How to Move Out at 18 | The Essential Guide

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You just graduated highschool and your parents are already asking when you’re moving out. Sound familiar? We completely understand that no one could ever be fully prepared mentally to enter the adult world and live on your own without preparation. This guide on how to move out at 18 will make it easier for you to set yourself up for success ahead of time. 

Creating Cash Flow 

    Hopefully, at 18 you already have some job experience. On top of having a job, most young adults have a side hustle that makes them some extra cash, especially if their job doesn’t pay enough to cover the bills. There are side hustles for all of your favorite hobbies. Having a side hustle at 18 will not only increase your cash flow for when you move, but it is easy work that you can use to cover your electric bill or add some extra coins in your savings. We’ve included a list of side hustles that are easy for young adults to do in their spare time, if you’re looking to stay fit, healthy and have a truck, consider getting an extra workout in as a Dolly Helper. Only accept the jobs you want so you don’t burnout, and make $15 an hour lifting stuff in and out of pickup trucks (or over $30 per hour if you have your own truck!). Build up your muscles and get paid well to do it on your schedule.

Budgeting 101

  It is ideal to have at least 6 months worth of rent saved up before you move out at 18. Why? This prevents you from going broke in case you lose your job, crash your car, or other unpredictable life expenses happen. Also be mindful that when seeking your first apartment, usually you have to pay an application fee, first and last month’s rent and a security deposit up front, which can already add up to over $1,000. The best way to forecast how much you’ll need to have saved up before you move out would be to create a rough estimate of what your expected monthly expenses will be. This varies depending on what the cost of living is in your area. 

    A common mistake that can get you in trouble, is creating a budget blindly. It’s so easy to underestimate how much we spend on fun things then realizing how little wiggle room we have to spend on those fun things. You need to find out how much money you spend each month so that you can cut out unnecessary expenses before you move out on your own. How do you do this? Go to your mobile banking app and check each of your charges for each of your monthly statements (yes, it’s tedious, but you’ll thank us later). Categorize each expense for one month, such as food, clothes, car etc. and add up the total.

Ask yourself these questions:

What can you spend less money on? 

Where do you spend the most money per month?

How can you cut back? 

    Now that you see all of your monthly expenses before you move out, we highly recommend downloading a money tracking app such as Mint to get you in the habit of being conscious of how you spend your money and how you can support your lifestyle. 

  Another quick money-saving tip: download Acorn, it is an app that rounds up each of your purchases by a dollar and adds that extra dollar in a piggy bank. Each time you swipe, you get tax back. Depending on how much spending you do, these dollars can add up quickly and can help you pay a bill or two. 

Build Your Credit

    Now that you have your budget in order it’s time to talk credit. Since you’re 18 and need to move out, you are now legally allowed to get a credit card. Most apartment complexes won’t give you the time of day if you have zero or poor credit. But beware, a credit card is really good at messing up your financial plan if you don’t know how to use it wisely. 

The easiest way to build credit before you move is to give your credit card a sole purpose. For example, if you have to pay for car insurance and gas each month, you know exactly how much you spend a month on that category. So, give your credit card the sole purpose of paying for your gas and car insurance. Why? It’s consistent money that you already spend each month and you know that you can pay for it without trouble. This way, you know you won’t miss payments and you can guarantee that you can pay off your bills on time each month. It’s as easy as that, as long as you give your card one purpose that you know how much you spend each month, you can even place a limit on your card so that you can’t spend more than you can pay. 

Getting Approved

   There are a lot of great credit card companies that will allow you to start building your credit at 18 without any previous credit history. This is best done when you are still in high school, that way you can get approved for a student card

This will benefit you in two ways: 

  1. You will have really low-interest rates and almost zero APR
  2. No annual fee – you don’t have to spend any money just to have the card

   Now that you’re approved and got your first credit card (yay!) Here are some things you need to know to build perfect credit. A credit card is not free money, let me say it louder, a credit card is not free money. We know it’s tempting to swipe away, but if you spend more than you can afford, you’re in trouble. The point of a credit card is giving you access to spend money now that you will pay back later each month. 

Apartment Hunting

    Now that you feel prepared to move out, you’ve got to find your spot. Depending on the city you live in, there are multiple options. As an 18-year-old, you need something cheap and liveable. Most cities have a low-income tax-exempt program where you can find a decent apartment for cheaper on a 1st or second floor and not have to pay utilities. However, if your city doesn’t offer a program like this, another great place to hunt is on Craigslist or These platforms offer multiple options where you can find group housing, rooms to rent and roommates. 

Tips & Tricks

    Be skeptical in your search and ask a ton of questions when it comes to tour time! Some complexes will offer a low price upfront, but continuously raise your rent due to fluctuating property values. The easiest way to catch this is by viewing their ratings and reviews.

Need help moving fast? 

If you are looking to move out quickly and affordably, download Dolly or book online to get started. From apartment moves, Offer Up pick up/ drop-offs, store deliveries and more. The Dolly app will connect you with a local helper that’ll help move or deliver your things the same-day!

Apartment Essentials

Alright, it’s almost move-in day and you need to pack. Here are some things that are often overlooked when you write your list of items for your first place. If you’re looking for affordable furniture and essential items, check out the following stores that Dolly will be able to deliver from directly to your new apartment. IKEA, Big Lots, Costco, and more!

Living Room Items

Bedroom Items

Kitchen Items

  • Spice rack
  • Spices – you’re going to do a lot of cooking these first few months and no one wants bland food
  • Kitchen towels
  • Knife block
  • Sponges
  • Dish soap
  • Paper towels
  • Utensils
  • Plates and bowls
  • Cups
  • Pans and pots
  • Oven mitts
  • Drying rack
  • Food catcher for your sink – not every complex will give you a garbage disposal
  • Toaster
  • Pantry storage for your utensils

Bathroom Items

  • Medicine cabinet – you’ll thank us later for this one, having your first cold in your place is the worst without some NyQuil already in hand
  • Shower curtain and liner
  • Shower rack
  • Towels
  • Trash can
  • Toilet paper
  • Skincare routine
  • Laundry detergent pods 
  • Laundry bin – if you’re lucky enough to have a washer and dryer  in your unit but you’ll need one on hand anyway

Cleaning Supplies Items

  • Tile bleach (for the bathroom soap scum)
  • All-purpose cleaner
  • More paper towels
  • Swiffer with wet and dry pads
  • Broom – great until you can get a robot vacuum
  • Toilet bowl cleaner and brush
  • Lysol wipes
  • White dry eraser 
  • Sponges
  • Glass stove top cleaner

Now you’re all set and ready to move out at 18, the biggest thing you should takeaway aside from what we have shown you is to be resourceful. Save smart, budget wisely and plan accordingly and you’ll be just fine. If you have furniture ordered from stores like IKEA for your first place but can’t fit it all, don’t fret, Dolly will help deliver it to your new place for as low as $59. Welcome to young adulthood, book a Dolly to help with all your moving needs.

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