Moving out of your unicorn-bedazzled childhood bedroom at mom and dad’s place is pretty damn exciting, but it can also be tough. One of the hardest parts of moving out (besides having to cook your own dinners) is figuring out how to budget so you don’t run out of money – before you’ve even paid rent and bought groceries. #adulting
Budgeting is key to enjoying – and surviving – life on your own. So here’s how to do it.
First up, figure out your income
It’s important to understand exactly how much you’re bringing in on a monthly basis before you even start attempting to build a budget. Gross income (the income you have before taxes) doesn’t count – what you want to figure is the precise number that gets deposited into your bank account every two weeks (or monthly, or whatever) in order to properly plan. Take those paycheques and actually record them – if your income is variable, try to create an average of hours worked per week and income from that. Having a solid monthly number in mind is important.
Add up your essentials
Once you have your total income, you’ll want to create a total expenses list. This will cover everything from the essential costs (food, rent, TTC pass, utilities, etc) and costs that you will inevitably have simply living a life (clothes, entertainment, shopping). Be sure to budget for a little bit more than you think with these secondary expenses – while rent is sure to be a fixed number every month, entertainment expenses, for instance, probably won’t be.
Don’t forget a safety fund!
We all get into accidents, have terrible luck sometimes, or all of a sudden have an unexpected expense come up. It’s important to set aside some of your monthly budget to address this when it happens. Did your car break down? Have to travel across the country for a wedding? Need to get a new fridge? If you save a few hundred dollars a month, at least, then you’ll be prepared for any eventuality regardless of the problem.
Stay true to your budget
If you maintain your budget and never go outside of it (by not impulse spending on anything you haven’t already planned for), you’ll find that money is rarely, if ever, an issue and you’ll be able to live as free as you feel! Just be sure to incorporate enough money into your entertainment spending that you won’t feel like you’re missing out or needlessly punishing yourself to stay responsible.