Education Student Courtney Bonner offers her best tips for making the move out of home as painless as possible.
Moving out for the first time can be daunting and there’s a lot to get on top of, but I can help. Check out my top ten tips for moving out of home with a minimum of stress.
1. Consider all your options and take time to find the right place
Can you live alone or is a share house the best option? Will you be happy in a grungy three bedroom or is a slick inner-city pad more your style? What can you actually afford? And where? There are loads of accommodation options offered by ACU. Check out acu.edu.au/accommodation for more info.
2. Hit the pavement
Start your search online, but don’t stop there: you can’t tell everything from photos, so make sure you attend several open houses to get a sense of what your budget really gets you.
3. Don’t forget the set-up costs
Remember that when setting up or moving house there are establishment fees like rental bond (usually a month’s rent in advance), phone, gas, electricity or internet connection fees, as well as the costs of furnishing rooms or equipping a kitchen. It’s also smart to take out contents insurance, just in case.
4. Have a plan for dealing with chores
No one likes them but they have to be done. Without sounding like your mum and dad, try to keep on top of the chores like cleaning, cooking, laundry, and taking the bins out. You don’t want to fall into the cliché of being a typical first time out of home slob!
5. Get familiar with home cooking
Now is the time to master a meal more complicated than two minute noodles. If you’re used to having meals cooked for you at home, ask if you can take over the kitchen. You need some basic skills so that you are not skipping meals or relying on take away every night (that’ll eat into your budget too).
6. Communicate with your room mates
Communication is the key to any relationship and it is no different for your flatmates or partner (assuming you are not living alone). Dodge conflicts by setting ground rules, being open and respecting others’ opinions.
7. Hide a spare key
There’s nothing worse than the surprise of an after-hours call out fee for a locksmith, so give someone you trust a spare key to your house. (No, don’t hide it under the doormat.)
8. Keep in touch
No matter how old you are, if it’s your first time out of home your parents or guardians will probably miss you. Give them a call from time to time or go home for a meal! Just try not to land on the doorstep with the washing too often.
9. Stay on top of your finances
Leaving home is expensive, and it doesn’t take long for bad budgeting to lead to real money problems, so you need to plan ahead. Figure out your monthly income and then set a budget for food, bills, transport, entertainment, and extras. Always pay any bills and rent on time to avoid a bad credit rating.
10. Ask for help
Don’t be too proud to ask for help if you find yourself struggling with money or emotional problems, or if you have any other kind of trouble. While your parents might be there for you, not everyone who moves out can move back home or ask their parents for help, so make sure you’re familiar with other places that can help. Find out more about the support ACU provides.