Moving out of the house for the first time is exciting as well as scary and overwhelming. Taking the right steps to prepare for moving out can help the process be very helpful and make the situation less stressful. Here are some tips for managing budgets, common expenses and stretching your cash.
When it comes to finding your first place the number one thing to keep in mind is do not be impulsive! If you have decided on a place, go back a second time and reexamine. Go during a time that you would most likely be at home like after dinner or on the weekend. Check out what happens at night. Ask yourself some questions: Do you feel safe? How is parking? What’s the noise level? Also consider what’s around you. Is the grocery store close enough? Drug store? Your friends? The bank? Once the place is chosen its time to consider your financial situation. Make sure that the place that you want, you can actually afford.
Common Expenses: When you first move out, you’re going to be spending more up front than just your monthly rent. In most cases you are required to pay first month’s rent, a security deposit and sometimes last month’s rent. This means that an apartment that is $700 a month can easily cost you $2,100 to move in. Also, if you are moving in towards the end of the month, you may be charged a prorated amount as well as a full first month’s rent. Aside from rent, you have to factor in utilities; each rental is different based on what utilities are included in rent and what are not. You will also need to make some purchases before you are ready to move in. Go through your home room by room and figure out what you don’t have that you will need- things such as pots and pans, silverware, etc. Shopping at garage sales and discount stores will help to cut some of these costs.
Make a Budget: It is extremely important for first-timers to budget their money. The best way to do this is figure out what your monthly income is. Cut out taxes, before bonuses, overtime, deductions, etc. Basing your budget off of your minimum income will save you from over-estimating your budget. Next step is to categorize your spending into “Necessary Expenses”, “Extra Spending”, and “Savings”. Necessary expenses and Savings will be your most important. Necessary expenses are your bills: rent, utilities, car, insurance, groceries, prescriptions, phone, Internet, etc. Savings will include money being saved for unexpected expenses such as car inspection/registration/maintenance and any other expense that may happen unexpectedly. Extra spending includes: eating out, movie theaters, gym membership, shopping- anything considered entertainment goes under extra spending. Using a website such as Mint.com is a great way to help with budgets and figuring out how much is needed to save money.
Stretch Your Cash: Make your money go further by reducing expenses. Learn to start using coupons and shopping for sale items on things such as groceries and personal care items. Make meals at home instead of takeout or eating at restaurants. Consider a roommate. Avoid credit card temptation, pay cash or use your debit card. Skip having cable television. Watch shows using your Internet connection. Unplug electronics when not in use and shut off lights when unnecessary. Comparison shop so you know you are getting the best possible price. Consider getting a part time job or freelance work for extra spending money.
Taking the time to think these things over and plan before you move out will be a great way to save stress, time and money!