Moving Out of Home for the First Time? Here's the Guide.
You have made the decision, you are ready to make the leap and you have prepped the guardians. Everyone is waiting for your next move, so what is it?
Yes, it’s super exciting. It can be a little overwhelming. It will be your independence.
Read on to learn about ‘The Plan’.
Okay, let’s get first things first. You can wing it like a goofball and hope everything will be alright (possibly moving back in with the in-laws or parents later on), or, more than likely the reason you are here, you can succeed at making the move stick.
Your finances may be low at the moment, but that should improve as you get more experience and keep consistently working.
If you are leaving home with no job, or trust fund, I would recommend that you may want to rethink how this will be played out over the next few months. Bills will still keep coming, your best mate will kick you off their sofa eventually and you do need to eat.
What we are going to cover in a list:
- The Plan
- Making the Leap
Three quick downloads you may want to get started for planning, below…
1. The Plan
This is your checklist of what you need to have ready to fly the nest. It will make life much easier and allow you the time to get up and running if you stick to the list and check off the items that need covering.
If you can stay at home a few more months to save up a deposit and organise your paperwork (Oh yes, I did mention paperwork), you will be better prepared for when everything will seem to happen at once.
Buy an A5 hardback notebook and lever arch folder and use it for the stuff you need to do and have on hand. I know we have phones, and apps and digital paper, but trust me when I say, that notebook and folder will be your lifesaver when you open it up and realise you have all the information you need right there at your fingertips
The nest you’ve been living in has been great. Free food, luxury bedding, warmth, the lights go on and off and every day you get to wash in free warm running water. Pure luxury.
There was no need to worry about insurance, bills, rent, bank accounts, deposits, repair and maintaince or even parking, garden care, bin removal, storage spaces plus a hundred and one other things you didn’t even know were a thing.
Now’s the time to get that file and put everything in it to find later on. You can thank me later.
a. List of Emergency Contacts
I know you have them in your phone. You know who your family are and who your best friend is, but I don’t and neither does the neighbour who may find you slipped down the stairs or the police officer that found you unwell in the hospital.
Start off your file with your emergency contacts in the front. You only need names and telephone numbers but this will help you out should things go wrong.
Aim for 3 main contacts if you can.
b. Bank Accounts
You will need a bank account and by now you probably have one. This is where most of your transactions are going to take place as a large majority of businesses accept digital payments.
I hate to say it, but a credit card may be an option if you are leaving the nest with no backup. This, and I am not a financial advisor so please do your own research, is ONLY an emergency measure.
Credit cards are useful in three situations. You have an emergency and you do not have the funds to cover it in your bank account until your next paycheck. Credit cards are a great stop-gap for that.
The second situation is for purchases you make over £100. According to UK law, under Section 75 your credit card provider must protect your purchases for free, which means you get your money back if there is a problem with the product.
Finally, online purchases used with a credit card are slightly better protected than giving away your bank details to the online world. This should only be used when necessary.
UNDER NO OTHER CIRCUMSTANCES USE YOUR CREDIT CARD!
I mean it. With all that freedom of living by yourself the tempatation to order in food because you feel a little tired or buying some useless piece of furniture, ‘because it looks good’ is asking for credit card debt and ultimately tears! Lots of tears.
Pro Tip: If you pay off your credit card balance each month there is also no charge for using their services which is a great bonus too. Free insurance over £100 and great security. It’s a win-win if you keep it under control!
Keep your financial details in your folder along with any paper copies of statements for your own reference. Get Savy.
c. Doctor and Health Notes
It’s often that we live at home and the folks deal with all the paperwork surrounding doctors and health insurance. In the UK you may have access to the NHS freely, but if you have certain treatments, repeat prescriptions or visits, note these down.
Your doctors details will come in handy too. I cannot tell you the number of times I get asked for details that are so obscure and you have to hunt for them if you are not organised.
List the details in your folder, with names of prescriptions you need and who you need to visit.
I am sure you are well aquainted with a phone calendar and so that should keep you reminded of upcoming events, but it doesn’t hurt to keep medical information at hand.
d. Other Documents
If you have a car, you need the owner document. You also need the car insurance document.
Today many of those documents are online, so the best advice here is to list the insurance policy number down, with telephone numbers and emails in case you need to contact them.
Create a Section for the Rent/Mortgage Agreement.
Create a Section for Council Tax
Create a Section for Subscriptions – TV Licence, Digital TV, Mobile Phone, Broadband
Create a Section for Energy – Electricity and Gas
Create a section for Insurance – Buildings and Contents Insurance to protect your belongings, other insurances you may have.
Use these to fill out all your current details and when things are expiring. It will help you stay on track.
You now have the makings of adulthood, and you are more organised than ever… what’s next?
Okay, that is generic but think of it like this. Anything physical that you are taking with you. That collection of limited edition figurines or the entire collection of The Sopranos – all stuff.
Remember, everything you take is something you must care for, store and keep clean. The more you have the more time that will take.
Equally, your space is at a premium. You will now be paying rent for every square inch of your new home and taking up that precious space with ‘stuff’ that is no longer required means you are paying far more for far less room.
You have time in your home right now, so collect everything you currently own and put it all in your room, or if you cannot do that, find a sunny day, layout a tarpaulin and place everything out on the lawn.
Trust me when I say, you will see all the stuff you own is far greater than you think!
Trim it down to stuff you need, a few wants and stuff that you cannot get rid of.
You may ask mom and dad to store your ‘stuff you can’t get rid of’ but remember it is still stuff you own. Better to trim everything down as far as possible.
You will need furniture unless you are moving into a fully furnished home.
You can begin to collect that furniture before you make the move by looking on Gumtree or eBay or even asking around. Many people have stuff they no longer want but just haven’t got round to throwing it out.
Think ‘necessary’ here.
A juicer is great if you have the space for it, but do you really need it right now?
Try to buy as little as possible when you start out, you don’t know what you want and it will be fun to paint and upcycle stuff while you are deciding on your decor.
There is only one exception to this… ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS buy your own mattress.
Do not scrimp, do not take the cheapest option, do not think your bed that you had for the past 10 years will cut it. Nope. This is the one extravagance I am telling you to go all out on.
Since you will spend 6-8 hours in it every day, in a home that is probably only going to have you in it, you want to rest peacefully and you want to wake up refreshed.
b. Wants vs Needs
Decide now what are your wants and what are your needs.
Focus on only getting the needs while you are getting started and reward yourself with wants from time to time if you have the budget for it.
So a bed is VERY important and so are needs. So is a duvet, and pillows. But the most expensive, Egyptian cotton trendy pattern covers are a want. Get the basics for now in a plain colour and when you have some spare money treat yourself.
A table and chair are needs for eating and doing study or online work, the best walnut desk and Ferrari chair are wants. Apply above rule.
c. The Jones's Are Idiots
(Apologies if your name really is Jones) If you think you need to start off with an Instagram ready home to show off, or you need to keep up with your best mate – reset your prerogatives.
You want to make this work and be successful. You want to stand on your own two feet and you need to keep to a set budget to make that work… trying to get the latest and greatest of everything will undo everything you are working for.
So what if your bookshelf only has War and Peace and a few Recipe books from the charity shop. Put a photo up there and a house plant.
This is your life and you are going to make it amazing, but you are not going to give away everything you are working for just so you can say, “Look at me with my fancy 4 slice toaster”.
We all like to look good, and there are plenty of YouTube videos to help you look amazing with what you have in your wardrobe.
Think Need again vs wants. A cheap pair of jeans may look awful because they have no fit. Then spend the money on the next best priced version that is a quality item.
You need underwear and socks. Again, get what is comfortable. Very few people see the designer label and right now you are starting out, keep it basic.
Coats, gloves, work clothes – all your clothing choices must be met with that very fine line of, ‘Do I need this, what other places can it be worn’.
Yes, there are more of them when you move into your own place and it is best to get used to them now.
Keep a calendar in the kitchen with what you need to do each day for the month. It will make a difference and keep you on track. Click here to download a 28 Day Calendar.
You need to stay clean and have clean clothes.
There are no excuses for smelly damp clothes if you are organised. It is the number one turn off for anyone meeting you and will hamper your chances at promotion and furthering your job prospects.
Make one day laundry day. If you have to visit the laundry, have everything ready to go the day before, make sure you take some reading, work or another household chore (like receipt checking) with you to use your time wisely.
Wash and dry your clothes if you have the budget. If you need to dry them at home, make sure you dry with windows open or on the line outside. Damp smells come from the little mould spores in the air and they love a damp towel or shirts that are just warm enough for them to thrive. They show their love for you by letting off a pungent aroma, keep you all to themselves while pushing everyone else away.
I am all for protecting the world, but on this occasion, put a some effort into staying clean.
Together with your bed, this is your next main purchase from your weekly budget. If you eat poorly you will be tired more often, lethargic, depressed, bloated, ache, spotty, overweight, underweight, and every other thing you can think of.
Your ability to function in the world happens to rely directly on the number of green foods you eat. Yellow are for treats.
What I mean is chips, breads, pasta and so on are all sweet delights for a weekend. Your main health depends on green veg and good wholesome proteins.
Pro Tip: Everything in Moderation.
If you eat chocolate all day you will be unhealthy. If you eat spinach all day you will be unhealthy. You need a balance, so think about cooking foods that offer the variety.
There are plenty of books out there offering recipes for £1 a meal. They may be worth a try. Think a packet of fresh beans will cost you 89p and last for 3-4 meals. A pot noodle is 75p for a reason, it doesn’t have much in it. Mix up your eating. Your body will reward you for it!
If eating out, keep it for special events. Remember, you are thinking about making this work long term and you can eat out all you like in the future.
We all love to walk around in our t-shirt and shorts in homes heated to 26ºc, but put a few layers of clothes on and your home can feel just as warm between 18º – 20ºc.
I will say this though. No heat will cause you to become slow and lethargic as your body tries to preserve heat. So don’t think heating your home to 10ºc is enough. It isn’t.
We need heat to live well and achieve success. Sure you can cool it down but not so much you are freezing. It is unhealthy and will really make you feel rubbish.
This is a budget issue of course, but must be considered mindfully.
Don’t heat your home then have the front door wide open chatting to your neighbours. Or think it’s fine to leave the bathroom window open all day while the heating goes out the window.
Treat heat as if you could see it like a plastic bag. Let it fly around the air and it will pollute the climate and add to global warming. Keep it safe and it will be useful to carry you into each day well and happy.
d. Personal Hygiene
Yes, you have to stay clean. You were told at home to wash and you need to wash now.
There are very few exceptions for a shower in a can. Rather wash when you get up, put clean clothes on and start your day right every day.
That way you are always fresh and don’t need to worry about missing a shower or checking how bad you smell.
If you choose to stay dirty, bugs begin to move in to your little ecosystem you are creating and cause itching, flaky skin and bites. Yup, horrible.
A bar of soap costs pennies and will do more for you daily than all the fancy lotions and potions you can imagine. Buy a good brand and you are maximising your cleaning rituals.
A clean body also means less human skin cells in your home. (We shed about 67g of skin a month – 2 crisp packets if you please)*
e. Home Hygiene
Just as above, you want your home clean to stop the little creatures of our world moving in and living rent free.
A spider in the corner will eat their fair share of flying bugs, but they cannot hoover up dirt or keep the kitchen clean.
Vacuum at least once a week, more if possible. Dust your shelves. Done frequently it takes only a few minutes.
Change your duvet cover and sheets weekly! No exceptions. Remember your bed is your sanctuary, keep it that way.
Pick up your floordrobe and put dirty laundry in the basket and clean laundry away. It may seem fun at first but a messy home really makes you feel rubbish.
Clean the dishes. There is no one else who will clean them now, so it is up to you. Use kitchen cleaner to keep the surfaces clean and free of bacteria. You don’t want bugs to get into your stomach and keep you up all night as you worship the white throw of glory!
Clean your windows at least once a month. The light freshens your home and you can keep an eye on the dust on the windowsills too.
Open your windows at least once a month to let the fresh air in and make your home smell great.
Pro Tip: This should be marked on your calendar to keep you to task. It sounds stupid, but it will make a world of difference in your life.
Pro Tip: MAKE YOUR BED EVERY MORNING. No exceptions. It has a powerful effect on your mental health when you go back into the room and at night it looks inviting.
We are all humans and we make trash.
Plastic, metals, biological, and gasses. Everything we buy will one day become trash. Stay on top of the waste in your home.
If the bin is full take it out.
If a plant dies, a vegetable rots or dead flies are on your windowsill, remove them and clean up.
A smelly bin makes a smelly home and becomes the jungle cry for flies and insects to visit.
Remember the bin day to take to the street if you need to – mark it on the calendar.
Empty bottles, recycle.
Do not let it mount up. Like washing, if you leave it, it will double in size when you next notice it. (Don’t ask me how, it is an unexplained law of the universe.)
Live below your means.
The law for wealth is this: when earning £100 and spending £99 you will never be in debt. Earning £100 and spending £101 means you will always live in debt. That difference is what splits society down the middle.
It seems so simple and yet fundamental to everything we do.
It is time to learn to budget.
Take your A5 notebook and write down all your expenses for a month. Subscriptions, payments, council tax, rent, food bills, energy bills, eating out, drinks, clothing … you get the idea.
Everything you spend money on write it all down for a month.
Pro Tip: Write your expenses down under headings. Use Home, Food, Necessities, Transport, Luxuries.
That way at the end of the month you have totals for everything and you also have it by category so you can see where to make savings and what’s costing you more.
Once you have your first month worked out, you can begin to work out how much the average monthly bill is to live in your new surroundings. That means you know how much you have to save, how much goes to the emergency fund, and how much you can spend on a reward for yourself.
You will be more confident when you go out, more focussed when you are out shopping and you will be vastly more secure when things go wrong.
Money is a necessity of life. Knowing what you have and how to use it will make your world infinitely better. You will be able to spend on a night out instead of borrowing money. You will be planning for your holiday and be able to enjoy it knowing you saved for it.
Without this planning, you will be lost and instead of you knowing when bills need paying, rather, letters will appear asking for money owed and before long they become overwhelming.
Here is another document for budgeting you can download too. Budgeting my life.
6. Making the leap - In Brief
You made the decision to move out, saved and looking for a place you are going to call home. Great.
Choose a place that is safe and well built. Do not settle for the cheapest rent, mould filled rooms on a dangerous street. Rather wait a little longer and get a place you will be healthy and happy in.
Here are a few essential must dos.
Any paperwork should be stored in your file.
Note down rent or mortgage payments.
Change your addresses on every document you own. (See that folder is coming in useful now)
Before you bring your stuff over, take photos of your new place so you have a record of the way it was to get your deposit back and have a record.
After you have moved your stuff in, take more photos again. This time so you have a record of all the stuff you own in case something happens and you lose something, have a fire, break-in or something else.
Check all smoke alarms work. They may save your life one day.
Find out your local transport links, your local police station and telephone number, any other numbers you need at a moments notice.
When working out transport, always think of two routes. Your first choice may be unavailable one day and you need the other one to get to your job. Knowing that saves a lot of hassle.
Meet new people. If you stay at home you will get depressed and lonely. You are part of a wider community now, so make the effort.
Your friends and family are still there when you move out. Stay in touch.
Respect others, they too are dealing with all the issues above and sometimes even more so. It’s easy to be nasty and ignorant, it is far harder to be good to people around you, but it will be a far better reward to you and those around you.
Save a little every week. It all adds up. Emergency funds, buying a house fund, holidays, future you.
Finally, exercise, it will improve your mood, get you out and about and provide you with much needed focus.
It will be easy to start at home to begin living like you are out of the house, to create your folders and your budgets. Do your own laundry, washup and help with cleaning. You will be so much better prepared than if you wing it and hope for the best, and then have to move back in with the folks later on.
Nothing wrong with getting it wrong, but since you now have all this advice, you really have no excuse to fail.
I would love to know how you are getting on, and perhaps you have a handy tip to pass on to help others just starting out too. Why not drop me an email.
All the best for your future ahead.
* According to a 2011 study published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, we shed between 0.03 and 0.09g of skin every hour – Science Focus
Maurice is a Glasgow Based Estate Agent, working with clients to maximise the value of their homes in the Scottish property market.
Helping to sell, buy and find homes in and around Glasgow, Maurice is part of making those dreams a reality for clients wishing to move or finding their next home and offers a number of services to support and guide clients to a successful conclusion.