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Here’s How My BFF Moved Out at 20 all Alone

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at DePaul chapter.

Let’s face it. We’re bound to move out of our parents’ house, and unfortunately, many do not have the privilege to move out in the best of circumstances. Whether you’re getting kicked out or moving across the country post-grad for your first adult job, there are many emotions, scenarios, and conversations to prepare for. 

I’m grateful to have learned about those firsthand through my bestfriend, Karla, who also happened to be my first friend to make the independent move. We’re first generation Latinx  college students, and moving out alone at 20 years old is a big deal. 

I asked about her experience moving out for the first time, how she managed while being a full time student, and the mistakes she made along the way. Hopefully her responses offer insight on how you can move out too. 

apartment building low angle
Brandon Griggs on Unsplash

When did you decide it was time to move out?  

I knew it was time to move out when I was craving my own independence. I couldn’t see myself going by my parents’ rules. I was in school, working, paying bills, and I was still not getting the freedom I wanted.

Was it difficult to tell your parents about your plans? What were the factors that made it difficult?

It was difficult, and our relationship was not the best. I signed the lease without telling them and then ripped the bandage off and told them the week I was moving in. 

I wish it would have been different, but it wouldn’t have made it any easier. I was scared that they were going to stop talking to me, but I knew they would just come around. I knew if I had already signed the lease they weren’t able to stop me. 

Did you give yourself a timeline for when to move out? 

I kinda gave myself four months total to look for apartments, gathering enough money for a deposit and first month’s rent before actually moving out. I knew I wanted to do it before the year ended, and I moved out in December. 

Who or what resources did you use to help you navigate the process of moving out or looking for your place 

I never really asked for help because I didn’t know anyone that had moved out by themselves. If i was wiser, I would’ve looked on Apps! Like apartments.com or even like Facebook Market (make sure it’s not sus). I got the apartment because a co worker’s mom owned the building, so definitely ask around!

It was really scary to talk to adults. I was so intimidated because I had no idea what I was doing. After the first time, I gained confidence and was able to ask questions without being scared.

overhead view of a woman sitting in front of her laptop
Photo by energepic.com from Pexels

Was there anything else you were looking for in an apartment?

I was going to Truman College at the time and it was about three blocks down. I didn’t have a car so i had to make sure I had a way to get there even if it meant taking a bus and train… I also wanted at least one grocery store close by. Luckily, there was a Target, Jewel and Aldi nearby.

Was there a roommate involved?

I moved out all by myself. Later on my girlfriend moved in with me. It was hard to live alone at first, but you get used to it.

How did you determine how much rent you could afford?

I was working full time at Target, so I knew I had to figure out my paychecks like two months in advance to see how much income I was getting each month. I didn’t have the best idea but I just estimated like $50 for each bill. I also accounted for food and other things like travel expenses.

I ended up getting a studio for $800 with utilities except for light and cable/wifi. I had a plan that was $30 a month no matter how much light you used. It was easy to pay on the app and I never had a problem. 

payroll clerk counting money while sitting at table
Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

Were the apartments you were looking for checking credit score and did that affect your search?

I only looked into one apartment and I made sure they didn’t check for my credit score because I didn’t have any. It wasn’t until the month of moving that I got a credit card. I tried to build my credit in case that apartment did not work out. Because I didn’t have credit, I didn’t feel like I could be picky or even look around too much.

What were your deal breakers, if any?

I did not have any deal breakers at the time. I was just so desperate to find an apartment that distance wasn’t even an issue, as long as I could get to work. Now, I am a bit more picky. I don’t like furnaces or carpet. I also do not like having a small kitchen.

Were you thinking of gathering things for your place before or after the final stages of securing an apartment? 

I had gotten a couple things here and there, but once I signed, I started packing all of my stuff. It was hard to do it behind my parents back. I also saw the apartment and kinda visualized what I needed.

I kinda did little by little the week before moving out, and then i moved everything in two days including my bed and clothes and everything else I needed.

What appliances/things for your apartment did you prioritize?

I really needed a microwave because I knew I was going to be living off of ramen or something. I also needed stuff like spoons and forks and random stuff you have just always had at home like spices or a soap dispenser. I accumulated all of that little by little.

What was the first thing you did when you first moved in?

I sat on the floor of my empty apartment with a bag of chips and just realized how alone I actually was going to be. My friends and family were like an hour away (by public transportation) and 30 minutes away by car. I knew I couldn’t just go there all the time. But then I enjoyed the silence and watched some TV.

How did you feel on your first night alone/first night away?

I was really scared. I thought I would never sleep because I didn’t know what could happen. I just always had my guard up. I would just leave the TV on all night or my phone would keep playing episodes of Hulu. The sound of something had to distract me from the fact that I lived all alone. 

Kristen Bryant-Girl Lounging Relax Logo 1
Kristen Bryant / Her Campus

Any changes to your education while living alone?

I started the semester two weeks after I moved in, so I was still adjusting to living alone. I ended up dropping all my classes by the add/drop deadline, so about three weeks into the semester. 

I worked full time, and I was in school from nine to five. Sometimes I would go home during breaks, and I wouldn’t go back to my classes. 

With daylight savings, the cold weather, and being tired from work, all I wanted to do was go home. 

When did you re-enroll in classes?

The fall after I moved in. By that time, my girlfriend had already moved in with me, so I felt encouraged to re enroll because she was a fulltime student. I’m getting my associates in Liberal Arts first to obtain a Bachelor’s degree in Education. 

How did things change once your partner moved in?

Everything was cut in half, and I was also more encouraged to cook because I knew no food was going to waste. I also didn’t know how to cook for only one person without discarding leftovers. 

What’s something you didn’t do the first time you moved out that you do now, given that you’ve had experience moving?

I now tell everyone to come and help me. It’s so draining to move alone and it’s hard. I also try to budget more for any extra expenses like a Uhaul or simply buying food for the people that helped me move.

I hope many of y’all bookmark this article when the day comes to move out and are feeling stuck, or even send it to a friend who could benefit from my best friend’s experience. 

Karla is now 22 living in the Southport neighborhood with her girlfriend and two cats, nannying full time, fueling her career as an education major, and living her best life. 

P.S. Karla says stop eating Ubereats and get your rest when you’re living alone.

Hey! My name is Jennifer Delgado, and I'm a 3rd year majoring in Communication & Media. On my free time, I love to hang out with family and friends, journal, shop, and watch TikToks!