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moving out

Is $2,000 Enough To Move Out

Moving out is a huge deal. It’s a major milestone and should be well planned. I made the mistake of moving out with too little money, and I hope to help you avoid doing the same.

Today, I’m gonna help you figure out if $2K is enough to move out:

If you already have a job, $2,000 is enough to move out. However, it is risky. You should consider saving at least $5,000 before doing it.

Of course, this topic is nuanced. Technically speaking, you can move out with $50 saved up. Just buy a tent! But you’re probably looking for a decently comfortable lifestyle, and wonder how far $2,000 will get you. Let’s get into the details:

$2,000 is Enough To Move Out, But It’s Going To Be Tight:

It is key to have a safety net when moving out. $2,000 is a rather small cushion, which is spent faster than you might think.

$2,000 feels like a lot of money, because it takes a lot of work to save it up, but let me tell you, it doesn’t take a lot of work to spend it!

If you’re considering moving out with only $2,000, it is key that you find a job FAST. You should idealy have the job secured BEFORE moving out, because it takes a month of working before you get your first payckeck.

You see, the most essential thing to get in place as soon as possible to make more money than you spend.

As soon as you make more money than you spend, how much you have in savings doesn’t really matter, technically speaking.

Of course, you should always have a filled-up savings account just in case, especially in times like these. However, what you make is more important than what you have, at least in the initial stages of life.

But know this: For one reason or another, we all inevitably need to dip into our savings. Having just $2,000 might force you to move back to your parents. Or worse, land you on the streets.

In addition, before you move out, you should create a budget. This is the only way to figure out if $2,000 is enough for you to move out.

Suggested reading: Is Saving $100 Per Month Good? (Worth it in the long run?)

Make a simple budget before moving out:

You don’t need to spend 1000 hours on this and make it perfect. It just needs to be more or less correct, and conservative/realistic. It’s a good idea to overshoot the expenses, just in case you forget something. An know this, you always forget something…

First, you need to figure out what you’re likely to spend on the following items:

  • Transportation – Are you able to ride a bike or walk? Or will you need/choose to drive a car? In that case, how much will the gas and insurance etc. cost?
  • Food – Will you be eating out? Are you going to host parties or barbeques or something? How much are groceries in the area you’re moving into?
  • Insurance – Are you going to buy stuff like life insurance? What about insurance on your belongings?
  • Clothes – How much do you spend on new clothes? Try to figure out the average monthly spending, even though you probably spend more some months and less others months.
  • Personal Care – Are you going to sign up for a gym? Do spend money on expensive products for your skin, hair, makeup, or exercise supplements?
  • Subscriptions – Do you have your own Netflix, Spotify or Disney subscription? If so, write it down!
  • Hobbies – Do you have hobbies you spend money on? For example, I play the guitar and spend money on new strings and other equipment, and should therefore include this in my budget.

The items/categories above are the most significant, but there are several others. You’re the only person knowing how you spend your money, so feel free to add additional items. Try to write them down, and place them in a table like the one below:

ItemsExpense
Transportation$50
Food$200
Insurance$120
Clothes$50
Personal care$35
Subscriptions$20
Hobbies$75
Other Stuff$100
Total$650

The numbers in the table above are random, but you get the idea. Write a list of the items you’ll spend money on, estimate how much you’ll spend on them, and sum it all up at the end.

Notice how “housing” (rent, utilities, and such) are NOT included in the budget?

Here’s why:

You should figure out how much you’ll spend on “living” FIRST, and then figure out how much you CAN spend on housing.

This way, you can get a more realistic estimation and perspective on your “rent budget”. Also, you ensure you don’t “over-rent” and end up with negative monthly cashflow (more money going out than coming in).

In addition, if you know that you’re going to spend $650 a month on “living”, and decide to rent an apartment for $450 (including utilities) a month with a deposit of $900 (usually twice the rent), you know that your $2,000 will last you ($2,000-$900) / $1,100 = One month.

The above equation is “Savings minus deposit, divided by monthly expenses including rent”.

Now you know that you must find a job before moving out, and receive that first paycheck within the first month. You also know that you need a job that pays $650 + the rent of $450 = $1,100 per month.

Ideally, you should find an even cheaper place. Having just one month’s worth of savings is not good.

If you have no experience making budgets, or no idea what you’ll spend money on, here’s a table from The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics you can use as “inspiration”. It shows how the average American spends their money:

ItemMonthly CostPercentage of Budget
Housing
(Rent or mortgage and utilities like electricity and water)
$178434.9%
Transportation
(Car payments, gas, bus tickets, vehicle insurance etc.)
$81916%
Food
(Groceries and restaurants)
$64012%
Insurance & Pensions
(Personal insurance like life insurance, pension savings etc.)
$60411.8%
Healthcare$4318.4%
Entertainment
(Subscriptions, TV, Speakers, a new Phone etc.)
$2434.7%
Apparel and Services$1202.3%
Education$1062.1%
Miscellaneous$761.5%
Personal care$541.1%

You can read more about the different items over at The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: https://www.bls.gov/cex/csxgloss.htm

Got your budget? Now figure out if $2,000 is enough:

Now that you’ve made your budget, you can finally answer the question and determine if $2,000 is enough to move out.

Ask yourself this:

With your current budget, can you find an apartment to rent and survive on the $2,000 until I start earning money from a job? Remember to factor in the deposit!

If you cannot find any potential places to live where you could survive for a month or two on $2,000, you need to save more money.

Ideally, you should save enough to survive at least three months without any income before moving out. I think $5,000 is a good amount to save up before moving out. But it’s up to you.

Personally, I had $1,000, and I struggled hard. I was on the infamous “ramen diet” for weeks. I also resorted to eating only peanuts for 5 days because I figured the cheap price and high calories were a great deal. I sucked, and you should really consider saving more before moving out.

Suggested reading: Is Saving $300 Per Month Good? (Where You’ll Be In The Future)

What To Do If $2,000 Isn’t Enough To Move Out:

You have a few options if $2,000 isn’t enough. I’ll go through three of them, and tell you how they solve the issue of a lack of savings:

Find a job BEFORE moving out:

As mentioned earlier, the main issue about moving out is that there’ll usually be a few weeks or even months without income. In these weeks/months you’ll need to live off your savings.

However, if you can find a job before moving out, the need for a huge savings account disappears!

If you find a job before moving out, $2,000 is enough to move out. If you’ve already got the job, you’ll receive your first paycheck within a month, making several months worth of savings unnecessary.

Without a safety net, however, you’re risking it. If something happens, like a medical issue, or an unexpected expense, you’re screwed. This is dangerous and should be done only when absolutely necessary.

Tighten your budget and find a cheaper place:

If your savings aren’t enough, maybe you need to cut your expenses down.

The best way to cut down on spending is to START WITH THE BIG STUFF.

You’ll not significantly cut your expenses by canceling your Netflix subscription…

Small things make a small difference. Big things make a big difference.

If you’re going to move out on $2,000, try to get your monthly budget (including rent) under 1/2.5 (because of the security deposit) of that, which is $800. If the security deposit is larger, you’ll need to lower your budget by even more. Here’s how to calculate it:

$2,000 – security deposit = X. Your budget should be a maximum of “X” divided by the number of months of expenses you want saved up.

Get a roomie – Share the rent!

This is a great way to cut down on expenses and make some new friends in the process.

You can check out websites like this one: https://roomiapp.com/ to find available places all over the United States to share the rent with people.

This way, you might be able to move out with $2,000 in savings without exclusively eating nuts, ramen or hot dogs for the first month.

Suggested reading: Is 20k Enough To Move Out?

Protip For Out-Movers With $2,000 Saved Up:

When moving out, you step into adult life. That’s when you have to take responsibility for your personal finance.

The fact that you’re researching and reading this article is a good sign. It tells me that you’re seriously thinking things through.

I moved out several years ago, and have learned a lot since I first took the step. I’ve also moved a bunch of times, and have tried a few different lifestyles (in terms of monthly expenses and incomes).

I already mentioned it above, but it’s so important that I’ll do it again… If I could only teach you one thing, this would be it:

Small things make a small difference. Big things make a big difference.

“What do you mean by that?”

The three biggest expenses most people have are housing, transportation and food. These are the items you need to be careful about budgeting.

At the end of the day, the little things like your Netflix subscription or the occasional Starbucks coffee don’t really matter.

I write more about this in my article about saving money despite having to pay expensive bills.

I personally went from living paycheck to paycheck to being able to save almost 80% of my income every month by focusing on the big stuff like housing and transportation.

Here’s what I did:

I sold my car and moved into a smaller apartment closer to work. In addition, I created another source of income – this website.

I could walk/bike to work in my new location, eliminating the transportation expense. The rent was also much cheaper. The additional income was roughly 40% of my initial income. Simple as that I turned my finances upside-down.

I went from “there’s too much month at the end of the money!” to securing my finances with a comfortable nest egg equivalent to 12 months of expenses.

You’re in a position to make this decision from the get-go. Skip all the financial struggle – move to a cheap apartment close to your job, or get a job close to a cheap apartment.

I’ll add a nice video/podcast about finances for young people from “The Money Guy Show“. They have a great YouTube Channel with awesome content on personal finance. Check it out:

Suggested reading:

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