• Living on your own

    You’ve made the decision — you’re moving out on your own. Congratulations! It’s an exciting time. Whether you've decided to live alone or with roommates, there are new bills and financial responsibilities that you’ll have to handle. Here are a couple things to think about as you put together your new budget and financial plan — especially if you have roommates.

    • Figure out how you want to split the bills — including rent, utilities, food and any maintenance costs on your apartment or house. Doing this before you move in with a roommate tends to work best. This way, everything is agreed upon and settled before it becomes an issue.
    • When figuring out who will pay for what, take into account each roommate's income and what they can afford. It may mean you don't get the master bedroom, but you’ll be able to cover your share.
    • Make sure you know which items each roommate brought into the apartment or house. Try not to buy stuff “together,” like a couch or dining set. This way, when it’s time to move out, there are no issues with shared belongings.
    • Have a rental agreement. While both your names should be on the actual lease, it's good practice to have separate agreements stating that each of you is liable to pay your monthly rent through the lease.
    • Talk about pets before you move in. Clarify whether it's okay to own a pet and what kinds of animals are acceptable. If your roommate buys a cat that rips up the carpet, realize that you will probably end up footing part of the repair bill when you move out.
    • Try to move in on the same day so that you can share a moving truck and split the cost. You'll also have someone to help carry your stuff.
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