Breaking Free: How to Move Out of Your Parent’s House at 18 When You’re Short on Cash

father helping son move out at 18 after he made some money

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Deciding to move out of your parent's house at 18 can be both exciting and intimidating. It's a major step towards independence, but supporting yourself can feel overwhelming if you have little to no money. 

While moving out with no money is a challenge, it's not impossible. Using careful planning, wise decision-making, and a little bit of resourcefulness, you can successfully make the transition to living on your own.

In this article, we'll discuss some tips and strategies for moving out of your parent's house at 18 with no money. 

With the information and resources provided, you can feel confident and prepared to take the first steps toward living independently and self-sufficiently.

Let's jump right in.

Assessing Your Financial Situation

Before you can move out of your parent's house, it's important to assess your financial situation. If you have a job and personal expenses already, creating a budget to determine how much money you have coming in and what you're currently spending makes sense. 

From there, consider how much rent costs in the area you plan to live. You can check sites like,, or for listings in your area. You might also find listings from local landlords on town websites and in the newspaper.

To create a budget, start by listing all of your monthly expenses, including rent, utilities, groceries, transportation, and any other costs you anticipate having. Then, list all of your sources of income, which may be your current job, but may also include any other regular income you have. 

Other regular income includes:

  • Gifts from family
  • Side hustle income
  • Investment income you may have had set up when you were a child

Once you've created a budget, look for areas where you can cut costs and save money. For example, if you don't have a car yet, consider biking or taking public transit until you can save for a car. 

Another effective way to save money is to learn to cook and cook for yourself instead of getting takeout or eating out.

Keeping your living expenses low is one of the first steps to take when moving out of your parent's house with no money.

In addition to cutting costs, it's important to build a financial safety net before moving out. This can include saving money or applying for government assistance programs that can help with rent or other living expenses. 

By taking the time to assess your financial situation and build a safety net, you'll be better prepared to transition to living independently.

Finding Affordable Housing

Finding affordable housing is one of the biggest challenges of moving out with no money. However, with careful research and planning, finding housing that fits your budget is possible.

Start by researching rental options in your area. Look for apartments or rooms for rent that are within your budget and located near your work or school. Aside from the sites mentioned earlier, you can also check out online resources like Craigslist, Zillow, or to search for available rentals.

Another option to consider is living with roommates. Splitting rent and utility costs with one or more people can significantly reduce your living expenses. Consider posting on social media or online forums to find potential roommates in your area.

If you're moving out of your parent's house around the time friends are, you might consider living with them. 

When searching for housing, don't be afraid to negotiate rent. Landlords may be willing to lower the rent or offer other incentives if you show that you're a responsible tenant who will pay on time.

Finally, explore government assistance or grants that can help with rent or other living expenses. In addition, your local housing authority or community services office may have resources that can help you find affordable housing or provide financial assistance.

Minimizing Your Possessions

Minimizing your possessions and focusing on essential needs will help you save money. That is, at first, only buy what you need and save the extra stuff for later.

Consider a minimalist lifestyle when you first move out, as this will help you save the most money until you have a steady income.

When living minimalistically, consider only buying things such as:

  • A basic bed and mattress.
  • A chair and table to sit at for having a meal.
  • A few of each silverware, plates, bowls, and glasses that can be washed right after use.
  • A couple of bath towels and washcloths that can be washed after use.
  • As few clothes as you can get away with so that you always have clean clothes for any weather occasion.
  • Something affordable to keep you entertained during your downtime. This can be a basic TV with a gaming console, an affordable computer, books, outdoor equipment, exercise equipment, or anything else you can use for fun.

Start by decluttering your belongings and getting rid of anything you no longer need or use. You can sell unwanted items online or at a garage sale to generate extra cash for your move. Alternatively, consider donating items to charity or giving them to friends or family members who could use them.

Consider using secondhand furniture or items you already own when furnishing your new home. You can find gently used furniture at thrift stores or online marketplaces like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace. Additionally, you can ask friends and family members if they have any furniture they no longer need.

Securing a Steady Income

To support yourself when you move out, you'll need to have a steady stream of income. This can be anything from a full-time job, one or more part-time jobs, a side gig, or starting your own business.

Start by looking for job opportunities in your area. Suppose you're going to something other than college or other vocational training. In that case, it may make sense to look for a full-time job that will pay you the most money so you can live more comfortably. 

You can also consider part-time or flexible jobs that can work around your schedule, such as retail or food service jobs if you are currently in college or vocational school. 

If you're interested in starting your own business, consider using your skills or hobbies to create a product or service you can sell. For example, if you're good at graphic design, you could offer your services to local businesses or individuals.

Whatever approach you choose, being proactive and persistent in your job search is helpful. Network with others, contact potential employers and follow up on job applications. 

Communication with Parents and Family

When moving out of your parent's house at 18, you should communicate openly and honestly with your family. This can help ensure everyone is on the same page and can help prevent misunderstandings or conflict.

If you're moving out on good terms, then consider having a conversation with your parents. You may need some assistance when you first get out on your own, and your parents may be willing to help.

If you're moving out on less favorable terms, consider being cordial and letting your parents know when you plan to leave.

Finally, remember to stay in touch with your family after you move out. This can help ease the transition and ensure you have a support network as you navigate the challenges of living independently.

What to Know When Renting

When moving out with no money, it's essential to be aware of your legal rights and responsibilities as a tenant. This can help protect you from potential scams or misunderstandings and ensure that you have a safe place to live.

Start by researching leases and contracts before signing. Ensure you understand the terms and conditions of your rental agreement, including your responsibilities for paying rent and maintaining the property. Additionally, ensure that your landlord is reputable and has a good track record of working with tenants.

It's also important to be aware of your rights as a tenant. For example, you have the right to a safe and habitable living space, the right to privacy, and the right to be free from discrimination. If you have any concerns or issues with your landlord, don't hesitate to contact local housing authorities or a real estate attorney for assistance.

Mental Health and Support Networks

Moving out of your parent's house at 18 with no money can be a challenging and emotional experience. Taking care of your mental health and building a support network to help you through the transition is essential.

Start by recognizing the emotional toll of leaving home. It's normal to feel a range of emotions, including excitement, fear, and sadness. Allow yourself time to process these feelings and seek healthy coping methods like exercise, meditation, or talking to a trusted friend or family member.

Additionally, build a support network of friends, family, and mental health professionals. Having a support system can help you feel less isolated and provide encouragement and advice as you navigate the challenges of living independently. Finally, consider joining local groups or online communities for young adults who are planning to move out or have just moved out of their parent's house.

Finally, remember to take care of yourself and prioritize your physical and mental health. Eat healthy foods, get enough sleep, and practice self-care activities that help you relax and recharge.

Develop Skills that You Can Make Money From

One way to prepare for moving out without money is to develop skills to create cash flow. While having a full-time job is ideal, investing in yourself and learning new skills can provide additional opportunities to earn money.

Fortunately, many free or affordable resources are available online that can help you learn new skills without attending college. Websites like Coursera, LinkedIn Learning, Skillshare, and Udemy offer a variety of courses in different fields, ranging from marketing and design to coding and data analysis.

Taking online courses not only helps you develop new skills, but it can also provide you with a certificate that can be included in your resume. This can showcase your new skills to potential employers, making you more marketable and increasing your chances of earning income.

Whether you work full-time, as a freelancer, or a combination of both, having new skills can increase your earning potential and help you achieve financial independence. Consider taking advantage of online resources to learn new skills and improve your job prospects.

Be Ready to Make Sacrifices When You Move

It's important to be prepared to make sacrifices when moving out at 18 with no money. While it may be difficult, sacrificing certain luxuries can help you save money in the long run.

Consider the recurring expenses that you currently have, such as streaming services, eating out, or buying expensive clothes. Analyze which of these expenses are necessary and which are not. Cutting back on non-essential expenses can help you save money and make the transition to living on your own smoother.

While it may be tough to give up some luxuries, it's important to remember that this is only temporary. Once you've settled in and established your financial footing, you can reassess your needs and determine which expenses are worth bringing back into your budget.

By being willing to make sacrifices in the short term, you can set yourself up for financial success in the long term. 

Educate Yourself on Living Frugally

One way to save money when moving out at 18 with no money is to educate yourself on living frugally. Retailers often offer discounts, sales, coupons, and price cuts that can help you save money on everyday purchases.

To take advantage of these savings, consider keeping up with when stores offer sales or finding online apps that offer cash back and coupons. For example, the app Ibotta can help you save on grocery purchases. In contrast, Swagbucks can help you get money back on everyday shopping.

Additionally, you can find lower costs for services you already have. The app Trim can help you negotiate your bills for typical services like cable, internet, and phone, saving you money on monthly expenses.

By educating yourself on frugal living and seeking out opportunities to save money, you can stretch your budget further and make the most out of your limited resources. This can help you achieve financial independence and move towards a brighter future.

Work on Improving Your Credit Score

Improving your credit score will help you obtain better offers on credit cards, loans, and more. 

Many apartment complexes may be hesitant to give you a place to live if you have zero or bad credit. However, with the right approach, you can start building your credit in as little as a few months.

One way to start building credit is to apply for a student credit card while you are still in high school. This can help you get approved for a credit card without a credit history. Once you have your first credit card, use it responsibly, paying off your balance each month and avoiding late payments.

To effectively build credit before your move, consider using your credit card for a specific purpose, such as paying for groceries or a recurring bill like your electric bill. This can help you keep your spending in check and ensure that you are using credit responsibly.

Over time, you can gradually build your credit score by making regular payments and using credit responsibly. Then, monitor your credit score regularly to track your progress. Credit Karma is one site where you can track your credit score.

Build an Emergency Fund of 6 Months' Expenses

Building an emergency fund of 6 months' worth of living expenses is essential to protecting yourself from financial hardship. 

Unexpected expenses can arise, such as illness, injury, or car maintenance, which can lead to you having to swipe your credit card if you don't have the money to cover the cost.

To build your emergency fund, save regularly with each paycheck. You can even automate this by transferring a certain amount of money from your checking account to a high-yield savings account each pay period.

When searching for your first apartment, keep in mind that you may need to pay an application fee, the first and last month's rent, and a security deposit. An emergency fund can help you cover these upfront expenses and provide a cushion in case of other unexpected costs.

Be Smart About Your Discretionary Spending

Being smart about your discretionary spending means using extra money to treat yourself periodically, whether for fun or self-care. Being smart about your discretionary spending also means only using a portion of your spare money for fun and entertainment while using the rest to save for the future or pay off debt.

Focus on living below your means and understanding the difference between your needs and wants. When you live below your means and focus primarily on only spending money on needs, you'll more successfully be able to live on your own will little to no money; that is, until you can get one or more steady streams of income.

Finding Reliable Transportation

Finding reliable transportation is necessary to get to and from work or attend classes.

Consider your options, such as a car, bicycle, bus pass, carpooling, or train, and choose the most reliable and that fits your budget. While owning a car can provide flexibility and convenience, it also requires regular maintenance. Therefore, it can be expensive if you have little to no money.

If you decide to purchase a car, consider buying a reliable used car with over 100k miles, as these can often be purchased at a fraction of the cost of a new car. If you go this route, be sure to get the car checked regularly, as a car with 100k or more miles can have issues if not maintained properly.

Remember, unreliable transportation can put your job or school attendance at risk, so prioritize finding a mode of transportation that you can always depend on. 

Wrapping It Up

Moving out at 18 with little money may feel overwhelming, but it can be done with careful planning.

One key takeaway is to focus on making as much money as you can and living frugally when you're first starting off. 

As you settle into your new adult life, consider picking up ways to build wealth and make smart money moves. 

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