Ready to move out of your parents’ house? Here’s how to make the leap

Whether you just graduated from college and aren’t sure of your next move, you’ve moved back in with your parents to save money while you’re working, or you’re hunkered down with family because the COVID-19 pandemic derailed your plans, you’re not alone. 

As of September 2020, 52% of young adults (ages 18 to 29) live with their parents—up 8% since January 2020. Crippling student loans and changing societal norms were already keeping many young adults in their parents’ houses longer than their counterparts in previous generations. But the COVID-19 pandemic—and the job loss and college campus closures it caused—has driven the share of young people living with their parents up to levels not seen since the Great Depression.

If this is you, you might be feeling like it’s time to leave the nest, but you’re not sure how. When do you know when you’re ready to move? How do you know if you have enough money?

girl with a cardboard box of her things on a yellow background

Table of contents

How to know when you’re ready to move out1. Are you moving out for the right reasons? 2. Are you (and your parents) emotionally ready? 3. Do you have a place to leap to? 4. Do you know how to keep a budget? 5. How will you fund your move? 6. Do you have enough money now—and a steady paycheck? 7. Have you picked your parents’ brains about how to adult?

How to know when you’re ready to move out

From personal financial literacy to having tough conversations, let these 7 questions guide you. 

1. Are you moving out for the right reasons?

You’re probably living at home as a means to an end. Have you achieved your goal? Have you paid off that student loan, found the inner peace you were seeking, saved up that nest egg? Ideally, you’ll move out when:

  • You feel financially ready to pay rent and pay your bills on time (more on that below).

  • You feel like you’ve made as much progress on your personal growth as you can, and you’re ready to tackle new challenges and responsibilities.

  • You want access to experiences, friendships, and connections that aren’t available to you in your current living situation.

  • Your family is communicating a boundary you don’t feel prepared to respect.

  • Your gut says it’s time to move.

Consider taking a little more time if you know deep down you’re not ready, but...

  • You’re temporarily annoyed with your family but don’t have the financial resources or plan necessary to move out.

  • Your friends are all getting a place and you don’t want to feel left out.

  • Your partner really, really, really wants to live together.

2. Are you (and your parents) emotionally ready?

No one really understands how they’re going to feel in the future. But talking through what it will mean to be independent with your parents can help you emotionally prepare for this big life change. Take the time to grieve your childhood, inspire some confidence within yourself for the future, and talk to friends and family about what their transitions were like.

3. Do you have a place to leap to?

Once you’ve decided that moving out is the right thing for you, make sure you have a plan. Whether you’re going to graduate school, starting a job, or making a cross-country move to pursue a big dream, having a detailed plan will help you make a successful transition.

Not all rent markets are created equal, though. Moving to a suburb or smaller city like Columbus, Ohio or Salt Lake City, Utah will cost you less in rent per month than moving to San Francisco or New York City. General expenses like sales tax, the cost of eating at restaurants and taking Ubers, and renters insurance can vary by city, too, so make sure you do your research. This will help you determine if you can afford to live alone, or if it makes more sense to save money by coliving with roommates

Bungalow is a great option for living with roommates. With shared homes in 10 cities nationwide that are less expensive than solo housing options in the same neighborhoods—as well as the best roommates to share them with—Bungalow brings city living within reach.

4. Do you know how to keep a budget?

How do you figure out what your cost of living will be? A personal budget! Budgets track your monthly income and expenses. Expenses fall into two categories: fixed and variable. Fixed expenses are the same each month. Variable expenses are expenses that change from month to month. Before you sign up to start paying rent, determine how much you can spend on each category, based on your established or projected income. 

Some examples of fixed expenses:

  • Rent

  • Utilities

  • Car insurance

  • Car payment

  • Health insurance

  • Student loan payment

  • Gym membership

  • Subscriptions

  • Transportation pass

Some examples of variable expenses:

  • Groceries

  • Restaurants

  • Clothing

  • Entertainment

  • Fitness

5. How will you fund your move?

When you sign a lease, most landlords require at least first month’s rent and a security deposit. Some require first and last month’s rent, and in some cities, you might end up working with a broker, which means an additional fee. Plus, you’ll likely have to fill the apartment with essentials like furniture, cookware, and other supplies. Take the time to figure out, realistically, how much this move will cost, and ensure you have the funds before you make any permanent decisions. Many landlords also require a certain credit score—do you know yours? 

6. Do you have enough money now—and a steady paycheck?

Once you’ve calculated how much the monthly cost of living will be in your new situation, quadruple it. That’s how much you should have saved before you’re actually ready to move out. That will give you enough money to cover moving expenses as well as keep about 2-3 months of emergency savings in your bank account. Experts recommend keeping 6 months’ worth of living expenses in your emergency fund, but when you’re just starting out, 2-3 months should be sufficient. You can keep saving as you work.

7. Have you picked your parents’ brains about how to adult?

If you’ve answered yes to everything else on this list, here’s a final musing to ponder. Growing up, we don’t always realize how much our parents are doing on a daily basis that we don’t see. Suddenly, you might find yourself wondering how to unclog a toilet, or which cleaning solutions can actually disinfect, or what an insurance deductible is. Living with your parents as an adult is an amazing opportunity to learn from people who have years of experience being grown up—take advantage of it. Think of questions you have and set up some time to ask them.

Moving out of your parents’ house is an exciting (and often nerve-wracking) step in your life. Take the time to make sure that you’re ready to move by checking that your personal finances are in order, you’re emotionally ready, and you’ve gotten as much out of your time with your parents as possible.

Ready to make the leap? Living with roommates is cost-effective and gives you a built-in community in your home. Bungalow offers private rooms in shared homes—and the best roommates to share them with. Unlike other coliving and shared housing options, Bungalow vets all residents and helps you match with roommates who share your living preferences and interests. Find your home on Bungalow

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Move in ready homes and a built-in community so you can feel at home, together — wherever you are.