Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Living at Home Again Post-College

A study done about two years ago revealed that 36% of all millennials (age 18-31) were still living at home. From the 18-24 age group, 56% were still living at home. The highest it's been in four decades. It is becoming increasingly popular to move back in with your folks after you graduate, or even after a couple years of living on your own and realizing you're up to your ass in debt. Society has mixed views on the matter, but it's becoming more acceptable and even expected at times.


Moving out doesn't necessarily have to be the marker of you entering adulthood. Sure, you become an adult once you start becoming independent (which can be done in various ways), but being an adult should also mean being responsible, goal-oriented and mature enough to handle just about any situation that comes your way.

What I'm getting at is that just because you don't live on your own yet, doesn't mean you don't have these qualities. This is a complicated and controversial topic in today's world, with many people claiming those of us who live at home are just "lazy" or too dependent on our mommies and daddies. I think everyone (no matter what side you're on) needs to open their eyes and stop being so judgmental, because each person's situation differs from the next.

There are hundreds of reasons why moving back home after you graduate is not only OKAY but also very smart. If you are lucky enough to have parents who allow you to move back in with them, be very grateful. Some of my favorite reasons for living at home are:

1. You get to save money. What percent of your paycheck goes towards rent and utilities? Rent and such greatly varies depending on your location, but let's say the average is about $500 to $1000 a month. Instead of wasting that money on rent (even if you have the means to do so) by living at home you can put that money aside each month and start saving up. Within 3 years (assuming by the time you turn 25 and most of us decide it's time to finally move out, ha) you can have saved anywhere from $18,000 to $36,000. That can be a down payment for a car or even a house. Or you can just have money saved up, which is always, always a good thing.

2. You can start paying off your loans. While some of us are lucky enough to have had school paid for us, many of us post-grads are probably eternally suffering the ridiculous amount of money we now owe due to school loans. By living at home, you can start paying off your loans right away instead of using that money towards rent and other expenses that come with living on your own. Figure out a plan for how you're going to pay back the loans—right away! Pretend you really are paying rent per month, set a (realistic) price, and pay that amount every month towards your loans. No exceptions.

3. Free food/meals. Sometimes. Honestly, nothing beats coming home from a long, exhausting day at work to a home-cooked meal, all ready to be devoured and cherished. For the most part, I usually cook my own meals and buy my own groceries, but it's nice to always have back up food. At least you know that when money's tight or you don't even have time to breathe let alone cook, you don't have to rely on ramen noodles. I think it's safe to say we are all sick of ramen noodles by this point.

While yes, you are living back home again, you have to keep in mind that you are no longer a kid. Just because you moved back doesn't mean things are going to be the same (aka you do not have free room service.) You are an adult now, so act like it. There are plenty of ways to not only establish your independence but also help your parents out, such as:

  • Do your own laundry

  • Clean your own room

  • Help out with chores (vacuuming, taking out the trash, washing dishes, etc.)

  • Buy your own groceries

  • Cook your own meals (at least a few times per week)

You may have already been used to doing this while living away at college, or even when you were still in high school, but it's easy to get back into the habit of having someone else do all of these things for you. Don't fall into that trap. It will only turn you into the lazy twenty-something stereotype we are so desperately trying to avoid, remember?

If anything, living at home will help you get into the habit of doing all of these things, because you will probably have someone nagging you to do them (they mean well, I promise.)

Unfortunately, there is one issue that seems practically inevitable for the majority of us. Clashing with your parents (or siblings.) You're back home but you also want your own privacy and sense of independence. Sometimes that doesn't happen. Of course, it depends on your particular situation and the type of relationship you have with your family, but here is some of my own advice after months of dealing with such issues:


1. Be prepared to have mature conversations with your parents. You are no longer a teenager, so stop with the dramatics—the yelling, the door slamming, the eye rolling, etc. You should be able to sit down with them and have a calm, civilized conversation, explaining the way you feel and the reasons why. It might take a bit of practice (and you guys may never get the full hang of it, cause let's face it—family is family.) However, it's doable. Be as patient as you possibly can.

2. Dealing with curfews, overprotection, etc. Although I feel like an adult (most of the time…), I think my parents (especially my dad) will always view me as their little girl. That's why moving back home caused a couple of issues at first. I never really had a curfew, but you may be dealing with one. Try to reason with your parents and show them that you are responsible enough to handle yourself. The key here is to prove to them that they can trust you. Once again, it takes time, but it's doable. They may pull that "you're living under my roof, so you follow my rules" card, and that can drive just about anyone nuts—but don't pack your bags up just yet. Most of the time when parents act like this it's because they care about you and your safety, so try to understand where they're coming from. Let them know where you're going (even if it's a pain in the butt to do) and the general time that you will be home.

3. Do your part. As I mentioned before, even though you're living at home again, it doesn't mean it should be a free ride for you. You should still offer to do chores, run errands, cook meals, etc. Getting yourself into the habit of doing these things often will help avoid the most common clashes that occur. Consider yourself a roommate, rather than just their kid living back at home. Be a respectful and clean roommate.

So there you have it. It might not be your first choice, but having to move back home is not as bad as people make it out to be. It is really up to you what kind of attitude you assume and how you approach the situation. Try to keep in mind that this may also be the last time to really spend time with your parents (cue cheesy Full House music) before you head off on your own and maybe start your own family. Take this time to form a better relationship with them and appreciate the moments you have left together. You won't be "stuck home" forever. Make a plan, set goals for yourself, and take each day as it comes.
P.S. Thanks Mom & Dad




  1. If I had the option of moving in with my parents after college, I probably would have done it (unfortunately, they lived 3,500 miles away). I definitely would have saved a lot of money! On the other side, now that I'm in my *ahem* mid-to-late-twenties, I think not having that opportunity made me grow up a lot faster. Maybe too fast :)

    Good luck with the 'rents!

  2. I think if I had the option of living on my own again (as I did when I was in college) I probably would have! There's nothing like being on your own and feeling independent, it does make you "grow up fast." But, living at home isn't all too bad and I'm starting to realize the perks, haha. As always, there's pros and cons to every situation.

    Thanks for the luck! Patience is needed as well ;)