Moving to your first house brings a lot of excitement. The independence and freedom that come with it are unmatched. On the other hand, sometimes it is frustrating to live with your parents when you are working and earning your own money. There is no freedom to do whatever you want, host your friends, you have to cook and clean and even pay some bills in the house.
So you entertain the idea of living alone. But are you ready to move? Have you saved enough money for rent and recurring bills? Are you ready to give up the comfort of finding a home cooked meal after you get home from work? Can you take care of yourself?
Before you decide to move to your first house, it is important to ask yourself these questions to avoid going back to your parent’s house after a few months of living alone.
Can I Pay My Own Bills?
When you live with your parents, most of your money is spent on entertainment and things that are not a priority. You will have to cut back on this when you start living alone. While you are still in your parent’s house, set a budget and stick to it for 2 months. This will help with a smooth transition when you start living alone. It will help you become a better saver in the long run.
Living alone is a huge responsibility. If you are not paying rent, you are looking for money for electricity, food, internet and many other bills. Before you decide to move out, you need to be in a position where you can actually afford to stay alone and handle all the expenses. How do you do that? Start by writing down a detailed monthly budget with the obvious bills like rent, food and utilities. Add any extra costs you might incur during the month such as entertainment, clothes shopping and have a fund for emergencies.
How Much Debt Do I Have?
Have you taken a bank loan that you are currently repaying? Do you have any HELB student loans you are still clearing? Knowing the amount of debt you have to repay is a good way to gauge whether you are ready to move out. There is no point of struggling to pay bills while you are constantly being followed by debt collectors.
When you know what you are working towards, it is usually easier to achieve that goal than to have a vague picture in your mind and say “I will clear all my debts someday”. You don’t want to be paying debt all your life, hence the importance of coming up with a debt repayment plan and include a time frame of when you plan on clearing the debt.
Have I Saved for Emergencies?
Whether you are staying in your parent’s house or living alone, emergencies will always arise. When you are in your own house, there is no one to bail you out but you. If your electricity units run out, you can’t keep running to your parents asking for money. We never know when we will fall sick but we know how expensive healthcare is in Kenya.
Following these saving tips and having money for rainy days will reduce the amount of stress and frustration you would go through when an emergency occurs. If you have a stable job, make it a habit to save a certain portion of your salary every month. Cultivating a saving culture early in life will help you achieve many of your dreams and aspirations.
Can I Afford Rent, Deposit and Moving Expenses?
Before you move to your own place, some landlords will require you to pay rent for a month or 2 together with a deposit. Other rental fees such as connection fee for electricity, internet and water might apply. In order to transition smoothly into your new house, knowing that you have money set aside for these bills will make your life a little less stressful from the move. Also, remember that moving is an expense in itself. You will need to pay for the moving truck, and labour for someone to help you offload your stuff into your new house.
Should I Stay With a Roommate?
A good way to save money when you are living alone is to stay with a roommate. You will cost share on the rent and bills in the house. However, when picking one, you need to be wise and not rush to pick anyone. If you decide to live with a friend, you should remember that the way you know your friend outside of living together is totally different.
You should also pick someone who you can stand their behaviours. For example, if you are a clean freak, you will find it difficult to stay with someone who leaves things lying on the floor and not cleaning after themselves. If you decide to live with a roommate, purpose to find a responsible person.
Can I Afford to Buy Furniture?
When you are moving to your first house, you don’t have to buy everything at once. You’ll probably move to a bedsitter or a 1 bedroom house. There is no pressure of filling the entire house with things you can live without. If you can’t afford to buy a sofa set, it is perfectly ok. If you have no money to buy a bed, get a mattress and sleep on the floor. You will be surprised to learn that most people started this journey the exact same way.
On the other hand, if you must buy these things, shop around for cheap deals or custom made furniture. You can pick designs from the internet and look for an affordable carpenter to make you a bed and sofas.
Will It Affect My Credit Score?
When you start living alone, chances of taking loans to survive from the burst of all the bills coming your way is normal. But it’s a habit that you should avoid at all costs. When you default on paying the loan on time, some companies will list you on Credit Reference Bureau (CRB). This will affect your credit score and make it difficult for you to buy a house in future when the time comes.
If you get used to always borrowing money, you will cultivate this habit each time you find yourself in a fix. In the long run, you pay more money than what you borrowed thanks to the interest rates. Hence, more debt.
Moving from your parent’s home is a huge investment which you have to prepare for in different ways. Without proper planning and saving, you will find yourself going back to your comfort zone, your parent’s house.
Are you thinking about moving to your first house? Has this article made the thought process easier?