Transitioning to living with parents again can bring with it plenty of benefits. The opportunity to save some money, having a nice environment in which to live, providing the opportunity for some family bonding time, and the chance to regroup after a tough situation were all some of the benefits we found with moving back in with our parents again. The situation can also bring with it some challenges though.
We've lived -- for brief stints -- with both sides of our family over the past two years as we've bought and sold homes and decided where in the country we wanted to establish our family. Even though these situations weren't forced or out of economic necessity, we still learned some valuable lessons about moving back in with parents again in the process. However, after reading an article on MSN Money regarding tips for moving back in with parents, I realized that our lessons weren't really the same as those in the article.
Be Proactive with Assistance
I found during our re-cohabitation with parents that there was a fine line between helping out and encroaching on personal space and responsibilities. Sometimes I would ask if there were things that I could help out with such as painting the exterior of the house, cleaning gutters, and similar more major projects. Other times, I just took the initiative, doing things like cutting the grass, clearing the sidewalks and driveway of snow, helping out with dishes and laundry, and similar tasks without being asked or told.
Doing such things not only helped lighten the work load on parents, but made us feel as though we were doing our part. It also helped to cut some major budget items like home repairs and maintenance costs from our parents' budgets. I began to find that taking on things like cabinet reorganization or downsizing tasks were areas that I needed to approach with caution or in a supervised setting though in order to avoid getting rid of things that I would consider trash, but might be treasures to our parents.
Be Proactive Regarding Finances
I don't particularly like it when articles like the MSN Money one give more specific advice about how to approach the money situation with parents. Some such articles advise discussing rent right away or paying rent no matter what the situation.
Personally, I feel that the finances of the "living at home again" situation should be specific to the family and the parent/child(ren) relationship. But I do feel that being proactive when it comes to the financial situation -- whatever it is -- is key.
We pulled much of our financial weight by way of doing things to help our parents cut costs -- and yes, we chipped in for things like food and utilities -- but we didn't pay rent. This situation worked reasonably well, since both sides benefited financially without a lot of money changing hands in the process.
Separation of Space and Time
While it took us a few extra bucks added to our budget, it was worth spending some extra money each month for our family to get out and about and doing something on our own each week. While my wife and I are more homebodies, we needed some time occasionally outside the confines of our parents' homes to just spend together and feel like adults again.
Its fun playing kid again to a point, but that only goes so far before it starts to feel oppressive. And I think it was a good thing for both our parents' as well as our piece of mind for both sides to take the opportunity to do things on their own. We looked at the extra cost of going out to dinner or for drinks as an investment in our family's sanity and it was still cheaper than the home mortgage we'd managed to escape in the process.
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The author is not a licensed financial professional. The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal or financial advice. Any action taken by the reader due to the information provided in this article is solely at the reader's discretion.
Foreman, Gary. MSN Money. "Tips for moving in with your parents". December 12, 2012. http://money.msn.com/family-money/tips-for-moving-in-with-your-parents December 26, 2012.
- Family & Relationships