I left home without any money. I was just back from six months around Europe and I didn’t really have a cent to my name. I was lucky- I had a room at a relative’s house for a year, and walked straight into a job earned solely through the solid DNA that is nepotism. Regardless, I still managed to fall short on the weekly groceries or feel the pinch of the monthly landline rental.
So how much, ideally, should I have had when I left home? And how much should you have if you are intending to live independently? Here are some pointers.
Sometimes leaving home means moving down the road. You can stay at the same job, and sneak home for the occasional meal. More often, however, leaving home is occasioned by a move for university or a new job. This means it might take a couple of months to get on your feet, and you need to budget for this. Especially if you don’t have a job lined up, you’re going to need a couple of months’ income to sustain you.
Say your hourly wage is $18 after tax and you work 20 hours a week (this is a guess-timate of what the average uni student would be earning). Say it takes you a month to find a job (a worse case scenario obviously, but prepare for the worst. This means you should have roughly $1500 to tide you over.
If you are about to start renting, you don’t just need the money week to week. It’s easy to forget the upfront costs, and bonds can be a pain in the neck if they’re not accounted for. Of course, you do get it back (should you be a sensible tenant and not use the floor as one great big ashtray) but it can be a couple of years.
Generally a bond is about $300- 700. It depends how much your rent is, and how many flatmates you have to divide the costs with.
Once you’ve got a place, you then need to think about what you are going to put into it. People around you are always generous, but they can’t be expected to supply everything. You’ll probably need a bed, mattress, some kitchen appliances and maybe a couch. Go second hand, and you’ll save money.
Probably a couple of hundred dollars.
Textbooks/ Work clothes
If you are starting a new job or university, there may be some initial costs associated with that also. New work clothes aren’t an absolute necessity, but if this is your first serious job, then you may need to upgrade your wardrobe. Ditto with the textbooks. If you are very skint, then just use the ones in the library. Don’t necessarily believe them when they tell you its imperative that you own ‘The Deconstruction and End of Gender’ or something similar, which you leaf through once in Week 12 when you’re writing the final essay.
New work clothes can cost about $50 -100, and new textbooks can range from $50 to a couple of hundred.
All in all, to prepare for moving out, you’ll probably need to set aside about $3000 to cover bond, moving, furniture and to ensure you don’t get stuck should finding work prove difficult. Even then, you’ll need work and a budget quite quickly. You don’t necessarily need that much, but you’ll start your new independent life on the right note if you do.