Even though everyone dreams of it, nowadays, not many twenty-something-year-olds can afford to move out of their parent’s place. Despite what Hollywood’s been telling you, thanks to our abysmal economy, moving out is quite hard, and the chances of you flying the nest at 18 are quite slim. So if you keep thinking I need to move out, but I can’t afford it, don’t worry — you’re not alone.
But does that mean it’s impossible? Of course not! Here are the best tips on how to actually do it.
I Need to Move Out, but I Can’t Afford It — an 8-Step Plan to Change Your Reality
Step #1 — Make a Plan
To be able to move out, you need a plan. And I’m not talking about an “I’ll move out when I have the money” type of plan.
No, your plan needs to be detailed. It needs to cover every single thing that is a potential expense (and thus an obstacle). Only with a plan like that will you be able to save enough money to move out.
Make sure your plan is realistic. First, figure out how much money you need to move out. Don’t forget; you’ll need more than rent money to be able to live on your own. It’s best if you make a plan that includes your rent, security deposit, and groceries for at least two months.
Step #2 — Set a Budget
The days of spending all your cash on silly things you don’t really need are over. Whether your parents are charging you rent or not, you need to get used to most of your earnings going to living expenses.
I need to move out, but I can’t afford it, you say. Well, not yet, I reply. To be able to afford to move out, you need to make a frugal budget and stick to it.
Making a plan is the easiest part of moving out. Sticking to it is trickier. But it’s not impossible! It all depends on how motivated you are.
You’ll need to make some hard decisions over the next few months. Things that you considered to be normal and affordable will suddenly become expensive and unnecessary. If that seems too difficult for you, just remember you’re doing it for a good reason.
Living frugally is hard, but you won’t live like that forever. Once you actually move out, you won’t need to save as much.
Step #3 — Get Your Hands on Some Money
Now, I don’t mean “Rob a bank,” but rather get a job. If you already have one (congrats, by the way), then find a way to earn some extra cash. If you have a job and still can’t afford to move out, then clearly, you’re not making enough money.
Not to worry, that’s a problem many people face. Hopefully, you’ll start making more money as you progress, but for now, you need to find a quick influx of cash.
• Get a Job (Or a Second One)
So, as I mentioned, you need to earn some money to be able to move out. If you don’t have one, getting a job should be your priority.
If, on the other hand, you do have one, consider getting another job. Yes, I know, you also need to be able to sleep and eat, and with two jobs, you’ll barely have time for one of those.
However, your second job doesn’t have to be a full-time one. It doesn’t even have to be a part-time job. You can find something that you can do for a few hours every week. Sure, it won’t pay much, but every penny counts.
• Have a Yard Sale
If you’re thinking I need to move out, but I can’t afford it, then your next thought should be, What can I sell to get my hands on some cash?
Since you’ll be moving out soon, now’s the time to get rid of all those things you don’t really need. It’s a win-win situation because getting rid of excess stuff will give you some extra money and lower your moving costs.
• Pawn Things of Value
If you have some valuables around but aren’t prepared to part ways with them completely, you can pawn them to gather enough money for the move. Then, after you get back on your feet, you can buy them back.
Step #4 — Minimize Your Expenses
While you’re still living with your folks, try to spend as little money as possible. By minimizing your expenses, you’ll be able to save up more money and gather the amount you need sooner rather than later.
• All Savings Go Into the Bank
The best way to stop spending money is to have it out of reach. Everything that you set aside as savings should go directly into the bank. That way, you won’t be able to reach for it in an “emergency” that’s not really an emergency.
• Cut Back On Groceries
You don’t have to starve to be able to move out. However, if you’re thinking I need to move out, but I can’t afford it, try cutting back on some expenses. Do you really need fancy food items? Do you need to buy coffee when you can make it at home?
You might think that $5 isn’t that much and that it won’t help you move out, but if you spend five dollars on coffee and pastry every day, you’re actually spending $1,680 per year. That’s a substantial amount of money you’re essentially wasting on overpriced coffee (that doesn’t even taste that good anyway).
So, audit your grocery list and your spending habits.
• Stop Eating Out
People say they haven’t really understood what their parents meant when they said, “We have food at home” until they started spending their own money on eating out. Every form of eating out, from fine dining to grabbing a quick bite to eat, is expensive.
• Eat Everything You Buy
The amount of groceries people throw out on a monthly basis is staggering. Everyone is wasting food as if it isn’t hard to grow and make (and buy, for that matter). By buying too much produce and groceries, you’re essentially wasting money.
So, buy only what you can eat in a week (if you’re making weekly shop trips) and eat everything you buy. That will lower your food costs a lot.
• Rely On Public Transport
Gas and car maintenance cost a lot of money, which you’re trying to save at the moment. So, if it’s possible, stop driving around as much as you can. If you do need to use your car, try doing so only when it’s absolutely necessary. Otherwise, rely on public transport because it’s much more affordable.
• Paid Entertainment Must Go (Along with a Few Other Things)
If you think all those monthly subscriptions to Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon are worth it, you’re wrong. Well, normally, they might be. However, in your current situation, they are a luxury that’s draining your savings.
So, for the time being, you’ll have to cut back on those luxuries as well as unplanned shopping trips and any potential vices. Sure, that $20 shirt is cute but do you really need it? Or do you need to move out? What about that pack of smokes? Do you need it more than you need to move out?
Moving out on a tight budget isn’t easy, and it requires a lot of sacrifices.
Step #5 — Find a Place on Your Own (Or the Cheapest Realtor)
Finding a suitable place might be the hardest step in your plan. Sure, gathering money seems like the most difficult task now, but once you actually have it, you’ll see that I need to move out, but I can’t afford it isn’t nearly as big of a problem as I need to move out but can’t find a place.
So, start looking for places right now. What’s more, try to find apartments or homes on websites that allow you to contact the lender directly. That way, you’ll be able to avoid realtor fees and cut your expenses.
If you can’t do that, then do your research and find the realtors with the lowest fees in your area.
Step #6 — Find Cheap Packing Supplies in Advance
Instead of buying packaging supplies right before the big move, try finding some cheap (or free) ones in advance. Perhaps you have some boxes and packaging paper at your work that you could take (if it’s allowed, of course).
If not, try the local grocery stores. Those usually have plenty of empty boxes and other packaging gear lying around.
Step #7 — Ask Your Friends to Help You Move
Hiring a moving company is an expense you might not be able to afford. Hiring companies or even just renting a moving truck is expensive. So, instead of doing that, reach out to your friends and see if you can bribe them to do some (mainly) free manual labor with you.
If your friends can help you pack, load, unload, and unpack your stuff, you’ll save a lot of money and quite a bit of time. And, maybe a friend of yours has a truck or another large vehicle that will take you (and your precious cargo) from your folks’ place to your new home. Pay them in pizza or petty cash, and you’ll literally save hundreds of dollars.
Step #8 — Furnish Your New Place Frugally
If you’re moving into a furnished apartment, that’s great! You’ll probably have everything you need (at least in the beginning).
However, if you’re moving into an empty property, you’ll need to furnish the place yourself. And since you probably own one room’s worth of furniture (and that’s if you took the furniture from your room back in your parent’s place with you) and an entire apartment worth of space to fill, you’ll have to do some shopping.
Try to spend as little money on this as possible. Get used furniture on Craigslist or buy cheap furniture from IKEA.
A Few Parting Words
I need to move out, but I can’t afford it is a huge issue but not an unsurpassable one. With a good plan and a lot of discipline, you can gather the necessary funds and fly out of the nest. Hopefully, this 8-step plan will help you along the way and make your dreams of living in a one-person household a reality!