Moving home after college: The right move?

Heading off to college is beyond exciting: the freedom of unsupervised living, the thrill of building your own schedule, making your own choices. After four years of learning and growing and living, you’ve got a degree and a skill set and you’re ready for something even bigger.

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That’s why the idea of moving back home to live with your family can be the ultimate post-graduation bummer. You don’t want a step backwards – you want to keep heading onward and upward. But before you throw out the idea, take a deep breath and weigh your options- really weigh them. There’s a lot to consider here, and what feels like a step backwards may just be the move you need to get established.

The family angle

Your family wants to see you succeed. If they’re encouraging you to come home after college, we know this for sure: it’s because they want to give you every advantage possible. Inviting you back to your old bedroom (or a basement, or even a nice comfy sofa) isn’t an insult. It’s an opportunity.

  • Establish some ground rules and everyone will benefit. Is it okay to have people over? Do you need to pick up some chores to help out? Do you need to send a quick text if you’re going to be out all night? Who’s going to pay for groceries? Utilities?
  • Talk about timelines. If you want to limit your stay to six months (or a year, 2 years, etc.), be honest about that. It’s also okay to be flexible – maybe you won’t have the savings you need after six months and you’ll want an extension.

Finances and saving

The single most compelling reason to move home after college is that it offers an opportunity to build up savings, reduce debt, and get your finances in order while you work towards starting a career.

  • Priority 1 must absolutely be finding work. Whether you’re unemployed or you’re already working at a job outside of your chosen field, every bit of energy should go towards your job search. Network. Go to events. Work on your resume. Volunteer. Your living situation won’t be this inexpensive forever, so take advantage!
  • Moving into an apartment will likely cost about 3x the amount of one month’s rent. In some cities, that means many thousands of dollars saved. Take a look at your timeline and figure out what you need to do to get there. In the meanwhile, put some money (a conservative amount!) at a professional wardrobe.
  • Remember that if you’ve borrowed money for college, your grace period is likely to expire while you’re living at home. Your budget should include repayment. Before buying anything new, make sure you understand what you will have to pay each month towards your student debt. Paying off more than you minimum monthly payment each month is a VERY wise move. If you’ve considered refinancing or consolidation, this is the time to take care of it.

An exit strategy

  • If you’re concerned that time at home is going to be so great you’ll never want to leave, no worries. This is a pitstop on the way to your continued independence, and it’s a normal, typical step for college grads. You’ll soon be on your way.
  • Remember to show gratitude for the opportunity to live cheaply. Your family’s love and support are important, and they have to outweigh the little annoyances that are bound to come with cohabitating after your time at school.

Make the most of your time at home. It’s a unique opportunity to save money and get established!

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