How to Live at Home and Not Go Insane

One of the main reasons I was able to save up so much money in such a short length of time , was my Mother, who was generous enough to let me live at home, rent free for the past two years. It was a pretty sweet deal that not everyone can swing, but if you have the chance, it’s a really great opportunity to save some green.

Still, I won’t lie and say it’s the easiest choice. At 23, 24, 25 years old I wanted nothing more than to be decorating my own apartment and having my own space where I could lie around in my underwear and eat macaroni and cheese (that’s my fantasy and I’m sticking with it). Sleeping in my childhood bed felt like stagnating. It was frustrating at times, but I figured out how to cope, and now I’m going to impart my wisdom to you.

Ashamed SEO
photo credit: Search Engine People Blog

Don’t Be Ashamed

There’s nothing worse than meeting someone new at a bar or at work, and having to admit, under your breath, that you live at home. It never stops feeling immature. Whenever I started to feel down I reminded myself that it’s not that unnatural for twenty-somethings to live at home in the current recession era. I knew my reasons, I knew I could have moved out, but I was working towards something bigger. If you own your decisions, than it becomes just another fact about you. Not a dirty secret.

215/365: Sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast
photo credit: by Janine

Create Your Own Space

Just because you’re camping out in your high school bedroom doesn’t mean it has to LOOK like your high school bedroom. If you know you’re going to be stationary for awhile, spend a little time and money redecorating your space into something that suits your current personality. It doesn’t have to be a huge chance, but it will keep you from feeling stuck in the past.

Red dots
photo credit: Håkan Dahlström

Define Your Boundaries

While you are updating your room, it’s probably time to update your parent-child dynamic. I’m not in high school anymore, so it was understood that I could stay our as late as I wanted and eat cookies for breakfast (not that I DID, but I COULD).

photo credit: blmurch

Respect Your Parents Needs

The flip side of being treated like an adult is not acting like a child. If you are 24 there is no justification for your mom to be doing your laundry or cleaning your room. Pitch in and empty the dishwasher or vacuum the living room once in awhile. Maybe pitch in and pay the cable bill if it’s needed. It’s just good manners. Acting like a grown up will make you feel better and probably keep your parents from wanting to throttle you.

Give a Little

In an ideal world those last two points would keep things running smoothly, but this is not always the case. So give in a bit; you are the indebted one after all. Did I need to tell my mom where I was going when I left the house? No. Did it make her feel better? Yes, and it cost absolutely nothing from me. Sometimes you need to take a deep breath and let things slide for the sake of harmonious living. Otherwise known as: choose your battles.

Have an Escape

When all else fails, it helps to just get out of the house. Have somewhere you can escape to, and remind yourself you are a grown up. For me, decompressing during my daily commute by singing at the to of my lungs was a great way to reduce tension and transition from Home Stephanie to Work Stephanie. For you, it might be retreating to a nearby park, or coffee shop.

Moving back home can be very emotional, and it’s easy to slip back into old family dynamics. But if you approach your living situation honestly and rationally, then it can be a really great stepping stone to greater things.

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36 thoughts on “How to Live at Home and Not Go Insane”

  1. I could not have found this article at a better time. I’m 24 and currently living at home while I save up to go backpack the world. Its incredibly stressful and totally kills my social life (I’m not bringing guys back to the house) but its a sacrifice I’m willing to make.

  2. I’m living at home right now, big house, 3 levels. Used to house 4 kids, now I’m the only one. Not a bad deal. I think it’s because, like you, I definitely created my own space.

  3. Great tips! And I can completely understand as well; I only had 6 months to save before we started travelling but I was living at home during that time.

    At 24 years old, and having not lived at home properly since I was 18, it was hard but running every night and belting it out to my iPod in the car on the commute to work (see you’re not the only one! Haha!) really helped 🙂

  4. Steph,

    I love the site. I wish I had found this site (and the overwhelming urge for travel) when I was still in college. I’m not sure what to do though. I’m 26 and have a decent enough full time job, but I’ve got about $40k in debt ($4k credit card, 36k student loans). I could save money, but do you think its better to try and pay down the debts, then go on a cheaper trip?

    Not sure where to start.

    1. Thank you Scott! I am 26 as well.

      Paying down debt definitely blows, but I do think it’s probably better to live cheaply, pay down as much as possible, and then go on a trip. Having your debt follow you on a trip is not a good experience.

  5. aaahh, I’d move back home right away to save money for my rtw… There’s a lot of benefits in staying with your parents, even when you feel ashamed because you’re over 20. It’s good you had that chance! I recommend to everyone to stay at home as long as they can, cause having a rent to pay makes it really hard to save money 🙂

  6. I’m staying with my grandparents & working from home for the past 6 months now after 2 years of living independently abroad… I agree that it’s not the most optimal situation – but I agree that it does help me save money while letting me spend some quality time with my family.

    And I’m just imagining that when I’m back abroad – I’ll start to miss them again so at least now I know that my stay with them has all been good. 🙂

  7. I’m very close with my family, however after a couple weeks at home I’m ready to move on! Great advice – some major benefits to sticking around home to save!

  8. Great blog post – I know exactly what you mean with this entry. I was at home for 2 months over the summer and it took so much adjusting to. I was no longer carefree and without responsiblity, I had to think of those around me.

    The small things do make a difference though. Every once in a while I’d get my mum a bottle of wine. When she complained about having to cook, I offered to cook for everyone….this however was rebuffed. Even though I’ve lived away from home since I was 18, my mum is still convinced I’ll burn the house down or poison the family. When I was entrusted to simply make my own meal one night, she was shocked to see that I can make edible cuisine.

    I’ll be home again for 4-5 months come September this year, and I’ll remember some of your advice. Especially the idea of cookies for breakfast!


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