A Home of My Own

Housing Expenses

In the topic on money mapping, we listed a few monthly expenses which a person will have when living independently, such as rent and utilities. Let’s take a closer look at the expenses associated with living on your own. Keep in mind as you look at this list, if you have a roommate or housemate, some of these expenses will be shared.

Ongoing Expenses

  • Rent (or mortgage loan payment)—a monthly payment charged by the landlord to allow you to live in the unit (or paid back to the lender when you have purchased a house)
  • Renter’s (or homeowner’s) insurance—a regular payment that protects you by providing money to replace your personal property in case of fire, storm damage, or theft (or provides money to rebuild or repair the structure if you own the property)
  • Real estate taxes—amount due to your city/town/county every month that funds police departments, road maintenance, etc. (only if you own the property)
  • Utilities—a monthly payment for services provided to the unit, such as electricity, water, gas, trash removal, etc.
  • Parking—some units charge for parking your automobile on-site or in a garage
  • Homeowner’s association—some neighborhoods or complexes charge a monthly fee for such things as snow removal, lawn service, landscaping, etc.
  • Communications—a monthly bill for telephone, cable TV, and internet access
  • Hygiene, laundry, and housekeeping supplies—ongoing expenses necessary to keep yourself, clothes, and living space clean and sanitary
Two women sit on a couch reviewing financial statements on a coffee table.
Elysia rents her own apartment and works on her money map with her supports coordinator, Kaylynn, every month to track and manage her housing expenses.

One-Time Expenses

In addition to a security deposit (for rent) or down payment/closing costs (for purchase), there are additional one-time expenses to consider when moving out on your own. The amount can be substantial, but remember you are setting up a household of your own!

  • Utilities—some utility companies require an initial deposit if you have poor or little credit, or charge installation and set-up fees
  • Furniture/appliances—you may need to purchase items such as a sofa, chairs, dining table, bed, dresser, lamps, desk, TV, stove, refrigerator, microwave, etc.
  • Other household items—includes items such as kitchen utensils, dishes, pots and pans, bed linens, towels, curtains, vacuum, mop, etc.
  • Moving costs—includes van rental or hiring a moving company

Friends and family will be excited for you when you move into your own place. They may have furniture and other household items they were planning to donate that they would like to give to you. Let them help you—these things add up! You can always purchase the furniture and household supplies you prefer later, but you can save a lot of money (and time) up front if you accept their generosity.

Helpful Tip!

Brand new furniture can be expensive! Consider visiting a consignment or thrift store, as used furniture is a great alternative when you are just starting out. You can also find used furniture online on websites such as Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace. Make sure the furniture is clean and in usable condition. Even if it isn’t your style, you can dress it up with new paint, pillows, or fabric.