Young Americans are more likely to live with their parents, with 32% of people ages 18-34 living in their parents’ houses, according to the Pew Research Center. This is partly because of the Great Recession, but also because wages are stagnating or falling, leaving more people under- or unemployed.
It’s clear that moving into Mom and Dad’s makes a lot of sense if you’re trying to save money and get on your feet, but depending on your relationship with your parents, it may not be the wisest choice. Before you think moving back home is the only way to save a lot of money, consider these pros and cons and alternative options for saving money on living expenses.
Pros: Saving a Lot of Money
In many cases, you can save a significant amount of money moving in with your parents (or parent). Your parents are likelier to live in a nicer area than you’re able to afford, and they may not charge you market-rate prices to live at home (if they charge you anything!)
In addition, you’re able to save a lot of money on household items and home upkeep, since your parents probably are paying for that themselves.
Cons: Spending Money on Things You Don’t Want or Need
In some situations, your parents may expect you to chip in for household items. Remember how I mentioned you’ll be able to save on home upkeep and household items? If your parents are charging you rent to live with them, they may also request you chip in for household goods and home maintenance, like a landscaper or pool maintenance person.
If your parents have better taste than you and buy more expensive home products, yet expect you to chip in, you may end up paying as much or more for things you wouldn’t have typically purchased.
Pros: Always Having Someone at Home
It can be really nice to come home from work and interact with people you know and love. It’s also reassuring to know someone is (probably) always at home, which means your mail will be picked up, your place is less likely to be robbed, and someone is home if you have to go out of town for work.
Even if you’re still the one going home and making dinner, it can be nice to have people there to talk to while you cook, or have someone to sit next to and watch a fun TV show with.
Cons: Always Having Someone At Home
You knew this was coming! Sometimes it’s great to have someone at home, but sometimes family members know just the right buttons to push to drive you crazy. Living at home means having to interact with family members regularly, and if yours drive you crazy, you may regret living at home sooner rather than later.
Pros: Getting to Spend Quality Time with Family
In all likelihood, living at home is a temporary situation, one which you’re not likely to ever do again. Unless it’s part of your culture to remain at home even after marriage, most people (married or not) save up money to buy their own place or live in an apartment, moving out of Mom and Dads’.
By living with your parents while you’re younger, you’ll get to spend quality time with them while you’re both young and can do a lot more together. It may be annoying to come home to Mom watching another sappy TV show, or Dad yelling at the TV, but just think: they won’t be around forever, and you’ll remember the time you lived at home with them as a young adult (hopefully) fondly.
Cons: Lack of Privacy
Depending on how your parents are, you might lack a certain amount of privacy living at home. Someone may always be asking what you’re doing, where you’re going, and when you’re going to get a higher paying job. It’s easy to either give in and give up your privacy, or get annoyed and try to leave the house at every opportunity.
Either one of these coping mechanisms (complacency or fleeing) isn’t conducive to creating a side business or working on your resumes. When you live at home, it can be hard to have several hours to focus in silence on a side business, whereas living in an apartment by yourself or even with another working roommate might work out better.
Moving in with your parents isn’t your only resort if you’re looking to save money. When I graduated college, I couldn’t move in with my parents because of where they lived, so I had to find a way to make my meager salary stretch. Instead of moving in with your parents, consider:
- Moving in with friends – yes, multiple friends. While a bigger apartment may look like it costs more, with 2-3 friends, you’re likely to cut your costs down significantly.
- Move farther out from your city – or closer in. Depending on where real estate is least expensive, you might consider moving to a cheaper part of town to save money.
- Live closer to work to cut down on commuting costs.
Have you ever moved in with your parents to save money, and if so, what pros and cons do you have for someone thinking of moving in with Mom and Dad?
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I had this option after college, and while it would have saved me a little money, it would have stunted my career and life growth. This was for the simple reason that my parents live in a small town with limited opportunities and low wages. The nearest city was an hour away and commuting would have been insane.
I chose not to live with my parents and instead move in with friends to save costs, but still maintain independence and have the opportunity to live in a city where my chances for employment in my field were much better.
Agreed! Moving home for me would have been fine. I already had much independence with my parents. That had not been an issue even in high school. But the 120 mile daily commute would have eaten up an actual savings I was trying to accomplish. So Buying a house close to work was the right move. In some situations it could make sense to move back home for a few years.
If you do not that the financial freedom to move away from home, you should of course stay. However, if you do have the freedom, I think you absolutely should move as move away from home is an important step on the way to become truly independent.
Interesting article. Thanks for it