Moving Out From Your Parents’ Home in Your 20s - What You Need to Consider
While many Westerners leave their family homes as early as 18, it’s not the same for us Singaporeans with our limited land space and expensive property prices.
Yet, for some of us, moving out from the comfort of our parents’ home alone is something we have to face, be it for mental health reasons or the desire to experience “true independence”.
While I haven’t lived alone in Singapore, I had the chance to live overseas alone for three years, so I do know a thing or two about living independently!
I’ll also draw on the experiences of others who have lived alone in Singapore so that you can have a holistic perspective if you are considering moving out and living on your own!
Let’s dive in!
TL;DR: Guide to Moving Out From Your Parents’ Home in Your 20s
- Financial Costs Of Living Independently
- Social Costs
- Benefits of Living Independently
- Should You Move Out And Live Independently in Your 20s?
Financial Costs Of Living Independently
The most important consideration that is stopping most of us from moving out in the first place is costs. For singles, unless you are rich enough to own a private property on your own, we are stuck with a few options. The most prominent is renting a place, be it a room, co-living space, or apartment.
Renting a Room
Renting a room is probably the first thing that comes to our minds when we think of moving out of our parents’ home.
A quick search on major property websites such as PropertyGuru or 99.co will show you that prices for rooms can range from $500 to $2,000 and up.
Like property, prices for room rentals vary based on location, size and other factors, so you’ll need to do some digging on your own based on the budget that you have.
However, don’t just judge solely based on the room’s size, price and facilities available. Based on my own experience, one of the biggest factors is who you will be living with and what kind of a person your landlord is!
I remember a housemate who would talk with his girlfriend and laugh for hours on end till 4 a.m., severely disrupting my sleep for months despite repeated warnings from the owners. I would rather pay a few hundred dollars more if I could replace him with a more considerate person. Hope he broke up with his girlfriend.
But I digress. Be sure to meet your landlord and housemate(s) in person first for a vibe check (compatibility).
Renting an Apartment
For those of us with a higher budget, renting an apartment solely for ourselves would eliminate the gamble of having a bad housemate. Plus, you can finally enjoy absolute peace and quietness in the comfort of your apartment.
Apartment rentals start from $1,500 per month for a studio apartment to $5,000 and up for a 1-bedroom apartment in central areas.
If you’re lucky enough to have friends as potential housemates, you could rent an apartment and share the rental costs with them too.
Oftentimes, we tend to overlook the financial costs of moving out and living independently. So here’s every nitty gritty financial cost that you must consider apart from rental costs which take up the bulk of your monthly expenses.
Be prepared to fork up one to two months’ worth of rent as a security deposit.
Cost of Appliances, Furniture and Repair Costs
Depending on the property you’ve selected and the contract that you have with your landlord, you may or may not need to fork out more money to buy furniture and appliances or handle repairs.
From my experience, I had to buy a fridge and washing machine as my apartment was unfurnished, which set me back about $1,000. During my stay for three years, I also had to deal with various repair costs. So be prepared with an emergency fund!
Free WIFI? Not when you’re living alone! While there are some properties with rental costs that include WIFI, and other utility bills, this can’t be said for all properties. Moreover, if you’re like me who needs optimal internet speeds, choosing your own service provider is essential.
Again, this fluctuates based on your usage patterns. But for the average HDB 1-room flat, utility bills alone would cost about $78.98.
Add on the cheapest broadband you can find (about $40) and you’re easily looking at an extra $100 – $150 per month.
If you’re living alone, you better pick up cooking quickly if you haven’t! While eating out in Singapore can be affordable, it will still add up to quite a bit in the long run. Thus, learning how to cook will save you money.
Remember to set aside a budget for groceries as well. When I lived alone, my combined budget for groceries and eating out was about $300.
Yes, entertainment is also a part of living expenses. I mean, what’s life if you don’t enjoy it right? For some, there is no budget here and they just splurge on whatever they have left.
But of course, we are financially responsible adults…I hope! This budget category includes nights out with friends, activities and that “omg Ed Sheeran is coming I need to get tickets now” moments. So be realistic and give yourself ample room to play with.
For me personally, I set a rather low monthly budget back then, about $100, which would be completely eaten up if there was a concert. Thus, especially for Singapore, I’d suggest setting a budget of at least $200 to cover a standard concert ticket price. Or you could go with an annual concert budget instead that is separate from your monthly entertainment budget.
In total, be prepared to add on roughly $600 per month on top of your rental costs and ensure you have enough money for the security deposit.
Unless you’re lucky enough to be living with friends, you’ll either be living alone or with a housemate who may or may not be compatible with you.
Many similar articles don’t talk about the social costs enough so I’ll be explaining why this is important.
For those of us who want to live alone, you may think that the initial days of solidarity will be pure bliss. No annoying parents checking in on you every couple of hours, no background arguments while watching your favourite TV show and so on.
However, even for introverts like myself, we must understand that humans are inherently social creatures. So there is a basic need for us to socialise when living alone. Thus, the social cost here is the effort that you need to make to go out with friends or make new ones.
Your mental health needs social support if you don’t want your loneliness to turn into depression!
As for those with housemates, may the odds be ever in your favour! If you’re unlucky and get a really inconsiderate housemate, the social cost can become really big. So I’d advise everyone to avoid this social cost in the first place by at least meeting your potential housemates in person.
Benefits of Living Independently
With all the costs out of the way, we can finally talk about the benefits of living independently!
The very first one that I’m sure many can attest to is that of absolute freedom!
Yes. Fancy staying up till 3 a.m. without your parents asking you why you aren’t asleep yet? Check. Want to bring friends to your place without your parents trying to be your social circle’s gatekeeper? Check. Bought ice cream for yourself and expect it to be in the fridge by the end of the week? Check! Well, unless you have a**hole housemates.
As the saying goes, with great power also comes great responsibility.
If you’re the lazy one who doesn’t clean your room, good luck, there’s no one to help you clean it!
The second biggest benefit I’d say is the feeling of independence.
This is a little different from freedom as you will feel a sense of achievement after living by yourself for awhile. You’ll feel like you’ve proven yourself to be an independent, responsible adult. And no one can take that away from you!
Last but not least, you’ll finally be a true master of your own personal finances. Since you are no longer sharing bills with your finally or eating free home food, you’ll mature quickly when it comes to personal finances and be able to fully take charge of your life.
If you are considering moving out and want a head start on personal finances, here are a few articles to help you out:
Should You Move Out And Live Independently in Your 20s?
All that said, should you move out? This ultimately boils down to you and how you weigh the costs and benefits stated above.
For some of us who have been living with toxic families and can’t take it any longer, I suppose the mental health benefits you would gain from moving out far exceed the financial costs. Therefore, it would be a logical move to move out.
For those of us who crave independence, moving out could be good too provided that you can shoulder the extra financial and social costs. But once you have done it and achieved the feeling of independence, I know for sure that that is a feeling even money can’t buy!