by Zani Tsabedze
In the earlier stages of our youth we romanticize the idea of leaving our childhood comfort and security. We’re often in a hurry to experience freedom and explore the world on our own terms. The rules that our parents set and the restrictions they put on us can be frustrating. Moving out of their house seems to be the only way we can break free of those restrictions and we look forward to the day that we can finally do that. The big question is: when is the best time to do so?
My initial answer is, never. Stay with your parents as long as they will allow it. Work and save your money. Moving out means paying rent, bills, taxes and buying your own groceries. There will be plenty of time for all that during the entire rest of your life so don’t rush into it.
Now, of course, no one will really take this advice because we all yearn for independence. Especially in our teens, we yearn for it because we don’t really understand the full scope of what independence demands of us. It is important that we aim to achieve it, but it is also very important that we take our time and trust the process. There is no hurry.
The responsibilities of living on your own can be so overwhelming, that you find yourself reminiscing about the days when your parents took care of all those responsibilities and you never had to think about them.
I moved out of my parents’ house at 21 and lived about six thousand miles away from them, on a different continent. Luckily, it was Britain so I didn’t have to learn a whole new language, but the North England accents were challenging enough that it almost felt like I did. My point is that independence has been the biggest teacher. I have learned how to survive in a way that the comfort of home would never have allowed me to learn.
Here are some things to keep in mind when you’re planning your big move:
- Financial responsibilities. Predetermine your expenses (rent, groceries, transport etc.) and make sure you are earning more than you will need to spend on a monthly basis.
- Reading contracts. There is nothing that puts me to sleep faster than reading a contract, but it is so important to make sure you always know what you are getting yourself into, especially where your money is concerned. If you’re not willing to read through them yourself, get someone you trust to skim through them and give you a summary of the important parts.
- Finding suitable roommates. Sharing expenses saves you loads of money. If you are adamant on living alone and maintaining your privacy, it’s going to cost you significantly more. I am the kind of person that would happily pay more because I love my space, but I was lucky enough to find roommates that not only gave me space when I needed it, but also became like family to me.
- Familiarize yourself with the area you are considering moving to before you move in. Make sure you’re happy with the local facilities, e.g. the roads, grocery stores, gym, etc. These conveniences make a world of a difference.
There is no right age to move. It’s all about where you are in your life’s journey. My most personal advice would be to keep in touch with your parents. They are still your original day ones. They put in the work that got you to the point that you finally felt ready to do your own thing, so show them some love when you can.
by Zani Tsabedze