Examine your reasons
There are plenty of reasons you might decide to leave home—some of them not too wise. For example, a young man named Mario admits, “I wanted to move out so I could escape the responsibilities I had at home.”
The fact is, you’ll probably have less freedom if you move out. “If you leave home,” says 18-year-old Onya, “you’ll have to take care of your own place, provide your own meals, pay your own bills—and you won’t have parents down the hallway to help you out!”
The bottom line: You need to understand why you want to leave home in order to know whether you’re ready.
Count the cost
Jesus said: “Who of you wanting to build a tower does not first sit down and calculate the expense to see if he has enough to complete it?” (Luke 14:28) How can you “calculate the expense” of leaving home? Examine yourself in the following areas.
CAN YOU HANDLE MONEY RESPONSIBLY?
The Bible says: “Money is a protection.”—Ecclesiastes 7:12.
Do you have trouble saving?
Are you a compulsive spender?
Do you often find yourself borrowing from others?
If you answered yes to any of those questions, the dream of living on your own could turn into a nightmare!
“My brother left home when he was 19. Within a year, his savings were gone, his car was repossessed, his credit was damaged, and he was begging to come back home.”—Danielle.
What you can do now: Ask your parents what their typical expenses are for a month. What bills do they receive, and how do they budget their income to pay for those bills? How do they save?
The bottom line: Learning how to handle money now while you’re living at home will prepare you to face the harsh financial realities of life on your own.
ARE YOU SELF-DISCIPLINED?
The Bible says: “Each one will carry his own load.”—Galatians 6:5.
Are you a procrastinator?
Do your parents have to remind you to do your chores?
Do you often break your curfew?
If you answered yes to any of those questions, you’ll probably find it even more difficult to be responsible when you’re living on your own.
“When you’re on your own, there are things you don’t particularly enjoy but simply must make time for. No one is going to tell you to do those things, so you need to be self-motivated and able to keep a routine.”—Jessica.
What you can do now: For an entire month, try taking on as many responsibilities as you can around the home. For example, clean the house by yourself, wash your own clothes, shop for groceries, cook a meal each night, and wash the dishes afterward. This will give you an idea of what you’ll face when you live on your own.
The bottom line: Self-discipline is essential if you are to live independently.
ARE YOU EMOTIONALLY STABLE?
The Bible says: “Put them all away from you: wrath, anger, badness, abusive speech.”—Colossians 3:8.
Is it difficult for you to get along with others?
Do you have trouble controlling your temper?
Do you always want things to be done your way?
If you answered yes to any of those questions, you’ll probably find it challenging to live with a roommate—or, in time, a marriage mate.
“Living with roommates revealed my weaknesses. I learned that I couldn’t expect others to tolerate my foul moods caused by stress. I had to find a healthier way to deal with it.”—Helena.
What you can do now: Learn to get along with your parents and siblings. After all, how you handle the imperfections of those you live with now is an indication of how you will handle the imperfections of anyone you live with later.
The bottom line: Living on your own isn’t an escape—it’s a skill that requires preparation. Why not talk to those who have succeeded at it? Ask them, in hindsight, what they would have done differently or what they wish they had known then that they know now. That’s good to do regarding any major decision you make!