Why Moving Back in With My Parents Saved My Finances

Alternative living arrangements can help you meet money goals.
  • With the cost of living in America rising in many parts of the country, young adults are faced with high rents. 
  • And with the additional burden of high student loan debt, many college graduates have to return home to live with their parents.
  • Jen Hayes, author and founder of the site Frugal Millennial, shares her experience with dealing with high rents and living with her parents.

Many recent college graduates choose to rent an apartment instead of buying a house because renting is believed to be cheaper. According to a GOBankingRates study that analyzed the average cost to rent a one-bedroom apartment in 50 major U.S. cities, rent is as high as a mortgage in some states. The most expensive areas to live are San Francisco and San Jose, Calif., with a median apartment rent of $3,400 and $2,455, respectively. Next on the list are New York City and Oakland, Calif.

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New York and California are known for being exorbitantly expensive, but even some of the less popular areas of the U.S. are quite costly. Of the 50 areas analyzed, 30 have a median apartment rent of over $1,000 per month. 

But paying this much for rent can be a major challenge for young adults who are struggling with student loans

When I finished grad school, I had a grand total of $75,000 in student loan debt. I always knew I would have debt, but I also expected to earn a high income. I was in for a rude awakening. My first job after graduation was a temporary position that paid only $15 per hour. Meanwhile, my student loan payments were $816 each month.

My husband had $42,000 in student loans, which came with a $500 monthly payment. Our combined student loan payments were $1,316 — as high as a mortgage! We thought we would do all right financially once I found a better job, so we planned to live with my parents for a short time while I searched for a higher-paying job.

Related: Why the $1.5 Trillion Student Debt Crisis Hits Women Hardest

After I landed a job with a $10,000 salary increase, we decided to start looking for our own place. We were shocked when we realized how expensive apartments had become in the Minneapolis area. According to the GOBankingRates study, the median rent of a one-bedroom apartment is $1,550 per month in Minneapolis.

Paying $1,550 in apartment rent each month is comparable to paying a mortgage in a more affordable city.  Our student loan payments were already as high as a mortgage. We were two 25-year-olds earning entry-level salaries. We couldn’t afford two mortgages.

See: Cost of Living in the City vs. Suburbs Across America

Instead of paying $1,550 each month to rent an apartment, we decided to live with my parents for a few years to pay off our $117,000 in student loans as quickly as possible. We do pay my parents rent, but it’s far less than we’d pay for an apartment (even if we had a roommate).

Living with family isn’t easy. It’s a huge help financially, but it requires making sacrifices. When you live with your parents, you give up a lot of your privacy, independence and personal space. My husband and I live with my parents and my brother in a small, crowded home — and it’s been an adjustment for all of us.

During the most difficult times, my husband and I strongly considered moving into an apartment even though we knew it wasn’t the best move financially. It’s a good thing we didn’t, because living with my parents has allowed us to make an enormous amount of progress on paying off our debt. We’ve paid off the majority of our student loans and only have $22,000 left to go.

As the cost of renting an apartment continues to rise, I suspect we’ll see more and more millennials moving back home to save money. It certainly saved my finances.

Click to read more about how to save for a house while renting.

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