Are you a member of the boomerang generation? Whether student loan debt has you down or you’re focused on your financial goals, moving back to your family home can make you feel like you’re going backward.
Moving back home after being on your own for the first time can be tough, but try to treat this as a time to regroup, make a plan, and prepare for the next stage of your life.
Planning to return home can be tricky, though, and rushing into a decision could potentially hurt your personal finances and/or your relationships with your loved ones.
Luckily, we’ve done the legwork for you! Check out this guide for information on how to simplify your move back your parents’ house. We’ve also included some tips on how to make the most of your time back home as a grown-up.
Budget-friendly options for moving back home
More often than not, young people move back in with their parents to save money. The trouble is, moving can quickly get pricey.
If you’re ditching city life for small-town living with your folks, check out these options to save on money when you move back home:
- Borrow moving boxes: You can always buy moving boxes, but consider asking friends and family to lend you a few containers. You could even check with old friends from high school or college (who’ve likely made a recent move of their own) to see if they have any extra boxes you can use.
- Hire reputable movers: If you can afford it, hiring movers can seriously cut down on time spent packing, loading, and moving your stuff. But you don’t want to get scammed, so make sure you hire reputable movers for the job.
- Get a rental truck or container: If hiring full-service movers isn’t in your budget, try loading everything yourself into a rental truck or moving container. A rental truck is ideal for local moves, while a container is ideal for long-distance moves or moves that require you to store your stuff for a few weeks.
- Estimate your moving costs early: You need to know exactly how much money you’ll need to set aside for your move back home. Rather than getting a surprise bill after your move, we suggest estimating your costs right now so you can start budgeting. Check out moveBuddha’s moving cost calculator to do just that and to find ways to save on your move.
Tips for moving back home
Follow these steps to make your move back to your parents’ place as smooth as possible.
1. Run the idea by Mom and Dad
Showing up unannounced on your parents’ doorstep with two cats, a U-Haul truck full of IKEA furniture, and a list of groceries you need them to buy is a terrible idea.
Moving back home is stressful for you, but it’s stressful for your folks, too. Many empty nesters aren’t exactly eager to open their space back up again, so be sure to chat with your parents once you’ve begun thinking about moving back home.
If you aren’t sure how things will go, give it a two-month test drive to see how the arrangement works for everyone. This will give you and your parents a taste of what it would be like to live together on a longer-term basis.
2. Discuss finances and make a budget
If your parents agree to the arrangement, have an honest conversation with them about money.
Even if your parents are well-heeled retirees with generous pensions and seven-figure nest eggs, they may resent you assuming they’ll pick up some — or all — of the tab.
Meet with your parents to discuss:
- Whether you’ll pay rent, and if so, how much
- Whether you’ll contribute to utilities
- Who’s responsible for buying food
- A budget for the household and your personal living expenses
Sharing real estate with your parents can be a great way to save money, but making a plan for splitting the expenses will better set up the arrangement for success.
Budget for your next move by getting free quotes from several movers before making the transitionLearn More
3. Agree on house rules
Once you’ve lived independently, moving back home can be a big shock. If you’re used to leaving dirty dishes in the sink and sleeping in till noon, that might not fly with your parents.
Before moving back home, sit down and set boundaries together. Come prepared with a list of what you will and won’t agree to. This might look like not allowing your parents to comment on your social life as long as you keep the noise down after 9 p.m.
Chat with your parents about their expectations, including:
- Whether they’ll allow you to use their car(s)
- Whether their food will be off-limits to you and vice versa
- Whether it’s okay for a significant other to spend the night
- Whether they expect you to be home at a particular time every evening
- Whether they expect you to take out the trash, mow the lawn, clean the gutters, or do other household chores
- Whether they’ll allow you to keep alcohol in the fridge or smoke on the back porch
Don’t let your parents fall into their former “provider” roles during this time. Self-sufficiency will set you on a faster path to independence, so try to set these boundaries early.
Remember, your parents are doing you a solid by allowing you to move back in. Go out of your way to help them out when you can. Clean, do the dishes, or mow the lawn without being asked as a way of saying thanks.
4. Think about your living space
Whether you move into the unheated A-frame attic over the garage or the comfy guest bedroom next to Mom and Dad’s suite, your living space will significantly impact the pleasantness of your stay.
Ask your parents if your space will:
- Have its own bathroom and shower
- Have a TV
- Contain its own furnishings
A comfortable living space is a must, especially if you’re moving from the big city back to a small town. Feeling like the space is your own (even if it isn’t) can fend off feelings of isolation and loneliness.
Try to make the space your own as much as possible without interfering with your parents’ lifestyle. If that means you have to furnish your dad’s man cave with a bed, so be it.
5. Figure out what to do with your stuff
Unless your folks have ample garage, basement or attic space for storage, you’ll likely need to downsize before moving in. Besides, the space your parents set aside for you might already be furnished.
If you’re like many young people, you probably haven’t acquired enough household goods to fill more than a studio or one-bedroom apartment. But if there isn’t room for all your stuff, consider:
- A storage unit: This can be a good option in a pinch, but you’ll have to pay a pesky monthly charge. Plus, accessing your stuff isn’t very convenient if it’s locked up across town.
- Asking your parents for help: Do your parents have room to store your extra stuff? If you just have a few boxes, they might have some free storage space in the garage or attic.
- Lightening the load: Decluttering your possessions simplifies your life and could make your move much more affordable. Don’t be afraid to discard items that are past their prime, and schedule donation pickups for any unwanted items that still have some life left in them.
6. Take care of yourself
Moving back home can feel disheartening, so it’s important to take extra good care of yourself during this time.
Follow these tips to avoid falling into a rut while living with Mom and Dad:
- Get out of the house for an hour or two every day. Play an outdoor sport, go to the gym or library, catch a ballgame or take a long walk.
- If your finances allow it, take a short trip each month to visit a best friend in another state, camp in a state park, or scout out places where you may like to live someday.
- Take care of your physical and emotional health by eating right, exercising, and getting plenty of sleep.
- Avoid spending hours on social media envying friends who aren’t living in their childhood bedrooms. Just because they’re living in an apartment in New York City doesn’t mean they have it all together.
- If full-time employment is hard to come by, consider taking a part-time job until something better turns up. If part-time work isn’t happening either, consider volunteering at a non-profit and making connections in the meantime.
- Sock a few bucks away each month to use toward a down payment on a new home or a deposit on an apartment so you’re ready once it’s finally time to move back into your own place.
7. Make an exit strategy
Keep in mind that living with your parents will most likely be temporary. If you don’t go into this with an exit plan in mind, you’ll likely live with your parents for much longer than anticipated.
It’s easy to feel motivated at first, but if you don’t have a clear vision of where you’re going, you could flounder for years without making progress.
Instead, write down some reasonable goals and give yourself a due date for each one.
Check each goal off your list as you go to increase your motivation. Once you’ve started to see tangible results from your hard work and sacrifices, you’ll be one step closer to moving out on your own again.
Why young adults and millennials are moving back home
77% of Americans are currently anxious about their financial situation. Post-pandemic inflation is also taking a heavy toll on young adults and millennials, all of whom are fighting hard to afford bare necessities like rent and food.
It’s so rough out there that an estimated quarter of all millennials currently live at home with their parents. According to the Pew Research Center, more adult children in the U.S. live in their parents’ houses now than at any time since the Great Depression.
Aside from the obvious issues of inflation and the high cost of living, more people are moving back home due to:
- Reduced work hours or layoffs
- An inability to pay rent or credit card/student loan debt
- Continuing education
- A breakup or divorce
- Elderly parents who need assistance
Pros & cons of moving back home
Just like anything else, moving back home has its advantages and disadvantages.
In most cases, staying in your childhood home is temporary. Even so, it’s smart to weigh the pros and cons of moving back home before you take the plunge.
- Save money and pay off debt more easily
- Enjoy a stable environment for working and studying
- Help your parents with chores and bills
- Reconnect with parents, family members and friends you haven’t seen in a while
- If you have kids, grandma and grandpa might offer free (or more affordable) childcare
- Moving in with family is stressful — both for you and for your parents
- Your parents may (understandably) ask you to pay rent or help with the utilities
- You’ll have less privacy and personal space
- Going back home after being independent can feel depressing
- Falling into a rut might prolong your stay
- You may have to adhere to curfews or other less-than-ideal rules
Move back home on a budget
Whether you’ve lost your job or you’re trying to save money while earning your master’s degree, moving back home with your parents is a solid way to save money. As long as you agree on the terms prior to making the move, taking this step can help you regroup and make a new plan for the future.
But moving can cost a pretty penny, so it’s important to budget wisely during this time. Before you so much as pack a single box, consult moveBuddha’s moving cost calculator so you know the amount to budget for your move.
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