The move to independent home living is a big decision. Take the time to weigh the pros, the cons and the costs as you begin your apartment search. Read on for advice on what to think about before you commit to your next move.
Check your finances.
The biggest factor in deciding whether you’re ready for your own apartment is whether or not you can afford it. Consider your steady income and whether you’ll need more work to cover your expenses. Also, take into account any debts you might have, such as student loans. Are you in a position to pay those monthly, in addition to taking on the cost of living on your own?
Calculate living expenses.
When you go out on your own, you’ll have living expenses you may never have thought of before. You’ll need to cover your rent, utilities, cable, Internet, groceries and your cell phone bill. There are also the costs of moving itself, as well as the things you’ll need to buy to furnish and decorate your new place. Can you cover your car payment, insurance and related living expenses? How about money for renter’s insurance, emergency expenses and a discretionary fund to cover entertainment? All of these questions must be considered before you take the jump to living on your own.
How independent are you?
Living on your own sounds great, but a lot goes into being ‘king of the castle.’ Are you prepared to do all the cleaning, cooking and general household maintenance that living on your own requires? Will you feel safe living alone? Do you have a strong network of friends and family who can help you when you most need it? Before you head out the door, think about what you will need to get things done on a daily basis in your own home.
Solo or with roommates?
Often, the decision to share an apartment with others is inspired by financial necessity. But there are also people who just don’t want to be alone. What is your situation? Do you have friends or family members who would make good roommates? Maybe sharing an apartment could mean a nicer, larger or more central place to live? (There are resources that might help you find the right roommate situation.) Even as you ponder living alone, you might also consider the potential benefits of having a roommate.
Is now the time?
It might turn out that once you’ve considered your income versus expected monthly living expenses, you determine that you just can’t afford to move out right now. That’s okay. Knowing your limitations is far healthier than making a premature leap that you can’t handle financially. Perhaps staying at your current home could allow you to save money. Delaying your plans for a little while might be the smartest move, preparing you for just the right moment to strike out on your own!