I remember moving into my first apartment. I was eighteen years old, leaving my father’s house and moving in with my best friend and her boyfriend. They already had an apartment, modestly furnished with Goodwill finds, so all I had to do was bring me and my stuff.
It was a long distance move, from the Los Angeles area to the Bay Area, and I was able to fit all my worldly possessions (and my two cats) into the back of my four door Ford Escort hatchback. Of course my worldly possessions didn’t amount to much: clothes, books, CDs, my twin sized futon. I did have to leave my bike with my father; I picked it up on another trip.
Because my best friend and her boyfriend were already living in the apartment, and had been for several months, I didn’t have to pay a deposit. I was only responsible for my share of the rent ($225) a month, and one third of utilities. (Interestingly enough, it is very rare to live with roommates in France. Most people move immediately into a studio apartment.)
By the time my new husband and I moved out three years later, to an apartment closer to his work, we had accumulated a mid-size U-Haul’s worth of stuff, and needed five or six navy guys to move it all. Quite the difference! And although I pared down my possessions again for my move to France eight years ago, somehow I have managed to fill a house again with… stuff.
But your possessions and having enough pots and a dresser for your socks are only the tip of the iceberg when you fly out of the nest for the first time. It’s easy to forget about recurring costs when you are dreaming about moving out of your parents’ house and into your own home.
When I moved in with my best friend, I only thought about how the rent and utilities would fit into my budget. I didn’t really think about the other financial implications of living away from my parents (I was eighteen, after all). Food is a biggie; even splitting groceries three ways means having to spend money on them. Not to mention the little things like wanting to go out more often or having to pay to do laundry.
When my first husband and I found our first apartment together, there were a myriad of one time fees to consider: agency fee, first and last security deposit, carpet cleaning, key deposit to name a few. There were also numerous long term costs related to the move: increased gas consumption, as we were moving further from my work, road tolls for my commute, utilities being divided by two people and not three or four. The list goes on and on, not only for bills, but also for things.
PS: For a great checklist of the things you might need when setting up house, make sure to check out Squawkfox’s printable checklist of first apartment essentials.
What do you feel are important financial considerations to consider when moving out on your own for the first time? What was it like for you to move into your first apartment or house? Was it a financial shock? And how much was your first rent?