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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?
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Independence (has a price) and Privacy:
You’ve had four years of independence, and during those four years you came home at whatever hour of the night you wished and with whomever you wanted to bring home. No one with authority was there to keep tabs on you—you were in charge of yourself. “Having my parents keeping tabs on me would have been one of the hardest things if I had moved home,” says Divya Bahl, a Boston University 2010 graduate. Having to worry about things you haven’t had to in the past can be a draining experience.

If you move out on your own: Things are going to stay a lot like they were in college, but you have to make sure you have rules set with your new roomies; don’t jump the gun by assuming anything. Your roomie won’t be keeping tabs on you like your parents would be, but it’s nice to have roommate rules in place to avoid disagreements as you guys adjust to the real world post-graduation.

Things to consider if staying at home: It’s hard to go back to feeling restricted after being so independent for so long. “I mean, I can’t just bring my boyfriend home to sleep over, I’ll have to go there. It sucks, but that’s the reality of it,” says Samantha. If you do stay home, then you should openly talk to your parents about things like a curfew, coming home drunk, or even having boys over. It may seem silly, but your parents will respect you for talking to them about these things. Treat them how you would like to be treated. If they’re taking you in, they are doing you a huge favor, so you owe them respect.

Family Matters:
Living at home for an extended period of time post-grad will supply you with a huge dose of family time, so take advantage of it. “Take this time to establish a new relationship with your family,” Blake says. “Reconnect with your parents as friends; it can be a really nice way to grow your relationship.” Chances are you haven’t had the opportunity to live with your family for this long since high school. Since then you and your parents have both grown up and you will be able to relate to each other on completely new levels.

Staying with them: “I’m really excited to finally be living at home with my family, I’ve missed them so much!” says Samantha. “I know that a year of them will be a lot and it will be weird because I was gone for so long, but I’m excited to get one more year of family time in before I won’t be able to.” Divya says, “If I could have lived at home with my family I definitely would have—I miss them so much.” When it comes to family you always want what you don’t have, so you have to be grateful for what you have when you have it before it’s gone.

Steer clear and move out: If you are ready to be away, then you’ll know it. You might love your family very dearly (or you might not), but sometimes you just know that you can’t stick it out with them for any longer. If you are at this point, then moving out as soon as you can is probably what’s best.
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Friends:
Whether you choose to live at home or choose to move out on your own, your friend situation is going to be incredibly different than your college one. You won’t have friends living on the same floor as you, and you won’t have friends living on campus with you. Samantha says, “The biggest con of living at home is that all my friends are parting separate ways after college.” Divya also says, “Something that I miss which was very different from college life in general is having your friends all around you. We all were on campus—whenever I wanted to see them after class, after dinner, they were all really close by. There’s nothing like when you’re a freshman and everyone’s living on your floor and it’s really fun.”

If you stay home: You may not be able to have friends over at all hours of the night, and you may not even want to invite your friends to come “hang out at your parents’ house.” Plus, depending on the location of your house, you may not be as close to your college buddies as you’d like. Yes, you may be by your high school pals, but your college friends are the ones who are most likely closest to your heart. Separation can be extremely hard and this is a huge factor to take into consideration. Are you okay with not seeing your friends as often as you’d like?

If you’re on your own: Chances are if you moved out on your own, you’re probably near your friends from college, if you’re not already living with them. While they may not be on your dorm floor, you can be the host of many apartment get-togethers and even house some of your best friends for a few nights. Think about it: you’ll have your own place—you’re going to want to take pride in this fact and invite your friends over all of the time. Even if you don’t see them as much as you did in college, you’ll be able to see them on your own time and not your parents’ time.

Make the best out of every situation:
Whatever you choose, just go in with a good attitude and know that nothing is permanent. While a choice in the real world might not be as easy as changing a second semester senior schedule around, you still have the power to make the choices that make you happy. “Nothing is forever,” says Blake, “so even if you move home for a month or a year you can always move out. Moving in doesn’t have to be as huge as a decision; it’s a bridge between after college and before you move out.” If you choose to stay home, take advantage of the family time you’re about to get, and if you choose to find an apartment or house, happy hunting!
 

Shaye is a rising junior at the Fashion Institute of Technology, where she is pursuing a degree in Advertising and Marketing Communications. As an aspiring magazine editor she is doing everything and anything to learn as much as she can. After moving away from her hometown in Michigan she has fallen head over heels for a place that she never imagined being able to call home. She just wrapped up an internship at Seventeen in their features department, where she was able to sit next to several Her Campus advocates, and is so excited to finally be joining this team! She is in love with 11:11 wishes, iced coffee, and strolls in any park. You can follow her on twitter under the handle @clishaye where she is constantly tweeting about the fact that she still can’t believe that she is living her dreams!
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