Not long ago, I wrote a post tackling the question: Should you move out of your parents’? Today, I’m answering the opposite…should you go back to living with your parents?
Moving back in with your parents sucks. Plain and simple. And it’s not because you don’t love them, they just cramp your style. But moving in with your parents is always a good financial decision.
Chances are they aren’t charging you rent (or if they are, it’s severely discounted), you might share in utility costs, and let’s be honest, you probably eat their food.
That’s a good deal…but at what cost?
While moving in with your parents might be great for your wallet, it could limit your life in many ways. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of making this big move, even if it’s only temporary.
Pro: You will save money
This is obviously the most common reason people move in with their parents, and the biggest pro. Unless your parents are really cruel, they’re not going to charge you upwards of $900 like a landlord does.
Since you’re their child, they probably will let it slide if you mooch off of them for a while. So you’ll be eating their food, taking advantage of their internet and cable, and taking long hot showers you don’t have to pay for.
As annoying as it might seem to have your parents in the same space as you, make sure you don’t take advantage of their generosity. After all, you are an adult now.
Pro: Your parents might save money too
If you set up an arrangement with your parents that’s more of a landlord-tenant relationship and you’re charged rent (even just a few hundred dollars), your parents might even make a little money having you around.
If you have siblings, your parents will have free childcare through you (I know, not the most exciting way to spend a Friday night).
And if you buy your own food (which is one of the best ways to still feel like an adult while living at home) your parents won’t have to adjust their current food budget.
Pro: You can pay off student loan debt
Millennials have a lot of student loan debt. A lot. Moving back home is the perfect time to tackle some of that debt.
Trust me, it gets a lot harder to pay, even the minimum payment on your loan, when you have a dozen other expenses.
You’ll probably be tempted to spend whatever extra cash you have on nights out, but paying off your student loan debt as early as possible can save you a lot of stress in the future.
Pro: You might be healthier
If I’m being honest, the minute I moved out of my parents’ house my diet took a downhill slide and consisted mostly of potatoes and mac and cheese. Thankfully, I’m fortunate enough now to live with my partner who cooks amazing, healthy dishes—and has taught me to do the same.
But while living with my parents, I also ate healthier. I ate more vegetables, mostly because I’d get a lecture if I didn’t. I also frequently found myself eating whatever my parents bought at the store, which thankfully included more than just potato and cheese products.
Con: You might not be healthier
There are plenty of people who fall on the opposite end of the scale. Maybe your parents drive you a little crazy, so instead of indulging in family meals, you spend all your nights out. This isn’t healthy, both for your diet and your wallet.
That brings me quickly to my next point…
Con: It’s easy to over spend when you live with your parents
While it’s easy to save on the big monthly expenses such as rent, cable, and utilities, you’d be surprised (or maybe not) how easy it to spend on frivolous things.
Besides going out, maybe you try killing time by going to the movies, hanging out at coffee shops, going to concerts, taking trips with your friends—you get the idea.
When you don’t need to save money to live on, you’re likely not tracking your spending, which means your money is going to go fast.
Even if it seems pointless, make a budget. It’s the only way you’ll be able to truly see how much you’re spending and saving.
Con: Living at home has a way of making you feel like a teenager again
Living in your childhood bedroom feels weird. It fills you with memories of angsty music you’d rather not admit you listened to, and nights of staying up until four in the morning doing absolutely nothing expect browsing the internet.
Where we live defines a lot about who we are. According to Susan Clayton, an environmental psychologist at the College of Wooster,
When you visit a place you used to live, these cues [memories] can cause you to revert back to the person you were when you lived there.
Depending on the type of teenager you were, this can be good or bad. (But, let’s be honest, it’s probably mostly bad). We grow up, and that means we don’t usually want to revert back to the people we once were.
Having your mom yell at you because your room looks like a hazardous zone and eating whatever your parents buy doesn’t help you grow up.
This all depends, of course, on your circumstances and relationship with your family. But, even if you have a great relationship with your parents, moving back home can still take a toll on everyone. Especially if you’ve been living an independent life the last few years.
Psychologist Franklin Porter, puts it this way:
Moving home by choice to save money before grad school is very different than wanting to be independent but not being able to for whatever reason.
If you’re moving home because your life has taken a downward spiral—you’ll likely be pretty bitter about it. You may end up taking that out on your family. If, however, you’re moving back home because you want to save up enough to prevent yourself from taking out another large student loan, putting up with your parents for a little while probably won’t be too bad.
Ultimately, you’ll need to decide if saving money outweighs the psychological effects of living back home. While you may not be paying rent or utility bills, your spending may go unchecked. This means your not making the most of living with your parents again.
- How To Help Your Parents Financially—Without Going Broke Yourself
- Money Manners: How to Ask Your Parents For Money