If you’re a young professional, there’s a good chance that your biggest expenditure is on rent. In fact, since moving out of home, it’s entirely possible that you haven’t managed to save at all, living a more paycheque-to-paycheque life.
Which leads us to the obvious question: how the heck are we ever gonna afford a house deposit when we’re forking out a load of dosh on rent each week?
Interestingly, the same report revealed that a meagre 2/5 of young Aussie renters would actually be prepared to move back home with our family to save some money. LOL. I’m not surprised, to be honest – the prospect of returning to the roost is just as unappealing as it sounds.
But is it really that bad? Or are we doing ourselves, and our families, a slight disservice?
Well, here to give you the honest truth is one PEDESTRIAN.TV staffer who has bitten the bullet and made the financially savvy decision to move back in with the ‘rents after 30, all in the name of saving those precious buckeroonies.
Why did you move back home?
I moved back at the end of 2017 because I was paying $300 a week on rent, and was having a sort of life-crisis about where my money was going.
I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life after a bad break-up, and all my money was going toward food, rent, and living expenses. I found myself living paycheck to paycheck, even while on a budget – I felt like I couldn’t feasibly save without either moving somewhere cheaper or moving home.
My parents’ house is quite big – I’m very lucky. I have basically the entire top floor to myself with my own bathroom. I also really like my family, so I made the decision that it would be best for me to move home and throw all that money into savings, then work out what to do next.
How were you expecting moving back in the ol’ nest to feel?
I knew it wouldn’t be 100% easy. I remembered what it was like before I moved out, in my early 20s when I was at uni. The reality is, my parents are quite conservative, but we are also close.
Before, in my 20s, I felt awkward if I stayed at a guys house or went out and came home drunk. But in my 30s I feel like they’ve accepted the concept of me being an adult, so they don’t really ask where I’ve been or make any comments. Plus, I’m more open with my mum these days and we talk about relationships and dating, so I’m happy to tell her if I stayed at someone’s house. Maybe that’s weird, but we’re close. No details though!!
I also find now that I treat living at home like I’m a tenant, not a kid. I help more around the house, and that seems to make things more harmonious. I cook dinner or buy the ingredients on certain nights when I know my mum has the gym after work. If she cooks, I clean the dishes. I clean my own bathroom. Just kind of stuff I didn’t do when I was in my early 20s.
In my early 20s, I’d be lying around just expecting Mum to make me dinner, and leaving my shit all over the house. That’s likely what made it tenser back then.
How do your expectations match up to reality?
Pretty accurately – I thought it would be harder actually! I thought I would get frustrated more easily, that we would get on each other’s nerves. But like I said, I think there’s been a shift where they now regard me as an adult and I understand their need for space more, maybe.
I’m homeless, too, because now I work full-time and my job involves after work events. When I am home, we’ll share a meal or something and then I’ll just head to my room. I guess maybe we are in tune more with each other’s need for space.
What’s been the best part about moving back and why?
THE MONEY SAVING. Oh, my god. I put away that $300 rent plus whatever I used to spend on living expenses a week, every week. I can save over a thousand a month easily, and it was amazing for me because I then decided to travel around Australia for four months and had the money to do so.
Conversely, what’s been the toughest part, and why?
It can still sometimes be annoying not having your own entire home space. I’m really lucky to have my own bathroom and the isolation of my bedroom being upstairs. I know that’s rare for moving-home situations. But a shared kitchen with your parents means either eating group meals always or feeling underfoot when you cook.
I can’t watch whatever I like in the lounge because it’s my parents’ domain, that sort of thing. They sort of have ownership of common areas because I’m not actually a tenant, I’m their annoying kid who moved home in her 30s.
I’d also say it’s still a bit awkward being single and living at home. I am open with my mum, but I don’t reeeally discuss hookups and one night stands, so that can be awkward if I come home the next day or really early of a morning.
How has your relationship with your family changed since you moved back?
I mean we were always a close family and even when I lived out of home, I’d be over at least once or twice a week. So not a lot has changed in terms of our relationship.
I have to say it’s really nice spending time with them now – I’ve had a few friends parents pass away sadly in the last few years and it’s made me more aware of their mortality. They won’t always be there, and this new phase where I’m an adult, and they’re adults is a really nice time. It’s nice to have them around to chat to and hang out with.
Did you have to lay down any ground rules with the fam?
I think I went in and was like ‘ok, I’m going to be really honest about where I’m going and so on to nip the awkwardness of sleepovers in the bud’. Like I had a boyfriend for a few months last year, and I’d just be like ‘I’m staying at Dan’s tonight, see you tomorrow’ and walk out, and that was like a couple of weeks into dating him so it was early for my conservative rents!
They were a bit taken aback. But I found when I was assertive and not secretive they just accepted that I’m an adult – I guess part of being an adult about things is being honest and not sneaking around in your home, right?
I also told Mum not to do my washing or clean my room. She LOVES CLEANING it’s like some genetic obsession, because I do too. So because she’s semi-retired she sometimes just cleans stuff because she’s got time on her hands and can’t help herself. And like, same tbh.
Anyway, I just felt like, I’d feel like a large adult child if she was doing my washing or cleaning my room. So I kind of gently-firmly told her I’d do those things. Sometimes she just SNEAKILY DOES IT but generally, she respects my rule. I’m well aware having someone cleaning your shit sounds great, but the reality is you want your space to feel like your space, and I felt guilty as well when she was cleaning my room and my clothes.
What’s your one piece of advice to someone considering moving back home in their 30s?
Look there’s a lot of stigma to moving home in your 30s socially. But then when you speak to individuals, most people either say ‘I wish I could do that’ or something else accepting/positive. It comes down to just doing what feels right for you.
It’s not for everyone – I think you have to like your family members, the size of your parents’ house is a factor, too – I have a friend who moved home and her family home was a unit, and she said it was claustrophobic for everyone involved after a few months.Image: That '70s Show / The Carsey-Werner Company