Home Guide to Moving Out
Everyone reaches that eighteenth year and thinks they are an adult and ready to be on their own, making their own rules. Just turning eighteen doesn’t make you ready to face the challenges of the world and many kids these days are living at home well into their twenties (much to the delight of the parents). Unlike the world a few decades ago, there is more going on in the world than kids are prepared to handle. As parents, it is our job to teach them at home what it means to be independent and how to handle things on their own. This small but simple guide will allow you to give your child the guidance they need, and perhaps open their eyes to moving out in the world. It also works for those of you who think you are ready to move out and what you need to have before you do.
Teaching your kids about finances is the number one priority. As they mature they will come to realize what it means to save, and how it can afford them bigger things. Rent however, is very different. If you teach them to think of it as one large bill that must be paid each month it will be easier to understand. Rent needs to be the first bill that is paid and comes before any other luxury such as cable, Wi-Fi or a cell phone. If the rent is not paid they could get evicted and that goes on a permanent record. However, handling the finances means they need to be able to afford the place they are going to want to move in to. So, they need to have money for the first month’s rent, a security deposit, and enough money to pay utilities each month. For example, if the rent is $1000, plus security deposit of around $500. That’s just $1500 to move in. If they want cable that can be around $100, Wi-Fi will run another $50, Cell phone around $100 (average), then you have at least $200 a month for food, $75 for Electric, $20 for gas, and sometimes there are costs for water and trash too. Already the monthly expense they need to have is $1545 each month. This doesn’t include gas for their car, the auto insurance for their car or any fun activities such as dating. Getting a room-mate will cut down those costs, but you will need someone responsible to share the place with you, so they will pay their share on time. Plus, you want to teach them to have enough to put at least $50 to $100 in the bank for emergencies each month and let it grow.
Every job that is higher than ground level, every apartment complex, every car purchase, every home purchase relies on your credit score as a deciding factor. You could be making millions, but if your credit score is in the toilet it won’t matter much. Most kids don’t have any credit yet as they have no bills or credit cards to start building their credit history. Getting them a credit card that caps their limit at $500 or less is a smart way to teach them about credit. Don’t get them a card until they have their first job though as you will want them to make the payments so you can teach them about interest. (A perfect example I use is buying food at a fast food place. If my kid spent $20 a week at a fast food restaurant but only paid $50 on her monthly bill she just accrued about $10 in interest that she now must pay. Plus, if she is late there is a fee for that too, so her meals could cost double.) Credit scores fluctuate based on several factors, how long they have had credit, how much credit, on time payments, amount available versus amount used, and how many credit applications or inquiries have been made. These all affect your credit score which will rate from 450-1000. You want to try and keep your credit score above 700, and its easy if you use your credit as little as possible and pay it off when you can, paying all your bills on time as well.
#3 Household Items
Once those two major factors are in place you need to consider if they have what they need to move out. Often children think to themselves that everything they need is in their room. When they move out they realize that they have no dishes, silverware, cookware, glasses, microwave, toaster, can opener, and more. There is a huge list of items that get taken for granted and you never realize it until you move out on your own for the first time. Toilet paper, paper towels, bath towels, soap, first aid kit, cleaning supplies, a broom, a mop, saucepans and drying pans, these things are essential. The easiest thing to do would be to look around at your parents’ house and see what they have that you can’t seem to live without. Everything costs money and the more of these items you have before you move out the better.
#4 Inspecting the Place
Once the finances are in order and you are ready to look for a new place to live there are some things to do before you sign the paperwork. The application process is simple and requires basic information on it. You might need pay stubs or a utility bill to prove that you are living and working where you currently do so keep those in mind. Once the application process is filled out they might show you a show place to see what the place looks like. (this would be the open house for buying a house.) These always look great and you might think all the apartments look like this, however you would be wrong. Before you sign your lease, check out the place:
Inside the apartment you need to make sure that all the electrical outlets work. You need to check that all the doors open and close ok, and that all the walls are free of cracks or bumps. Check the heater and air conditioning units if they have them to make sure everything works. Look for snags in the carpet, or holes in the tile. Check that all the faucets work, there is no mold in the bathrooms or closets, and that all the locks work. Make a note of any discrepancies and tell the manager before you sign, noting it in your lease. If you want your security deposit back, you leave the place exactly how you found it.
Outside the apartment you want to inspect the grounds, noting where everything is located. Are there signs, gates or restricted areas. Does it have everything you are looking for, or is it limited? What is the parking lot like, is there assigned parking or is it open? (An open lot fills up fast and is not organized. Often apartments will give you one assigned spot and any other vehicles are first come first serve.) You also want to look at the surrounding neighborhood, taking note of freeway access, grocery stores or other markets, and fast food locations.
Moving means packing up everything and moving it into your new place. Label your boxes and try to use the same type of boxes so everything stacks well. It helps the process go faster. A mover is nice but they do cost money, instead family or friends will usually help. If you are having furniture delivered have it set at a time when you already have everything else in. Generally morning is the best time to move into a new place so you can mentally prepare for it. Have everything packed and ready the night before. By labeling the boxes it will streamline the process for unpacking once you have everything there.
(I learned these things the 2nd time I moved out. The first time I moved in with a friend who still lived with his parents. I only needed my bedroom stuff, but noticed several things when I was packing up to go back home. After being back in my parents’ house for 2 months I was determined to get my own place and started splitting my paycheck between saving and buying the things I needed for my own apartment. I would buy everything from household cleaners and more, taking advantage of sales where I could, than boxing it up in storage or the garage until I moved out. That second time to move out only took me 6 months and I never went back home to live again.)