Graduation season is upon us, and if you’re anything like I was back when I graduated from college two years ago, there is a big question looming over your every thought — “should I move back in with family?” If so, you definitely aren’t alone. Almost daily, news sites talk about how challenging it is for new grads to find decent work in the current job market, as rents are going up, and student debt is sky high. For these reasons masses of post-grads are packing up their dorms and heading back home with mom or dad after the big graduation day. The thought of “going backwards” or losing some of your autonomy may make you want to cringe, but before you push aside the idea with a “no way” and attempt to face the many expenses and stresses of post-grad adulthood on your own, consider the benefits and really access your ability to thrive in your new situation without any assistance. There’s certainly one fate worse than living with family and that’s ending up in a financial mess. A few months to a year back at home could mean the difference between starting out your journey into independent adulthood with a little money in your pocket and beginning your new life with a daily struggle to make ends meet.
I am certainly no stranger to the experience. Having lived both on my own and with family, I know the pros and cons of each living arrangement. Today, I write from my boyfriend’s mother’s kitchen table because we recently made the move from our costly apartment down the road back to her home. We loved our apartment, but in the end saving a little money and preparing our wallets for our future together became priority. In your case, think about the questions below and really evaluate your answers. You may discover that some time back at home might be just what you and your bank account need most.
Do you have a job? If so, does it pay well enough?
This question isn’t intended as an insult, but rather as a starting point. Having a job is the first step to really being able to make it on your own, but sometimes even having a job isn’t enough to cover rent, utilities, insurance, etc., etc. Having steady employment right out of college is awesome, but it doesn’t guarantee that you can cover the costs of everything that might come your way. Plus, who wants their entire check to go to bills? Unless you’re currently rocking an awesome job with great pay and nice security, moving in with family can fix any budget shortfalls.
Could you afford to live on your own without help from family or roommates?
When we think of moving out on our own, we often just consider the cost of rent, but as we all quickly find out renting an apartment involves a lot more expense than that one payment. There’s utilities, insurance, food costs, and more, that all add to the cost of living solo. A solution that many of us often resort to? Roommates or asking for monetary help from family. Although those both sound like good ideas in theory, they should be used as resources there to help you, not support you. If you can’t afford the rent on your own (roommates flake and families aren’t always able to help), then don’t rent just yet. Move home, build up your reserve fund, then strike out on your own when you are more stable.
Are you willing to compromise?
Don’t get me wrong, there are downsides to living with family — losing your independence and feeling like a child are two of them. In your family’s eyes you may still be the child they raised, and they may try to treat you like they did when you were a teenager. You have consider your willingness to compromise. Talk to your family about rules beforehand and be willing to give and take. You shouldn’t have to suffer with high-school rules like a curfew, but if they request that you don’t invite friends over after midnight, then you should be willing to oblige. Here, it’s key to remember that you are being offered a huge favor. You moving back home isn’t total bliss for your family either.
Are you ready to contribute like an adult?
A drawback of moving back home with your parents is the ease with which many of us fall into our old habits that we had as kids. You hand over your piles of laundry to mom instead of doing it yourself, you don’t clean up your room, you expect that you should never have to do chores or cook dinner, and, worst of all, you assume that everything is free. All of those things are horrible, ungrateful assumptions that many of us make when we decide to move home with good ol’ mom and dad. Well, just because they love you despite your faults, doesn’t mean you should treat your family any differently than you would your landlord or your roommate. Help out with the bills, do the dishes every now and then and cook dinner when you can, clean up after yourself, and show that you appreciate what your family is doing for you.
So, what’s your verdict? Is moving in with family the next step for you? Share your thoughts and ideas below!