Living alone for the first time comes with a variety of new challenges and opportunities. In addition to general saving and budgeting, you may have other questions or concerns. We’ll address a few of those concerns in this chapter.
Considering a Pet
One of your first priorities after moving out on your own may be finding a pet.
To determine whether pet ownership is a good fit for you, consider the following pros and cons.
Pros of owning a pet:
- Companionship. We’re wired to need companionship. This is one of the largest needs a pet can fulfill.
- Added security. If you’ve never lived on your own before, a pet can provide a level of security, alerting you to potential trouble.
- Exercise. Dogs need exercise, and regular walks are ideal for burning off some of their extra energy. That exercise from walking can be a benefit for you as well.
- Meeting others. Earlier, we shared the importance of getting to know your neighbors. A pet is a great conversation starter.
Cons of owning a pet:
- Expenses. Pets require regular maintenance, licenses, food, and veterinary appointments which can be costly.
- Destruction of property. Pets can be destructive; especially young pets. As a renter, this could reflect poorly on you, while adding to your existing expenses.
- Commitment. If you’ve owned a pet before, you know that they require attention and a certain level of commitment. You cannot come and go freely without planning for your pet’s care.
How Much Does a Pet Really Cost?
According to a Bureau of Labor Statistics interview with Tom McPheron of the American Veterinary Medical Association, three-quarters of all U.S. households own pets. Wanting a pet is not unique or unusual, but the cost of a pet is important to understand.
Among pet owners, on average, each household spends $500 a year on pet care. This includes food, medical care, and equipment. These costs vary based on the age and health of the pet. Additionally, many landlords require additional pet deposits and monthly fees for pet owners. If you’re unsure how to afford living alone in the first place, it may be best to wait before taking on this responsibility.
If the cost is not prohibitive, you should consider the following facts before moving into your new rental. Many landlords and rental properties have regulations about dog breeds, the number of pets permitted, their age, and their size. It’s important to review these for your situation in advance, before making any decisions.
If you decide to get a four-legged companion, start by focusing on training. If your pet is loud or causes too much damage, you may be asked to remove it. To get started, check out The Humane Society ’s tips for dog and cat owners in rental properties.
In many cases, it’s a good idea to wait until you are settled in to adopt a pet, but this decision is yours to make.
Making Your New Space Feel Like Home
After your big move, you may feel a bit of a “crash.” You’ve been anticipating the move for some time. You’ve been researching, planning, and organizing your life to make it possible.
Then, suddenly, it’s over. You’ve moved into your new place. Once the excitement wears off, you may miss your old routine or have other unexpected feelings. One way to overcome them is to make your new space feel like home.
A few fun tips for getting started include:
- Decorating. Read your lease to find out if you can paint your new apartment, and what rules apply to nail holes. For example, you may have to spackle over them and paint the walls back to their original color when your lease is up and you decide to move out. Consider hanging a few shelves and artwork and incorporating some of your design preferences. Do a few online searches to find ideas that meet your budget and style.
- Cooking like you’re at home. If you’re leaving your parents’ home, one way to make your new space more comfortable is to incorporate some of your old routines. Ask your parents for recipes and start making a few of your favorite dishes in your new space. Now’s a great time to learn how to cook if it’s a new skill. Invite family and friends over for meals.
- Thinking about smells. While many landlords do not allow candles, you still have options. Wax warmers and scented outlet diffusers allow you to bring comfortable scents into your new home.
- Inviting your friends over. Start a new routine by watching a shared favorite show together once a week or starting a book club that meets at your place. Find ways to bring your social life home. The more memories you make, the faster the transition to home will begin.
- Buying a plant. Many options are available, from orchids that require a few ice cubes a week and a little sunlight to simple do-it-yourself indoor herb gardens. Taking care of something might add to your new space’s “home appeal.”
- Focusing on the floor. If you’re unable to paint or hang things, area rugs could spruce up your new rental without breaking the bank or any rules.
Moving out on your own is an exciting journey filled with many highs, lows, and surprises. Making your new place feel like home is truly the start of your new, independent life.
Feeling Ready to Move Out? You Can Do It!
Hopefully, the idea of moving out and starting a new life on your own now feels a little less overwhelming. You’ve read the facts, considered your personal situation and desires, and are ready to take your future into your own hands. How exciting!
Reading through this guide, you’ve learned a lot, including:
- Questions to consider if moving out is still just something you’ve thought about a time or two and you are — or aren’t! — ready to go.
- Information on creating and sticking to a budget that’s just right for you.
- Helpful savings tips to get you moving in the right direction.
- Information and statistics to start the search process and identify whether living on your own, renting, or buying is best for your individual situation and needs.
- Preparation tips for you before, during, and after your big moving day.
- Practical planning and savings hacks.
Save this guide and come back to it as you start your journey. The valuable information it contains could serve as a useful reference in the future.
And remember that PSECU is here for you.
We understand that each person’s needs are different from others — life doesn’t offer one-size-fits-all solutions. Our tools and options are designed to meet your needs during every stage of life, providing the financial services and information necessary to be successful.
Moving out on your own doesn’t have to be frightening. You have the knowledge and information you need to make smart decisions throughout the process and work on areas that could use some improvement.
Still excited? So are we. By reading this guide, you’ve taken the steps necessary to empower yourself to make better decisions. Congratulations, and best of luck as you move out on your own.
Thank you for taking the time to download PSECU’s “Survival Guide to Living on Your Own.”
Whether you’re a recent high school graduate ready to move out of your parents’ house at 18, a newlywed looking to start a new life with another person, or a recent divorcee who is facing the prospect of life on your own for the first time, we understand the questions and challenges you may be facing. This guide is designed to meet you where you are.
It’s easy to search for answers as questions come up, but having the information in one place can also be beneficial. Inside this guide, you’ll find reliable information about:
- Budgeting for living on your own.
- Considering whether now is a good time to move out — or not.
- How to save for the big move, whether it is happening next month or three years from now.
- Practical tips for moving day, settling in, cooking for one, and setting up a cleaning routine.
- Special considerations for college students, adults, and even pets.
You don’t have to struggle with questions or face major life decisions — like moving out on your own — alone. This guide is a great starting point. Additionally, PSECU has many resources to help you through this and other big life decisions and events.
After reading this guide, if you’d like information on our products and services, visit our website for more information or to join PSECU.
We’re excited to partner with you in this particularly exciting life journey. Good luck. You can do it!
*PSECU is not a credit reporting agency. Fair Isaac is not an affiliate company of PSECU. Members must have PSECU checking or a PSECU loan to be eligible for this service. Joint Owners are not eligible.
Read Our Other Chapters
- Chapter 1: Questions to Consider Before Moving Out
- Chapter 2: How to Budget for Living on Your Own
- Chapter 3: How to Save to Live Alone for the First Time
- Chapter 4: How to Find Your New Space
- Chapter 5: How to Move Out and Get Started
- Chapter 6: How to Manage Groceries, Cleaning, and More
- Chapter 7: What College Students Need to Know Before Living on Their Own
- Chapter 8: Tips for Living Alone