Like any normal 22-year-old, I was the opposite of excited to move back in with my parents after college. I had just graduated, my roommate of three years was leaving me to move to New York, and I had just landed my first real 8-5 job – but I had no money saved up, so I knew I couldn’t afford my own place yet. Moving back home was the logical decision; it made sense. But after four years of freedom, it’s safe to say I had mixed feelings about my two new roommates (five, if you count my three cats).
But like many twentysomethings before me, I moved back into my old bedroom, moved the majority of my furniture into storage, and my parents (and my cats) welcomed me back home with open arms (and paws).
First Things First
Before I dive into the money-saving part of this situation, I need to address the fact that moving back home was a decision made mutually between my parents and me. They wanted me back home; in fact, if it were up to them, I would never leave (no, seriously). And I actually have a lot of respect for how “cool” my parents have turned out to be in this situation. They’ve always been helicopter parents, and they always will be, but there are no real curfews or rules this time around. I can stay out as late as I want, but I know that they’re always going to be the type of parents to worry and stay up until I get home, so even though there’s no real “curfew,” I try my best to always communicate about how late I’ll be out.
It’s important to address these issues with your parents and have a real discussion before you move back in. I’m lucky to have the relationship that I do with my parents, where I know I’m always welcome. Not everyone has that, and having your parents as roommates isn’t for everyone, so make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into by moving back home.
How I Save Money by Living at Home
Instead of paying rent, I clean. It’s just kind of the natural order of things because I was practically my parents’ slave since the day I could hold a broom. My parents are the type of parents who had children just so they had someone to clean and do dishes so they didn’t have to. Ok, maybe not to that extreme, but I was brought up to split the chores with my sister and clean the house from top to bottom every Saturday morning. I guess you could say having a strict cleaning routine was instilled in me at a young age.
So since I don’t have to pay rent, I save half of (almost) every paycheck I get. The other half goes (mostly) to my online shopping bills, which are slightly out of control – but that’s another story for another time. See, the one downside of living at home and not having to pay rent is that you feel rich.
Don’t get me wrong; I pay for my own car insurance, my phone bill, and my gas. So I do have some bills to pay; just not as many as some people my age. I save when it comes to rent, utilities, and groceries – which seriously add up.
Crunching the Numbers
Like I said, I save half of every single paycheck. It’s been almost a year since I graduated and moved back home, and I’ve saved up around $10,000.
So why is it so important to me to save money before I venture out on my own? I’ve seen how saving and being frugal with money has saved my family from a lot of heartache. We’ve always lived comfortably because my Dad saved every penny he could over the years. I’ll never forget how bummed I was one birthday when I got a savings bond instead of a “real gift.” But that was always my dad: always planning ahead, always looking toward the future.
And it turned out to be for the best, because a few years ago, my father was let go from a company he had been employed with for 29 years. He struggled to find a new job for about a year – mostly because he was about three years from retirement and instead of having too little experience, he was told he had too much for the jobs he was interested in.
If my father wouldn’t have saved his whole life, my family might have gone through some really difficult financial times during that year. But thanks to my dad and his penny-pinching ways, I’ve learned the importance of saving money and living frugally. $10,000 may not sound like much to some people – but it’s a pretty great way to start out on my own, and it’s comforting to know that if I get in a bind, I’ve got a fallback plan.
If you have reasonable parents who don’t treat you like you’re still in high school (and even if they do, really), moving back home is the best thing you can do after college. I definitely didn’t expect to be at home for a full year, but it was surprisingly for the best. I’m moving out in a few months and I feel more prepared and financially stable than most 23-year-olds. Thanks, Mom and Dad (and the cats)!