There is nothing more terrifying than coming face-to-face with the real world after college. Suffocating student loans, an entry-level salary, and a pantry full of Ramen noodles? No, thank you. Living at home with your parents instead of getting your own just seems like the smart thing to do. You’ll save up some money, teach yourself to use a grill and then you’ll be on your way, right?
1. Your Commute to Work Takes a Million Hours
When I lived with my roommate’s family after I graduated from college, my commute was two hours– each way. While this was an excellent short-term strategy, it burned me out big time. There is a better life, my friends. When you cut down your commute, you never miss out on happy hour.
2. You Love to Go Out
The best way to make your parents angry? Going out three or four nights a week. Our ancestors invented college just for this reason. After the age of 18, you should keep your social life and your family separate. It’s better for everyone.
3. The 12-Year-Old Neighbor Keeps Asking You to Play
Do I even need to explain this one?
4. You’re Still Rocking a Lizzie McGuire Bedspread
You haven’t redecorated your room since middle school– why start now? If your walls are still covered with photos of Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift, it’s time to go.
5. Bringing Your Significant Other Home is Awkward
Dating is just one giant mess when you live at home. What happens when your date wants to come home with you? Or what if your boyfriend falls asleep on the couch during a “Lord of the Rings” marathon? Should anyone over the age of 21 have to ask these questions?
6. You Still Have to be Home By Curfew
The thing your parents try not to tell you after you head off to college? They still worry about you. When they know you’re out, they want to make sure you get home in one piece. That can sometimes mean requesting you come home before they go to sleep. It’s easy to get angry at them when they treat you like you’re 17, but it’s sort of tough to blame them.
7. You Still Don’t Know How to do Your Own Laundry
Giving this perk up is tough, but as an adult, it’s pretty vital that you do your own laundry. You do have to learn how to remove your own spaghetti stains at some point, my friends.
8. They Wake You Up to Rake the Lawn
The No. 1 perk of apartment living: No yard work. We’re just saying.
9. You Find Yourself Playing Sudoku on Friday Nights
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for a good game of Sudoku– until it’s the highlight of my week. Living at home can remove you from your friends (and a normal social life). While there’s nothing wrong with a quiet night in, isolation can get depressing.
10. Even Your Cat Takes Pity on You
That judgmental sideways glance he gives you as he steps over your lap? It’s not just you.
11. You’re Really, Really Tired of Meatloaf
There’s nothing better than home-cooked food— for a few months, that is. After that, the monotony of the same family meals over and over again can get a little old. There’s something so gratifying about making your own meals and trying new things.
12. You’re Older Than 30
When your friends are moving back to raise their own children, it’s time.
13. Your Younger Sister Doesn’t Even Live at Home
Your younger siblings will make fun of you if you’re still at home when they leave the nest. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
14. You Still Run Into Your First Grade Teacher
Running into grade school teachers is heartwarming– until it happens every weekend at the gym.
15. Your Mom Keeps Offering to Help You Move Out
When even your parents are ready, you can’t wait any longer.
So yes, you have to give up free food and expensive wine when you move out of your parents’ place, but you’ll gain so much freedom. Staying home was smart at first, but your life is out there waiting for you. It might be time to go begin it.
Planning and Making the Big Move
Living with your parents should have given you some practice for the real world – or at least some time to save up some money if they weren’t asking for your financial contribution. Even if you were paying rent, at least you were developing good habits for being on your own when the time came.
Now that you’ve decided it is time to move out, make sure you have a plan! It isn’t smart to jump into adulthood when you’ve obviously spent extra time in the nest. Here are some tips to prepare you for your big leap:
- Look for a Career: If you have already graduated college, or are coming close to it, start actively seeking a position in your career. If you have a little time before you move out – like a semester – consider getting an unpaid internship to launch your career. It will allow you to get your foot in the door while you still have financial security. Then, once the semester and the internship are over, you’ll have some much-needed experience in your field.
- Role Play: If you need some extra time to get your act together before moving out, offer to start paying rent. Become an integral and active part of your family’s monthly budget meetings, if they have them. Pay close attention to the system your parents have derived for keeping a budget, paying bills on time and not racking up credit card debt. Believe it or not, your parents are good for more than just a free room, board and laundry service. They’re made it this far in their lives, and managed to support you all the while. Learn from them while you can.
- Save, Save, Save: During your transition out of your parents’ home, start saving money. It is a good idea to save twice the amount of your monthly budget, if possible. If you’re not sure what kind of bills you will wind up with, ask your parents what they’ve been paying for you and if they plan to continue helping you out financially even after you’re gone. Monthly expenses to consider are rent, utilities, insurance, groceries, cell phone, transportation (gas, parking, public transportation) and pocket cash for weekend wine dates with your girls or tailgating trips with the guys during football season. It all adds up; Budget wisely.
- Get a Jump on that Job: If you haven’t graduated college, or don’t plan on going, make sure that your job will support your new financial responsibilities. If you are working as a server or a barista, it might be time to try to move up the corporate ladder and consider management. It will pay better.
- Find a Roommate: Moving out on your own when you have been sheltered for so long can be a financial disaster. Try finding someone to move in with, or get a place together. Paying half the bills will make finances a lot easier, and will allow you to have more time to enjoy your 20s – which you should! You only live once.
- Set a Date: The best way to get your parents to take your newly desired freedom seriously is to set a date. This will not only keep you on track and give you a goal to work towards, but it will give your parents something to look forward to! They love you, but come on, they probably can’t wait to turn your old room into a gym.
- Keep your Parents Close: Moving out doesn’t mean losing your relationship with your parents. On the contrary, it will probably make your relationship stronger. You have entered into adulthood, the time when your parents can also become your friends. Make sure to keep that relationship close – your parents still have a lot of advice to offer…and you should probably take it!
You Can Take it With You
If you’re looking for a place that isn’t already furnished, you also need to think about what exactly you will need for your new place. Unless your parents plan on turning your room into a shrine for you, they will probably wind up repurposing your old room into something for them like a home office, a workout room or even just a storage space.
To ease some of the financial blow, it’s not a bad idea to ask your parents if they will allow you to take your furnishings. In addition to a bed, nightstand, lamps, desk and end tables, you’ll also need to furnish a living room, dining room and kitchen. Bringing your furnishings from your old room will reduce some of your move-in costs.
If your folks are okay with it, try to also bring some of the essentials like toilet paper, trash bags, Tupperware containers, cleaning supplies and laundry detergent. These things will help get you started at your new place, and will also help reduce your unexpected move-in costs.