How to Move Out at 18

How to Move Out at 18: A Beginner’s Guide

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Moving out at 18 (or any age really) can feel like a daunting task. How will you know if you’re setting yourself up for success? It’s important to understand how much money it’s going to take to my out, what you’ll need on a monthly basis, and what steps you need to take to improve your success.

Moving out is a normal step every adult takes in their life at one point or another and you can be successful by preparing yourself for what’s ahead. So, what do you need to successfully move out? Check out our tips and tricks below.

Determine if moving out is right for you

How to move out at 18

Why do you want to move out?

It’s important to look at why you want to move out? Perhaps you’re at the point where you want more control over your life or you’re just ready to venture out on your own. Figuring out why you want to move out can prepare you for the hardships that come with moving out. By standing firm in your decision to move out, it will help give you the right mentality to take those hardships head on.

Discuss your plans with family and friends

Having a strong support system can help you successfully transition to living on your own. This can include your parents, siblings, close friends, or a mentor. Living on your own comes with its own set of challenges and having people that can give you advice or encouragement are invaluable. Identify who you can rely on before moving out!

Develop a plan for moving out

Having a solid plan when you’re ready to move out is essential to your success. It will help you anticipate any costs or complications you may run up against. What do you need to include in your plan? There are four essential things to consider: how much it’s going to cost to actually move out, where you will live, how much it’s going to cost to live on your own every month, and how will you bring in money to pay for these expenses. Let’s dive in.

How much money will it cost to move out?

Estimate how much it’s going to cost to actually move out. There are several factors to consider including boxes and supplies, a U-Haul, and movers (or you can use your friends for the price of a few pizzas).

Figure out where you will live

The next step is figuring out where you will live. This can include finding your own apartment, rental house, or even moving in with a friend. When searching for a place, compare what different places offer as amenities versus how much the place will cost. It is important that you can afford the rent. A good rule of thumb is to not spend more than 30% of your income on housing.

For example, if you make $2,500 per month in income, then you shouldn’t find housing that costs more than $750 per month in rent. Ideally, the lower the percentage of your income the better for saving and managing life costs.

Apartment or rental house?

When most people move out, they automatically think of apartments as their only option. However, in some areas, renting a house can be around the same price. So, check out for finding apartments or Zillow for finding rental homes. Remember there are extra costs associated with living in a rental home like lawn services so be sure to factor those in.  

Get a roommate

If you’re finding that rent may be too high for your projected income, consider living with roommates which can drastically reduce the cost per person of a living space. You can find roommates among friends you already have, on Craigslist, or sites like

Rent a room

If you can’t afford to your own place and cannot find a roommate, consider renting a room from people that are looking for roommates of their own.

Figure out how much your living expenses will be

After you’ve moved out, you’ll be responsible for paying all of your living expenses, so you’ll need to estimate just how much that will be every month to ensure you have the money to pay them.

Create a budget

The best way to estimate and track your living expenses is to create a budget. Identify the different categories you will need- a few suggestions are below. Mark our necessities first, like your housing utilities, food, and auto expenses. These will be the core categories most likely needed to survive on your own.

how to move out at 18 using a budget

Start out with broad genres to get an idea of where you are generally spending money.  As you get more comfortable you can begin breaking them down into more specific categories.

Read more: Best Budgeting Tips for Beginners

Actively track your spending

Once you set a budget it’s important to track your monthly expenses to ensure that you are spending under your budgeted amount. Otherwise, you could quickly run out of money which would hurt your abilities to live on your own.

There are several tracking methods you can use to track including:

The Calendar Method

The Calendar Method consists of using a wall calendar or desk calendar to track your purchases.  At the end of every day, come home and write down every purchase you made and how much you spent.  You can color code the categories as well to visually show your heavy spend areas.  This method is the most eye opening as you track your expenses every day.  It is much easier to see where your high monthly restaurant totals are coming from when you write two restaurant purchases on your calendar every day.

calendar method budget

The Spreadsheet Method

This method is similar to the Calendar Method, except you track your spending in a spreadsheet online.  You can do this daily, weekly, or monthly by pulling up your credit car bills and transcribing your purchases.  Cash transactions can be tracked manually through the calendar app on your phone.  While manually transcribing all of your purchases may seem like a daunting and unnecessary task- it makes one think “Why do I have so many purchases to transcribe in the first place?”  This method can be a great way to begin tracking your spending as you categorize and sort every purchase yourself.

spreadsheet budget method

The Planner Method

Use a planner like the Clever Fox Budget Planner. The Clever Fox Budget Planner is broken down into monthly sections.  Each month starts with a monthly plan where you can list your specific financial goals for the month.  There are also places for tracking upcoming expenses in bills so you can factor that in to your goals for the month.  Each month also has a budget section for you to write out what your goals are.  This feature is nice as there are certain months that your budget may need to change, or you may want to adjust your budget based on how your spending is changing.

Check out more info on the Clever Fox Budget Planner here or purchase it here.

The Cash Envelope Wallet System

With the cash envelope wallet system, you will turn discretionary budget categories (think clothing, eating out, alcohol, etc) into actual envelope categories.  In each envelope, put your monthly allotment of cash into it at the start of each month.  For example, if you are budgeting $100 for eating out you would create an envelope for “eating out” and put $100 in.  Throughout the month, if you wish to eat out you would pay for it out of the “eating out” envelope.  Once you have used up your $100, you cannot eat out anymore that month. 

Check out the best cash envelope wallets here.

Figure out how you will make money to afford living on your own

Get a job

You will probably have to get a job to pay for your living expenses. It’s important to either already have a job or have one lined up before you move out to ensure you have a source of income.

Develop an income building skill

There are tons of way to bring in money using skills you may not realize are valuable. Start learning skills that can help you earn money on the side at sites like Fiverr, UpWork, and Freelancer.

Check out ways to make money here.

Set up streams of passive income

Ultimately, you will want to work towards building passive income streams which generate money without you putting much effort in to them. The more of these passive income streams you can build, the more potential income sources you will have.

Check out ways to generate passive income here.

Improve your credit score

Having good credit is an important part of securing your financial future. But good credit scores don’t happen overnight. Use the following tips to start building your credit score.

1. Apply for a low interest rate credit card

When searching for a credit card, find one with as low interest as possible. While the goal will be to pay off your credit card every month, if you don’t you will be charged interest on your remaining balance. That means that now not only do you have to pay your remaining balance, you will have to pay extra interest the credit card company has charged you. Every month these compounds so it is ESSENTIAL to only charge what you can pay for.

2. Use your credit card and pay it off at the end of every month

Set up automatic payments on your credit card to ensure you do not miss payments. A good way to make sure that you aren’t over paying is to pay off your purchases more frequently than at the end of each monthly- say at the end of every week or even after you make every purchase. 

3. Become an authorized user on someone else’s card

One way to build up your credit is to become an authorized user on someone else’s credit card which means that you get credit for other people building their credit. For example, if you can become an authorized user on your parent’s credit card, even without spending you can benefit from them making purchases and paying off their cards in a timely matter.

4. Get a secured credit card

If you are worried you won’t be able to manage your credit card spending, consider getting a secured credit card which requires a deposit in cash. That amount then transfers as credit on your credit card and you can only spend up to the amount you have deposited. This allows you to use credit while ensuring you have enough funds to pay for the purchases. This is different from a debit card, which is connected to your checking accounting and draws funds directly. The debit card will not help you build credit.

Check out the best secured credit cards of 2020 here.

5. Check your credit score every month

Check your credit score every month to watch out for big drops. This can help you track your progress as well as be on the watch for any potentially fraudulent activity. You can see if your credit card offers this feature through their website or check out websites like CreditKarma.

Build up a nest egg

If possible, build up a nest egg of at least 3 months expenses before you move out to account for any unexpected emergencies that could arise. If you need a way to make some quick cash check out our article here.

Pack the essentials

Once you’ve found out where you’re going to live, you know how you’ll make money, and you have your monthly expenses projected it’s time to start planning what you will bring with you. Remember the more you bring, the more your moving expenses could grow- from supplies to potentially needing a U-Haul.

Below are some items to consider:

  • Futon or furniture for your living space
  • Coffee table
  • Table for eating
  • Basic kitchen supplies
    • Kitchen towels
    • Silverware
    • Plates and bowls
    • Cups
    • Sponges
    • Dish soap
    • Pots and pans
    • Toaster
  • Shower curtain, towels, and toiletries
  • Cleaning supplies including paper towels, bleach, all-purpose cleaner, disinfectant wipes, sponges
  • Bedding, mattress, pillows, and a lamp for your bedroom

Set yourself up to successfully move out

Moving out at 18, or at any age, can be intimidating but you can be successful by creating a game plan and sticking to it. Make sure you know where your income is coming from, how much it will cost to live on your own, and what you’ll be bringing.

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