Reader Perspective Series

Why Living At Home After Graduation Is NOT a Cop-Out

beanbag.jpg

This is a guest post by Natasha, who writes at Refuse To Be Broke.

Natasha

Natasha

Like millions of others in America, I graduated from college within the last five years. Since graduating in December 2012, I have read a lot of articles about Millennials and found that many times the authors have a negative tone. Sometimes, these articles are very irritating with regard to how they discuss certain degrees and majors. For example, I majored in Professional Writing (aka Technical Writing). While writing may be considered an unwise major by some so-called experts, I have acquired both technical and soft skills and I am optimistic about my prospects. Oh, and I also live at home in order to save money. In the process, I have learned even more and have been able to save more money.

Why I Decided to Live at Home

You might ask “Why would a college graduate want to live at home?” In my case, I decided to live at home because I wanted to save money. I knew that after working different jobs in college, I needed to take some time to figure out my next move. I had a plan to voraciously apply for jobs (I am no slacker by far) and this plan has worked out well.

Through the last few months, I have accomplished great things even though I am living at home and have a liberal arts degree that some people try to discount. I did an internship at a local business called Advocate, Inc., I learned a lot about social media strategy through part-time work, and I created two blogs (Refuse to Be Broke and Job Search 3.0). It’s clear to me that, yes, you can succeed at home if you are willing to work.

The Challenges of Living at Home

Of course, it’s not always easy. While I am working and saving money, there are definitely challenges at home. I am not as free as I would be if I was living in my own apartment. I also take on a lot of the cooking and cleaning tasks for my hard-working parents.

But the biggest challenge of all is the public and personal perception. People sometimes judge based on the fact that you live at home. And the truth is, while you may feel like it will end any day now, it takes a lot longer than just a wish to change the situation. You’ll have days that feel not as great because someone else has what you want.

When I remember my debt load, however, I feel much better because I would much rather live at home now than 5 or 6 years from now and paying off debt is the first step. Often, the people who write about Millenials make generalizations about the effort shown by people of this generation. However, we have to just move on and not worry about what people say.

As mentioned earlier, I decided to live at home and apply for jobs at the same time. This process requires a lot of patience and the willingness to make changes if your strategy is not working. For example, at first I applied to jobs and did not keep up with writing on my blog because I didn’t see it as a priority at the time. However, once I started using my blogs as an outlet, I started seeing better results. For anyone in a similar position, I recommend keeping thoughts positive and using extra time to develop your own projects.

The Financial Advantages of Living At Home

It is very hard to save money, but living at home cuts down on living and social expenses. That gives you a great opportunity to save up. I am also very careful when I receive money because I want to leave – just not now. So instead I save the money. In addition, I have now learned how to cook quite well, so this will save money when I move out.

I have both credit card and student loan debt. I accept this as fact, but I will live at home to get out of it. If this means I am limited in spending extra money, then so be it. I would rather pay down my student loan debt earlier than later as well. Home is not a popular option, but it was the best option for me.

My Plan for the Future

My internship, job, and blogs grew because I live at home. I plan to continually pay down debt, save for the future, and work hard at these opportunities. The best thing for those living at home is to take on career-related projects. I hope my advice is helpful. If you have the ability to do it, then you can achieve a debt-free existence.

Image Credit: Thomas Leuthard

Have you tried ReadyForZero yet? It's a free online tool for paying off debt.

Try it now

Receive updates:      
You can always unsubscribe by clicking on the link at the bottom of each e-mail.

  • http://froogalstoodent.blogspot.com Froogal Stoodent

    Hey, you gotta do what you gotta do! I worked 3 jobs for a year after graduating college, before being admitted to grad school. It worked out well for me financially, and I agree that it’s totally worthwhile!

    But I think it’s good to set a limitation, like 1 year or 2 years, as a motivator to make good decisions. You’ll still have a goal to work toward, and you will be less likely to become financially dependent on your parents’ kindness.

    • http://www.twitter.com/bwfeldman Benjamin Feldman

      So true! That’s impressive you worked 3 jobs at once – I’m glad that it resulted in a good outcome for you (both financially and in getting accepted to grad school). And good point about setting a time limit on yourself. Thanks for the comment!

  • Solace

    I graduated in the same year as you with the same major. High five!

    It’s true that there is a lot of social stigma around young adults living at home. Living with your parents seems to equate to laziness in most people’s eyes. I left home after I found my feet, about a year and a half after graduating, but if it weren’t for the fact that my dad and I don’t do well at close quarters, I’d have stayed.

    There’s nothing irresponsible about keeping living expenses low in order to put more into debt payoff. Unfortunately those of us who do that are lumped in with the people who are still in their parents’ houses for less savory reasons—including the people who just mooch off their folks and don’t contribute whatsoever.

    I think the recession did help shift public perception of twentysomethings living with their parents a little bit; the negativity around it now feels less intense than I remember it feeling as a kid. But it’s still there, and that’s unfortunate.