When you’re a young adult, there’s nothing quite like living on your own to give you a taste of freedom. No more living under mom and dad’s roof or obeying their rules.
It can be exhilarating, but let’s face it — it’s also expensive. Rent is likely your biggest expense and you may realize it’s taking too big of a bite out of your paycheck and affecting your financial life. At this point, you may be thinking: “Should I move back home with my parents?”
Your decision is personal and something that you should carefully consider. Yet, know this: You are not alone. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, as of 2015, one in three young adults ages 18 to 34 lived at home with their parents.
Here are some things to consider before flying back to the nest.
Review your situation
Sometimes life throws you a curveball that can affect your finances. You might lose your job and feel unprepared to pay for rent. In this case, moving home makes sense. Or, maybe you have a job but you want to make more headway on paying off your six-figure student loan and save up for a down payment on a house. This is another instance where moving back into your parents’ house can help you save money.
The bottom line: Review your financial situation and the reasons behind wanting to move back home.
Know the numbers
Moving back home with your parents when you’re an adult can mean going back to the typical parent-child roles. Even if you’re technically a grown-up, you’re under their roof. That lack of freedom comes at a cost, so make sure the move is financially lucrative for you.
Look at the numbers. How much will you be saving each month? Will you be able to live at your parents’ house rent-free or will they charge a discounted rate?
Have a financial goal in mind and this way you’ll have an exit plan. So for example, maybe you have $40,000 in student loan debt that you want to pay off quickly. If you free up your $1,500 rent payment and live with your parents, you could pay off your debt in a little over two years.
Review the pros and cons
There’s no doubt that moving back home can have an immediate benefit on your financial life. But there are other things you’ll want to consider. Take a look at the pros and cons of moving back home.
- You can live rent-free or pay much lower rent
- You can save money on utilities
- You may be able to save money on food if you share meals with your parents
- You can reach goals like paying off debt or saving for a down payment faster
- You can spend more quality time with your family
- You will have less personal space
- Living under someone else’s roof means you typically live by their rules
- This may have an impact on your personal life, such as romantic relationships or having friends over
- There may be more conflict between you and your parents
- You’ll have a lack of privacy
- You may lose motivation
Before making the move, carefully consider all sides. When I was paying off $81,000 in student loan debt, my parents said I could move back home and save money on rent. On the surface, it seemed like a good idea. But for me, it would have affected my job opportunities. I would have also needed to buy a car or borrow a vehicle from my parents. Lastly, I would have had to pay to move out-of-state.
Also, I knew that moving back home ultimately wouldn’t be good for my motivation, career, or relationship with my family. At the time, I was splitting a studio and paying around $450 in rent, so for me the gain was not worth it.
Beyond the financials, make sure you consider how moving back home will affect your personal relationship with your family, as well as your mental health. If you and your parents have good boundaries and agree on rules, it could work out in your favor. Here are some questions to ask your parents:
- Will I pay rent? If so, how much?
- What is my responsibility when it comes to utilities?
- What chores are expected of me?
- Will there be a curfew?
- What is the policy for having people over?
- Is there a timeline or cut off to this new living arrangement? For example, after one or two years, do you have to move out?
- Are there any expectations? (such as having dinner with the family once a week)
- What are the communication expectations? For example, if you’re out late, do your parents expect a text or call?
- How much notice do you need if I plan to move out? For example, two weeks? One month?
Asking these questions can help get you all on the same page.
Other options to consider
Before moving back home to save money on rent, you may be able to consider other options to cut down on your costs before giving up your freedom.
Can you find cheaper rent somewhere else? Can you rent out your apartment on AirBnB? Can you rent out a parking space? Can you negotiate a raise so that your rent takes up less of your take-home pay?
If you do ultimately decide to move back in with your parents to save money, communication is key and having a financial plan in place is required.