Moving out and living on your own at 18 can seem next to impossible if you don't know what you're doing.
I mean, just because you're now legally considered an adult doesn't mean that you actually know how to live like one (I've been there)
Once you take it upon yourself to be independent and move out of your parents' house, there's a whole set of responsibilities that come with that decision.
And unfortunately, if you're not equipped to handle those responsibilities calmly and maturely, you'll most definitely live through many difficulties and hardships.
As such, your best bet would be to make a plan before moving out. So, let's take a look at the most important things you need to do before leaving your parents' home, shall we?
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1. Discuss the Move With Your Parents/Guardians
The first thing you should do once you've made your decision to move out at 18 is to tell your parents/guardians about your decision. That's, of course, provided that you can trust them.
When I joined the military during high school, my parents were not the happiest, but they knew I could trust them with anything regarding my personal decisions.
If that's the case, they'll lend you a huge helping hand with your new journey. Not only will they offer you loads of advice, but they can also help you with the financial side of moving out.
For instance, they may give you some things to help you get started in your new home. They may also co-sign on a lease or, at the very least, put in a good word for you.
Honestly, knowing that you have their support will make a huge difference in how smoothly your move will go.
So, explain to your parents why you want to move out at 18 and tell them how you plan to provide for and take care of yourself. That way, you'll have their blessing, and your move will be much easier.
2. Get a Job
That's right. Becoming an adult comes with a lot of responsibilities, and paying your bills will be the most important one.
There's no such thing as free money. So prepare to work hard if you want to afford your independence.
While your first apartment can be a great place to play games and party, you still need to have a good head on your shoulders to manage it properly and stop yourself from going into debt.
As such, you need a source of income that'll help you cover your bills, be it a part-time or full-time job.
Now, I know finding a job at 18 can seem pretty daunting, and I won't lie, it's not easy. However, it is possible if you know where to look.
Don't aim for jobs that require a bachelor's degree cause you'll only end up getting disappointed. Instead, look for decent-paying jobs that will cover your basic living expenses.
Job Ideas For Beginners
Now, of course, if you've got the time to spare, try to earn extra money by getting a side hustle. For example, you can try being a food delivery driver, a blogger, or even a respondent.
I've been working as a content creator for a few years now and it has allowed me to work online full-time.
Heck, if you have it in you, you can try your hand at tutoring or babysitting. Dog walking is another great option if you're an animal lover.
When I first started, my friend and I built a credit repair business that allowed us to earn more money than our office jobs.
Just see what jobs you can find that'll allow you to save enough money for a rainy day and still not interfere with your studies or main job too much. The extra money will be a huge help down the road, so if you can, don't hesitate to get a part-time job in your spare time.
3. Open a Bank Account
Another thing you should do as soon as you move out is to open a bank account. Not only will your account be used to receive your paycheck, but you can also use it to pay your bills, rents, and any hidden expenses via checks or a debit card.
Most importantly, your bank account will be a safe place to store all your savings. Moreover, if you ever find yourself in a situation where you need considerable financial help, then your bank will be your savior. So, make sure to choose a good bank and make the most of what it has to offer.
And if you've already got a bank account, then remember to change your address once you move.
4. Establish And Build Your Credit
A big part of moving out at 18 depends on building your credit. For young adults living independently, having a good credit score will seriously help them with a lot of things.
For instance, a good credit score will show a potential landlord that you'll be a good renter who pays his rent on time. Good credit history will also allow you to get approved for a credit card with better rates.
As such, you need to know what exactly affects your credit score so that you can stay in the safe zone. So, here are a few things that you need to keep your eyes on in regards to your credit score:
Paying Your bills on Time
This accounts for about 35% of your credit score. If you ever pay your bills past their time or go into credit card debt, your credit score will take a turn for the worse.
Maintaining a Low Credit Balance
One thing that'll help your credit score grow fast is not using more than 30% of your available credit. Not only that, but it'll also show your landlord that you're responsible with your money and that you have a good head on your shoulders when it comes to your expenses.
Having a Good Credit History
Your overall credit history and how long you've had your accounts also play a big part in your credit score. However, since you're just barely 18, you won't be able to depend on this factor.
So, what should you do?
Well, the best thing you can do is open a secured credit card or a credit-building loan as early as you can. This is the easiest way you can start building your credit. To obtain such a card, you'll need to pay a deposit first, so, generally, the more money you put in, the higher your credit limit will be.
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Now, if you don't want the whole secured-credit-cards thing, you can become the authorized user on a credit card whose original owner had a good credit history, such as one of your parents. This allows you to build your credit a bit faster as you'll be using the original owner's credit as a stepping stone.
5. Find Your Own Place
If you're moving out, that means you'll need to find a place you call your own. Now, the main problem you'll encounter when moving out at 18 is having money for the security deposit.
As you probably know, most, if not all, landlords require you to pay a security deposit before moving in as a sort of insurance for the apartment. Generally, the security deposit can equal one month's rent, sometimes two, or the landlord can simply set a flat fee.
So, unless you've saved up a bit before deciding to move, you'll find yourself out of options pretty fast.
But, still, I'm not saying that you can't move out unless you've got a lot of money. There are ways you can make your living in a new place more feasible. For instance, you can live with a roommate, which allows you to split your bills, rent, and other shared monthly expenses.
You can also look for housing meant for low-income residents, which necessitates that you make below a certain figure to qualify for living there.
And finally, if you're going to college, then make sure to apply for any grants or scholarships the school offers. Even if it doesn't provide accommodation like dorm rooms, you can still use the grant money to save and pay for your own living space. So, really, it's a win-win situation either way.
6. Make a Monthly Budget
A big part of adulthood involves making plans and budgets yourself. If you can't properly budget yourself and end up spending more than what you earn, you'll be in loads of trouble as time goes on.
As such, it's imperative that you make a list of every bill you have to pay, stating how much you'll be paying and when you'll be paying it. Not only will this help you stay on top of your bills, but you'll also get a better grasp on where you spend most of your money and where you can cut back a bit.
Now, of course, there are certain bills that are fixed, such as your rent or your car insurance.
However, other expenses, like transportation costs, food, clothing, and entertainment, can be greatly reduced if you take care of how much you're spending. The same also applies to your cell phone, internet, water, and electricity bills.
As unfortunate as it is, now that you're an adult, all these bills will be under your name, so be responsible for your spending and try to save money whenever you can. Look for affordable options and set yourself a realistic budget that you'll be able to stick to.
7. Set Up an Emergency Fund
Money-wise, everyone goes through a rough patch at some point in time, and if you're not well prepared, you'll find yourself flat on your back in no time.
As such, you need to be relatively prepared to cover any unexpected expenses that may come your way, and that's easily achievable by setting up an emergency fund.
Whether your car breaks down or you end up in an accident, an emergency fund will get you through the worst of it. Even if you get laid off, that fund will push you along until you get back on your feet.
But how much exactly should you put aside?
Well, I say it's best to have 3-6 months' worth of expenses to be on the safe side. To give you an example, let's say your monthly living expenses amount to $1500. To have a proper emergency fund, you'll need to save anywhere from $4500 to $9000.
I know this seems like a lot, but trust me, this is the least you should have if you're going to be living on your own. So, start saving early on, preferably a few months before moving out, to make sure you're standing on solid ground.
8. Arrange for Solid Transportation
As lovely as it sounds to cruise to your college or new job in your own car, sometimes, this is not the best option for you. Why? Well, cars are expensive.
I'm not just talking about the price of getting a car. You still have to get car insurance, pay for parking, gas, maintenance, fines, the whole shebang. So, unless your financial situation is stable enough to afford to own a car, it's best to look for other means of transportation.
Get a bus pass or carpool with a friend. And if your job or school isn't too far from your home, then a bicycle would be a great alternative, giving you that much-needed exercise.
Just secure a reliable method of transport that'll get you where you need to be, or else you'll constantly be late to your job or school, and god knows how that can impact your life.
9. Figure Out Moving Costs
Unfortunately, moving from your family home can get pretty expensive.
Well, let's say you're relocating to a new city. First off, you have to pay for your transportation, be it a plane, train, or bus ticket. Next, you may need to hire one of the local moving companies to move your possessions, which, let me say, isn't exactly easy on the wallet.
But, say you don't have that many possessions, and you can just carry them yourself or ask your friends to help you. You'll find that you still have to pay quite a bit to furnish your new apartment and buy essential items and other necessities.
Accordingly, you'll find that the most expensive part of moving out is the actual move itself.
So, try to save as much money as you can before you move out and look for ways to make the process cheaper. Borrow your friend's pickup truck or get your family to help. Most importantly, keep your moving date flexible so that you can find cheap tickets to your destination.
So, Should You Move Out After High School?
Moving out at 18 can be pretty overwhelming if you're scrambling in the dark. However, if you plan the process out from A to Z, then living on your own will be no big deal.
So, discuss the move with your parents and get their advice. Also, start looking for housing and potential jobs as soon as possible.
However, the most important thing that you need to do once you move out is to budget yourself and keep a good credit score. The other things you can figure out as time goes on. So, start your preparations now, and good luck on your journey to independence!