The Post-Grad Debate: Should You Live at Home After Graduation?

Congrats, grad! You’ve aced every test (ha!), attended every class (I’m sure), and every decision that you’ve made has shaped you into the grad that reads this today (right?). However, while those choices may have gotten you this far, the real tests in life start now. The choices that you make from here on out won’t receive a grade or get you into any program at school, but they will enrich your future in a very… real world way. From budgeting your money to job-hunting to finding your future hubby (whoa, that’s some real talk)—you know that HC is always here to help you.

Right now we know that summer is coming to a close and you probably have one huge worry on your mind: Do I stay at home now that I’ve graduated or do I move out on my own? If you are lucky enough to have parents that will take you in post-grad we know this decision is huge. But have no fear! We’ve already debated the important factors for you.

Your Bank Account:

I can’t even tally the amount of times I’ve heard a friend say, “By the time I graduate I’ll have $10,000+ in my savings account.” But I can tally the amount of friends who have actually achieved that goal: one. Saving money while you’re in school is hard—really hard—and HC understands more than anyone how busy you’ve been with classes and unpaid internships. Even though saving money as a collegiette is ideal, it isn’t the most realistic goal. So what’s the best place to live when it comes to money—home, or on your own? The money factor very well may be the biggest one.

Stay at home and save: If you haven’t had the chance to grow your bank account as much as you would have liked to, then take this year (or however many months) as a chance to do just that. When you live at home you have the opportunity to have so much paid for—rent, food, and utilities—so you should make a great effort to save as much as you possibly can. Jenny Blake, author of Life After College recommends “saving about at least 50 percent of your paycheck if not more—save the cost of the actual rent in your area, plus the money you’d be spending on groceries and start an actual savings account.” It’s natural for us to become so accustomed to spending as much as we’re making. If you are lucky enough to be at home you should take this as a time to learn how to budget and save your money; you’ll be so happy you did once you’re out on your own. “I know that I’m going to grad school next year, but I decided to move back home instead of staying in an apartment with my friends,” Samantha Gross, a recent Ohio State University graduate explains. “It just makes more sense for me to save all of the money I make for a year rather than spend it all on rent and food.” Saving as much as you can should be your top priority if you are staying at home. Now that you’re past the college stage, it’s time to save.

Move out with minimal money: Some of you are just ready to move out right now and HC gets it, but if you choose to do so, proceed with caution. Maybe your parents will be kind and help get you on your feet, but maybe they won’t. Know that if you move out right away, you won’t have time to create a nest egg to fall back on. You’re going to have to be prepared to budget each paycheck you receive on rent, food, and other necessities. However, living paycheck to paycheck can be done—if you’re okay not living extremely comfortably while you get your feet on the ground. When Nicole Vargas, a 2010 Indiana University grad, moved to New York City last April, she had $20 in her pocket, which won’t get you more than a few subway rides in NYC. But to Nicole, the timing felt right for her to be on her own, so she just did it and once she did, she found a job and let things work out on their own. She was ready for freedom. “I think ultimately you have to listen to your gut. If your gut is saying it’s time for freedom, then it’s time,” she says. You have to weigh your heart against your wallet.

What’s more important to you? Freedom right away or having enough saved up to live a comfortable life once you finally have that freedom?