How to Figure Out a Budget When Moving Out

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Moving out of your parents' home is an exciting time in any young adult's life. It means independence and freedom, but it also means a lot of responsibility. New worries are going to creep into your life, especially when it comes to managing your money for the first time. With a little planning, you too can create a livable budget for the first time and create a basis for a lifetime of good financial decisions.

  • Figure out your monthly income. If you work an hourly job, multiply your average hours worked by your hourly wage. Then, multiply that number by 52 (the number of weeks in a year). Take that number and divide it by 12 to find your average monthly income. If you have a salaried job, simply divide your yearly salary by 12 to find your monthly income.

  • Begin to list your expected expenses. Create a category for every need: taxes, rent, food, gas, insurance, toiletries, cell phone, savings and entertainment. More categories may be needed to meet your specific needs. Have a parent or other adult look over your categories to see if you have missed anything.

  • Project a number for each budget category based on personal experience and advice from others. For example, rent should be your biggest expense, at 25 to 30 percent of your monthly income. If you already have a cell phone, you know how much it costs per month--same with insurance and taxes.

  • Place a best-guess number in categories that you do not have a set amount for prior to your big move. For example, you may have been eating food bought by your parents and not purchasing your own. Take a trip to the grocery store and shop for a week's worth of food. Now, multiply that total by four to give yourself a good estimate of a food budget for the month.

  • Show your budget to a friend who has already moved out of her parents' house to see if it seems in line with what she spends on each category. Make sure you are able to save some money per month and will not have to go into debt to make ends meet at the beginning of your move.

Tips & Warnings

  • Creating a first budget is hard, and sticking to it is even harder. Analyze your spending the first few months to look for errors in your budget, and try to do better in the upcoming months at managing your money. Use online banking as a budgeting tool to help show where your money is going and how you can better plan your next month.
  • Some young adults feel a large amount of pride upon moving out and do not want to go back to their parents for help. However, many parents understand the struggles of living on your own for the first time and would be more than happy to help if help is needed. Be open and honest with your parents but do not expect them to be a magic genie that will solve all of your problems. Some lessons you simply have to learn on your own.

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