So you've made the decision to leave home and become independent, you've found your new place and are getting ready to go. What do you need to do next? Planning how you're going to run your household is something that you shouldn't just leave to work itself out. Here's a few tips for making sure you don't get any nasty surprises!
Moving Out for the First Time
Moving out of your parents home is exciting! You finally get your own space, and can make all your own decisions - BUT there's a lot of preparation to bear in mind.
What To Take
While you've been living with your parents you've probably amassed quite a large amount of stuff. Most of it will be things you want to take to your home, so it's tempting to just throw it all in some boxes and sort through it when you get there. Don't Do It! If you do, you'll only end up with piles of unwanted miscellaneous oddities that have no place anywhere clogging up your new space. Also, you really don't want to be doing all your sorting out after moving, it's tiring enough as it is!
Sort out your things into piles for taking, discarding and giving away in advance. You can take as long as you need to do this, sorting only a little part of the room at a time if needs be. Just be careful not to pack important things like your toothbrush 3 weeks before you go.
You're also probably going to need new things, like furniture and appliances. If you're lucky you'll have family members to help you with these things, but if not you can always find good bargains at a charity shop. This really isn't a good time to go out and buy everything new. It's expensive starting out in your own home - you'll need to get EVERYTHING. There's always going to be something you haven't considered until you get there and find yourself lacking.
Now this is the difficult bit. I guess you've never really considered how much gas and electricity cost? What about Council Tax? TV License? Nope? Well, now is the time to do your research.
With most properties you'll find a nice little letter on your doormat from the last tenants energy suppliers, telling you to stay with them. While this is easy, it isn't always the best thing to do. You can find cheaper deals by shopping around a bit and choosing a tariff that's right for your energy requirements.
Regarding Council Tax, you can find this one out in advance by searching for your property's tax band. There are no cheaper alternatives available here. That is your council. You are stuck with it. Unless you move again of course!
T.V License is another one where you're given a set price. There are certain concessions for people with medical conditions such as blindness, but for the most part it's the same price for everyone.
Phone, Internet and TV packages can end up being quite expensive as well, again shop around a bit! Try to figure out what you actually need, then go for the best deal you can find.
Estate agents fees are always a bit of a shock. There's no limit to how much they can charge, so you'll really need some money behind you before signing anything. For the most part they charge you a holding fee (a couple of hundred pounds for not giving someone else the property), admin fee (a couple of hundred pounds again), a security deposit (usually a months rent) and the first months rent. Bear in mind that if you can't go through with the move they get to keep the holding fee and the admin fees.
Rent/ mortgage - you'll probably have found a place where you know you can afford the rent, so this won't be too shocking, but remember that you need to pay this on time every month or the landlord/ bank will get mean.
Find out the date you'll be paying each bill then mark them out on the calender with an expected cost. That way every time you look at it you'll know where you stand financially. Add up those outgoings and you'll know how much you've got left to spend on food, travel and entertainment.
While living in your own place is exciting and liberating, you've now got a lot more responsibility. It's not all fun.
As well as making sure all your bills go out on time, you also have sole responsibility for the housework! Of course, if you're living with a friend or partner they have to do half of it, so it's not too bad.
You also need to ensure your home will look the same when you move out as it did when you moved in, if you want to get your security deposit back. This means being a bit careful when you have parties, make sure nobody tries to punch through a wall or anything. Landlords tend to object to that.
Work is a lot more important now you're paying your own way. Obviously if you lose you job it's not the end of the world, there's help out there, but it will make things harder. You'll need to be attending work all the time, as any missed wages can have a big impact on your finances.
You also have the responsibility to keep in touch with your parents! Don't forget about seeing them just because you've left them, have them round for dinner once a week - it gives you a good chance to show off how well you're doing!
You'll now be buying all your own food. This can be hazardous at first. Don't fall into the trap of filling your cupboards with snacks and treats, because you'll suffer for it in the long run. Remember to buy a nice balance of healthy, easy to cook meals and a few goodies.
Get out of the house from time to time! It's so nice to have your own home that you can happily lounge around on the couch all day and no one will tell you off for it... but don't. You're bound to have a park near you, take a walk there and get out in the fresh air for a while, before you turn into a hermit.
Most Importantly... Enjoy it!
Yes it's a lot of hassle, and there's lots of new things you need to do; but it's a new beginning! You're finally starting your life as an adult, and you get to enjoy all the good stuff that come with it. Have housewarming parties, decorate the rooms how you want, you're independent now!