Payin’ Rent: Before You Move Out

Whether you’re leaving home to study or take a job, move in with mates, or your parents are simply tired of having an overgrown child moping around the house, ‘Moving Out’ is an exciting time and the start of your life as an adult.

But renting can be seriously expensive, so before you wave goodbye to the parental safety net it’s wise to work out if you can actually afford to.

Do the maths

The first thing to do is to put together a realistic budget.

While rent is generally the biggest single expense to cover, there are a bucketload of other costs to factor in as well.

Start by listing your share of the bills for basic services like electricity, gas, internet and water.

Obviously you’ll need to eat, so include a grocery run too, and don’t forget regular essentials like shampoo and conditioner, razor blades and toilet paper. And then there’s all those expenses you already incur which won’t go away, like mobile phone payments, car costs, health insurance or the gym.

Lastly, unless you want to spend all of your spare time hanging out in the new living room, make sure to leave room for a half-decent entertainment allowance, too. All that fun stuff can really add up.

Don’t forget the one-off costs

It’s not just the ongoing expenses that hurt, there are lots of big, hairy one-off costs to cover too.

These include the rental bond, which is usually around one month’s rent and protects the landlord in case of any damage to their property or when tenants don’t pay their rent. You’ll generally need to pay rent for a number of weeks in advance too.

On top of that there’s the cost of transporting your stuff to the new house, buying or renting furniture, appliances and other household items, and your first food shop, which is guaranteed to cost a fortune.

But while the bond is pretty non-negotiable, there are plenty of ways to save on everything else if you get creative.

Try flicking through the classifieds on gumtree.com.au to find some bargain furniture, ask your mates to help with the move and see if parents, relatives and friends can help out with unwanted household goods.

Renting appliances like white goods or TVs can also work out well in the short-term as the up-front costs of buying them outright can be quite steep.

And don’t forget to ask your parents for a tasty vat of homemade Bolognese to get you through the first few days.

Plan for the unexpected

Every so often cars break down, fridges stop working or some unhappy soul decides to steal some of your prized possessions.

Although you can’t always prevent these things, you can take a few steps to protect yourself in case the worst does happen.

It’s a good idea to start saving for a rainy day fund before moving out, essentially a stockpile of cash tucked away in a high-interest bank account that’s only to be used in an emergency (running out of booze is not an emergency).

Moving out is also a good time to think about insurance.

Yes, you’re young, and yes, insurance is boring and seems expensive, but it can be the difference between you and financial ruin if things go wrong.

So consider taking out cover for your possessions, and any personal cover that’s appropriate for your situation, such as private health insurance or income protection.