I recently moved out of my parents' house since I graduated college and have a fulltime job. Rent at my new place is roughly $1200/month plus utilities. I figured that $2.5k would be enough to start with, but that was quickly depleted, thanks to insurance, car payments, rent, security deposit, groceries, furniture, etc.

Maybe I'm over-generalizing this, but is there some sort of rough formula for how much should be set aside before moving? Apparently double a single month's rent was not enough for me.


Add up all of the expenses. For a rental, two to three months rent is typically needed to pay deposit, first and last month's rent. Then there's deposits and fees to have utilities activated and put in your name. Then you should budget for the kitchen: food, dishes, utensils, pots and pans, small appliances. Then the rest: linens, towels, cleaning supplies, bathroom supplies, etc. Oh. Don't forget furniture. At least a mattress and a small table with a chair. :)

Along the way, you'll find out how much your monthly expenses are, on average. Use this to calculate how much you need to keep set aside on a permanent basis as your emergency fund.

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    Note that things like dishes, pots and pans, appliances, linens, etc. will likely not be an expense for most moves, since you will already own those things and will bring them with you. Your answer is correct for the OP, because it sounds like the OP is moving out on their own for the first time, but it's worth noting that most of the time "moving expenses" wouldn't include provisioning an apartment from scratch. – BrenBarn Oct 26 '16 at 6:06

Its about planning. In your situation I would say $2.5K is approaching too much of a "set aside" or what some people would call an emergency fund. This money should only be used in emergencies.

In your case you used this fund for all kinds of things that were not emergencies. Car insurance, car payment, rent, security deposits, groceries, and furniture should have all been planned and therefore budgeted. The same sort of thing with car maintenance, utilities, clothing, and holiday gift giving. Plan for these items and you won't see your hard fought savings depleted.

The magical formula: Adding the anticipated expenses! You should probably look up some resources and guides to budgeting. Getting good at budgeting early will help you succeed in life.

You may want to call your parents and thank them for taking care of all these things for you while you were growing up.

Given that you recently graduated college I must assume you are somewhat success minded. If so why in the world would you have a car payment? Although the idiot box will tell you that you cannot be a person of significance without a brand new car, wealthy people will tell you different. I recommend reading two books: "The Millionaire Next Door" and "Stop Acting Rich" if you are remotely interested in becoming wealthy.

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    I believe there is a misunderstanding in your answer. He is not asking about anything related to emergency funds. As you said, it's about planning. He thought that $2,500 would be enough for moving out on his own. His question is more towards how to estimate the cost of moving and related expenses. – Simon N. Oct 25 '16 at 21:44
  • @SimonN. is right. OP's question is how to budget for moving. Emergency fund does not contain anticipated expenses. It contains only basics, 3-6 months. With the idea being to survive the loss of income long enough to find new income. All luxuries are canceled when you go into emergency mode. Keep the internet, at the lowest speed, ditch cable and phone and mobile phone. Pay utilities and groceries, but no frozen dinners and no eating out. Pay debts and health insurance but no retirement or investment contributions. – Xalorous Oct 26 '16 at 0:19
  • Anticipated expenses are part of the standard budget. One way to handle them is to keep records. Plan on paying the same amount next year as the previous year. Set that money aside. It is tracked by that budget category, and lives in your checking account. As your records cover more time, you can use an average, and stop setting that money aside. Home maintenance is a good example. If you pay 5000 one year, 15k the next, 2k the next, and 3k over the next 3 years, you'll come to about a 5k average. (e-fund saved you in second year) – Xalorous Oct 26 '16 at 0:23

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