal. It’s your first taste at being on your own. Before you can begin packing your bags, you need to consider if you’re ready and able to afford the cost of living by yourself. Use this guide to help you decide.

1. Determine How Much Income You Have

Begin by determining how much income you have to work with. Don’t include savings or any money you get from excess funds from your college. This is strictly how much you earn each month at your job. If you plan on getting a roommate, you and him/her should sit down and add together your income.

2. Price Housing

Figure out where you want to live. Evaluate how much rental houses/apartments go for in the area. You may have to start out living in a small apartment until you can afford to move. If you’re finding you can’t afford to live in the area of your choosing, take a look at the prices in another nearby cities. Make sure you determine a range of prices since you’re not sure which place you’ll get.

3. Utilities

Subtract the estimated price of housing from your total income. The remaining balance is how much you have to spend on electric and other bills. Write down all the bills you’ll have when living on your own such as electric, gas, sewage, water and garbage. List necessities first. Which utilities you’re required to pay for can vary from place to place, so make sure you know what is included in your rent and what isn’t.

A phone is pretty much a requirement, so don’t forget to include the phone bill. Ask friends and family about how much they pay for these bills on a regular basis, so you can estimate how much you’ll have to pay. Start subtracting these numbers from the remaining amount.

4. Other Bills

Add into your calculations for extras like cable and internet. Subtract these amounts from your monthly income. You’re going to need to eat. Ask your friends who have already moved out how much they spend for food. Ask your parents how much they spend to feed an entire family and do the necessary math to get a generalized idea of how much food you’re already eating.

Calculate how much money you need for car insurance, a car payment (if you have one) and for school needs. The money you have left in your budget is how much you’ll have each month for recreation and to add to your savings. Be sure you can afford to pay your annual registration and inspection on your car depending on where you live.

5. Initial Expenses

Your initial expenses are only one-time fees, so they don’t need to be part of your monthly budget. Some one-time expenses include a rental deposit, pet deposit, utility deposit, moving truck and hookup fees. This amount should also consist of furniture, kitchen equipment, cleaning supplies, towels and other household items.

By using this guide, you can decide if you have the funds necessary to live on your own. Don’t forget to save some money for in case of an emergency!

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