So, you’ve decided to take the plunge and move out of the family home and into your own place, congratulations! Moving out of home for the first time is a massive milestone and one that can be filled with many adventures and new friends.
Living on your own can be a scary thought for even the most independent individuals. But there is no need to fear! Moving out for the first time may have its cons, but plenty of pros all the same and with a little help along the way, it won’t seem as daunting. So, to lend a helping hand, here are some tips and tricks for moving out for the first time.
Understand Your Financial Situation
Moving out of home for the first time is exciting, but it’s important to budget for all the expenses that come with living out of home.
It may seem like a straightforward thing to think about when moving out but understanding exactly how much money you have in your bank account is crucial.
This means knowing your monthly expenses, monthly income, weeks rent and how much you can save up alongside these costs.
As a first-time renter, it’s vital that you understand how monthly rent is calculated, and how much rent you can afford before you apply for a rental property. Failing to pay your rent and bills on time can result in a bad credit which may prevent you from being able to get a credit card or loan down the track.
If you need help understanding how monthly rent is calculated you can use our monthly rent calculator here.
You may have heard of the 30% rule, this is a common guideline that suggests allocating no more than 30% of your income on rent to help create a healthy balance between comfort and affordability.
To prepare your budget make a list of ongoing costs, such as rent, utility bills, groceries, transport and and a list of all your upfront costs, such as rental bond, removalists and connection fees (utility bills). This will help you visualise your budget and ensure nothing is missed.
You’ll soon discover the value of budgeting, while tedious it can go a long way into planning out the right living situation for yourself.
- Top Tip: Make a list of your ongoing and upfront costs to help plan your budget.
The Emergency Fund
Having alluded to it earlier, it’s important to save up as it’s not enough to only have the bare minimum amount purely for living expenses.
An emergency fund saved up can help out dearly for those sick days off work or any other incident that would prevent you from earning an income. The equivalent of 3 months’ worth of expenses saved will ensure you are financially prepared for the unexpected.
- Top Tip: Have 3 months’ worth of expenses saved in your emergency fund.
If You Decide To Live With Flatmates, Choose Them Wisely
With friends like these, who needs enemies?
Moving out with friends can be highly beneficial, with the idea of splitting bills and the bond of friendship being some ups in the pro’s column. However, a living situation can highlight just how different your lifestyles are and can emphasise some rather annoying habits. If you’re an early bird sleeping early and waking up early, and your potential roommate likes to party until the sun starts to rise with the music blaring, then you should probably think twice!
Don't Rush The Move
Now that you’re thinking about moving out, it’s also time to think about when.
Certain times like student years beginning and ending and seasons changing can alter the housing market greatly. Once you think you’ve found the right location, be proactive and look at houses at least 2 months in advance to get a general idea of the place, this decision is a big one and shouldn’t be rushed.
Read Over The Lease Agreement
It’s time to read the fine print.
Once you’ve found your perfect rental property, in comes the lease agreement. This binding document is the summary of your new home, so make sure you read over it carefully and then double-check it! Don't forget you can always reach out to your real estate agent or property manager if there's something in the lease agreement you're unsure about.
Plan For The Move
Moving day is a monumental day for someone moving out for the first time, but often the total cost of the move will be overlooked. Your belongings are most likely going to be all packed up in a dozen different boxes. You will have to consider how you are going to get them from A to B.
Hiring a removalist or even hiring a van or truck to help move is a great idea but these services can be costly. Hiring a removalist can help reduce the stress on moving day, especially when it comes to moving bulky items such as fridges and washing machines (especially upstairs). One of the perks of moving out of your parents' house for the first time often means you have limited (heavy) items to move so hiring a van and employing the help of family members for the day often does the trick just fine!
We've put together a moving checklist - a week by week breakdown of all the things you should organise to help take the stress out of moving day.
Set a Monthly Budget
Budgeting is important! Setting a monthly budget can initially ease you into your new home and is important to maintain for living in the long run. Whether that means crunching down on nights out with the gals or heading out to the pub with the guys, it’s a sacrifice you may have to make.
If you're moving in with housemates, it's a good idea to work together to lay out some ground rules, especially when it comes to paying utility bills.
Some share houses appoint a housemate who is responsible for all the utility bills, their job is to make sure all the bills are passed on to the other housemates and are paid on time.
It’s a great idea to work out how the bills will be split and paid at the very start of the lease to ensure nothing falls through the cracks and avoid any potential conflict down the track.
- Top Tip: Chat with your housemates to determine the best way to split your bills.
Find Savvy Ways to Save
If you’ll be living with other young people, in particular students, check to see if anyone in the house has a concession card (e.g. Centrelink Health Care Card) you may be happy to discover that you or a housemate are eligible for a rebate and this is an excellent way to help reduce some household costs.
Another perk of living in a share house is that there are many shared expenses that you can save money on.
Streaming services like Netflix and Spotify often offer family accounts which allow members to split one account between multiple people, this means you can enjoy multiple streaming platforms at the fraction of the cost!
There are plenty of household items you can split the costs on too, such as cleaning products (mops, sponges, soap), kitchen staples (coffee, tea, oil) and other household items such as toilet paper.
- Top Tip: Find ways you can save money as a household.
Make your house a home!
Australians are spending much more time at home, so it’s important to enjoy your space. Fill your house with things that bring you joy, indoor plants are an excellent way to open up a room and make it feel fresh! Check websites like Gumtree, eBay and Facebook Marketplace for second-hand furniture and whitegoods, not only will it save you a lot of money but upcycling is great for the environment too!
- Top Tip: Buy second-hand furniture and whitegoods.
If you do need your utilities connected, make sure to give MyConnect a ring on 1300 854 478, or get connected here.
Did you find that helpful? Here are some other articles we think you might enjoy:
- What You Should Know About Renting.
- What is the Average Time and Cost of Moving House?
- Rental Reference Letter: How-to-Guide for Tenants (with downloadable template)