I remember the first time I moved away from home. There were so many changes that I encountered. Some of them I mentally prepared for and some I didn’t. Learning by experience was more than what I expected. I think the one thing you should always plan for is that surprises will probably arise. Setting unrealistic goals for yourself doesn’t do you any good. Remember that you are human and sometimes life happens.


Here are some tips for starting your new life

  • Create a budget! Figure out the average for your net household income and allow yourself room for error. Calculate your anticipated rent, utilities, cable, phone, food, health, and entertainment. Hint* you shouldn’t spend more than 30% of your income on rent.
  • The best way to avoid a setback is to be financially prepared. Setting at least 3 months of savings aside with the anticipation of all items listed above will help you survive setbacks such as a job loss, car repair, or a roommate leaving the nest.
  • Be emotionally ready. This is very hard for most of us because you may feel that you will never be ready. It’s an adjustment to leave family, friends, and pets. You will know when it’s time. Being independent is a wonderful thing.
  • Like your job! If you aren’t happy with a current job you should not move out. Your income is the foundation of having your own place. You must be financially stable in order for you to support yourself.
  • To lease or not to lease. Signing a year lease will lock you into the rent price for that year. However, if you decide to vacate for any reason, you will have to pay for the remainder of that year. A lot to think about. Make sure this is part of your considerations when making your final decision.

Whatever you decide, know that with time comes wisdom. Some things can’t be taught and that is when experience comes in. The enjoyment of having your own space is worth the lessons learned.

-Trina Van Alstine
Senior Manager Orange Co/Inland Empire

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