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Are You Ready to Live on Your Own?

Choosing to live on your own can be liberating and provide a level of freedom that most young adults hope to experience sooner rather than later. And while you may be mentally prepared to move out of your parent’s place, you might not be there quite yet – financially speaking.

There are many aspects of living on your own that people tend to overlook. In addition to new responsibilities, such as added chores and cooking for yourself, there is a multitude of new financial obligations you’ll be facing as well. The following guide will help you prepare for this next chapter in your life and ensure you’re ready to make the move. 

Part #1: Preparing Financially
The biggest hurdle young adults face when deciding if they’re ready to live on their own comes down to finances. Life isn’t cheap, and this is when young people get their first real-life glimpse of how quickly costs can add up. The following five questions will help you organize your finances.

1. Do you have a steady job?

Most apartments and landlords will ask for copies of your recent paystubs (and possibly pull your credit report). You want to ensure you have a steady job – not only to qualify for an apartment but to guarantee you can meet your ongoing financial obligations.

2. Will you have a roommate?

Having a roommate can make living on your own much more affordable and less stressful. Many costs, such as rent and utility bills, will be cut in half with a roommate. And with less money going towards housing, you’ll have more to spend on everyday living expenses.

Note: When choosing a roommate, make sure you find someone that you enjoy being around - but is also fiscally responsible. If they fail to cover their portion of the expenses, this could put you in a challenging financial position.

3.  What are your monthly expenses?

To ensure you can afford to live independently, you want to list all your potential expenses. Start by organizing your expenses into three categories: Housing, Living, and One-Time.

List every expense you can think of and estimate its cost. You might want to ask your parents how much they pay for each item to get accurate numbers. Examples may include:


  • Rent
  • Electric
  • Water
  • Internet
  • Garbage


  • Food
  • Transportation
  • Clothes
  • Insurance
  • Entertainment


  • Rental Deposit
  • Utility Deposits
  • Moving Costa
  • Furniture
  • Time Off Work

4. Can you meet your recurring financial obligations?

After you identify all your move-in and monthly expenses, create a budget. List all your monthly incomes. Then, minus your monthly bills and living costs. Are you able to make ends meet? You want to ensure you have money left over each month so that you can begin building an emergency fund.

Your emergency fund is there to help you in case you face unexpected expenses, such as car repairs, medical bills, or a decrease in hours at work. Your goal is to save up three to six months of living expenses.

5. Do you have a saving plan?

Before you move out, you want to save as much money as possible. Open a separate savings account at the credit union specifically for funds devoted to living on your own. Keeping the account separate from your everyday spending accounts will make you less likely to spend the money frivolously.

Add money into this account regularly. Every bit helps, so even depositing $10 here and there will add up. Enrolling in Payroll Deduction is a great way to put your savings on autopilot. With payroll deduction, an amount you choose automatically transfers to your savings account each payday.

Part #2: Acquiring Items to Get You Started
When moving into your first place, there are household items you’ll need to get started. While you might not think twice about these items during your daily routine right now, you’ll definitely notice their absence when you move into your own place.

Start by making a list on your phone. Throughout the day, jot down everything you use. While the list might become extensive, that’s ok. Then, break down the list into things that are necessities versus wants. Your list will likely consist of the following:

  • Furniture
  • Dishes, cups, flatware, pots & pans, etc.
  • Kitchen Appliances – microwave, toaster, can opener, coffee maker, etc.
  • Kitchen Basics – flour, sugar, spices, etc.
  • Bathroom towels and toiletries

Make your money go further by considering second-hand items, such as via social media, thrift stores, or from family members or friends. Many people are happy to donate items they no longer use or need.

Note: When it comes to decorating your new place, you don’t have to do it all at once. Get the essentials now and enhance your living space as money becomes available.

Part #3: Preparing for the Move
While moving can be exciting, it can also be quite a headache. Determining how you’ll get moved into your new place is important. If you plan to use a moving company, you’ll want to make a reservation well in advance, as movers tend to book up fast. It’s also wise to get quotes from several companies to ensure you’re getting the best deal.

If you’re moving locally and can rely on family and friends, that will definitely help your budget. Try to be as organized as possible and let your helpers know what’s scheduled so they can plan their day accordingly. Be sure to provide plenty of water (and offering lunch is a nice gesture to say thank you).

Note: Moving boxes can be costly if purchased from a store or moving company. Instead, stop by local retailers and grocery stores and ask if they have any spare boxes you can have. Most are happy to help. You can also ask friends and family to save any Amazon or delivery boxes they receive prior to your move.

We’re Here to Help!
Deciding to move out on your own can be exciting, fun, and stressful all at once. It’s a big decision that all young adults face. Using this guide will help you determine if and when you’re ready to take that next step.

If you’re interested in opening an account to start saving for this next chapter in your life, we’re ready to help. Please stop by the Credit Union or call 410-687-5240 to get started today.


Each individual’s financial situation is unique and readers are encouraged to contact the Credit Union when seeking financial advice on the products and services discussed. This article is for educational purposes only; the authors assume no legal responsibility for the completeness or accuracy of the contents.