5 Money Moves to Make Before Moving Out on Your Own

By Dan Rafter on 10 March 2017 0 comments

Today, it's not uncommon for young adults to continue living with their parents well into their 30s. A report released in 2015 by the Pew Research Center said that 32.1% of adults from the ages of 18 to 34 were living in their parents' home in 2014, the most common type of living arrangement for people in this age range.

But there does come a day when it's finally time to leave the nest. And before you do that, you need to be financially healthy enough to make it on your own.

Here are five money moves you need to make before you leave your parents' home.

1. Practice Paying Bills

Paying a mortgage or rent is an important financial responsibility, but it's not the only bill that adults face when moving out on their own. There are groceries to buy, car loans to pay off, utilities to cover, and transportation fees that eat into monthly budgets.

To prepare for the rigors of paying these bills, you should practice being financially responsible before moving out of your parents' home. This might mean paying monthly rent to your parents while you continue to live in their home. You should also ask if you can contribute financially in other ways, perhaps by paying part of the monthly utility or garbage pickup bills.

By paying at least some of the bills that your parents face each month, you'll get a much more accurate taste of what it's like to live on your own.

2. Create a Budget

No one enjoys making a household budget. But a budget serves as a blueprint that tells you how much you can spend each month. Without one, it's easy to run up debts as you spend more dollars than you can afford.

Before you leave your parents' home, you need to make a budget of your own. This budget should include all the money you expect to make each month, along with a list of regular monthly expenses and bills, such as rent, utilities, transportation, phone bills, student loan payments, and car payments.

A budget should also include guidelines for costs that vary each month. This includes everything from groceries to dining out to going to the movies.

3. Create an Emergency Fund

Financial experts say that all adults should have six months' to a year's worth of daily living expenses saved in an emergency fund. You can then tap this fund if a financial crisis, such as a job loss, hits. An emergency fund can also be used to cover unexpected major expenses, such as the cost of replacing a car's transmission or a blown water heater.

Starting an emergency fund doesn't have to be painful. Simply set aside $100, $200, or more each month to slowly build that fund. Smart savers will have at least some money stashed in an emergency fund before they move out on their own.

4. Pay Off Those Debts

Moving out with loads of credit card debt? That's not the smartest financial move. It can be hard to pay off this high-interest debt when you're saddled for the first time with monthly rent or mortgage payments. (See also: 5 Ways to Pay Off High Interest Credit Card Debt)

The smart move is to set aside as much extra money as you can to pay down your credit cards before moving. That way, you can start your independent life with a clean financial slate.

5. Build a Solid Credit Score

FICO credit scores matter today. Lenders use them to determine who qualifies for auto loans, mortgages, and other loans. Most lenders today consider a FICO credit score of 740 or higher to be a top-tier score. Scores under 640 give lenders pause.

Before you head out, you should take steps to build your credit score. The best way to do this is to pay all your bills on time every month and to pay off as much of your credit card debt as possible. By making on-time payments on credit cards or auto loans, you'll steadily build your credit score. Then, when it's time to move, you'll be doing so with a healthy credit score attached to your name. This will help you whether you're looking for a place to rent or even getting a job. (See also: How to Use Credit Cards to Improve Your Credit Score)

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