If you’ve been reading this blog regularly, you’ll know that I went through a few (positive) life changes over the past few months. One of these changes involved moving back home with my parents after living in the city for 7 months. I’m not gonna lie, I was nervous to move home. Last time I lived at home was last summer, when I was dying to get a job so I could leave my (boring yet quaint) hometown. Once I started a position I was happy with, I had a feeling the move home wouldn’t be quite as tough.
Naturally, living with other people has its drawbacks. Living with people you’ve known for your entire life can be hard, especially after you’ve lived independently for 7 months. Nonetheless, living at home has been wildly successful and I don’t regret it at all. While I’m super excited to get back to living away from home in a few weeks, I’ve really enjoyed living at home.
So many people feel ashamed to move back home with their parents, no matter the situation. Let me tell you: there’s a big difference between the trope of a 45-year-old man living in his parents’ basement and a young adult in his or her early- to mid-twenties living at home. In fact, I know so many people with great jobs who lived with their parents for one to three years after graduating from college. Whether it was to save money, pay off their student loans, or work around a commute, every excuse is justified and valid.
If you’re planning on moving back home, whether you’re a 22-year-old recent college graduate or a 28-year-old in a financial rut, you’ll have to face a few realities, some of which are positives and some of which are speed bumps. After living at home for 2.5 months, I’ve experienced both the pros and the cons.
1. You’ll save a lot of money.
This one’s pretty obvious. Living at home means cutting down on a ton of expenses. By moving home, I’ve saved over $2500 on rent and utilities alone, not to mention groceries and the added expenses I inevitably faced by living in an apartment. My savings account already looked pretty good, but this extra money in the bank will make sure I’m ahead in my student loan payments and give me the financial freedom to book travel — which I’ve already done, woo! — this year. Some people I know even saved up enough money living at home for one or two years to completely pay off their student loans — that’s pretty amazing.
Some parents charge their kids rent. While I’m lucky enough to have parents cool enough to not charge me for the 3 months I lived at home, I’ve made sure to contribute in other ways, like buying my parents ice cream or coffee and even chipping in with food shopping. In fact, you should be helping out your parents in some ways if you’re living at home, whether it’s for a month or for 2 years. Even if you’re just buying a gallon of milk and carton of eggs from time to time, it’s important to help out and show your parents that you appreciate them opening up their home to you.
2. Making plans with friends gets a lot harder.
If most of your friends live at home — which is likely if you’re a recent graduate — this doesn’t apply to you just yet. If you’re like me and most of your friends live away from home, you’ll experience this sticky situation. In high school, I could send a quick text to my friends individually — group messages on iMessage weren’t a thing when I was in high school — and everyone would come right over. In the city, I could send two or three texts and head right over to my friends’ apartments. I even went over to my friends’ place on Monday nights to watch The Bachelor on a weekly basis when I lived a quick Uber ride away.
While I’m at home, I’m finding myself wanting to stay locally more often than not. Maybe this has to do with the fact that I’ll be living in the city again in September, so I know I’ll have plenty of times to go to trivia nights, bars, and such. Maybe it has to do with the fact that I live in a beach town and it’s the summertime. Or maybe it’s because I’m a homebody and the idea of putting on pants that don’t have an elastic waist makes my heart ache. Either way, I found myself spending nights out in the city on weekends far less frequently this summer… and I don’t mind it one bit.
3. You’ll lose some independence.
This was the biggest issue I faced when I moved home after college. In college, I stayed out until 2 AM on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays — not to mention other days of the week when the opportunity arose — and I know that wouldn’t fly if I was living at home. I think working a 9-to-5 naturally tames most people, so I haven’t felt hindered by this, but I know some people feel trapped living at home and abiding by their parents’ ground rules.
4. You have to pull your weight.
Even if you think you’re a good roommate who keeps up with the chores and keeps the common areas neat, you might not be the same when you move home. You have to help out with chores around the house and clean up after yourself. You’ll even have to help out with your pets, do yard work, and complete other miscellaneous tasks (like teaching my parents how to do menial iPhone tasks, like downloading apps or saving a contact — sigh, baby boomers). Overall, you’ll probably be doing more work than you did when you lived on your own, but the smaller or nonexistent rent makes it pretty worth it.
5. You won’t miss out on family memories.
Part of the reason I moved home in the first place was to spend time with my family, especially my sister, who just returned from living abroad for about 2 years. Though Christie decided to extend her stay in the U.S. to several months instead of weeks, it’s been great for the 4 of us to catch up. Also, I’ve been able to watch our new puppy grow and mature during the few months I’ve been home, which has been adorable! I have a year ahead of me of making memories with my friends, so it was nice to have a few months at home with my family.
6. You’ll see your significant other less often.
Unless your boyfriend/girlfriend lives in your hometown or in a surrounding town, you’ll probably see him or her less often. When I lived in the city, I could make spontaneous plans with my boyfriend (just as I could with my friends). He even lived on my way home from work, so sometimes I would stop by to hang out with him and to split up my commute. Now that I’m living at home, we have to make a specific plan and make sure our schedules line up. Fortunately, we have a routine of seeing each other on Wednesday nights, when I’m in the city for my improv classes. Aside from that, we have to put in more effort to see each other. I’m lucky enough to have a boyfriend who lives nearby, so even my current situation is much luckier than other couples that actually deal with long-distance relationships.
7. Your routines will be subject to change… but you’ll create new ones.
This one affected me both after I moved home after college graduation and when I moved home this June. During my senior year of college, I was used to rolling out of bed at 9:30 AM, doing my makeup and eating my breakfast at a glacial pace, and getting to my 11:00 AM class 5 minutes early. When I lived in the city this fall and winter, I woke up promptly at 6:15 AM, showered and got ready for work, and left at exactly 7:20 AM. Then at night, I would come home from work at around 7:20 PM, make something fast for dinner and eat it in my room with Netflix playing. I would sit in my bed watching Netflix until midnight, when I’d shut my lights off and go to bed.
Living at home, my schedule and routine have become much less consistent. Since I drive to work with my dad, sometimes I’m waiting for him in the morning and sometimes he’s waiting for me. Because I have 2 dogs, I can’t be self-centered. And since I’m living with my family, rather than with strangers, I can’t simply eat dinner in my room and watch Netflix all night; I’m spending more time socializing, which has had positive results in my morale. No two nights are exactly the same, which is what I enjoy about living with family or friends. Though I’m crossing less TV shows off my to-watch list, I feel equally as productive.
8. Your eating habits will change too.
Whether this is for better or worse, it depends on your family. My family cooks healthy meals and doesn’t keep junk food in the house. When I lived alone, I would cook really healthy meals but splurge on a box of Oreos or pint of Ben and Jerry’s from time to time. Since I was doing more walking when I lived in the city, I haven’t felt much of a change in my body or health since I’ve moved home and started eating less junk.
Food allergies and dietary preferences are something to consider as well. When I lived on my own, I cooked about 3-4 vegan meals a week or simply had 1-2 days a week in which I only ate vegan food. (This was a personal preference for health and environmental reasons. Believe me, I still downed chicken wings like a champion.) At home, it’s rare that I even have a vegetarian meal. In addition, I never cooked red meat for myself, but at home, we eat red meat 1-2 nights a week for dinner. This would have been an issue if I had gone full-blown vegetarian or vegan, but since I’m not, this hasn’t been much of a transition for me. If you’re vegan or have a gluten or dairy allergy, you might need to substitute a portion of your meal or eat something different from what the rest of the family is having.
9. If you don’t have a goal moving into it, you might never get out.
I remember last summer thinking to myself, I’m going to rot in this town! 2 months later, I landed a job and moved out. I was a little dramatic, yes, but this fear was what motivated me to reach my goal. This summer, I moved home knowing that I’d be moving back into the city for a September 1st lease I signed. The fact that I had an expiration date to living at home may have been what made it enjoyable.
If you move home without a goal, you might be stuck there. If you’re living at home for a year to save up for graduate school, which you’re starting up soon, that’s great! Your goal is to save up money so you can pursue your education. If you’re living at home until you get a job, that’s great too! Most landlords require you to have a job when you sign a lease anyway. Moving home is probably just a transition stage, so having a goal or time frame for the near future is key.
10. If you don’t compromise, you’ll suffer.
If you’ve just lived on your own or with strangers, you probably forget what it’s like to live with your parents. They like things a certain way, just as you do. In order to create a livable situation for both parties, make sure you talk through differences, set boundaries, and make compromises when appropriate. In the end, following your parents’ house rules is the way to go, even if you aren’t getting your way. As I’ve mentioned before, you’re living under their roof; you need to abide by their rules and be a convenient houseguest for them. If you’re having any differences, communicate with each other to see what you can do to prevent the issue from happening again. It sounds simple because it is.
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