When I was twenty years old, my parents had to move to another city, and my sister and I couldn’t go with them. So we settled into a little couch house at the back of my uncle’s house. A couple of years before, I had already wanted to leave home, so at first, I felt excited about the idea of living on our own. However, soon my sister got married, and I was left alone. There were several stories and experiences that life provided me during this season. The way things happened meant, I didn’t have a plan, wasn’t organized, and had to learn everything by practice and experience.
So today I want to tell you what nobody told me about financially preparing to leave your parents’ home so that your experience is lighter than mine.
Have a fixed salary and research housing options
The first thing to have in place is having your own income, a salary. Start saving money now, because to rent a house landlords always ask for a down payment and if you don’t have a co-signer, you will need an advance of approximately three months of rent. If the case is to buy a house, a much larger down payment will be required.
If the house isn’t furnished, you will need to buy furniture, things for the kitchen, and will have expenses with painting, house decor, and other things to make your new first home functional and cozy.
Assume financial responsibility while still living at home
Even though you’re trying to save money at home, talk to your parents and, for at least a month, take on part of the household expenses (electricity, water, internet, grocery expenses, among others). During that month, do your own laundry and cook your meals. All of this responsibility will help you identify the moment when you will be ready to leave your parents’ house.
Decide whether to live alone or with roommates
Now is also the time to think and decide if you are going to live alone or if you prefer to share the expenses with a friend or relative. It may be that sharing expenses and responsibilities becomes a more viable option.
Plan your finances
Back to the financial part. With the help of a spreadsheet, create an estimated budget. Put in your net salary and calculate the average cost of fixed expenses. From your experience of paying for expenses at home, you will already have an idea of the bills: water, electricity, phone, internet, Netflix, transport or gas, rent or mortgage, tuition, and any other monthly perks you won’t give up.
Ideally, this entire cost shouldn’t exceed 65% of your net salary. For example, if you earn $1,500 per month, that cost needs to be within $975.
Before moving out, talk to your Financial Adviser
The most important thing I left for last. Get on your knees and talk to Jesus about your plans to leave home. Pray a lot about this new phase and put God in charge. Let Him lead the process and trust His timing. He knows what’s best for each of us.
May this new adventure be a quest for financial independence, but total dependence on God for everything to come. In Ecclesiastes 3:1 the Bible says that there is a time for everything under heaven. Allow Him to lead, and, in His time, you will be ready.
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven;