Budgeting for living on your own

A girl smiling while packing up her house.

Planning to move out on your own? Whether you’re moving out of your parents’ or just looking for a place without roommates, you’re going to need a budget. Budgeting makes your life so much easier – especially when you’re living on your own for the first time. 

Here are a few basic budgeting tips.

Think of a budget, not as a restrictive practice but rather as a basic cash flow plan. You simply are comparing the money you have coming in to your expenses. 

You can create a budget pretty easily using online forms, smartphone apps or pen and paper. Whatever method you decide to use, make sure you include everything you plan to spend your money on. Everything from the basic and boring to the fun and exciting should be accounted for. Don’t forget to include things like rent, student loan payments, streaming services and even late-night drive-thru stops. 

While this might feel overwhelming at first. Once you know where your money is going, it’s so much easier to determine what decisions you need to make to achieve your financial goals.  

Consider reorganizing your spending or earning more.

Once you’ve budgeted and thought about your financial goals, you might find that your budget is a little tighter than you expected. But don’t worry, there are a few things you can do. 

Critically look at what you are spending your money on. Are there things that you could live without? Perhaps there is a magazine you subscribe to but barely read or you’re spending way more than you’d like on takeout – use that money toward something more worthwhile.

Another option you might consider is another job. If it works with your schedule, taking a part-time position or freelancing might be a great way to make some extra cash. 

Save by paying yourself first.

No matter how much you earn, make sure you make saving a habit. A great way to get started is by setting up automatic payments to your savings account after each paycheck. You might begin by saving only $10 or $20 every couple weeks but that can really add up. Plus, you’ll have an extra cushion for emergencies, and you can always save more as you go.

Learning to budget before you move out on your own is a valuable skill. If you already live on your own, it’s never too late to figure out how to budget.