4 Tips for Handling Costs If You Move Back in With Your Parents

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Thanks to ever-rising inflation rates, more people are unable to afford their rent and are moving back in with their parents or other family members. Navigating whether or not it’s appropriate to pay your family monthly rent can be a challenging decision. While every family has a different situation, it’s important to learn the best practices to navigate moving back home, and how to address the rent situation in order to make the transition amicable for all.

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Here, etiquette experts break down when it’s appropriate to pay rent to your family and how to go about distributing other household costs such as groceries and utilities.

Weigh Your Financial Situation

Before paying rent to a family member, be sure to look at your financial situation with your family and determine whether that is the most suitable money move to make.

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“The expectations definitely can change based on age and financial situation,” said Maryanne Parker, etiquette expert and founder of Manor of Manners. “If a person is unemployed, obviously they won’t be able to pay much right away. If the individual is very young or a student, these circumstances [should be considered] as well.”

There are also personal goals to keep in mind when moving in with family.

“If an adult moves in with their parents with the goal of purchasing property and the parents are financially solvent, then it might be prudent for the person to save as much money as possible and not contribute to the rent or mortgage,” said Tami Claytor, owner of Always Appropriate: Image and Etiquette Consulting.

“Another factor to consider is the relationship that exists among the parties,” Claytor said. “If the relatives are not very close, then a financial contribution should be given. Adult siblings may have a very close relationship and the hosting sibling may not want or expect any money.”

Regardless of the financial situation, if you are moving in with family, always have an in-depth discussion before move-in regarding rent, length of stay, finances and house rules.

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On the other hand, if you are hosting a family member and feeling the financial stress of this change, you should absolutely communicate this and determine a rent amount that works for you. Remember, you are not obligated to house them, and certainly not at your expense.

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How Much Should Rent Cost If You’re Living at Home

When deciding how much is a fair rent to pay, there are several factors that should go into this calculation.

“The appropriate amount to pay while living with family should be based on the space you are occupying,” Parker said. “If you are using a room, you should pay rent appropriate for the area and the regular price for one room, maybe a little cheaper. If you have more privacy, such as a room and a bathroom, you should pay slightly more.”

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Alternatively, you may choose to contribute an amount that makes sense based on how much money you are making.

“I would recommend the agreed-upon contribution should be based on the person’s salary and not on household expenses, because if someone who earns a modest income moves in with a wealthy relative, they may not be able to afford a financial agreement based on the household’s budget,” Claytor said. “Ten percent is a good starting point.”

Pitch In for Groceries or Buy Your Own

If you’re moving in with family, remember that grocery costs are expensive, and it’s best to contribute to the family’s grocery budget — or start purchasing groceries independently.

“You should buy your own groceries, especially if you have a different lifestyle than the rest of the family,” Parker said. “Or you can just offer money and participate in the family budget, because purchasing your own groceries separately creates a certain distance between family members.”

Be Mindful of Your Utility Usage or Start Contributing

Be sure to discuss utilities in the initial conversation with family to avoid any strain on the relationship later on.

“If this is in the initial agreement, you should participate in paying utilities, especially during the summer and winter months when you use A/C or heaters more excessively,” Parker said. “If you are not paying utilities, you should be truly considerate and not overuse the privilege. Leaving the fan, the lights or even the A/C on when you are not in the house might create a potential difficulty for the person who is responsible for the utilities, and probably a family conflict.”

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About the Author

Maddie Duley is a content intern for ConsumerTrack writing about finances for GOBankingRates. She is currently pursuing a bachelor's degree in communication and design from the University of California Davis.
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