Leaving the shelter of your parents’ home and care can be an emotional roller coaster for anyone. You’re excited about going out on your own and building an independent life, but at the same time, things will never be the same. Some of the decisions that were outside your responsibilities will be falling on your shoulders. Here’s how to begin your journey in a way that gives you solid footing in all regards, especially financially.
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Count Your Pennies
Whether you’re leaving for college, starting a new job, or moving in with a friend, it’s in your best interests to have a good grasp of your financial situation. Develop a budget, taking into account how much you make every month, and then tally up your bills; remember to include everything, like rent, utilities, car payment, car insurance, and so on. Also list your flexible expenditures, which is everything that isn’t set in stone. That’ll be things like gas, groceries, clothing, and entertainment. Then, subtract your bills from your income, and you should get a zero balance.
If you don’t make enough to cover it all, the easiest place to cut is usually flexible things like entertainment or clothing. Sometimes, you can cut expenses in other ways, too. For instance, you might be able to get a reduced rate on car insurance, especially if you have had a few years of safe driving or take a defensive driving class. If you need to make more money, you can do things like ask for more hours at work, get a roommate, or get a side hustle. On the other hand, if you have extra money, it’s smart to put it into savings. You can set aside funds for something in particular, like to buy a house or new car, or retirement, or just save it for a rainy day.
If you’re planning to move, you need to make sure you have enough cash to cover the expenses. You could ask friends and family to help, but for major moving jobs, you’re best off hiring moving professionals. You can find top moving companies by researching customer reviews and feedback online. Look for savings as well; some moving companies offer discounts and credits on moving services.
Protect Your Wheels
Most states require car insurance. If you don’t carry insurance, you might face legal penalties, and you can end up responsible for major expenses and liabilities if you’re in a wreck.
If you haven’t purchased your own policy before, or you never had to think about the details, it’s important to get more familiar with how car insurance works. As HowStuffWorks explains, there are a few types of car insurance. For instance, “liability” covers expenses if you’re in an accident causing damage to other people, property, or both. “Collision” covers damage to your vehicle only, and only in a wreck. “Comprehensive” covers damage to your car no matter how it occurs, such as from a hail storm or vandalism. You should occasionally review your policy to learn what’s covered and decide whether to make changes.
Set Up Your Space
If you haven’t already found a place to live, that should be high on your priorities list. You might be deciding between campus living, an apartment, or house. Your budget will dictate your search criteria, and you should consider priorities in your lifestyle. Do you want to be within walking distance to work, a bus stop, or a park? Do you need pet-friendly accommodations? If you plan to rent, sometimes pet-friendly apartments can be hard to come by, so start researching early. Mental Floss points out that private landlords are often more agreeable to pets than commercial ones, especially if yours is well-trained.
Once you have a place picked out, you should invest in basic household items, like a coffee maker, sheets, towels, vacuum, and cleaning supplies. It’s usually a big outlay all at once, so look for inexpensive purchases that have good reviews.
Going out on your own is a big deal, and you can set yourself up for success with a little planning. Establish a budget, get good insurance, and be savvy about setting up your new home. You’ll be ready for the transition, beginning the journey on the right foot!