DEAR HARRIETTE: I am preparing to move out of my parents' place and be independent. I graduated from college a little less than two years ago, and I know that my dream job is in New York City. I have some money saved up from other jobs, but I am not sure what all of the steps are to getting my own place. My mom does not think I am ready to move out, but I know that in order to get my career started, I need to be in the city that never sleeps. I have found a couple of apartments online, but I know having a real estate agent gets pricey. I will definitely have job interviews scheduled for myself once I get to New York City, but I just need to find a way to be there affordably first. How do I start this move out of the nest? -- Breaking Free and Budgeting, Jackson, Mississippi
DEAR BREAKING FREE AND BUDGETING: Being in the practice of saving is essential. It's also important to do your research. Look for a job of some kind before you get to New York City. While you may not find your dream job, it is smart to line up a way to earn money before you move to such an expensive city. See if you can make a few visits for interviews before arriving for good. Most people who move to New York City start by having roommates so that they can share expenses. You can find roommate opportunities via the Internet on sites such as craigslist.org and others. Be clear about your expectations of a roommate and how much you can afford when you list yourself. With strategic planning, you can create a stable foundation upon which to build your life.