Photo by Breno Asis via Unsplash.com
Some facts: my lease ends on June 30th, 2019. I won’t be working by this point (I’m a teacher), but I will have some money saved to last me throughout the summer. As it stands, I only live about 15-20 minutes from my parents’ home.
I don’t think I gave any thought to moving back home during my first year of working. I have 3 younger brothers who still live at home. Both of my parents own their own businesses based in our house, and my sister works for my mom and brings her baby boy 3 days a week. To say it can be a hectic environment is an understatement. This, coupled with the fact that I knew my first year teaching would be overwhelming, led to to believe that moving home was not a legitimate option for me.
I’ve also been paying my own rent since I started college. My thinking was: if I can make rent with my seasonal and part-time jobs, why would I need to move home when I have an actual full-time salary?
But thinking about what you can possibly afford isn’t the way to win with money. To win with money, you need to understand what you can afford but don’t actually need. It even comes back to minimalism and simple living– what is truly enough in your life?
Right now I’m slated to be debt free by the end of March. When I graduated, my total debt was about $11,500. My rent & utilities cost me about $615/month on average. Assuming I paid my parents $250/month to live with them, the difference would be $365/month for 5 months (August-December). That totals $1,825 extra that I could have put towards debt so far. Factoring this in and subtracting the extra $365/month going forward, I would theoretically be debt free in 1 fewer month. Since March is a “unicorn month” in which I get 3 paychecks, living at home would have saved me $2,785 + interest in debt this year, and one more month of debt freedom.
I’m not beating myself up about this; I don’t even think I would have changed my decision if I could go back in time, for a number of reasons. But it illuminates important questions for me:
What do I truly need?
When I feel like I’m sacrificing everything, what more could I sacrifice that I’m not even considering?
What is enough?
So, when my lease is up and I’m no longer working, I plan on moving home for two months. I’ll spend more time with my family. Like I had to do in high school, I’ll find a way to overcome the sometimes-hectic environment and find a productive space. I’ll act as a blessing to my parents by helping them around the house and giving them $500 for allowing me to live there for 2 months. I’ll save about $730, which will go towards my retirement savings. Most importantly, I’ll force myself to question what “enough” means in my life, in the most practical terms.