Getting Your Own Place Back

The time has finally come – your firstborn is leaving the nest.  Hopefully this is a day that you’ve looked forward to and planned for; when my son left, he announced he was moving in with his girlfriend’s family and I couldn’t stop him because he was 18.  And that was pretty much it.

However, before your son (or daughter) moves out for the first (and hopefully last) time, there are a number of things that ideally you should consider:

  • Where is he moving to? Is this a room and board situation, or is he getting his own apartment?
  • Will he require furniture and household items?
  • How much is the rent? Does it include utilities, cable, Internet, etc?
  • Is he moving in with friends? If so, how will the expenses be split?

There are, of course, other things to consider, but these are the basics.

How can you help him accomplish this? Ideally you will both plan ahead.

Let’s assume that your son is moving into an apartment with a friend of his.  He will need money for the:

  • first month’s rent
  • damage deposit,
  • hook up fees for power, cable, Internet,
  • moving expenses (truck, gas, pizza for his friends)

Show him how to create a realistic budget to determine what these expenses will be. Don’t let him guess. Many kids don’t realize how much food costs, for example. For this you could share your grocery receipts. For other items you can determine an exact cost. Have him phone the utility companies and find out what the initial charges are. Have him look at a friend’s actual electricity bill.

Once he has a budget in mind for the total expenses, make sure that your son’s friend kicks in his share – don’t take his word that he’ll pay you back when he can afford it.  Make sure your son gets the money from him up front – tell him no money, no move.

Now that he knows how much money he’ll need, have him figure out how long it will take him to save that up. For example, if he needs $1,200.00 and he can save $300.00 per month, then he can schedule the move for four months in the future.

Make sure he looks at the other side of the equation too:

  • Will he be working? How many hours? How much per hour? What will the deductions be like? (For quick tax estimates I like this calculator.)
  • Is he using student loans or scholarships?
  • Are you helping him financially?

If so, determine your limit and stick to it. If you want to make an exception for holiday gifts, plan for that too. Don’t pay for groceries in November using his Christmas money, and then still buy him a Christmas present.

It’s his turn to be the adult. You can offer  guidance but don’t solve his problems for him. We were all young once. We figured it out and your child can too.


Author: Sharon Skwarchuk
Editor: Meena Kestirke

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