How To Make The Most Of Moving Back Home

For a lot of us — probably most of us, if we're being honest — moving back in with our parents as adults is not an ideal situation in which to be. But unfortunately, the fact of the matter is that with an extremely competitive job market and sky high rent prices and general costs of living, many of us end up shacking up again with relatives to save money, whether it's right after we've finished school and are looking for our first jobs or whether we're employed but still struggling to make ends meet. But there are ways to make the most of living with your parents again — and your mindset plays a big role in making it work.

Depending on your relationship with your parents, living with them as an adult may or may not feel like a big deal. After all, some people quite close to your parents and actually welcome having some time both to rekindle the nostalgia of childhood while also being able to explore how their familial relationships may have changed now that they've entered adulthood. Others, howeverm may struggle with the idea that to be "successful," adults need to hit certain milestones by certain ages, including moving out once you've "grown up." An important thing to keep in mind, though, is that just because you aren't able to do that right now doesn't mean you aren't a "real" adult. In fact, most "milestones" are abitrary in the first place; whether or not you reach any of them rarely has anything to do with how much of a grownup you are. Just because previous generations did things a certain way doesn't mean that you have to do them a certain way, and no one is "right" or "wrong" — the experiences are just different.

So no matter what the stereotypes or social norms might say, there's nothing wrong with living at home. And if that's where you're at right now, here's how to make the most of it:

1. Be Smart About Saving Money

People move back in with their parents for a variety of reasons. Some do so because they want to save money; for oothers, it might be to be closer to a new job or opportunity; and still others might choose to move home to help out their parents for any number of reasons — an ill family member, recovery from a difficult situation, and so on and so forth. Whatever your financial situation is, though — whether you're paying rent, helping with groceries or other expenses, or have some other arrangement — it's important to make your individual budget and stick to it even while you're living with your folks.

Tracking your savings and spending will help you better prepare to move out, if you plan to do so in the future, or ot make other big purchases, such as a car, new computer, etc. If you're living rent-free, it can be tempting to "compensate" by going out a lot, taking expensive vacations, and so on, but a solid long-term financial decision is to make sure you're putting at least something into your savings account on a regular basis and keeping it there. Whether you're building up an "eff off fund" or saving for retirement, a little cushioning is good to have.

2. Help Out Your Parents In Whatever Way You Can

Everyone's parents will have different circumstances, from their health to their own financial situation. It's also true that not everyone's parents will want or need the same degree of help. Regardless, though, it's always a good idea to be considerate and offer to help out however you can, especially if you're living there for cheap or rent-free: Step up and remind your folks that you can help out in various ways to make their life easier, whether it's organizing and cooking meals, running errands, doing yard work, or troubleshooting computer issues.

3. Make A Point Of Getting Out Of The House Regularly

Seriously — don't get into the habit of only going to work and then going home. Getting out of the house on a regular basis is so important for so many reasons: It keeps you busy and active, it gives you and your parents time apart, and — if your family is having trouble adjusting to the fact that you're not a kid anymore, even if you're living under their roof — it will remind your folks that you're an adult with your own life, too. Seek out new experiences, clubs, and other activities — everyone will benefit from it.

4. Develop A New Bond With Your Family

It's probably fair to say that a lot has changed in your life since the last time you lived at home, and it's likely the same for your parents, too. Getting to know your parents as an adult can feel a little weird at times, but it'll only help you strengthen your bond. It can also help you learn how to communicate your needs to them and vice versa; it's likely you'll need to establish different guidelines and expectations (for example, while you should be courteous about your comings and goings, you definitely don't need a curfew as an adult), and it's best to start those off with honest and open communication from the get-go.

5. Set Goals For Yourself

No matter what stage of life you're in, setting goals for yourself will keep you grounded and on track. Whether they're personal, professional, or financial, knowing what you're working towards and what you want to achieve can help you get out of a negative mindset or a "stuck here" mentality — or prevent you from getting complacent and stalling out.

Even if you're feeling down about moving back in with your parents, it's important to remember that life phases are temporary by nature; nothing is ever proverbially set in stone. There's always room for change, as long as you're active about it.

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