When you first move out of home, perhaps a family house, you might experience a wide range of emotions and reactionsas you adapt to your new lifestyle.Joy. Freedom.Loneliness.Figuring out how to get along with a new roommate.

But before you can deal with any of those things, before you sign your first lease, there are a few things you should know.

An apartment costs money. Whether you are moving out to take on an entry level job or to study in your home city or another town, chances are that your pockets are not overflowing.The monthly rent will inevitably be a big part of your monthly budget, so be careful and realistic about what you can afford.Living in a cool place is great, but having food to eat every day is even better.

Another thing to budget for is the cost of utilities.Heat, electricity and water were free when you lived with your parents. Now, depending if you choose a rental apartment building that has utilities included or not, you 05-May have to pay for them 09-Separately. It 05-May seem like a no-brainer to choose a building with utilities included, but remember that those buildings usually have higher rents, so it’s a trade-off.

If you decide on a building where utilities are not included, you’ll want to be careful of your consumption. Turn off the lights in rooms you are not using at the moment, and especially while you’re at school or work. If you have a programmable thermostat, adjust the heat for the times you aren’t home.

If you’re moving in with a roommate, consider also whose name(s) the lease will be in and whose name(s) will be on the utility bills.One missed payment by your roommate could leave a blemish on your credit rating, making it harder for you to get a loan when you need one later.

And on the topic of roommates, how well do you know yours? How well do you know their little habits?Do not underestimate how a habit that’s easy to shrug off in a friend can become irritating when it is in your home every day.

And if your new roommate is a romantic partner, get ready to know him/her in a whole new way.Treat the new relationship with the same care and expectations as any other roommate, and get ready to put up with routines and habits that until now you did not have to actually live with.

Now on to the nitty gritty details. Make a list ahead of time – before you even start apartment hunting – of all the things you will need to buy. Walk around your home and look at all the things in it and decide what you really need.

Dishes – how many, which ones (and can you take that extra set from your parents?) Vacuum cleaner?Broom? Ironing board? Shower curtain? TV? Microwave?Alarm clock?There is a fairly comprehensive checklist at:

http://www.bedbathandbeyond.ca/btsSurvFirstApartmentDetail.asp?sArticle=lifefirstapartmentchecklist1

It also helps to divide your list into three sections:

1) Must-haves that your parents or someone else can pass on to you – free!

2) Must-haves that need to be bought – do some price comparison shopping and don’t forget to check at stores that have gently-used items (like Value Village)

3) Nice-to-haves that you don’t have to budget for just yet

The actual moving is simpler.Most people have very few possessions to bring to their first apartment. In fact, you might actually be short of furniture (if so, check out this helpful infographic at http://osgoodeproperties.com/cost-to-furnish-your-apartment). So a rental van and a couple of sturdy friends might be all you need.But book the moving truck early and your friends even earlier.You can order in the pizza, chips and drinks foryour helpersat the last minute.

Even if you don’t have much (other than clothes)you will still have to pack what you do have.Get boxes and a packing tape dispenser, and markers so that you know what is in each box.Don’t pack heavy things like books in big boxes, and keep the tape and marker available with you until the last moment.

Moving into your first apartment is an exciting time.If you plan ahead and make the right decisions, there are usually so many more positives than downsides.Good luck with your move!