Hi! I'm 16 and I plan to move out of my mothers house as soon as possible. I'm working on saving up $1,000 for an emergency fund right now, but what else should I do to prepare before I move? Obviously I still have a few years, but I'd like to have all my things in order before it's time. Thanks!
20 Things to Do Before Moving Out of Your Parent’s House
1. File as independent on your taxes. We’re a while away from tax season, but remember to file as independent on your taxes. This means that your parents can no longer claim you as a dependent and will no longer receive a tax break from the government for housing you. What it means for you, is that you will no longer be considered part of their tax bracket. This means you’ll have a better chance at applying for financial aid, health insurance, car insurance, etc.
2. Important Documents. Get as many of your important documents (social security card, birth certificate, tax forms, etc) as possible while you’re still living with your parents. You will need this information when you move out, so find a secure place to store them.
3. Learn to cook. Obviously, cooking skills are not going to come overnight! Checkout some cook books, online recipes, or even watch a couple episodes of Chopped. The more fast, cheap, and easy meals that you’re able to prepare before you move out- the better. Here’s my Cooking 101 post.
4. College. If you are going to college or planning to go to college, talk to financial aid about becoming an “independent student”. If the school classifies you as independent, financial aid will pay for a greater portion of your education. Also please don’t have your parent’s call the school on your behalf, start taking initiative and making these calls yourself. As someone who worked in a college call center for four years, a good 80% of the phone calls I got were from parents, and legally a college can’t tell them anything.
5. Accumulate furniture. Check out thrift stores, Dollar stores, and especially yard sales. Buying all of your furniture at once can be expensive and stressful, but accumulating a few pieces over time (space permitting) can be a more effective way.
7. Start building credit. At 16, you’re probably too young to apply for an actual credit card, but having some credit before you move out will help you loads in the long run. As you might be aware, some landlords ask that their tenants have a credit score before renting to them. Don’t be discouraged! It’s just something to think about.
8. First Aid. Learn some basic First Aid. I’m going to toot my horn and link my post because I sat through literally six hours to get certified in this stuff, and if I do say so myself, my post is rather thorough.
9. Learn to clean. Learn some basic cleaning skills- how to wash dishes, how to vacuum, what sprays clean what. These may seem like simplistic things, but many people grow up not having to do household chores. I guarantee you that not every apartment you live in will have a dishwasher, so learn some dish skills now! Learn to clean.
10. Go Shopping. Make a shopping list and go shopping at your local supermarket or grocery store. Crowded stores can sometimes be unnerving, remember the more practice you get at it, the more at ease you’ll be.
11. Learn to wash clothes. Doing laundry is something that I never did while living in my parent’s house, and the first few times doing it on my own turned out… interestingly. Get your laundry skills in tip-top shape!
12. Get transportation. Get yourself a mode of transportation that does not require your parents. Biking, walking, and using public transportation are all ways that you can get where you need to be. Get as familiar with public transportation around your city as much as possible.
13. Separate bank account. Still sharing a linked bank account with your parents? Get yourself a bank account that they don’t have access to. One of the first steps towards moving out and “Adulting” is being able to take care of your money.
14. Build your resume. Keep working on and updating your resume, even if you already have a job. You never know when you’ll need to find another one, and you don’t want to hastily throw together your resume with little notice.
15. References. Similarly, get yourself a list of professional references. These references can be teachers, guidance counselors, family friends, etc. References are useful for job applications, housing applications, and networking. Always ask before putting someone’s name down as a reference.
16. Health insurance. Start learning about what health insurance coverage you currently have- how expensive it is, how it’s paid, how long it lasts, etc. Find out if you will be able to stay on this insurance after moving out of your parent’s house.
17. Buy a First Aid Kit. A First Aid Kit is a must have for whatever apartment, room, or house is your next home! Spend $20 and buy a decent sized one that includes things like cold compresses, burn creams, and gauze.
18. Buy a Bed. The average person sleeps around 229,961 hours in their lifetime. That’s a lot of time in bed! Buy yourself a comfortable mattress (you should replace your mattress every 8-10 years), luxurious sheets and/or a memory foam pillow. Nice beds can be expensive, so start saving up for one now.
19. Learn basic repair. Get yourself a toolbox and learn some basic repair. You can find extensive articles online about everything from unclogging a drain, to tightening screws, and using caulk. Get familiar with these tools now, because you never know what type of landlord you’ll end up with. They could come promptly when requested to do repairs, or they might not.
20. Learn how to write a check. Okay but seriously- this is important. Do not let me catch you moving out of your parent’s house without knowing how to write a check. Here is @howtogrowthefuckup‘s two cents.