Jasek: To Rent my own Place or Move Back Home — That is the Question

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Life after college can seem difficult to navigate. We are all eager to know where we will end up, what career we’ll have, where we will be living and, ultimately, what life will look like post-graduation. 

I recently received a job offer. I was so excited and, quite frankly, a bit relieved to already know my plans for the future a whole three months before graduation.   

On the contrary, I am also nervous and stressed for several reasons. The main obstacle I am focusing on and figuring out is my living situation. There are two options: I rent an apartment or I live at home.

It’s a tough decision and one that college doesn’t totally prepare us for. So, let’s evaluate each choice. 

Renting an Apartment Pros:

Renting an apartment and living on your own is the pure definition of independence. Every choice and decision to be made is your own, whether its the location, studio or one-bedroom, wall décor, color scheme and more. 

It is your place to call home, and you get to make it feel that way in whatever ways feel right to you. 

Another pro is that it’s your decision as to whether or not you want to find a roommate. It could be a best friend from college or a random person you connect with. Either way, it definitely does make the rent much cheaper. 

Some apartments also offer amenities that living at home may not provide. For instance, a swimming pool (maybe with a slide) or a gym with free weights and cardio equipment. Not to mention, the landlord will most likely cover maintenance costs, so it is not coming out of your pocket. 

Renting an Apartment Cons:

On the contrary, rent is ridiculously high. A decent one-bedroom apartment can sometimes begin at nearly $1,000 per month. If you do not have a roommate to split the rent with,  those monthly bills will certainly begin to add up. 

Some apartment complexes offer limited parking, and a ticket is easy to get if you’re parked in a no-parking zone. At least you know your car is safe in your parent’s driveway.  

Location is also crucial. Finding a safe and neighbor-friendly place and doing the research to find the right apartment could take months, and maybe you don’t have that time to spare. 

And let’s be honest, parents aren’t there to kill that spider that you will eventually find. 

Living at Home Pros:

Most parents are nice and will not upcharge you rent for living in your childhood room. This is the obvious reason many students move back in with their parents after graduation– they’re saving a decent amount of money. 

Saving thousands by not paying rent right after college allows for wiggle room to enjoy a night out with friends here and there.  

Living at home also helps with paying off loans. There is a sense of financial stability while being at home, so it is the perfect time to pay off that debt. Starting earlier will save you stress in the future. 

Another pro of living at home can be the opportunity to live a healthier lifestyle. My cooking skills are severely undeveloped, so I’m thankful for my mother who is an awesome cook and provides me with well-balanced meals.

Moving back in with your parents allows you the flexibility to put money into the lifestyle you want to lead, such as investing in healthier grocery items and continuing to save money that could be put towards rent or your own place in the future. 

Living at Home Cons:

One con of living at home is restrictions on the freedoms we have gotten used to having while being away at college. That independence is sometimes no longer available when moving back in with parents because, at the end of the day, you are under their roof. So, depending on your parents, what they say goes. 

If your mother is anything like mine, then she’ll be waiting up for you after a night out with friends, expecting you home at a reasonable hour like 11 p.m. And, let’s be honest, that is prime time to be out.  

Lastly, parents provide in various ways for their children. Thus, some students get a little too comfortable while living with their parents, which could slow down their progress to live a more independent life, find a job, save money and, eventually, move out. 

At the end of the day, everyone’s pros and cons list will look a bit different depending on your career opportunities and post-graduation ambitions, like traveling or pursuing grad school. I wish all of you the best of luck after graduation. I know we’ll all be off doing great things.

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