The Three Steps To Moving Out After College

by Ariel Lopez

Life doesn't always go as planned.

For many of us, leaving home was one of the best things about going to college. There’s no supervision, complete freedom to do whatever we want, no one bossing us around with chores or telling us to make curfew on Friday night. It’s just you, no parents, no bullshit. This is the start of adulthood.

So how is it we ended up at the one place we didn’t want to be post-graduation? Granted, after getting pimped out by Sallie Mae and not being able to find a job (the reality for a majority of students), some may seek the comfort of home. Free meals and clean laundry never seemed so appealing, and let's face it: we’re f*cking broke, so mom’s rules will just have to do.

I'm finding, however, that many end up becoming complacent once they make the move back home. The months turn into years, and before you know it, you’re damn near 30. Maybe it's fear of failure, but if you want a normal social life, happiness, and any chance at a successful relationship, you have to come to terms with moving out at some point.

Here are some things to think about, so you can start acting your age.

Do you have a game plan?

“If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail.” You should absolutely move out of your parents’ house, but don’t do it at the risk of being completely homeless and unable to stand on your own. Make sure you have enough money saved up to cover at least two months of rent upfront, plus whatever other costs that may occur (factor in utilities, cable, internet, etc.). The point of moving back home in the first place was to save up some money.

Don’t get it twisted. Just because all of your paychecks aren’t being spent on monthly bills, it doesn’t mean you can start spending it frivolously. Popping bottles in the club, excessive name brand clothing purchases, and taking trips every other week are unnecessary. YOU AIN’T THERE YET. You have to trust the process.

Granted, you’ll see some struggles when you first leave the nest (think of freshman year in college - you’re no stranger to ramen noodles), but it will all be worth it in the end. Make a goal to move out in matter of six months, or maybe even a year from now, and stay on top of it.

Do you have a roommate?

We Heart It

Okay. Chances are, especially if you live in NYC, you’re going to need a roommate. $1800 per month for rent just isn’t doable for one person. If you want to do things the right way, you will be sure to find a roommate in the same boat as you, so don’t end up with any crazy people.

Trust me, I’ve heard it all: the dirty roommate, the one that moves her boyfriend in secretly (he isn’t paying rent), the one that steals your clothes, the one that never leaves the f*cking house (seriously, what do you do all day?), the one that eats your food, and the roommate that never pays anything on time. A bad roommate can make your life a living hell and even worse, make home a place you dread being.

So what to do? Carefully weigh out your options. I wouldn’t recommend living with your best friend (we know how that can go), but find a strong associate that you deem trustworthy. If you take the Craigslist route (it really isn’t entirely bogus), make sure you get a full security deposit to protect yourself (just in case they decide they want to jump ship). More importantly, make sure you’re compatible. You don’t have to love all the same things, but you must both be tolerant and respectful of each other’s space and habits.

Do you have a place?

Don’t leave home with a plan to sleep on your friend’s couch for a month until you find something. You will likely ruin the friendship, so be sure to secure a your own place before making plans to move out. Think about the location. What’s surrounding your new place? Do you feel safe there? How long will your commute be back and forth to work or school?

Is it really the change of scenery you need to progress? Moving down the block from your parents may not be the best idea - sometimes you need to create some distance. Make sure your landlord is legit and that all of the paperwork is appropriate (I’ve gotten scammed before and it’s not fun). Also, do your market research to make sure you’re not getting screwed. If you’re paying a substantially higher amount than your neighbors, you may want to think again.

Don’t forget to have fun! Moving out should be a stress-free, totally exciting experience. Decorating your new place is also extremely rewarding and a chance for you to showcase your personality and style. Make sure you have enough saved up for furniture and map out everything you’ll need to make your new place home.

Get off your parents’ couch and find a place! The only person holding you back is yourself.

Top Photo Courtesy: The Ramblings Of A Girl