Tips for moving out for the first time on a tight budget

moving out on a budget

As we grow up and transition into adulthood, there comes a time in our lives when we start thinking of moving out of our parents’ home.

This is a good thing because living alone can be so much fun, it builds responsibility and most importantly, it offers you independence.

However, as much fun as it is to live alone, it’s not that easy to take that leap of faith. I know a number of people who would love to move out of their parents’ home and start living alone, but they can’t because their finances limit them.

They are waiting till they start making more money before they can move. But what if you don’t have the option of waiting? What if circumstances are forcing you to make the move now, on a tight income? What should you do to make ends meet?  

I won’t lie, the prospect of being the one responsible for all the bills scared me as well. I could look at my monthly income and think there was no way I could afford to move out. But still, I chose to take the leap and moved out. Now that it’s been over a year since I moved, I thought I would share some tips on how you can make the move as well whilst on a tight budget. So here are my five tips:  

1. Know your financial picture

The first thing you need to do before you move out of your parents’ home is to get a clear picture of your finances.

How much money do you make each month?

What obligations do you have? Are there loan payments to be made? Perhaps family obligation? How much out of your income do those payments take?

Before you can make a move, sit down and dissect your finances. Accounts for all sources of income, the interval that the money gets into your accounts. Also accounts for all things that take money from you. This will help you determine the average amount that you have to work with each month. It will give you a picture of how much you can afford. Then you can start making other decisions in relation to your move (including whether or not you should move now or wait).

2. Create a budget

moving out on a tight budget

A budget is telling your money where to go instead of wondering where it went

Dave Ramsey

This quote by Dave Ramsey really captured the importance of creating and following a budget. Most people think of a budget as a restrictive tool that stops people from enjoying their hard-earned money when the opposite is true. In actual sense, a budget is a tool that helps you allocate your money based on varying priorities which in turn helps you achieve a lot with it.

When you start living on your own with a tight income, it is very essential to learn how to make your money go a long way. And that’s where a budget comes in. A budget will help you prioritize your expenditures according to their level of importance, which in turn will help you spend your money on important things first. Because it wouldn’t do to be kicked out by your landlord because you couldn’t pay your rent when you have been dining out every evening.

So, create your own personal budget as soon as yesterday, like seriously. Make projections of how much living on your own will cost and see if you can afford it.

3. Don’t shy away from pre-loved items

I know how much we love shiny new things but if you are on a tight budget, some of those shiny new things could just break your budget.

So, what’s the alternative?

Pre-loved things.

Check out second-hand shops for some items that you might need in your home. you should be able to find something in a good shape at a relatively low price than if you’d bought the item brand new. This way you can spend the saving on something else (either buying another home item or topping up on your bills).

Also, if you have relatives or friends who have things that they no longer use, you could offer to buy from them at a cheap price. They might even give you the things for free.

With a little creativity, you can turn pre-owned and pre-loved things into wonderful pieces for your home.

For example, my sister had a cabinet that she had stopped using a long time ago. At the time I wanted a TV stand for my home but I didn’t have any money. I talked to her and she gave me the cabinet, free of charge. The only money I spent on my TV stand was the transport money and money I paid a local carpenter who restored and painted the cabinet for me. And just like that, I had a TV stand that I loved.

So, don’t shy away from pre-loved things. With a little creativity, second-hand things will help you have the home you love at a really cheap price.

4. Consider having a housemate

moving out with a tight budget

One of the things that make living alone expensive is the fact that you sorely become responsible for handling all the bills. If that scares you, consider having a housemate. Not only will having another person in the home make it less lonely, but they also make it less costly as well. A housemate handles half the bills (half the rent money, half the bills, etc.).

So if after analyzing your financial situation and creating a budget you still feel like you can’t afford to move out, consider moving in with a housemate.

5. Have an emergency fund

Life is full of uncertainties.  It’s important to prepare for the rainy day when you lose your job, or you get sick and can’t continue working… etc.

Its not enough to only have the bare minimum in your account. Have a couple of months’ expenditures readily available in your account in cases of emergency.

Ideally, you have to have this money in place even before you move out. This is something that I didn’t consider when I was moving out myself. If I were to start over, I would build my emergency fund first before moving out.

If you are just thinking of moving out, please also consider building an emergency fund before you actually make the move because its harder to save for an emergency when you also have to meet all the financial obligations that come with living on your own (especially if you will be operating on a tight budget)

So as you prepare to move out, start saving for emergencies right away.

A thought before I leave,

Moving out can be both scary and exciting. I hope this post today will help you prepare yourself to finally make that move.

So much love,


moving out on a tight budget

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Thanks for the insight. I know it was posted long time ago but reading it todae has helped me alot.
You might also include checklist of items to be bought.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
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