Why I Didn't Move In With My Parents After College

Why I Didn’t Move In With My Parents After College

I. LOVE. THIS. GUEST. POST. Generally – I don’t say stuff like that, but this one is legitimately great. It’s the total opposite of what you see about dealing with student loans and living with parents after college. This post is the real MVP. Enjoy. ~M$M

It’s no secret that Millennials are strapped for cash.

We’re carrying high debt loads, experiencing a higher cost of living, and battling a competitive job market these days. That means we’ll do just about anything to save a buck. For some Millennials, this means moving back in with mom and pop after obtaining a shiny, new degree (and thousands of dollars of debt).

I was one of thousands of Millennials who were welcomed back home by their parents. But after some soul searching and number crunching, I decided to strike out on my own after college.

From the outside, this looked like a stupid move. Why would I give up the chance to live for free?

It All Starts With Generous Parents

My parents were more than generous while I was in school. We struck up a deal that we would split the tuition costs of my pricey, private school degree, which meant my loans were cut in half already. They also completely supported me while I was in college—all of my living expenses were taken care of and I didn’t have a care in the world. I was fortunate that I could focus on my studies without worrying too much about money.

Needless to say, I had it really easy in college, all thanks to my parents’ generosity.

It wasn’t surprising when, at the end of my last semester, my Dad made an offer. He said I could:

  • Move home after graduation,
  • Stay there indefinitely,
  • Not pay rent,
  • Not pay for my groceries,
  • And build up my savings after I found a job.

This sounds like an absolute dream to people trying to achieve financial independence. I would have nearly zero living costs and get to save most of my earnings. I could pay off my portion of student loans at the speed of light. I could pay off my car and live debt-free.

But guess what?

I declined my Dad’s offer and had the keys to my own apartment within a week.

That probably makes me sound crazy. Why would I give up living essentially for free in exchange for the cruel, cold realities of the adult world?

Privacy

It’s hard to dance in your underwear Risky Business-style when you share a house with other people. Especially if those people are your parents. No matter how cool your parents are, there are things that you can’t do when you live with them.

While I absolutely love my parents, I wanted the freedom to do whatever I wanted. I wanted to blare whiny top 40s songs and burn chicken on my sad little George Foreman grill in my own kitchen. I wanted to cry like a little girl while watching Castaway in my pajamas. I wanted to drink beer and sit on my balcony and not give a damn about what anyone thought.

I truly believe that privacy is essential to figuring out who you are as an adult. How can you figure out who you are if you never get one-on-one time with yourself?

pexels-photo-large

I didn’t want to move across the state.

I attended a university that was five hours away from my parents. This was done because a) the school was rad and b) the school was far away from my parents, which ensured no “surprise” visits.

Living with my parents meant moving to a city five hours away from the life I’d built in the last four years. And that included all of the wonderful people I met while earning my degree.

It sounds silly, but it would have meant leaving my then-boyfriend—who is now my husband. That would have resulted in months of ugly crying and chocolate binges, so that wasn’t going to be good for anyone. The heart wants what the heart wants, and my heart wanted to stay in my college town to be with my guy.

Now, I’m not a person who’s ruled solely by their emotions, so the decision to stay in my college town was also financial.

If I were to live in my parents’ city, I would have incurred a much, much higher tax rate and cost of living. It costs more there to go out to eat, grab a beer, see a movie—and don’t even get me started on the rent! My parents’ intention was to have me live at home and find my own place in the city after saving for a while.

But even if I were able to save a chunk of cash at an entry-level job, it wouldn’t go very far. A paltry $5,000 savings would be swallowed alive by a $1,500+/mo rent with my entry-level post-grad job.

This meant living with my parents to save money wouldn’t be effective in the first place.

Pride

The tagline here at M$M is “Anti-Entitlement Advice,” and I love that. Millennials are often portrayed as lazy, selfish, and entitled. While we all know that’s far from true, I didn’t want to perpetuate that image by moving in with my parents as a live-in “mooch.”

I’m an admittedly spoiled person, but I knew how good I had it. My parents handed me the world on a silver platter, even as a fledgling adult in college. But it always felt wrong to me.

I had friends who struggled to afford tuition, let alone their weekly grocery bill. I always looked up to them as “true” adults. I felt like I didn’t have the right to say I was an independent person because it simply wasn’t true. I felt like I was taking advantage of my parents. After supporting me through college, I thought becoming independent was the least I could do for them, if not for myself.

I didn’t want to live with my parents after graduation because I wanted to be proud of something. It was finally my chance to prove myself—that I could make a living and prosper without having a leg up.

I wanted my own identity

My success was always tied to my parents. I felt like I had nothing that was an accomplishment of my own. I was brand spankin’ new in the adult world and I wanted to make my grand entrance without assistance.

I have to be honest: it was absolutely terrifying learning how to support myself. I cried the first time I had to fill out a W-4 form. And the second time, too, when I realized I had filled it out incorrectly the first time.

But once I had the keys to my first apartment, I finally felt a sense of my identity as an adult. I was Mrs. Picky Pincher—apartment-owner extraodinaire with lots of student debt and a menial 9-to-5 job. It felt great; I’d taken the first step towards the rest of my life.

The Bottom Line

Sure, I would have saved thousands of dollars in the short term by living with my parents. But in the long term it wouldn’t have been the right decision for me, emotionally or financially. I would have ended up sacrificing my goals and personal well-being for the sake of saving a buck, all while being stuck in a more expensive city. Yuck.

I’m not here to judge others who do choose to live with their parents. It can be the right decision for many people, but it shouldn’t be one that’s taken lightly. Know yourself and know your goals for the future. Know where you want to be and what plans you have for yourself. Once you have a roadmap of where you want your life to go, take control and make the decision that’s best for you—whether that takes the form of a new apartment or dusting off your mom’s futon.

We want to know: Did you save money after college by living at home?

 

Mrs. Picky Pincher is the writer and resident klutz at www.pickypinchers.com. She writes about her pursuit of a frugal, debt-free lifestyle and all of her mistakes along the way.

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18 comments… add one
  • Mrs. Mad Money Monster Sep 28, 2016, 8:20 am

    I think this was a great decision made for all the right reasons. I did something similar when my fiancé and I decided we weren’t the best fit. The easiest and most financially savvy move would’ve been for me to move in with my parents, but I wasn’t having it. I needed my own space to figure out who I was as an adult living on my own for he first time. Kudos to you!

    • Mrs. Picky Pincher Sep 28, 2016, 12:19 pm

      I couldn’t agree more! Sometimes you need to take a leap of faith to see what you’re really capable of. Sometimes that means moving back home, and sometimes it means striking out on your own.

  • Mike B. Sep 28, 2016, 8:23 am

    It sounds like you found love lol. Understandable, I lived with my parents up until the year I married my wife (2015). Then my wife and i moved in together. Are you living alone? The boyfriend probably appreciates that. 🙂

    • Mrs. Picky Pincher Sep 28, 2016, 12:21 pm

      That’s not a bad plan, either! At the time I did live alone, so Mr. Picky Pincher certainly appreciated that we could have date night without my Dad stumbling into the room. 🙂 We did move in together once we got engaged and boy, that was an adjustment, but it was awesome! I’m grateful that I did get a chance to live by myself; I think it’s important to experience that independence at least once in your life.

  • Millennial Moola Sep 28, 2016, 8:30 am

    I saved money by living in a 3 bedroom house with 5 guys, one in the dining room and one in the attic, then I lived in a semi-finished basement. So I feel like living w parents wouldve been a lot more fun haha

    • Mrs. Picky Pincher Sep 28, 2016, 12:23 pm

      Oh nooooo! You’re a brave soul, sir. But hey, whatever it takes to save some money, right?

  • Christa Szabo Sep 28, 2016, 10:57 am

    I fully understand! It’s why it’s been so hard living with my mother at the moment. I had my own apartment in college and it’s especially hard to go back once you’ve had that taste of freedom. Luckily, it’s been more of a motivator to get me back in my own place and on my own again. So good for you to sticking to your guns and taking on that freedom!!!

    • Mrs. Picky Pincher Sep 28, 2016, 12:24 pm

      Oh man, that’s gotta be an adjustment! Parents mean well, but it’s hard because you can fall into that parent-child role again as adults, and it can cause tension. I hope you find an awesome new place when you can!!

  • Financial Panther Sep 28, 2016, 10:58 am

    I was in the same position as you actually when deciding on where to go for law school. I could have stayed and gone to the school in my hometown and lived with my parents. It would’ve made my parents very happy. Indeed, my mom even posted on her Facebook that I was going to go to that law school the day I received the acceptance.

    Instead of staying home, I decided to venture out. I did the math, just like you did, and found out that , with the higher cost of living plus higher tuition, living at home would have actually cost me more money than heading out of state to a lower cost of living area (I also had a partial scholarship for my law school).

    In the end, was it the right decision for me? I think it all worked out.

    • Mrs. Picky Pincher Sep 28, 2016, 12:25 pm

      It sucks, because it’s really hard to be sure of the right decision at the time. It could have all ended very badly for me, but it didn’t (thankfully). You never really know what life is going to hand you, but you just need to do your best (and a little bit of math) to find out what’s going to work for you.

  • Millennial Dude Sep 28, 2016, 5:20 pm

    I chose to live with my parents after college so I could save up enough money to move out and be on my own. I lived with them for a year and a half. I ended up moving out because they wanted to treat me like I was 7 years old and wanted to know about my whereabouts. I wasn’t serious about paying off my student loans until recently. As of 2 months ago, I have no more student loans. My only debt is my mortgage (which will take me a while to pay off). I’m working on building up my emergency fund.

    • Mrs. Picky Pincher Sep 29, 2016, 8:04 am

      Gahh, I’m sorry it didn’t work out with your parents. That was another fear of mine; falling back into the child-adult relationship. And congratulations on paying off your student loans! Mr. Picky Pincher and I plan to have ours paid off in 18 months, and then we’re tackling our mortgage to be debt-free. 🙂

  • Finance Solver Sep 29, 2016, 10:37 pm

    I couldn’t wait till I could finally say that I’m living alone. I love the privacy and the independent lifestyle that comes with living alone. I might get tired of it and lonely after a couple of years, but right now I’m loving it so much, I agree with all of the tips said above.

    It’s also weird but I feel like I can think more clearly now. When I’m around people, I tend to relax and not really be cognizant of my thoughts / movements but when I’m alone, I can think soundly and actually be aware of why and how I’m making my decisions. It’s why I studied alone most of the times in college because I couldn’t concentrate otherwise!

    • Mrs. Picky Pincher Sep 30, 2016, 10:00 am

      I don’t think it’s weird at all! It’s such a rush when you realize you can do just about whatever you want when you live alone. It only sucks when you realize the chores don’t “magically” get done. 😉

  • Frugal Millennial Oct 2, 2016, 3:01 pm

    I think that not living with parents made sense for your situation. I completely understand all of your reasons for not wanting to. I would love to have more privacy and living with parents can definitely cause tension at times. My husband and I decided to live with my parents because our debt is so massive.

    We started with $117,000 of student loan debt and entry-level salaries. With such high debt, we knew the only way we could pay it off quickly would be if we lived with them. If we had less debt, we probably wouldn’t have decided to live with them. Like you mentioned, every situation is different and what’s right for one person isn’t necessarily right for another.

    • Mrs. Picky Pincher Oct 4, 2016, 8:05 am

      I’m glad that it’s working out for you! It can’t be easy all the time, but I’m sure it’s making a good dent in that student loan debt. 🙂

  • Centsai Oct 3, 2016, 10:33 am

    Moving in with your parents definitely has its pros and cons, and it is 100% not for everyone! Some people aren’t brave enough to take that leap of faith like you are and others just aren’t financially stable enough to afford it! We are happy for you that it worked out for you and that you found how to make it work and keep your freedom! Thanks for sharing such a great article!

    • Mrs. Picky Pincher Oct 4, 2016, 8:07 am

      Thank you! I think it really depends on your personality and your financial situation. If I had been carrying the full load of my student debt, it could have been a very different story!

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