Moving out of your parents’ house is a significant milestone for many young adults. No longer will your parents pull the “My house, my rules” card on you. Instead, it’s your money and your rules.
Unfortunately, it’s also your burden.
Now, I’ve been living in my apartment for over two years and have become accustomed to the city life. No longer do I wake up at 2AM because some driver thought it would be funny to honk their horns loud for five seconds. I like to look back and think about what I did wrong or what I would have done differently to ease my adjustment into the city. And, looking back, I never realized the brevity of my move and the responsibilities that came with moving.
So, before you choose to move out, think carefully and consider these factors before making your move. From whether or not you can afford rent, to the convenience of the location, to your various options in the market,
Is moving out your best option right now?
A lot of young adults can’t wait to create their own space and move out of their parents’ home, but given their job, the economy, and the cost of living, are you really capable of living in the city on your own? Can you be disciplined with your expenses and put rent, utilities, and basic necessities over trivial things?
Remember, housing in the city is much more expensive than living, say, an hour away from the business districts. If you have a minimum wage job, don’t expect to afford living on your own – you’ll have to find a roommate or an affordable place to live, and the latter does not always mean a safe or quality place to live in.
Of course, some of us still have parents that don’t mind us continuing to live with them, and for the first few years, that’s okay. Save up on your income, see how the market goes, learn how to budget and distinguish a want from a need. And once you’ve saved enough and have a better-paying job, you can finally afford a better place in the city.
Are your expectations and your budget on the same page?
Average fresh grads get salaries slightly above minimum wage, but don’t expect to find a fully-furnished studio apartment in a five-star condominium that fits your budget. Instead, try these two tricks. First, take your monthly commuting expenses. If you still want to earn the same net profit from your salary, that number should be less than or equal to your monthly rent. Otherwise, some financial advisors recommend your rent should be up to 30 percent of your monthly salary. Any higher, and you might not have enough money to cover your utilities and living expenses.
I’ll bet some of you think that these two tips aren’t allowing you to afford the unit you’ve been looking at on online real estate websites. But that’s because you need to get your expectations and your budgets in check if you want to survive in the big city. It’s not all glitz and glamour as Hollywood portrays it in the movies. You also have to be responsible for yourself.
Is It a Convenient Place to Live in?
Living right next to your office may be impossible if you work in a business district, so you will have to look a bit farther. When I moved to the city, my limit was a place where I could walk to work. I found a great place that had everything I needed, but it would require me to take the bus. For me, having to take public transportation to work kind of cancelled out the whole purpose of moving out.
Can you budget for your basic needs?
If you’re used to having your parents bail you out, it becomes tiring when you’re a working adult, having to constantly lean on them to pay for everything because you spent your entire salary on expensive food. Before I moved into my apartment, I was the type of person who thought Starbucks was a necessity, and when my bank account ran dry, I assumed it was just because I, as a millennial, didn’t have a big salary as other people did, so it was only normal that my living expenses would just barely fit my salary.
But when I became responsible for my own expenses, I realized that that was no excuse. How I budget was none of my landlord’s concerns, so long as I saved enough to pay him. I became more conscious about the money I was spending and the kind of cafes and restaurants I entered because I had to make my money fit all my expenses until the next paycheck.
And once I started thinking this way, I saw a lot of habits where I was unknowingly spending too much money. Why was I buying coffee when there was a free coffee machine at work? Why was I buying at the high-end pizza place when there was an equally delicious pizza restaurant a block farther away? Even in terms of non-food expenses, I saw how my shopping habits were leaving a huge hole in my pocket. And had I continued this spending habit, I wouldn’t have enough money to afford moving to the city.
Before you decide to move out and live in the city, ask yourself these questions and find out if you’re ready for the responsibility of living independently. Don’t just consider your finances, though – also look at your spending habits, maturity, and the practical implications of moving out.