Moving out for the first time is an exciting milestone. Maybe you just got your first full-time job after university and you can’t wait to start a life on your own. Maybe you’ve been living with your parents for the last few years after graduation so you could save up to buy a home. Or maybe you’ve had roommates for a while, and you’re ready to embark on your individual journey. No matter how you came upon this stage of your independence, you’ll probably have to make the same lifestyle changes now that you’re entirely self-reliant. Read below for some tips to help you prepare for this major transition.
Before you move out, make sure you research thoroughly. For example, if you already have a job lined up, take that into consideration. Do you want to live somewhere close to work? Do you have a car, or will you have to take public transit?
You’ll also want to consider a few other location factors. For instance, do you want to live in a house or a condo? A house could give you more space and a yard, but a condo or apartment may be more central or have amenities like a pool right in the building. Do you want a gym or a park nearby? How close do you want the grocery store to be? If you don’t have a vehicle, you may want to live nearby so you don’t have to take the bus with your arms full of groceries. One way you can answer these questions is to visualize living in the community you’re considering. If you’re able to imagine a few typical days in the area and it checks off many of your must-haves, it could be an ideal fit for you. If it’s missing something you’ll need often, like nearby parking for visitors, then you can determine if you are willing to make the compromise or if you want to start looking elsewhere.
Aside from narrowing down a location, you also need to consider the type of home you want to live in. Will you have roommates? Does your place need to be pet-friendly? What type of storage space do you need—somewhere significant for outdoor equipment, or a simple closet? Do you need something furnished? If not, do you have enough furniture to bring with you, or have you set aside enough money to buy it? Use visualizing or day-planning to help you map out your daily needs to minimize surprises once you move in. Who knows—maybe it’s day two in your new condo, and you only just realized that you can’t soak in the tub because you only have a stand-up shower.
Perhaps most importantly, you’ll need to establish and adhere to a budget. It’s helpful if you begin living off your budget before you move out to make sure it is feasible. Set money aside for your rent or mortgage, phone bill, utilities, car payments, gas, groceries, savings, and any other regular expenses you may have. You can keep these funds in a separate savings account and avoid accessing it until it’s time to cover these bills in your new place.
Set up your service providers
If you use the internet frequently, you will likely want to set this up first—especially to avoid incurring data charges on your phone bill if you start accessing the internet from your mobile device more frequently.
Check out the different providers in your area and the types of packages they offer. Maybe you just want internet because you only ever watch Netflix on your TV anyways. Or perhaps you watch live sports, in which case you might want a sports cable subscription. Often, you can find packages that bundle your TV and internet at a reduced cost. Some bundles even include a landline, as well.
Research different service providers before you move and contact them once you’ve made a decision—this way, they can be at your new place right away to install everything for you.
Plan your payments
Many banks and services offer the convenience of automatic payments. Auto-pay allows you to pre-authorize a monthly withdrawal to cover your bills, which is then taken out of your bank account on the same day of each month. It can get confusing if you have multiple credit cards, phone bills, and service bills every month—by setting up this capability, you avoid the possibility of paying late. However, you always need to ensure your account has enough funds in it to cover the cost of these payments. If not, they could bounce back, and you may be charged additional fees because of it.
If you don’t think auto-pay is for you, you can stay on track by creating a schedule. You could do this by hand, on the computer with a template, or on your phone with an app. All you need to do is make note of which bills are due on which date of each month, then keep the calendar somewhere you’ll be sure to see it every day. For added convenience, you could set reminders on your phone to alert you the day before the payment deadline.
For more information on moving to a new community, check out this blog.
If you’re getting ready for your first big move, contact an AMJ moving specialist near you today