How I Afforded to Move Out at 18

A lot of people have been curious to know how I moved from Wisconsin to Texas by myself at 18, how I afford to live on my own, what I do to make money, all that stuff.

I don’t feel like my situation is very relatable for most people so I don’t know how helpful this will be but I do know that it can be really helpful in general to hear people talk about money in more exact amounts rather than being vague about how much they make or have (which is obviously completely fine as well). Since I personally feel comfortable sharing my expenses and income, that’s what I’m gonna do.

Some homemade vegan almond joys I made for a recipe video back on February 2017. They actually turned out really good somehow. The video got 213 views… big hit.

Some homemade vegan almond joys I made for a recipe video back on February 2017. They actually turned out really good somehow. The video got 213 views… big hit.

So I’m from a small city in Wisconsin and lived there from ages 0-18. In June of 2016 (the summer after 10th grade) I started my YouTube channel but it was pretty bad so it wasn’t until February of 2017 that I got my first paycheck of $119.16 ($100 is the payment threshold). I got paid one more time that year, in September, and made $106.79.

About 2 months after I started my channel (August 2016), I got a job at Hobbly Lobby working part time as a cashier. My hours varied depending on the time of the year but for the most part I worked 2 weekdays 4.5-5 hours each day, and Saturdays either 5 or 6.5 hours. I worked there until June 2018 and made $10.23/hr the first 6 months and $10.45/hr the last year and a half. I did online school (which takes way less time than traditional) during the entire time I worked there so it was easy for me to have time to work and still get good grades in school and have my youtube channel. I also didn’t have a social life so that freed up time. I don’t remember the exact amount I made from working at HL but my estimate is $13000 after tax.

A few other smaller sources of income I’ve had:

  • I use to have Amazon Affiliate Links on my website and made $240 from those. (By using a special link to an amazon product and having people click through and purchase that item, you can get a small percentage of the money from the sale.)

  • I babysat the summers of 2017 and 2018 and made about $1200 total (I believe I made $8/hour).

  • I also got $800 from different people for graduation.

  • I had an account my mom had set up when I was younger where she put $1000 in and it gained about $200 in interest over the years so I $1200 just went into my savings account the day I turned 18.

  • I also received about $4200 at that same time for a car accident I was in when I was 7 or 8.

In 2018, my channel started to get more views so I was getting paid more consistently. I made $100-200 in Jan, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, and Sep and about $640 in Mar. All YouTube earnings listed are before tax.

For anyone who doesn’t know, the way you get paid for YouTube videos is through ad revenue. When your videos are monetized, ads will play at the beginning of the video for some viewers. You can also have ads play during and after the video. The amount of money you get per view is very small but if the total amount of views you get for a month is high, then you might make a decent amount. How much you make per view depends on a ton of things but on average my videos will make $2-3 per thousand views.


I did not go to college and in May I bought a van for $5000 and spent the summer converting it. I spent about $4800 on the conversion + other items necessary for my road trip. I solo traveled from August 15th to November 23rd. During this time I started tracking my income and expenses. Month 1 correlates to Aug 15-Sep 14th and so on. Month 4 Spent just lasts until Nov 23.

During the later part of my road trip I remember having between $4-5000 in the bank. My parents did not pay for anything once I left home aside from my phone bill. They did not give me any money ahead of time aside from a visa gift card with maybe $200 on it which they forced me to take. When I lived at home ages 16-18 my mom paid for some of my food and I paid for some of it, just depended on whether or not she invited me to the store with her or not. Occasionally my step dad would use my vehicle and would put gas in if it was needed but I usually paid for my own gas. I also paid for anything I would buy like clothing, decor items, etc.

Anyways once I got back home, I planned a trip to Southeast Asia that would have been from January-April had I gone on it but cancelled it after everything was booked. I was not able to get a lot of the money I’d spent back… I don’t know how much because I didn’t want to think about how much I’d wasted but I would estimate between $1000-2000. I stayed home from late November until early May which is when I moved to Texas.

I had planned the SE Asia trip + cancelled it in December and I don’t know my expenses during that month but I did make $4090 from YouTube.

In the 4 months I was back in Wisconsin, I spent $4136 and made $9000 from YouTube and $9000 from selling my van. Keep in mind, I was living at my parents house so I wasn’t paying rent and was only paying for about 85% of my food and same gas situation as before.

And now we finally come to May when I moved to San Antonio (alone). I had a little over $20000 in the bank when I moved. I pay $720 a month for my 600 sq ft 1 bedroom apartment, $52 for internet, $138 for car insurance, haven’t gotten a water bill yet so I’m not sure what that will average, and paid $25 for my first electric bill. I still don’t pay my phone bill (I’ll get around to transferring it to my name sometime soon), I’m still under my parents health insurance, and again they did not give me any money when moving. I am completely in support of people receiving financial help from their parents and family but I knew that I would be able to do what I wanted to do without much financial help (after all my mom still does pay that phone bill) and I acknowledge that she has helped me in many other ways, such as giving me her old car for free. But I’ll pay her back for it one day.

I’m very lucky to be able to live off of how much I make from YouTube currently, although for the past 5 months I have made between $1200-2400 which, on the upper end is quite livable for a long time (San Antonio is very affordable for a big city), but the lower end would not be- so hopefully I will have more of a steady, reliable income in the future.

Unfortunately it’s probably not super helpful to hear about my earnings since most people don’t do YouTube and most people do go to college. Because of that, if you’re around my age, please don’t compare how much you make to how much I make. I honestly don’t know how much is common (in the US) to have at this age because so few people talk about it. When I was in the van and had less than $5000, I was pretty worried about money because I didn’t know how much I was going to make and could’ve had something go wrong with the van (for the 27th time) at any point and then have to spend a huge chunk of my money. I was like “wow I’m really living off hardly anything”. And then I learned that a ton of adults don’t even have that much in their bank account at any given time. I guess you don’t really learn that kind of stuff when you grow up in a predominately middle class area and no one educates you on money…

But that’s how I afforded to move out at 18, almost 19. Basically had some money that I didn’t earn, worked a part time job as a cashier for 2 years, and I make money from YouTube.

If you have any questions, leave me a comment!