A guide for young people: starting a life of your own.
Moving out of home can be one of the most exciting times of your life to date. It is not so much the physical act of moving as this can be met with a certain sadness, not to mention a little apprehension of not quite knowing what is ahead, but it an important symbolic time. It means you have left the protection of your parent's home and are ready to make it on your own. Much like a bird standing on the edge of its nest looking at the ground far below and not knowing whether to trust its wings to keep it from the impending disaster of hitting the rocks head first. It finally builds up the courage and flies away. That is exactly what you are about to do yourself. Your wings represent your ability to fend for yourself and you now feel you are ready to do it.
It won't be a big deal if you have properly prepared yourself but it is not only the fact that you will be able to come and go as you wish, make your bed or leave it, put on dinner or go to Maccas, it is that you have taken on a responsibility. A responsibility to be an independent citizen, a responsibility to look after yourself and a responsibility to pay your own bills.
The little things that mean so much
It might sound a bit like mum talking but there are some obvious little things about looking after yourself that can go a long way to making the whole exercise that much easier. Little things that you will come to learn one way or the other but if put into your awareness right from the start could make the transition that much smoother, these are:
- If you have an electric dryer don't use it continuously. Dryers use a lot of electricity and can run up your power costs to an alarming level. Only use them when you have to, otherwise hang your washing out in front of the fireplace or heater. Preferably on the clothes line if it’s not raining.
- Don't advertise to all and sundry that you have moved out of home. This can be easily seen by all if you leave peg marks on your clothing. Hang your clothes out to dry by their hems or bottom edges.
- Take a moment to empty out all your pockets before placing your clothes in the washing machine. If you don't do this you will find how much of a mess tissue paper can make to your clothing.
- Ignore what the washing powder box tells you about how much to add to each wash. Whatever is says use half. If you don't believe this do what the packet says and watch the bubbles take over.
- Take out contents insurance immediately. You don't want to start living independently by losing any of your property to a thief or a fire.
- Find a drawer or box of some kind to keep your receipts. Now you are living independently you will need to do your own bookkeeping. Especially if you are sharing the accommodation and you need proof to show you have been keeping up with your share of the costs.
Finding the best accommodation:
- Start looking early. It is not easy to find good rental accommodation so you will not want to leave it to the last minute and have to accept something sub-standard. Get out and about early. Put the word out that you are looking for somewhere to live. You could be surprised how many friends might know of a vacancy somewhere. Get the morning paper before sunrise if need be and be the first to ring a potential landlord. Do whatever it takes but don't expect a landlord to be ringing you offering you a city penthouse while you lounge about at home sipping coffee in your nightgown.
- Don't forget that you are now entering a world that revolves around money. Before you can enter rental accommodation you will have to pay at least four or six weeks rent as a bond and four weeks rent in advance. Make sure you have it ready to pay over as soon as you get lucky. If your accommodation is unfurnished you will have to furnish it yourself. Don't go all out and spend a fortune on the best furniture available. You will find second hand furniture shops are everywhere and their prices are usually quite affordable.
- Food is a high cost item that you probably never spoke to mum or dad about much before leaving. It is even dearer if you eat out too often. If you have many friends who are also living independently you might like to eat out at a different persons home every now and again, as well as inviting them to your place to return the favour. There are cheap recipes available and you can discuss these types of things with friends to learn the best way to save money in this area.
- Look after your health. What you don't want to risk is what would you do if something was to happen to your health. Now you are by yourself you will need to protect your earning capability with income protection insurance, preferably include trauma insurance with a death cover. This type of protection will ensure your rent will still be paid even if you are too ill to attend work. If you came down with a serious illness or injury your financial affairs would all be protected and if you were to die nobody would have to pay your debts for you, including your funeral costs.