Can I Afford to Move Out?

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By Forrest | Last Updated: January 18, 2020

Can I Afford to Move Out?

Moving out from a home in which you live rent-free can be difficult. There are many different costs involved with moving out that you need to consider.

In this post, we’ll discuss the costs associated with moving out, some cheap living ideas, and how much money you should have in order to complete the transition with as little stress as possible.

What are the costs of moving out?

Like we mentioned, moving out can be costly. From moving furniture, to paying your rent, you could be in for a big surprise when the time comes.

Moving Expenses

How will you move your furniture from your current living space to your new living space? If you have a vehicle that can handle it and a few helping hands, great! This could cut out one expense.

If not, you have a few different options. You could consider hiring movers to help move all of your furniture and other items, or you could consider renting a box truck and doing the labor yourself.

Cost to Hire Movers

Hiring a moving company can cost you thousands of dollars denning on several factors. The number of items you will be moving, the distance between locations, packing supplies needed, and the overall time it takes to move can all add up.

Moving companies will often charge by the mover and the time it takes. Typically it will cost you around $25 per hour per mover. For example, if it takes 4 movers 5 hours, it would cost you $500 for the movers. Don’t be surprised if the company adds on travel and packing expenses which will depend on the distance between locations.

Hiring movers can quickly add up to a few thousand dollars, so be prepared for this expense if you plan on moving out and don’t have an alternative way of moving.

Cost to Rent Box Truck

Another option you can consider to move your items is to rent a box truck and move your items yourself. Pricing for trucks ranges based on your location, the size of the truck, the length of your rental, and the distance drove.

Typically, rental companies will charge a flat rate for the rental price of the truck for the given days needed. Then they will add a rate per mile to cover maintenance expenses.

Plan to spend anywhere from $250 to $500 to rent a box truck, making it significantly less expensive than hiring movers.

Rental Expenses

If you plan on moving out and moving into an apartment or rental home, you’ll need to consider the cost of rent in your plan. The price of a rental home or apartment varies widely based on your needs. If you are looking for a smaller apartment that is not in a big city, you should plan on spending at least $1,200 for your rent alone. If you need additional space or live in a big city, this price can quickly increase. It’s always wise to price many different options before committing to one place.

Security Deposit

If renting a space there’s a good chance you’ll be required to pay a security deposit before moving in. This is cover any potential damages to the property while you are living there. Your security deposit can range anywhere from a few hundred dollars to one month's rent.

Background Check or Application Fee

Some rental companies will charge for a background check or application fee in order to vet you as a tenant. This can cost anywhere from $25 to $100 depending on your location.

Pet Fees

If you own a pet, you’re probably going to end up paying more for rent than those without pets. Property owners might also increase your security deposit to cover any damages your pet could potentially cause.


Once you move out, most of the time you’ll have to pay for utility costs. This includes necessary things like electricity, gas, water, and trash. Some rental properties will come with several of these included in the cost of rent so be sure to ask if any utilities are included.

If none are included, plan to spend anywhere from $200 to $500 per month in utility costs to make sure your heat and water stay turned on. Check out our article here to learn how you can save on your utilities!

Cable and Internet

If you want to access the internet or watch television at your new place, you’ll need to pay for it. Depending on the level of speed of your internet and if you want cable television, these can cost anywhere from $50 to $150 per month. Internet alone can cost as little as $50 per month depending on your location and internet speed.

Cutting the Cord

Cable television is on the way out in 2020 and it can save you hundreds per year to cut the cord. You can consider an online streaming service for your television instead. These prices can range from $20 to $100 per month depending on your service and channel lineup. Some of the most common options are:

  • Hulu Live TV
  • Youtube TV
  • Sling
  • Playstation Vue
  • AT&T Now


Many rental properties will come with a trash service included, but it’s a good idea to double-check. If not, plan on spending a few hundred dollars per year on your trash service. Sometimes recycling can cost you extra.

Do You Have Furniture?

If you don’t have any furniture that you can take with you when you move out, you should consider this as a cost when you plan on leaving. Do you have a dinner table or sofa for your living area? If not, you can either pick one up for cheap or go without one until you can afford it.

Where to get cheap furniture

If you need furniture but don’t want to deplete your savings account consider a few of these options:

  • Craigslist
  • Facebook Marketplace
  • Goodwill
  • Friends or family

You can usually pick up a piece of furniture for less than $100 if not free from these places assuming you can move the item.

What about kitchen appliances?

Do you have cups, silverware, or any cutlery? Probably not if you’ve been living at home. Plan on budgeting a few hundred dollars for these items before you move out. Other items to consider for your kitchen:

  • Toaster
  • Blender
  • Microwave

Do you have a washer or dryer?

Unless you plan on doing your laundry at the laundromat, you’ll need to find a washer and dryer. This is typically one of the most expensive costs of moving out and can range depending on the age, size, and brand of the washer and dryer.

It’s a good idea to budget anywhere from $600 to $1,500 for these items knowing you can easily spend upwards of $2,500. You can oftentimes pick up these items for cheap on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace.

Groceries and Household Items

If you don’t currently pay for your groceries, you need to consider the costs when moving out as they can quickly add up. You should budget around $100 per week for groceries depending on your habits.

What about cleaning supplies, toilet paper, or laundry detergent? Someone will have to pay for these items so you should make sure they are considered.

Can I afford to move out?

Now that you know the costs associated with moving out, you’ll need to figure out if you can afford it. You’ll need to know your income, expenses, needs, and wants to determine this.

What is your income?

What is your monthly income after taxes? This is the first step in determining whether you can afford to move out. As a guideline, you should plan on making at minimum $24,000 annually before deciding to move out, but the more you make, the easier it will be.

Do you have savings?

Those who have a padded savings account could consider moving out earlier than normal if they do not mind draining their savings. We would not recommend this, but for some, it might be necessary.

Job Outlook

If your job has a large growth opportunity, you could also consider moving out a tad earlier. Those who have just graduated from college are typically in this boat. The key here is to make sure that your career opportunities are truly there, not just anticipated.

What are your expenses?

The next step in deciding whether or not to move out is determining your expenses. The best way to do this is to use a budget. By budgeting, you can determine what your current expenses are and how much you will have leftover at the end of each month after considering your income. Use your current income and current expenses at first, and then add in potential expenses that we mentioned above to determine if you can afford to move out.

If you don’t have any leftover money at the end of the month, and you can’t trim your expenses, it’s probably not a good idea to consider moving out. On the other hand, if you have plenty of leftover money, you could consider it.

What are your needs?

Are there any requirements you’re looking for when moving out? This could be things like square footage, location, or the number of bedrooms. Understanding what you need is a critical step in determining whether or not you can afford moving out.

Determine your wants

Yes, those shiny new appliances sure do look nice, but they aren’t necessary. Depending on your lifestyle, you might really want these options which might delay when you can move out. Understand your lifestyle so that you are happy wherever you end up. There’s nothing worse than locking yourself into a 12 or 24-month lease on a space you do not appreciate.


Moving out is a great life event. The first time you live on your own can bring many different memories. You will experience a sense of freedom and responsibility. It’s important to know whether or not you can afford to move out before making the decision. You’ll need to consider your income, expenses, needs, and wants when deciding if you can afford to move out. The best way to do this is by creating a budget to determine if you have leftover money at the end of each month. Use your current income and expenses and then layer in your potential expenses by moving out to see if you can afford it.

At the end of the day, moving out is expensive. And while your parents or roommates might be annoying, if you can put up with it you save a tremendous amount of cash.

What was your experience when moving out? Did you have any regrets? Tell us below!

Forrest is a personal finance, entrepreneurship, and investing enthusiast dedicated to helping others obtain life long wealth. He owns several different blogs and is also passionate about health and fitness.
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