How to Move Out at 18: An 11-Step Guide

How to Move Out at 18


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Are you interested in how you can move out at 18? Whether the thought arises after or during high school, most teenagers think about moving out on their own for one reason or another.

Maybe it’s to gain independence, maybe it’s to create your own rules, maybe it’s because you’re going off to college or maybe it’s even to get away from your parents or siblings.

While the thought of moving out is exciting for many teenagers, it’s no easy task. Successfully moving out at such a young age requires a lot of preperation.

So, what can you do to be fully prepared? How can you put your mind at ease of all the things that can go wrong?

If you’re asking yourself these questions, you’re in the right place. In this guide, we’ll provide you with 11 steps you can take to make moving out at 18 go as smoothly as possible.

11 Steps to Move Out at 18

Here are the 11 steps you should take to successfully move out at 18:

1. Start Planning as Soon as Possible
2. Tell Your Parents/Guardian About Your Plan
3. Get a Part-Time or Full-Time Job

4. Start a Side Hustle
5. Build an Emergency Fund
6. Build your Credit Score
7. Learn How to Budget
8. Estimate Your Monthly Expenses
9. Estimate Your Moving Expenses
10. Determine What You Will Need
11. Handling Moving Day

1. Start Planning as Soon as possible

Whether it’s when you’re 17, 16, 15 or even 14, you should start planning to live on your own as soon as possible.

Although spending countless hours researching, creating a plan and taking the steps below may be overwhelming, it’s important you’re as prepared as possible.

The more prepared you are, the smoother this massive transition in your life will go when they day comes.

Think about whether or not you want to go to college, what career path you would like to pursue, where you want to live, who you want to live with, and of coarse, take the 10 steps below.

Planning as soon as possible will also give you as much time as you need to think through your decisions instead of making rash ones.

2. Tell Your Parents/Guardian About Your Plan

It’s important that you tell your parents/guardian about your plan to move out at 18, beforehand. This way, you can receive as much valuable advice as possible.

Not only will their support help with the process, it will increase your confidence in your decision.

Tell them why you’re moving out, how you can came to make your decision, and the steps you’re taking to make this big transition go as smoothly as possible.

This will reassure your parents that you have a plan and know what you’re doing. The last thing you want is for them to be worried about you and your safety, etc.

If your parents aren’t supportive, try to remain cordial. Avoid hostility, misunderstanding, arguments, and so on. The last thing you want to do is burn bridges right before you move out. Try your best to leave in peace.

You may also want to discuss your plan to move out at 18 with friends at school and work for emotional support.

3. Get a Part-Time or Full-Time Job

As long as you’re 14 or older, you should be able to get a job. In the United States, the FLSA allows people as young as 14 to get a job and there are several stores that hire teens as young as 14.

While landing your first job can be a little challenging and even a bit intimidating, it’s important you get one as soon as possible if you’re serious about moving out at 18.

First, it will allow you to save money for your emergency fund, which we will discuss below. Once you have an emergency fund of 3 to 6 months’ worth of expenses, you can begin investing.

The money you invest will be very useful when you move out, as it will most likely have grown quite a bit – depending on what age you started investing.

Secondly, having an income will provide you the hands-on opportunity to learn how to manage money, such as budgeting, saving, investing, and so on. Getting a job will also teach you the value of money, and as a result, the value of your time.

4. Start a Side Hustle

How to Move Out at 18 - Start a Side Hustle

In addition to having a job, you may want to start a side hustle to maximize your earnings, especially if your job won’t adequately cover your monthly expenses.

Unlike back in the day when the best side hustle for someone young was mowing lawns, nowadays, there are many great ways to make money online as a teen.

Make sure to take advantage of these opportunities so that you can save and invest as much as possible before you move out.

For example, a great side hustle for a teen is to become an online tutor. What is your favorite academic subject? Math? Science? Maybe English?

Whichever subject it may be, you can make good money tutoring kids or even other teens.

5. Build an Emergency Fund

No matter how diligent you are, life will always throw you curveballs. This may be things like losing your job, your car breaking down, medical bills, and so on.

These things can be very detrimental to your livelihood if you can’t afford them. So, to prepare for these unexpected expenses that will occur in the future, begin building an emergency fund of 3 to 6 months’ worth of expenses.

For example, if you estimate that your monthly expenses will be $1,900, you should save up $5,700 to $11,900 before you move out.

With that said, I recommend you save up as much as possible. The bigger your emergency fund, the more financially prepared you will be for anything life throws at you.

Your emergency fund should be in a liquid asset that generates some interest and is easy to access. Considering this, I recommend you keep your emergency fund in a high-yield savings account. This way, it may grow a little but won’t be difficult to access when an emergency arises.

6. Build Your Credit Score

Building your credit score is one of the most important steps to moving out at 18.

Not only will having a good credit score help you get a low interest rate on a car loan and credit cards, it’s nearly impossible to get approved for an apartment if you have low or no credit.

Here are a couple ways to build credit as a teenager:

  • Become an authorized user: Your parent/guardian can add you as an authorized user on one of their credit cards. As an authorized user, your credit will piggyback off of their responsible credit card activity.
  • Get a secured credit card: If becoming an authorized user isn’t an option, you can get approved for a secured credit card with little to no credit history. Secured credit cards require an upfront deposit, which will be used as your line of credit.

Here are a few tips to build your credit successfully:

  • Make payments on time: Your payment history affects 40% of your credit score. If you make a late payment, it may lower your score drastically.
  • Pay off your full balance: Your credit usage affects 20% of your credit score. By keeping a low utilization rate, your credit score will improve over time. Paying off your full balance each month will also prevent you from going into debt and paying large amounts of interest.
  • Monitor your reports: By monitoring your credit reports, you can learn which habits positively and negatively affect your score. You should also monitor your reports for errors and signs of fraud.
  • Be patient: Building your credit score will take time. You may even see your credit score jump up, jump down or not even move at all when you’re just starting out. Rest assured, if you’re being financially responsible, it will go up.

7. Learn How to Budget

When you move out, it’s important that you know how to properly manage your money. Considering this, it’s crucial that you learn how to budget.

Learning how to budget will help prevent you from living paycheck to paycheck or even having to go a day without food. A budget will also help make sure you have enough money leftover each month to save and invest.

The best way to learn how to use a budget hands-on is to create and use one.

Simply make note of your income and then make a list of all your bills, how much they each cost, and their due dates. Once you’ve done so, you can see where you money is going each month, how much you have left, etc.

You may even want to use a budget tool like Mint or YNAB to help you. With a tool like Mint, you will be able to set up your budget based on your spending patterns. You will also have access to countless free charts and graphs that will help you compare expenses from one month to the next.

You can also consider using a money-saving app like Acorns to help you invest. Acorns will round up your purchases by the nearest dollar and automatically invest or save it for you.

When creating a budget, make sure you create a realistic one. For example, don’t forget to include ‘hidden’ expenses like connection fees for utilities, home and contents insurance, your security deposit, and so on.

Also make sure you’re completely honest with yourself about how much you spend on wants, such as dining out, paying for entertainment, subscriptions, etc.

8. Estimate Your Monthly Expenses

How to Move Out at 18 - Estimate Your Monthly Expenses

Noe that you know how to budget, it’s important that you estimate what your monthly expenses will be, prior to moving out. This way, you will know whether or not you will be able to afford it.

Simply put, don’t move out until you figure out what your monthly expenses will be and how you can cater to them.

For example, make sure you understand the cost of rent, utilities, food, etc. You should also research the cost of living wherever you plan to move.

When estimating your monthly expenses, consider these several budgeting categories:

  • Rent or mortgage
  • Loan payments: student, personal, auto, etc.
  • Utilities: gas, electricity, water, etc.
  • Insurance: home, auto, health, etc.
  • Transportation: gas, bus fares, train tickets, etc.
  • Savings: high-yield savings account, Roth IRA, etc.
  • Phone, internet, cable, etc.
  • Memberships and subscriptions
  • Food
  • Personal care
  • Child care
  • Paid entertainment
  • Dining out
  • Vacation
  • Miscellaneous

9. Estimate Moving Expenses

Not only is living on your own expensive, the process of moving is expensive as well.

Considering this, it’s important that you have a clear estimate of your moving expenses well before your actual moving day. This way, you won’t have to go into unexpected debt just from moving.

When estimating how much it will cost to move, consider the following questions:

  • Are you moving short-distance or long-distance?
  • Will you need to hire a moving company?
  • Are you going to pay for packing and unpacking services?
  • Will you need to rent a moving truck?
  • Will you need to buy moving supplies?
  • Are you going to pay for professional house cleaning?

For example, if you hire a moving company, the cost to move will be a lot more than if you didn’t. According to Forbes, the average cost of movers for a short-distance move is between $800 – $2,150. That’s a lot of money!

With that said, I highly recommend you keep your moving expenses as low as possible. For example, If you’re moving a super short distance, ask someone you know with a truck to help you move a couch, table, etc. Ask your family and friends if they have moving boxes you can borrow.

Simply put, do whatever you can to reduce your moving expenses.

10. Determine What You Will Need

When you’re approaching your move-in day, it’s important you know what essentials you will need. It’s also important that you have enough time to save money to cover their costs.

With that said, while it’s important you have the essentials, it’s also important that you don’t overpack.

You may be tempted to bring every last thing you own with you. However, the more you bring, the more you will have to pack, the more you will have to move, the more you will have to unpack, and the more it may cost to make the move.

Instead, only bring the things you absolutely can’t part with and sell or donate everything else. Selling things you no longer need will allow you to bulk up your emergency fund.

I also recommend you find an affordable way to purchase the essentials that you don’t already have. This may mean commandeering furniture from your parent’s basement, buying it at a garage sale or thrift store, and so on.

Now, with that out of the way, here is a list of essential items that are often overlooked by people moving into their own place for the first time:

Essential Documents:

  • Birth certificate
  • ID
  • Driver’s license
  • Passport
  • Etc.

Bedroom Essentials

  • Mattress
  • Bed frame
  • Headboard
  • Nightstand
  • Sheet set
  • Comforter or quilt
  • Pillows
  • Window treatments
  • Coat hangers/clothes hangers

Living room Essentials

  • Couch
  • Coffee table
  • Television
  • Lamp
  • Rug

Kitchen Essentials

  • Dining area set
  • Utensils
  • Cups
  • Plates and bowls
  • Dish towels
  • Dish soap
  • Trash can
  • Food storage containers or sandwich bags

Bathroom Essentials

  • Shower curtain
  • Hand soap
  • Shower curtain hooks
  • Shower curtain liner
  • Bath towels
  • Hand towels
  • Toilet paper

Cleaning Essentials

  • Vacuum or dustpan and broom
  • Swiffer with wet and dry pads
  • Multi-purpose cleaner
  • Trash bags
  • Paper towels
  • Toilet cleaning solution
  • Toilet scrubber
  • Sponges

11. Handling Moving Day

How to Move Out at 18 - Handling Moving Day

The day has arrived! The day you accomplish your long-lasting goal of gaining independence and moving out on your own is here at last.

When this day comes, you’re likely to experience a roller coaster of emotions – from exhilaration to sadness. You may even find yourself second-guessing your decision altogether.

The realness of leaving your parents, siblings, and pets behind can be a lot to deal with.

If you begin second-guessing your decision, just remember that you have taken the proper steps to successfully make this major transition.

Moving Out at 18 FAQs

Here are a few frequently asked questions about how to move out at 18:

Is Moving Out at 18 a Bad Idea?

It really just depends on the individual person. Some teenagers will be mature enough to live fully independent at 18, while others will not.

Whether or not moving out at 18 is a bad idea also depends on your financial situation and other factors. For example, do you not have any money in savings? If so, then moving out at 18 is definitely a bad idea.

Do you currently have a stable income that can adequately cover rent and other expenses? If not, moving out at 18 isn’t a good idea.

How Much Money Should I Save Up to Move Out at 18?

To move out at 18, you should save up as much as possible. With that said, the minimum amount you should have saved up before you move out is 3 to 6 months’ worth of expenses.

I also recommend that your monthly income is at least three times as much as your rent payment, before you move out. This way, you will likely be able to afford other expenses, such as utility bills, groceries, internet, cable or TV services, and more.

How Can I Move Out at 18 With No Credit?

While I recommend you don’t move out until you have a credit history, here are a few ways to get approved for an apartment without it:

  • Prove your income: You may get approved if you can show that you have a stable income and that it can adequately cover your rent.
  • Pay three months’ rent upfront: If you’re willing to pay several months’ of rent upfront, a landlord may be more likely to rent to you.
  • Provide references: Reference letters from past employers and teachers are a great way to prove that you’re a responsible and hardworking individual who won’t be late on rent.
  • Get a co-signer: If the options above aren’t viable, you can always ask a parent/guardian, family member or close friend that has good credit to co-sign for you.

Final Thoughts on Moving Out at 18

Now that you know the steps you need to take to move out at 18, start planning and taking action as soon as possible:

Again, while spending countless hours researching, planning, and taking action can seem a bit overwhelming, the more prepared you are, the smoother this massive transition in your life will go.

I hope you found this guide on how to move out at 18 valuable and has made you feel more comfortable with your goal to take this huge step at such a young age.

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