So, you are planning to leave home at last. Your school days are behind you and you are all ‘grown up’ (sort of, on a good day). Excellent – happy days lie ahead. But naturally, many people find even discussing the idea of moving out into the big wide world to live away from the family too terrifying to contemplate. Who will pay the bills/ do the hovering / make your favorite apple crumble? The answer: you!
As much as you adore your parents (or even if you don’t, at present) you are likely to be far more capable than you realize. Take look at our 10 tips to help make moving out a breeze, or at least not that scary after all. (Don’t worry about hunting down recipes for the apple crumble – that’s what weekend visits to your parents are for)…
1. Manage your finances
This is the most important factor if you want to make a success of living independently. If you have already lived as a student, you may be well versed in scrimping and saving for everything you need; if not, don’t worry, you can learn fast. Managing your money means everything from making sure that you always pay the rent on time, to cutting down your daily vanilla latte habit to an affordable, occasional treat… You need to set yourself a budget, use sites like Money Supermarket for your utilities, set up Direct Debits for the essential bills and, unless you are the heir of a duke (in which case you are probably just moving to another wing of the castle) you will need to prioritize, prioritize, prioritize. All part of living an independent life and not that hard. It is really well worth the trouble for your own total freedom!
2. Bring the kitchen sink
OK, if you take that advice literally you are likely to annoy your parents… but basically, you need to leave home with as many of your own, borrowed, or gifted household goods as you will be able to use. From a kettle and TV to a duvet and cutlery, don’t be shy in asking your parents for their, ideally unwanted, stuff. If they don’t have spares, ask them, plus other family, friends and well-wishers for a few handy moving in presents. You’ll save heaps of money if you don’t have to buy from scratch. If you want free, useable furniture and homewards, you should also try Freecycle, where people in your area will be giving some great items away.
3. Start saving
That said, it is unlikely that you will move out with everything that you will ever need. But, whatever you do, don’t panic and start splashing out on designer home wares… instead, focus on getting the bills paid and start doing that most old-fashioned of things: saving. Back in the day, if people didn’t have a table, they didn’t buy it on a credit card, they used an upturned cardboard box until they had saved enough. Not saying that you have to go that far, but don’t hamstring yourself with a ton of debt by buying everything on the never-never… not healthy, and ultimately stressful.
4. Try new things
Actually, you will pretty much have to try new thing the first time you live on your own. It may be the first time you have made all of your own meals for a whole week. The first time you have read a gas meter. The first time you have cleaned a hob, or changed a fuse, or checked a smoke detector. Whatever tasks you are having to face, don’t forget you are never alone. You can ask friends and family for advice, or for immediate how-to guide for trickier tasks, just look online at YouTube videos! Unless you are an internet-free hermit, you have access to the right information 24/7.
5. Don’t live like a movie
We all love Carrie (well, this writer does) but if you try to match her Sex and the City shoe budget, then you will soon lose the roof over your head. But it does have to be like an East enders Christmas special either. Aim for a contented stability with moments of wild (aka modest) extravagance – your first good hoover around followed by a glass of chilled Prosecco at your house-warming perhaps and you will be closer to the mark.
6. Don’t hide away
Your parents will be wondering how you are getting on and probably only too happy to help you out with small loans and roast-dinner catch-ups. Your friends will be curious about your move and possibly excited for you or green with envy, if they still live at home. Don’t keep them all dangling while you start to feel lonely over watching the tally on your own. Don’t exaggerate your happiness either, if you are feeling like you could use a little company, or can’t sleep with the light off. Be honest and share any concerns with loved ones – sometimes just saying it out loud can shrink the problem to nothing at all.
7. Enjoy ‘me time’
Make sure that you don’t get home each evening and simply slump until bedtime. Try to relish the wonder, the absolute beauty, of total freedom in your own home. Take a long soak in the bath, read a book undisturbed, play an instrument, take extra care over preparing a favorite dinner. Living on your own really gives you the opportunity to look after yourself… brilliantly.
8. Enjoy yourself
As well as pampering yourself, make sure you have loads of fun. Even if it is a tiny flat that can just squeeze in another person, you can still enjoy yourself with a party popper and glass of sandy with two straws! Celebrate your new freedom, paint the walls to your favorite colors, rearrange, restyle and have a ball, all by yourself.
9. Give it time
If, despite all this, frankly excellent advice, you still feel a touch lonesome and blue, then do NOT despair. It always, always takes a little time to get used to your own first home. You might move in and panic, fearing that it has all been a terrible mistake. Relax, that is highly unlikely – living alone is a great experience to enjoy in your life, whether just for a few months or for many years. Just remember to stay in contact with loved ones and when you get down, look around and smile – you have your own four walls and, if you stay positive and relatively sensible, it will all be more than fine… in fact, you are going to love your new-found freedom. Congratulations!