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Money tips when you’re leaving home for the first time

There’s no need to worry about money when leaving home for the first time.

Of course, managing your own money can be a daunting prospect if you’ve not had to do it before. But we have some tips that can help you to find your feet.

Where to live

If you’re moving away from home for the first time, it’s likely you’ll be renting a place to live. You might want to consider the following when choosing somewhere:

  • any one-off costs of moving out to begin with, such as deposits (PDF, 261KB) and furniture

  • how far you’re willing to commute

  • how much you can afford each month, including bills

  • whether you want to live alone or share with others

If you choose to live somewhere that’s not close to your workplace, remember to factor in the extra cost of travel. And check out the public transport links if you’re not planning to drive.

We also have other guides for managing your money if you’re a student.  

Preparing to move out

Before you actually leave home, it’s a good idea to plan ahead:

  • note down when you need to pay your deposit before your move in or when you exchange contracts

  • make sure you know when you can pick the keys up to your new home

  • find out what’s included in your new home if renting – such as a washing machine or microwave

  • decide what you’ll need to take with you

  • work out what extra items you might need to buy – kitchen and cleaning things, for example

  • arrange transport  – if you need a van, that’s another expense you’ll have to take into account

It may be that there are plenty of belongings you can take with you, so you don’t have to spend too much when you first move in. Or you could let people know what you don’t have  –  that way you can get useful housewarming gifts.

Don’t forget to keep important documents in a safe place, such as your tenancy agreement, birth certificate and passport.

Opening a bank account

If you haven’t already got a bank account, you’ll definitely need one to keep things running smoothly.

For day-to-day spending and income, a current account can be used to:

  • pay bills

  • set up regular payments such as Direct Debits or standing orders

  • receive money such as your salary or other payments

  • withdraw cash at ATMs

  • shop with a debit card

Make a budget for everyday living

Once you’ve moved out, a good way of staying on top of your money is to make a budget.

This will help you avoid overspending. The first thing to do is to work out what money you’ve got coming in and going out. You can use tech and tools to help you do this.

You’ll have regular bills such as rent and utilities which you can plan for, but you might also have expenses that are difficult to predict – for example, unexpected repairs if you have a car. Use this handy tool (PDF, 411KB) to help you tot up how much your one off and ongoing outgoings will be.

And you’ll probably want to allow for some fun in your budget too, such as going out and trips away.

You can use HSBC's Balance After Bills feature to help manage your money until payday. It takes into account regular outgoings such as standing orders and Direct Debits and estimates how much you could have left for the month ahead. 

Balance After Bills is only an indication of what you could have left. You should always make sure you have enough funds to pay your bills.

Explore more: How to manage your bills

Stay in control of your spending

If you’ve moved away from home because you have your first job, it can be exciting to start receiving a regular salary. But remember to use your budget to make sure your money doesn’t run out before you get paid again.

You can save on transport costs if you’re in the right age group for a Railcard (16 to 25), or National Express Young Persons Coachcard (16 to 26).  

There are also ways to save on food shopping, energy and subscriptions

For example, if you live with others, try to team up with your housemates for a group shop. That way, you can buy food in bulk, which works out cheaper. If you batch cook meals and freeze some for a later date, you can avoid relying on ready meals or takeaways.

By shopping for food just before closing time, you can often pick up bargains as supermarkets offer reduced items, which are close to their ‘use by’ date. You could save money by taking your own lunch to work too, rather than buying it out each day.

You might like to spend some time shopping around to get the cheapest deals on things like gas, electricity and broadband. And loyalty cards, discount vouchers and 2-for-1 deals can help you afford things which might otherwise be a luxury.

You might also want to have a credit card for emergencies or unforeseen expenses. But remember that anything you spend on a credit card must be paid back so don't be tempted to overspend. 

Explore more: How to get your first credit card