If you read that last article I published, How to Survive Moving Back in With Your Parents, then you know how important it is to have an exit strategy in place when you're living at home. You had a goal and reason to move back home, but do you really know how to move out of your parents' house?
The goal my wife and I had for moving back home was for me to pay off my student loans, and her to save up for our wedding. Despite having what I would consider solid financial goals, there’s a lot of stigmas attached to living with your parents, and I took some serious flack from my peers for that, among other things.
Honestly though, I'm so glad that my wife and I decided to live with her parents. A lot of my friends used to give me a hard time for it back then, but we were able to use that time to quickly get ahead. If I had listened to a lot of the people around me who were financing really nice cars, putting sweet vacations on a credit card, and buying huge houses…I definitely wouldn't be where I am today.
I knew I didn’t need to be like my peers, so I choose to do things differently for my future financial self.
The problem, though, is that with the rising costs of college and student loan debt, rent/mortgage, an unstable job market, etc., being a millennial and an adult has gotten to be extremely difficult. You’re up against what everyone tells you should be doing, like living on your own and trying to make the kind of choices that will really help you.
Millennials aren’t babies who want mom and dad to make us avocado toast every morning, we’re adults who are trying to navigate an unstable future. This has led to 31% of millennials living with their parents, a higher rate than previous generations.
To be a real adult about moving back home, then you’ll have to know how to move out of your parents' house eventually, and commit to that before moving in. It isn’t just you wanting that freedom one day, your parents want it too… trust me.
Here’s how to move out of your parents' house and survive:
Keep a clear goal in mind
To keep yourself from going crazy when you are living back at home, you’ll need to remember why you’re doing it. The same goes for figuring out how to move out of your parents' house.
Not every Millennial is going to have the same goal. Have you struggled to find a job, and finding one is your goal? Do you have some serious credit card debt to pay off? Are you living with your parents to pay off your student loan debt like I was?
Your goal is what’s going to be the motivation you need to eventually move out.
Start setting money aside
Whether you are renting a place or buying your first home, living on your own isn’t cheap. While you are living at home and working towards your goal, learning how to move out of your parents' house will be much easier if you’ve got a financial cushion, AKA an emergency fund.
Your emergency fund should cover around six months worth of living expenses. You might not know the exact amount when you’re living with your parents, but you should still start setting money aside. You can also think of this as paying yourself first. Do it before you decide to spend the weekend in Vegas with your high school friends or go out for happy hour with your co-workers.
Your emergency fund should be easy to access, but not too easy. I know a lot of people who set their emergency fund aside at a different bank than their checking account, adding just a slightly higher level of difficulty. If you do direct deposits with your paycheck, you can allocate some of that money for your emergency fund.
Pretend that you already live on your own
Learning how to move out of your parents' house is going to be 1,000 times easier if you pretend that you already live on your own. This is living like a freaking adult even though you might be sleeping in your childhood bedroom.
Offer to pay rent and always pay it on time. Help with daily household chores, like dishes, laundry, yard work, etc. Make a budget and stick to it. Keep a regular schedule… as in don’t sleep until noon or stay out all night, every night.
Those all things adults do, and you are still an adult.
Work on your credit score
Your credit score is probably going to be a major factor in how to move out of your parents' house one day. It’s something lenders and landlords will check on, even some potential employers. While they don’t need to know that you are living at home, they’ll need to know that you are responsible, i.e. paying your bills on time.
And whether you like it or not, your credit score is a really important thing. I know a lot of older adults who have cash in the bank and no debt of any kind, but their credit score is still lacking. Now whether they need that credit score or not is an entirely different thing, but this is about the average millennial, and credit is a pretty big factor in our ability to buy a house, refinance student loans, etc.
Now, your student loans will register on your credit report, so as long as you’re paying those off (maybe that’s your goal for living at home), then you should be off to a good start. Also keep in mind that if you are on your own for health insurance and incur medical bills, for example, pay those on time.
Pro tip: If you are looking for an affordable health insurance option, my wife and I just started using a health sharing ministry, and we are really happy with the amount of money it’s saving us. If you’re interested in learning more, check out this article: Is a Health Care Sharing Ministry Right for You? In it, I reviewed some of the most popular options on the market today.
Even overdue library books can cause you to end up in collections. So pay your bills, be on time with things… responsible adult stuff.
I offer this next piece of advice with an extreme amount of caution… you might even want to open a credit card. If you do this, don’t even think of travel hacking right now, maybe just use it to pay for gas, then pay that bill on time and IN FULL, EVERY SINGLE MONTH, ALWAYS.
Wrecking your credit is much easier than improving it, so be smart.
Figure out the cost of living on your own
To get serious about determining how to move out of your parents' house, then you’ll have to know what the cost of living on your own will look like. This will depend on your future living situation. Are you going to rent a place with someone else? Rent on your own? Buy a place? Will you be moving in with a significant other?
Beyond your rent or mortgage, living on your own will include utilities, taxes, the cost of furnishing your place, etc. Start shopping around before you move out so you know what that total will look like.
That emergency fund you are building will be a big part of this too, and you should factor that in as well, meaning you should be able to have enough money to replenish your emergency fund as needed. You should also be starting to save for retirement.
I know you are just now moving out of your parents' house so thinking about retirement seems insane, but setting money aside for the future is basic personal finance.
Actually move out when the time comes
Have you met the goal you set when you moved back in with your parents?
Do you have an emergency fund?
Do you know how much it will cost to live alone?
Have a decent credit score too?
Welp, you’ve figured out how to move out of your parents' house. Now it’s time to make that jump.
Remember how hard it was to move in with your parents in the first place? Yeah, it’s going to be hard to move out too. Living with your parents is going to have some obvious downsides– lack of privacy, catching your dad in the middle of the night standing naked in front of the fridge downing a carton of ice cream… that sort of thing. But you’ve developed a routine and some sense of comfort.
Okay, there is no comfort in the picture I just painted of your dad.
Know when it’s time to move out and then actually move out. Living on your own is really freaking amazing, but it can be scary, especially if you get too complacent. If moving back home was an adult thing to do for financial reasons, then do the next biggest adult thing… move out.
Keep in touch with your parents even after you move out
Your parents may throw the biggest rager ever when you finally move out… for the second time. But, they are going to miss you. That time you spent with them is seriously amazing, and I know it might not always feel that way while you’re in the middle of it.
Even so, make time in your schedule to still have dinner with them, go over to watch football games, or just find time to call them every once in a while.
I don’t want to end on a bummer, but we lived with my wife’s parents while my father-in-law was really sick. He passed away while we lived there, and it was awful. But all of that reminded us how fleeting that time really is, and how much you should appreciate it while you can.
Your parents are awesome people, make sure you let them know that by keeping in touch after you move out.