This is a guest post from Sophie Burns, she’s an advisor on our debt helpline.
In June this year I took the plunge and moved in with my boyfriend. I figured it was going to be pretty easy, since I was about 14 I’ve been washing my own clothes, cleaning the bathroom, sorting out Elvis’ cage (my dear departed hamster), and I’d also started cooking my own tea.
So 3 months in… this morning I had to eat my cereal out of a pie dish with a fork.
Washing up might not be my strong suit but I’m doing better with the other stuff. I’ve paid all my bills, I’ve paid the rent and I’ve bought my Nan her 60th birthday present! So as we Helpline advisors say, I’ve got my ‘priorities’ up to date and all is hunky dory in finance land.
Here are my top tips for those young’uns planning to flee the nest for the first time.
1. My biggest tip – always have a list
Whether it’s a Christmas list, birthday list, cleaning list, or a food shop list – ALWAYS HAVE A LIST. And when you take your shopping list to the supermarket you should always get a basket! Last week I juggled everything to the checkout and managed to get 2 meters before I dropped yoghurt on their lovely floor and my legs.
2. Don’t be too quick to say goodbye to mamma bird
Even though I love pretending I’m on Masterchef every evening don’t underestimate the power of a home cooked meal – and I mean real home. Plus – no washing up!
3. Save on travel costs
I live around two miles from work and try and walk to and from work as much as possible. If I walked every day it would save me £2.10 per trip. Saving me £546 per year!
4. Treat yourself
I’m not suggesting having the staff at Harvey Nicks know you on first name terms, but simple things please simple minds. Sometimes I walk past my budget supermarket and go to the fancy shop’s reduced aisle for a cake. Still tastes the same but cheaper!
5. Check out the local charity shops
I live quite close to a Hospice shop, Poverty Aid and a Salvation Army. They clean all their goods and make sure they’re in good condition, and most shops will offer a delivery service for a small extra charge. Not only are you kitting out your new pad but the cash will be going to a worthy cause!
6. Get the best deals
Shop around and make sure you can get the most for your money. I only had to mention in passing that I’d seen a really good deal with one broadband provider before another one was throwing all sorts of freebies my way!
7. Think about what you’re doing
I had a fancy mobile contract but since I’ve now got broadband and a landline I’ve reduced my phone contract ,saving me £100s a year.
8. Have a budget
It can be quite hard to go straight into budgeting so always live to a budget while you’re still at home, at least for the last couple of weeks. That way you’ll know what it’s going to be like. Plus the money that you would set aside for rent and bills you can keep as an emergency/Christmas fund!
9. SAVE UP!
Moving home has a lot of associated costs; the deposit, survey fee, admin fees, solicitor’s fees, stamp duty and valuation fee to name but a few. There certainly is plenty to save for! Even if you’re lucky enough not to have to pay those fees it’s still vital that you save for life in your own home….even if it’s just to pay the TV licence in full for the year or to buy a swanky rug for the lounge.
10. Enjoy it!
Moving out is stressful enough, so just try to enjoy it as much as possible. Get as many family involved and make a day of it. Make sure you have an essentials box to unpack first. Mine contained wine glasses and nibbles for all my little helpers.
Moving into your first place is a big step and it can be pretty scary, and debt doesn’t help. We can try and help to ease some of that worry. You can make it easier for yourself by getting some debt advice from us, with our free online Debt Remedy tool.