How to Move Out at 18 with No Money: Practical Tips for Independence

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You may be wondering how to move out at 18 years old. I have a lot of knowledge about this topic because I personally moved out when I was 18 and it was sudden, without me really having a choice.

Whatever your situation is, this can be both an exciting time and also be scary. You’ll face a few challenges but with my help, you can learn how to overcome any obstacles that come your way.

This article is going to help you make the transition from living at home to moving out on your own without going absolutely broke.

Moving out at 18 doesn’t have to be a challenging experience. With the right planning and resources, you can do this.

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It is absolutely crucial that you understand how important it is to budget, manage expenses, and be wise with your income. Likely you’ll be making little money at 18, so it’s important to not spend all of it on things like new clothes, restaurants, entertainment, etc. 

If you focus on budgeting and managing all of your money, you’ll be a lot more comfortable moving out at 18. These new skills also come in handy all throughout your adult life.

Throughout this post, we’ll go over how you can save the most money, find places to rent, and how to set up your finances for success. 

You’re not alone in this journey – a lot of people are either forced out at 18 or want to live on their own for whatever reason that may be. With the right mindset, this can be a wonderful growing experience and opportunity to learn a lot about finances early on.

The Challenges of Moving out At 18 When You Have No Money Saved

When you move out at 18 years old, you may face a few challenges. This is because you’ve likely never had to deal with things such as managing finances, paying bills, and taking care of a home (potentially all by yourself if you live alone).

Now we will go over living expenses, budgeting, saving, and other things you’ll face when you settle into your new home at 18. 

Living Expenses

One of the most important factors with moving out at age 18 is how much your living expenses will be. 

Living expenses include things like rent, electricity, water, internet, cell phone, groceries, transportation, and other major expenses that are not optional but necessary.

Rent will likely be your most expensive living expense, so it’s important to find a place that is within your budget. Typically, you don’t want to spend more than 30% of your income on rent. It also comes in handy to find a place to rent that is near your work or school, so you can spend less time commuting.

So if you make $2,000 a month, you want to find a place that only costs $600/month. This may mean you need to find roommates or someone renting out a room.

Depending on where you live, you may be able to be car-less and survive with public transportation. This can also be a huge money saver so you don’t have to spend money on gas and car maintenance. 

You can also lower your cell phone bill by switching to a low cost carrier like Mint Mobile. This is my cell phone carrier and I only pay $15/month.

Credit and Debt

An important part of life is managing debt and establishing credit early on in life.

At 18 years old, you probably don’t have any credit history so this is going to make it more difficult to find a place to rent. To build credit, you can apply for a credit card or find a co-signer for your credit card agreement.

Always remember that credit cards have incredibly high interest rates, so only spend money on your credit card that you can actually pay back immediately.

Make it a habit to use your credit card, and pay for it as soon as it hits your credit card balance. This is going to help increase your credit score and build healthy financial habits.

Budgeting and Saving

Learning how to budget and save at 18 years old is going to take you very far in life and save you a ton of money. Budgeting and saving are two skills that are crucial to living on your own.

A budget needs to include your expenses (rent, utilities, groceries, etc.). Make sure you’re always putting money toward essential things like rent before you spend on non-essential things like going to the movies or out to a restaurant. 

My best tips for budgeting are:

  • Check in with your budget consistently and regularly. For example, maybe you check in with your budget once a week on Monday. This keeps your spending in check so you don’t overspend.
  • Use a free budgeting app like EveryDollar. This is what I’ve been using for years to budget.
  • Create a zero-based budget. This means you give every single dollar you earn a job before the money even hits your bank account each month.
  • Check in with your budget at the end of the month to see where you can cut spending and save more money.

You can totally move out at 18 and many people do this successfully. You’re also going to learn a ton of life lessons and responsibilities that many people don’t learn until they’re in their mid to late twenties.

Preparing for the Big Move

Creating a Plan

Moving out at 18 may seem like a daunting task, but you can do this as long as you create a solid plan.

Start creating your plan by setting a list of goals and priorities. This can include things like if you want to live alone or with roommates, where city or neighborhood you want to live in.

Once you have those things figured out, create a list of steps you need to take before you move. This is a crucial step because it includes things like finding a job nearby, learning how to save money, and building and increasing your credit score.

Doing all of these things will make moving out at 18 a much easier process.

Building Your Support System

Moving out at 18 can be scary depending on your situation, but you don’t have to do it by yourself. It’s important to have some kind of support system as you are going through this.

Whether it be family, friends, or someone else important in your life, make sure you have someone by your side as you are going through this. This is key to having a smooth transition into adulthood because you’ll have many questions during this time.

Share your questions and goals with whoever is in your support group.

Maybe it’s someone who has moved out at an early age just like you. They can offer resources, tips, and guide you through this important stage in your life. They may even be able to connect you with roommates.

Researching Living Expenses and Housing

A crucial step to living on your own is first figuring out how much life is going to cost. Open the notes app on your phone or get a piece of paper and starting jotting down the average cost of rent and utilities in your area. 

This is going to help you create a realistic budget and tell you how much money you’ll need to make each month in order to live on your own.

Finding housing options is a breeze these days. You can check out, Craigslist, and even Facebook Marketplace for housing options.

I found a place to live at 21 on Craigslist. It’s important to be careful and vet out places carefully before visiting any place in person. An important tip is to never visit a potential apartment or house by yourself.

When finding a place to live, it’s important to think about things like how close it is to your job or school, affordability, and safety.

Now you know some of the most important things to get started on your move out process. Be patient and focus on your goals. Ask for help from your support system when you need it. A lot of people have been through this exact process and can help you out.

Financial Strategies to Move Out at 18

Securing a Job

One of the most important things for moving out at 18 is getting a good job. Look for jobs in your area by checking out Indeed or searching in person. Most places hiring will have a Now Hiring sign out front.

If you don’t have any prior work experience, look for jobs in retail, restaurant, and grocery.

I also recommend looking into jobs that involve caregiving for seniors or people with special needs as this tends to pay a lot more than retail and typically doesn’t require experience. This was the job I had when I turned 18 for several years. 

Make sure to create a high quality resume. You can use programs like that come with free resumes already made. Remember, simple is almost always better when it comes to resumes. 

Once you have a job secured, set up a bank account if you haven’t already.

Budgeting and Saving Money

It’s time to create a budget once you know how much money you’re earning each month.

Your budget should include things like:

  • Rent
  • Utilities
  • Groceries
  • Transportation
  • Car insurance and gas (if you have a car)
  • Living necessities (shampoo, toothpaste, etc.)

A key part of living on your own is setting up an emergency fund. An emergency fund covers costs that you didn’t expect to occur (car repairs, loss of income, medical bills).

It’s ideal to have 3-6 months of living expenses saved in your emergency fund, but $1,000 is always a good start. Don’t feel overwhelmed by this, you can do this. It just takes time.

Developing a Side Hustle

There are many side hustles you can partake in at a young age. Here are a few of my favorites.

  • Sell printables – Make money selling printables on Etsy. This is my #1 recommended side hustle! Earn over $10,000 a year selling printables online.
  • Surveys – Earn extra money filling out surveys. You can take as many surveys as you want and earn up to $5 per survey.
  • Proofreading – Make $20+ an hour proofreading from home. Be your own boss and set your own schedule.

A side hustle is a great way to make extra money outside of your regular job. Multiple sources of income is helpful because it’ll help you reach your financial goals faster, and feel more comfortable with everyday life. 

Side hustles also increase your skills and give you experience, which can greatly help whenever you search for a new job.

Finding Affordable Living Options

Moving out at 18 can seem hard at first because you’re not sure how much places cost to rent. Let’s go over how to find affordable living options and how you can even share expenses with roommates to cut down on costs.

Sharing Expenses with Roommates

One of the best ways to lower living costs is to get roommates. I had roommates from the age of 18-22 (and basically have a roommate now who is my husband).

I highly recommend having roommates because this drastically lowers cost so you can spend or save money on other things.

Here’s how to find roommates:

  • Check out Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, bulletin boards at schools and apartment complexes, and ask friends or coworkers if they know of anyone looking for a roommate.
  • Determine how much living expenses will cost with roommates. Discuss how you’re going to split everything up evenly among the roommates. 
  • Create a roommate agreement on paper to prevent conflicts and other issues from arising. This will help people know what their responsibilities are as a roommate and how to live together conflict-free. This can include things like chores, expectations for shared areas like the living room, and how you’re all paying bills on time.

Searching for Affordable Housing

It’s important to find a place to rent that is both safe and affordable.

Use the following tips to find a suitable living arrangement:

  • Check out sites like Zillow and Trulia for finding apartment complexes within your budget. Filter the search based on cost, location, etc.
  • Check out social media and community groups. For example, my town has a local Facebook group where people can post about needing roommates. 
  • Tell friends, family, and coworkers that you’re looking for roommates. This gets the word out and helps with potential roommate opportunities.

Since you’re likely moving out at 18 with little to no money, finding an affordable place to rent is incredibly important. By having roommates, you’re drastically lowering costs and making this experience a lot less stressful.

Maximizing Your Resources and Cutting Costs

Living a Frugal Lifestyle

It’s essential that you adopt a frugal lifestyle when you move out at 18. Create and stick to a budget, cut out unnecessary spending, and learn how to cook at home and meal plan.

Most people tend to overspend in areas like groceries, so being intentional in this area is a must. There are tons of money-saving meal plan options out there like $5 Meal Plan that tells you what to eat, what to buy, and how to make the meal plan. 

One of my favorite cookbooks is Plant Based On A Budget. I personally have this book and find that the recipes are not only affordable to make, but so easy.

Being frugal does not have to feel like a punishment. Instead, it’s teaching you life lessons on how to cut back on spending when necessary. There are so many ways to have fun in life that are completely free.

Utilizing Grants and Financial Benefits

If you plan to start college, it’s crucial that you take advantage of any grants or financial aid provided to you. Make sure to apply for scholarships, financial aid, and even work-study programs to lower living costs.

Not going to college? No worries. You can still find financial assistance by contacting your local government, social service agencies, which may help you if you’re going through a really hard time.

These resources make a huge difference in moving out at 18 and achieving independence. 

Earning and Saving Through Garage Sales and Part-Time Jobs

Now that you know some money-saving tips, it’s time to find ways to increase how much money you make.

There are many ways to make quick extra money, such as selling things you no longer use on Facebook Marketplace, having a garage sale, or selling clothes at places like Platos Closet.

You can also seek part-time employment to supplement your income. These jobs tend to be more flexible and can help you earn extra money while building new skills. 

Knowing how to live frugally, leverage financial resources, and earn extra money is going to make this moving out process much easier.

Developing a Backup Plan and Staying Patient

Considering the Benefits of Staying at Home Longer

If possible and living at home with your parents and/or family is a safe place, consider staying longer. Doing this can help you save money on things like rent, utilities, food, and other expenses.

This also gives you time to get a job and save money for moving out when you do end up at that stage.

Staying at home also gives you time to learn important adult life skills under your parents’ roof. They can potentially teach you important lessons like budgeting and other financial lessons.

Also, you can use this time to apply for a credit card and build your credit, which makes finding a place to rent a lot easier.

Creating a Contingency Plan

Now it’s time to create a back up plan. So many unexpected things can happen in life so it’s important to have a plan in place for those times.

Consider the following steps for creating a backup plan:

  1. Make sure to create an emergency fund in case you lose a job unexpectedly. 
  2. Find ways to increase income quickly in case you lose hours at work.
  3. Reach out to friends and family if you need guidance or advice on problems you’re facing.

Now you know how to create a well-thought out plan to moving out at 18. This is more than possible and tons of people are doing this either by choice or because they are forced to move out.

I moved out at 18 and learned how to take care of myself very early on in life, and you will too.

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