How To: Move Out For The First Time! (A Cost-Of-Living Reality Check)


Moving Out For The FIrst Time
Moving out for the first time can be very exciting! I almost moved out the second I turned 18, but after my mom sat me down and had me write out all of my expenses and bills, I found myself to have been given a harsh slap of financial reality. Case and point, I ended up waiting another year until I could actually afford to be on my own (with roommates). Over four years later, I have a pretty decent handle on my expenses. I’m going to set you up with a list that should give you a good idea of what to expect financially when you’re moving out for the first time; hopefully it proves to be helpful!

Even if your parents give you financial help, it’s still a good idea to be aware of the ins and outs of what your month-to-month expenses are going to be. A tip that I cannot stress enough, would be to go through and re-calculate your monthly expenses every three to six months. Your expenses can, and most likely will, change over time. You don’t want to get behind because you weren’t unaware of it!

Side note: Obviously some of the bills and expenses listed below might not apply to you if you, for example, don’t have a car or don’t go to the gym.. but there are bills that I believe most people do have so that’s why they’re included.

Guaranteed Bills

  • Rent
  • Electric/Gas/Utilities
  • Internet/Wifi
  • Cell Phone
  • Car Insurance
  • Health Insurance
  • Cable/Netflix/Hulu/Amazon Prime

While most of these expenses remain the same every month, a few can vary depending on the season and amount of use. When in doubt, round up! It’s always better to have squirreled away too much money for a bill than to discover that you’ve come up short. When you find yourself having excess money, it’s a good idea to put it into an emergency savings fund.

Expenses You Will Have, But Might Have Overlooked

  • Groceries
  • Gasoline/Public Transportation Costs (don’t forget about Uber/Lyft!)
  • Toiletries/Kitchen Necessities
  • Coffee/Takeout Food
  • Pet Food/Supplies and Vet Costs
  • Gym Membership
  • School Tuition/Books/Supplies
  • Credit Card and Loan Payments
  • Monthly Subscriptions (Naturebox, Audible, etc.)
  • Beauty expenses (hair appointments, mani/pedis, etc.)

Items like gasoline and groceries might be hard to estimate because they can vary person by person and month to month. My best advice on locking down a realistic cost for these “bills” would be to dive right in and figure it out. If you don’t already, spend a month paying for your own food and gasoline/transportation costs and make your educated “guess” from that. If possible, it’s best to do this in the summer, when almost all bills are at their peak, especially utilities and money spent out.

Extra Money

  • Savings Accounts
  • “Fun” Money

After all of your monthly bills have been spoken for, hopefully you will have some extra money left over. If not, don’t sweat it at first! Moving out for the first time is a big step and you have a bit of time to figure out your expenses and realistically figure out a savings plan for yourself. You can check out a more detailed way to go about saving money from a previous post I put up: How To: Successfully Save Your First $1,000.


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