Many parents are happy to allow their kids to continue living with them during their post-high school years, at least for a while. But some parents push their kids out of the nest as soon as they graduate high school, even if they are attending college. If that describes your situation, or if you’re simply ready to move out on your own now that you’re 18, here are the most important things you need to do ASAP.
1. Get a Job
If you don’t yet have a full-time job working 40 hours per week, then get a simple resume for high school graduate and go get one. This is the most important thing you can do to be self-reliant, as just about everything in life requires money. If this is your first time paying your way in life, then you’re in for a rude awakening. So go get that job, put in the hours and start earning a full-time paycheck.
If you already have a part-time job, ask your manager about getting more hours. But don’t settle for less than 40 per week. If she can’t give you that, then just keep your schedule going as is and spend your additional time searching for a full-time job.
Do not attempt to take on multiple part-time jobs, as you will just run yourself into the ground and spend all your free time commuting all over the place and stressing out about scheduling conflicts and begin late all the time.
Later on down the road, as your work skills and experience increase, you can look into ways to make more money while working less hours. But if you are fresh out of high school with no degree and no specialized skills, you really need to consolidate your work hours at a single job — preferably one that can give you health insurance and other benefits.
2. Get a Roof Over Your Head
Hopefully, you’ve thought ahead on this one and have already been working at a steady job for the past 6-12 months, as landlords will use your work history when deciding whether to accept you as a tenant or not.
If you don’t have the credentials and income to get your own apartment, then you’ll have to rent out a room from somebody else. Make sure your room has a lock on it and that you can lock it from the outside with a padlock for which you alone hold the key. Just tell your roommates that it’s nothing personal.
If possible, get a place close to your job or at least close to a bus stop.
3. Get Reliable Transportation
Ideally, you’ll have your own reliable transportation. If you don’t have a car yet, look for used cars that get good mileage so that you can save money on gas.
If you live in a big city where jobs and stores are all in walking distance or bicycle distance, then you could probably get by with a bike and a bus pass and save big bucks on transportation costs.
Whatever you do, resist the temptation to take out a loan on a new car just to impress your friends. That’s a huge mistake and will hold you back at this point.
4. Learn to Budget Your Money
In these early days of adulthood, try to live as lean as possible. This is hard to do, since you probably just want to hang out with your friends as much as possible and go clubbing every weekend. If you have a solid job and make more than enough money to live that way without using credit cards, then go for it.
But if you want to secure your future, then you need to live within your means and cut back on unnecessary expenses as much as possible while you grow your income and build up your savings.
Do not use credit cards and carry a balance. You will only end up throwing away money on interest and fees and holding yourself back from having a financially secure future. Failure to follow this piece of advice will set you back for years and will keep you from enjoying the things you really want in life for years to come.
Moving out on your own is a big step in your life. You will have a lot of freedom, but you will also need to make responsible decisions and manage your time and money well. Follow these tips, and you’ll be off to a great start.