Cutting the umbilical cord
April 6, 2009 10:38 AM   Subscribe

This moving out thing, uh...how do I do this (financially)?

I often complain about my parents to my friends, random people, and even on here.

The most common comment/question I get is "Hey, why don't you just move out???"

If it were only that simple...

This is something I would love love LOVE to do, but I don't think I can afford it. I am underemployed. Full time jobs are hard to find. I do have the option of getting a second part time job, but that wouldn't give me benefits like a full-time job.

I have 50K worth of student loans, how on earth I would be able to pay rent, bills, gas, and food along with those student loan repayments (I calculated it will be around $500-700 a month)?

Well, I know I am no unique snowflake in this regard. I am assuming most 20-somethings who do live on their own, have some sort of debt...and car payments (thank God I don't have to worry about that one). I am wondering how do they do it? Am I missing something?

With my situation, I want to know what my options are.
posted by sixcolors to Work & Money (37 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
 
get roommates to share the burden of rent payments.
posted by xotis at 10:42 AM on April 6, 2009


Well, this is pretty straightforward, believe it or not: Budget.

How much do you bring home (net, after taxes) every month? If that amount is enough to cover your loan payments, great--how much more do you have left over? Find out how much rent would be where you would want to live. Factor in your additional costs: utilities, food that you're not currently paying for, insurance, cell phone bills, anything else your parents cover for you. Add all those up, using upper-end estimates.

Are your estimated monthly expenses now exceeding your total take home for the month? Congratulations, you're not making enough to move out yet. Find another job. Ask for a raise. Look back over your estimated expenses and see what you can cut. Find a full time job instead of just saying "it's hard."

Make sure that you find a gig where your total net income (again, after taxes) exceeds all of your expenses for a given month by a good $100-$200, if not more. Plug your accounts into Mint.com to see what you spend each month and where, and use that to watch your spending.

Meanwhile, start saving. Do what you can to reduce your debt burden, and save anything you're not spending like crazy. Remember that you'll typically want to get to a point where you have at least a six month savings cushion where you could survive without any income for that long--that will take some time still, though, and you shouldn't feel like you need to hit that before moving out. Just that you're making more than you're spending, debt, rent, and all other expenses included.

Good luck, and go forth and earn.
posted by disillusioned at 10:44 AM on April 6, 2009 [4 favorites]


"I have 50K worth of student loans, how on earth I would be able to pay rent, bills, gas, and food along with those student loan repayments (I calculated it will be around $500-700 a month)?"

Nope. Depending on your lender, there are many payment options available, including income-sensitive.
posted by HopperFan at 10:47 AM on April 6, 2009


Doublecheck with your loan provider, but I believe that as long as your student loans are federal, if your monthly loan payments are over 40% of your gross monthly salary, you can have them deferred interest-free for a year or two. That would take some of the burden off you without accumulating huge back payments of interest.
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 10:49 AM on April 6, 2009


I am assuming most 20-somethings who do live on their own, have some sort of debt...and car payments (thank God I don't have to worry about that one). I am wondering how do they do it?

They have full time jobs.

Am I missing something?

Yes. A full time job. Get a real job, then move out it.

Doing it any other way means you're prioritizing your short term comfort (getting out from under your parents) with long term finanical risk (getting behind on your loan payments, screwing up your credit, etc...)
posted by wfrgms at 10:50 AM on April 6, 2009


Get the second part time job, get room-mates.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 10:52 AM on April 6, 2009


Yeah, this isn't rocket science.

Make a budget.

Call a few places/read a few CL ads, figure out the cost of rent in your area. Divide that by the number of roommates you will have.
Add up your other bills.
Renegotiate your student loan to a lower amount.
Get a second part-time job.

Move the hell out. Start your life, stop getting moldy in your parent's basement. Let them move on with their life too.
posted by unixrat at 10:55 AM on April 6, 2009


Get two more jobs. Sell anything you don't use; don't buy anything you don't absolutely need to survive. Live with roommates and without a car. Get deferments or forbearances for your student loans.

It won't happen until being on your own becomes a higher priority for you than all that other crap.
posted by shiny blue object at 10:57 AM on April 6, 2009


wfrgms has it right.

Unless your circumstances are actually forcing you to move out now, you use the resources you already have (free place to stay, free time not spent at a full-time job) to FIND a full-time job. Then move to wherever it is.
posted by TSGlenn at 10:57 AM on April 6, 2009


Speaking as a parent, if you continue to live in your parents' house, pay rent. The room you occupy might not get used by somebody else, but you eat, drink, make messes, turn up the heat, etc. In short, you are an expense. Pay them an regular amount for food, heat and rent. They might be nice parents who can afford to contribute that money to your loans, or not. Paying them will also help you get motivated to get your own place.
posted by theora55 at 11:00 AM on April 6, 2009 [4 favorites]


I have $40k in student loans on the federal "extended repayment" plan, and my monthly payment is under $200.
posted by salvia at 11:01 AM on April 6, 2009


I am wondering how do they do it?

When I was your age(ish), I had six housemates. We bought food in bulk, kept the thermostat low, and generally lived in squalor -- but cheap squalor!
posted by The corpse in the library at 11:21 AM on April 6, 2009


Echo others; the thing that most 20somethings have is a full-time job. I know plenty with 40k+ in debt; most live very very frugally on what I imagine to be modest incomes from full-time jobs, generally with roommates.
posted by Tomorrowful at 11:39 AM on April 6, 2009


I don't know how bad your parents really are, but if it's typical 20-something-year-old complaints that you have about them, it might not be worth it to move out if you're going to be working ONLY so you can move out. If all your $$ will go to rent/bills/student loans, I don't think it's worth living like that. Unless of course your situation at home is unbearable, I would say live at home and save up $ while looking for a full-time job where you won't even have to question whether you'll have enough $ to pay for everything that you need to pay for.

Although, depending on your need for alone time and social level and location, renting a house with 3-4 friends would be a cheap way to do this. But if you value privacy and quiet alone time, and have potential roommates who you can 10000% trust to not ruin the apt and move out halfway through the lease, and to clean the common area regularly, and whatnot, then it can be an awesome time.

But yes, I would use your time now while you don't HAVE to pay rent to find a good paying job.
posted by KateHasQuestions at 11:42 AM on April 6, 2009


What everyone else is saying.
Maximize jobs & roommates.
Minimize expenses.
Make the most of your time under your parents' roof. Save while you can.

Live in a cheap place if you need to. Share a room if you need to. Keep looking for a full time job even whilst taking additional part-time work. For roommates, I'd ask people in the following order: friends, classmates, then answer ads from strangers or post your own ads.
posted by kidbritish at 11:44 AM on April 6, 2009


I am assuming most 20-somethings who do live on their own, have some sort of debt...and car payments (thank God I don't have to worry about that one). I am wondering how do they do it?

The going rate for one room in a house shared with 4 other people, in my university town, runs to approximately $110 per week, with water/electricity/gas included. In other words, about $475 a month, $6,000 a year.

This will be different in your area, depending on the market, and how far you're willing to compromise on quality, but that figure should give you a rough idea.

The typical way of affording this is with a full time job, or with some other employment making $6,000 a year a non-painful amount.
posted by Mike1024 at 11:49 AM on April 6, 2009


It depends how much longer you want to live at home. $50 000 is a LOT of debt.

If you got a solid full-time salaried job - even at a call-centre or at a factory - you could earn maybe $30-35k a year. Do that for as long as it takes to get your debt below $10 000 (what I would think of as difficult but manageable if you're starting out on your own). That way, you're moving out with less of a debt burden.
posted by cranberrymonger at 12:07 PM on April 6, 2009


If you're looking for a second part-time job with good pay and flexible hours, try tutoring middle school and high school kids after school or on weekends. Generic tutoring and "study skills help" (read: homework supervision, paid for by the kid's parents) is fine, but you can make much better money if you can offer tutoring for a specific standardized test, like the Biology SAT II test, or the SAT essay writing section, or an upcoming AP test, or something like that.

Of course, you'll have to get going on this idea soon, as the school year is winding up in another eight weeks.
posted by Asparagirl at 12:10 PM on April 6, 2009


sixcolors wrote: I have 50K worth of student loans, how on earth I would be able to pay rent, bills, gas, and food along with those student loan repayments (I calculated it will be around $500-700 a month)?

Get a low interest consolidation loan with graduated repayment or extended repayment terms.

Rates should be pretty darn low right now. Probably competitive with my SO's sub 3%. I think she's up to $150 a month now, 4 years in. She started out at $80. I think it's 20 years in total, and she's got 25 or 30 thousand in SLs.
posted by wierdo at 12:27 PM on April 6, 2009


I am wondering how do they do it?

In addition to what others have said, a lot of 20-somethings also have a big chunk of credit card debt, or will after trying to live on their own without a workable budget. It doesn't sound like you do--right?--so that's a very good start right there. Make sure to keep it that way.

Everyone has roomies at least the first few years. I lived in a 2-bedroom with one other person, which was affordable for me. But you can get that rent down and down if you're willing to live with more and more people and/or in a smaller space.

My first year on my own, money was tight. I wrote down every single monthly expense, everything ELSE I spent money on, and everything I made. I was only working part time through most of it, but it was mostly waitressing, when the economy was better, so I could make OK money only working a few nights a week. I can't explain exactly how, but writing down everything really helped me keep it all together. Once I knew I had the money I needed for the month, I could breathe a sigh of relief. Also working at a restaurant helped because in New York you get a shift meal and usually a shift drink too (plus sometimes more free food and drink by befriending other waitresses and bartenders in the neighborhood). Spending less money on food made a big difference.

Eventually I got a full-time job, which made everything much easier.

Honestly, it's nowhere near as easy as living with your folks. But even when it's tough--maybe especially when it's tough--it can be incredibly rewarding, to get organized and take control of your own life and finances, and make it work. Feels like freedom. (Because it is).
posted by lampoil at 12:35 PM on April 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


Many, many jobs, benefits be damned. I would have loved a full time job when I was right out of college so I could have health insurance, but they weren't to be found, so I worked four part-time jobs and didn't have insurance.

Roommates. I lived in an apartment with four bedrooms, a living room that we used as a bedroom, and one bathroom. I didn't buy myself anything new at all for the first year--no new furniture, no books, no movies. I scrounged for bus change, and when I didn't have any, I walked.

Budget. Tell what little money you do have where to go.

Lots of ramen.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 12:52 PM on April 6, 2009


If all your $$ will go to rent/bills/student loans, I don't think it's worth living like that.

What? Seriously, this is how most 20-somethings live, and to be honest, it is much better than living at home, for most people. I've said this many, many times here, but I really think it's an important step towards adulthood to spend time living with roommates, even if you're living paycheck-to-paycheck. Sure, it can be stressful, but it can also be fun as hell and like lampoil says, the freedom is priceless.

I would set yourself a goal, say, to move out by October 1. This gives you approximately 6 months. Figure out what you will need to move. Make a budget. Things you will want to include in that budget:

- Student loan payments (call your lender and find out what your repayment options are, pay the bare minimum for now)
- Rent (even in expensive cities, you can get a room in an apartment for $600-800/month)
- Transportation costs (gas if you drive, metro pass if you live in a place with good transit. If you have a car payment you might consider selling your car and buying a cheaper used car)
- Food/entertainment/utilities - this is the hardest to figure out but also the most flexible.

A good rule of thumb is that you don't want your rent to exceed 1/4 of your monthly gross pay. Lots of young people end up having to pay more, but with loans you really want to try to avoid it.

Next, work backwards from that goal. If you know that you will need to be making $2000/month by October, for instance, you can start working now to get a job that will pay that, or up your hours at your current job. You can also start saving for moving costs. You'll want to save enough for a deposit plus first and last months's rent, plus any furniture you will need to buy. Say $3,000. That means you need to save $500/month between now and October 1, or $125/week.

Anyway, it's great to hear you're looking into this. Good luck!
posted by lunasol at 1:03 PM on April 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't understand why you don't at least get another part-time job, since you imply they're available. You say it wouldn't give you the benefits of a full-time job, but that reasoning doesn't make sense; you're not currently getting the benefits of a full-time job either, so that'd be no loss. The only difference would be more money. (And more hours worked, of course, but that's life.)
posted by Jaltcoh at 1:13 PM on April 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


1. Get roommates
2. Do without non-essential expenses like cable TV
3. Defer payments
4. Get a second job and remember that no legal position is beneath you
5. Talk to your parents about the expenses they take on by hosting you. Move out and offer to do some kind of odd jobs for them in exchange for the money they would have spent on expenses were you still living with them.
6. Sell stuff you don't absolutely need

Just a few of the many ways to make ends meet.
posted by katillathehun at 2:09 PM on April 6, 2009


Also: avoid Target for anything but bed linens and pick up the rest at Goodwill. You can get a pretty sweet kitchen set up for very little.
posted by amanda at 2:11 PM on April 6, 2009


Remember that you'll typically want to get to a point where you have at least a six month savings cushion where you could survive without any income for that long

This is great in theory, but not necessarily practical, nor is it how I (or any) of the 20somethings I knew did it when we were 20somethings. Having some sort of cushion is incredibly helpful in that it helps lessen the panic if your hours get cut, but if you're going to use "But I don't have six months' savings yet!" as an excuse to continue to live at home but chafe at your parents' treatment, well, don't.

Get roommates. Learn to love big pots of chili, day-old bread, etc. And take the second part-time job, yes.

I know someone right here in San Francisco who survives on a part-time job. I'm sure he's got student loans. He also has roommates. If he can figure out how to live in (very expensive) San Francisco, you can do it in your cheaper area.
posted by rtha at 2:15 PM on April 6, 2009


I moved out years ago, and I still don't have a full time job (school is a bitch). However, I've never starved or had to move back home because I'm incredibly careful about how I spend money.

The biggest expense each month is rent: be creative about how you can minimize this. I lived in a hostel rent-free for six months in exchange for working the front desk and cleaning. Right now, I live on a guy's couch on the Upper West Side of NYC for $500 a month. My clothes are stacked in a bookshelf. My shoes are in an end table. Be willing to think out of the box and you could save a lot of money.

Food: do not eat out. No fast food, no restaurants. Alcohol at bars is a budget killer. Buy cheap, bountiful foods that will fill you up. No snacks. This sounds like such an unfun diet, but after awhile you won't notice and will be glad of the extra cash.

Don't sign up for cable, cancel your Netflix account, get your cell phone plan down to the bare minimum. Suffer through the heat to avoid outrageous air conditioning bills. Wrap up in blankets during the winter to cut heating costs.

Get that second part-time job as soon as possible, and save like crazy. Good luck!
posted by amicamentis at 2:56 PM on April 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Ok, I will follow a lot of the advice I just read here...

By October???

I would hang myself before then. Is it possible by July, if I get a second part-time job by May?
posted by sixcolors at 5:19 PM on April 6, 2009


Is it possible by July, if I get a second part-time job by May?

It all depends on your budget -- which is both income AND expenses. How many hours do you work per week now? How many more could you add? What are rents like in your area? How much could you get if you sold your car? Could you get two more part-time jobs? What can you do to get another job this week?

Priorities, baby, priorities.
posted by shiny blue object at 5:57 PM on April 6, 2009


Many, many jobs, benefits be damned. I would have loved a full time job when I was right out of college so I could have health insurance, but they weren't to be found, so I worked four part-time jobs and didn't have insurance.


No, no, no. Insurance isn't a luxury or an "extra," which you'll find out when you have a serious illness, or get in an accident, or etc, etc. Seriously, I have seen a lot of people fall into trouble this way. Budget in at least an emergency-only plan if you're going to go the part time job/no benefits route. Seriously, it's not "toughing it out in your 20s" to not have insurance. Also having gaps in coverage can cause you headaches down the road. Your health is precious.
posted by sweetkid at 6:25 PM on April 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Is it possible by July, if I get a second part-time job by May?

There's no way we can answer this, since we don't know what the housing or job markets are like in your area, or what you've got in your bank account, or what your expenses are.

So look at your local print/online sources to get an idea of what a room with housemates would cost. Figure out how much it will cost you to get to/from your jobs. Do you have credit card payments? Figure out what your debt is, and how much you have to pay out every month. How much do you spend on stuff, and entertainment? Etc.
posted by rtha at 6:33 PM on April 6, 2009


By October???

I would hang myself before then. Is it possible by July, if I get a second part-time job by May?

I was using October as an example of picking a date and working backwards to plan. But also because 6 months is a good amount of time to give yourself. If you need to do it in three months, well, you will just have to get a second job sooner and save twice as much money. You'll have to make a budget and see if it's possible.
posted by lunasol at 7:12 PM on April 6, 2009


OK, find out how much you'll need to get a lease/move into a place. Around here it's 2 months rent for bond etc. Get yourself a second job, and save 2 months rent over 2 months. If you can't do it when you aren't paying any rent, then you aren't earning enough to pay rent. If it's a struggle, then face the fact that when you move out, you'll have to live very frugally.

Then look seriously at what else you'll need eg. furniture, moving costs, emergency fund, food for the first week, and save up for that. Then move.
posted by kjs4 at 7:41 PM on April 6, 2009


If you aren't making much money, you can defer your loans (federal ones, at least) for a decent amount of time (I deferred mine for 6 months, and then 3 months, and I had a full-time job at the time).

Is $500-$700/mo your total living costs? (I can't imagine that could be just your student loans, I know people who owe way more that pay way less every month). That's really low. If you can get 2 part-time jobs, or a full-time job, you should be able to make that easily (or even with just one part-time job, depending on your hourly and the number of hours). Health insurance is important, so I know why a full-time job is preferable, but if it's not possible, you can always explore individual insurance, or options through the government if you're low-income or disabled.
posted by fructose at 8:45 PM on April 6, 2009


If you have a car payment you might consider selling your car and buying a cheaper used car

How much could you get if you sold your car?


As he said in his question, the OP doesn't have a car.
posted by Jaltcoh at 8:07 AM on April 7, 2009


Start looking for places now, and see if you can pay your deposit incrementally. A lot of people will go for this, especially if they need to fill an empty room in their house. Be sure and meet the people you are considering living with - try and have dinner with them if possible. I know people who live on their own with only a part time job - it requires flexibility and cooperation, but it's definitely doable.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 12:00 PM on April 7, 2009


You need to work out how to add to your savings without taking much out.

putting in:

Get a second job. Whatever it is, it will be bringing in more cash, so don't wait for a "nice job" just get whatever job you can. Once you have that you can look for a full time job. Do not quit either of your part time jobs, no matter how sucky they are, until you land a full time job.

Garage sale/Ebay/etc. What stuff do you have that makes you go "hmm, I'm privileged" after watching a documentary about a 3rd world country? Can you sell that for a decent price?

Are you paying board? If not, and it's not appealing to start paying your folks as incentive to get out, save what you would be paying them.

taking out:

There is very little you truly need, and much you want. Work out need from want.

Maybe suck it up and eat with the folks instead of escaping to eat out?

Save all your receipts and write down everything you spend money on. EVERYTHING! The health benefits you might get from cutting as much of the junk food and alcohol that you can (all of it?) are an added bonus.

The discipline you will learn is part of being a grown up, perhaps even more than the freedom you gain from moving out.
posted by titanium_geek at 8:11 PM on November 4, 2009


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