Last year, in an effort to tell myself that I’m one of those people who can manage more than one blog at a time, I started an independent living blog. The purpose of that site was to help people moving out on their own for the first time figure out their finances and what they really need so they didn’t end up in the same position that I did. Broke and in debt with no clue what to do next.
However, managing two blogs (or more) is just too much for me. Especially now with Bloggers Helping Bloggers taking off and trying to get back into being part of the blogging community. So, in an effort not to let the posts that I’ve written (and had planned to write) go to waste, I’m moving them over here. It’s all kind of related to money, right?
I’m not sure if I’m going to make this a series or just a general topic (if you have any input on this, it’s very welcomed) but for now, I’m just going to have it as a regular topic. So, without any further ado, here’s the first post.
Figuring out how much money you need to move out on your own is pretty tricky. There’s not a set formula for everyone. You need to take into consideration where you’re living or moving to, how big (or small) of a place you’re going to want, what amenities you can and can’t live without…all of these factor into how much money you’re going to need.
To get a rough estimate of how much money is required for your first place, it’s best to do some research (note: these figures are for living in an apartment/house. If your first place is a dorm room, that’s a whole separate post and I promise we’ll cover that). Doing your research will give you a rough estimate of how much you need to save.
For instance, you’ll want learn about:
- Average cost of rent—This is going to vary based on what you want in an apartment/house, but a cursory search of available apartments will give you a ballpark figure for rent in your area. If the average cost of rent is $800/month, then you know you’ll want to save at least $800 to cover the first month of rent. It’s also important, during this step, that you research if a security deposit or if first and last month’s rent is required when you move in. If so, you’ll also want to save this amount.
- Renter’s insurance—Just like homeowner’s insurance is important, so is renter’s insurance. You never know what can go wrong in an apartment. For instance, one of my apartments was burglarized. I filed a claim with my renter’s insurance to cover the cost of the stolen items. Talk to an insurance agent or do some online research to find out how much a yearly policy would cost. Save that money or figure out how to incorporate it into your monthly budget.
- Utilities—When you’re looking for an apartment, it’s important to know what, if any, utilities are included in your rent. Is it just heat and hot water? How about cable or internet? It’s important for you to do some research on the average cost of utilities like electricity and internet, as well as the cost of hooking up the services. Where I live, it costs about $50 to have electricity turned on in an apartment. You’ll want to find out the connection fees and save that as well.
- Furniture—No matter where you live, you’re going to need, at the bare minimum a bed, a table and chairs, and a couch. How much are they going to cost. Look on Craigslist, Freecycle. Go to yard sales. Talk to family members to see if they have furniture they’re willing to part with. Doing this upfront research will give you a rough estimate of how much money you’re going to need to spend on furniture. If you’re not willing to go the hand-me-down or used route (which I don’t suggest for a bed), go to some furniture stores and price the pieces. Add this money into your “moving out” account.
- Groceries—Stocking a pantry and fridge when you first move into a place can be expensive. I figure it would cost me around $400 to fill my pantry and fridge with staples. If I had to pick a ballpark figure for someone planning to move out, that’s the amount I would suggest saving to do your first grocery run. However, this figure will vary based on your eating habits, food preferences and cooking ability.
- Miscellaneous—As a guideline, I would suggest saving about $300 or so for miscellaneous items like cleaning supplies, garbage cans, shower curtains, dishes, silverware…pretty much everything that goes into running a home.
When you get into setting up your own place, you’re going to incur a lot of costs. We’ll talk about those costs when we talk about setting up a budget. But for now, focus on getting information together so you know how much money, at a minimum, will be necessary to start a month in your own place. However, if you feel that you must start saving, open up a savings account, preferably a high yield savings account, and just start socking money away for when you’re ready. Can’t hurt to be prepared!