How to prepare for the cost of leaving home


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Despite reports that more young people are putting off leaving home, there will come a time where you move out of the family home - even if you return a few years later!

Moving out is undoubtedly a big step emotionally but it's more than that.

It's easy to underestimate how much it will cost you financially.

Money reader Amanda was amazed. With nothing to start with she estimates she spent about $10,000 just to furnish her new pad, including whitegoods, a couch, a bed, an office desk and other furniture, linen, TV and DVD player and other items.

Amanda bought everything brand new and admits you can cut costs by buying second-hand items. "But I chose to buy new as an investment in my future living (and future units) and I know they will be taken care of," she says.

Another way to keep costs down is to move into a shared house where some furniture is already provided.

But furnishing your new pad is just one expense you'll need to anticipate.

You'll need a significant amount of cash to cover the rental bond - usually four weeks worth of rent. The bond essentially is protection for the landlord should you damage the property or do a moonlight flit before the lease is over.

If you take care of the place you should get a full refund when you move out (Money will look at rental bonds in more detail next month).

You'll probably also be asked to pay two weeks rent in advance.

On top of that you'll need to account for connecting utilities such as gas, electricity, home phone and internet.

Some providers charge a bond and an upfront fee to get things connected, but this is probably refundable at a later date.

Also don't forget the cost of contents insurance, plus you'll probably need to stock up on groceries which will also set you back. If you're hiring a moving van or using removalists that's yet another expense to consider.

It's really important to budget for all these and have the money ready before making the move.

And these are just the upfront costs - make sure you have enough money coming in to cover ongoing expenses such as rent, food, utilities, medical bills, insurance, petrol or public transport etc.

If you decide to move in with someone else, whether it's to save money or because you're not ready to be alone, you need to choose your companions with care. Make sure your housemates have regular incomes - you don't want to have to cough up their share of the rent if they can't.

It's important to establish house rules. Work out how the household bills will be split and who is responsible for actually getting the money together from everyone to pay them. Also set rules about housework and cleaning. Will there be a roster,is someone responsible for a particular room etc.

The same goes for grocery shopping and cooking - does everyone fend for themselves or are things shared? One suggestion is to have a kitty for shared items such as bread, milk, coffee and toilet paper.

It's also a good idea to talk about noise at night and having guests over.

You might want to have a regular meeting with your other housemates to discuss any issues.

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Maria Bekiaris is editorial campaigns manager for Canstar and former deputy editor of Money. She holds a Bachelor's degree in business.