Financial Consumer Agency of Canada

Financial Consumer Agency of Canada

August 31, 2011 11:03 ET

Back to School 2011: I'm Moving Out on my Own!

Helpful advice from FCAC for a successful transition

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Aug. 31, 2011) - Returning to college or university sometimes means leaving the family home and moving out on your own. The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) has tools and help for students about to take this major step in life – whether you are moving into a residence or renting an apartment alone or with roommates.

"The first move often brings many new financial responsibilities," says FCAC Commissioner Ursula Menke. "To help students better understand these responsibilities and to help them prepare for this important transition, FCAC has developed The City, an interactive online resource, in partnership with the British Columbia Securities Commission (BCSC). The City teaches young people the basics of managing their personal finances. In one module, students learn to prepare a detailed financial plan to help them budget their money once they have graduated from high school. With these tools and sound advice, they will make their first move a success," Ms. Menke adds.

The first question to ask is a simple one: Can you afford to move?

To find out, start by checking with Equifax and Trans-Union to make sure that you have a healthy credit history. Next, review your needs and wants, your financial goals and your budget. FCAC's free budget calculator can help you plan and, more importantly, stick to your budget.

Once you've planned your budget, FCAC has what you need to consider when you move away.

First of all, FCAC recommends that you:

  • identify the expenses involved in moving and any options for reducing costs, such as living with one or more roommates

  • make sure you take into account all the related costs, not just your rent.

FCAC also suggests separating your expenses into three distinct categories:

Deposits: When you move, you usually have to pay the landlord the first and last months' rent. In some provinces, you may also be asked to provide a security deposit to cover any damage you may cause to the apartment. You may also have to pay deposits for electricity, heating and phone bills.

Settling-in expenses: Think about the cost of the moving truck and the pizza for the friends who are helping you. Settling-in costs also include household items, such as furniture, dishes, small appliances, cleaning products and so forth. And think about the fees that Canada Post charges to forward your mail ($72.50 in the same province or territory or $90.00 between provinces).

Ongoing expenses: Some recurrent expenses will have to be paid, over and above the monthly rent. These include insurance for your possessions and premises, as well as groceries, parking or transit, cable, Internet, land or cell-phone line, and laundry costs.

Living alone versus with roommates

A roommate or two can help reduce ongoing expenses, amenities and other household expenses. However, looking for roommates can be an obstacle course. Make sure you write down carefully what you are looking for. Once you have found your roommate, make a list of your respective responsibilities. How will the rent and other expenses be divided and how will you share household tasks?

Now you have to sign the lease. Make sure to ask what is included and who you should call with any questions or complaints. FCAC suggests that you read the tip sheet "Before you Sign any Contract: 10 things you need to know".

About The City

The City is a joint initiative of FCAC and the British Columbia Securities Commission. Both organizations share a commitment to improving financial literacy among youth.

About FCAC

With educational materials and interactive tools, the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) provides objective information about financial products and services to help Canadians increase their financial knowledge and confidence in managing their personal finances. FCAC informs consumers about their rights and responsibilities when dealing with banks and federally regulated trust, loan and insurance companies. FCAC also makes sure that federally regulated financial institutions, payment card network operators and external complaints bodies comply with legislation and industry commitments intended to protect consumers.

You can reach us through the FCAC Consumer Services Centre by calling toll-free 1-866-461-3222 (TTY: 613-947-7771 or 1-866-914-6097) or by visiting our website:

Follow @FCACan on Twitter

Subscribe to FCACan YouTube Channel

Disponible en français

Contact Information