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How to cope if you need to move back home

2 May 2019 | 8 min read
Let’s be truthful: it’s 2020. Cost of living is high, rents are through the roof and the price of your daily cup of coffee has pretty much doubled in the last 10 years.

That’s why it’s becoming more common place for people in their 20s and 30s to move back in with their parents. Moving in is the easy bit, living there is the hard part. Here are some fail-safe ways to make sure you survive.

Every time you come close to getting out of debt or securing a house deposit, you’re thrown a curveball that sets you back again. The Australian dream to own your own home is slowly slipping out of your reach and you’ve started to consider something you promised you never would.

Moving back in with your parents.

The good news is you’re not alone. Not only are more young Australians choosing to stay home for longer before moving out, more are moving back home in order to save as well.

After spending so many years focusing on your independence, moving back in with your parents can feel like a huge step backwards. But it doesn’t need to be like that. Yes, it will take some getting used to but ultimately it can put you in a better position.

Here are some tips for how to survive.

Smiling young woman carrying packing boxes through a bright hallway.

1. Set some ground rules

Before you make the move, have an open and honest chat with your parents about what you, and they, will expect from the arrangement. How long are you planning to stay? Will you pay board? How will you handle bills? What if things don’t go to plan and you need to stay longer? Will you be okay with that? And more importantly, will they?

It’s so easy to take your parents for granted. The reality is, they have their own lives. If they’ve been empty nesters for a while, chances are they have gotten used to a certain style of living, just like you have while living independently.

Remember that you are moving into their house! Don’t take the living situation for granted and be ready to compromise. It will give all parties the best possible start to this new chapter.

2. Pitch in for bills

Whether your parents have asked you to pay board or not, always help out with bills. Bills include, but are not limited to: water, electricity, gas and internet.

As you have no doubt learnt from your experience living out of home, the cost of bills can increase exponentially for every extra person living in a house. And guess what? When you move back in, you will be an extra person in their house.

Even if your parents don’t ask you to pitch in for bills, still try to give them some cash every now and again. It’s a straight forward way to demonstrate that you are an independent person, and you can pay your own way.

3. Don’t get lazy

This might sound like an obvious one, and maybe even a little rude, but bear with us.

When young adults cross the threshold into their family home they grew up in, they sometimes regress back to their teenage years. This widely occurring phenomenon, called regression, means that while in your own life you are self-sufficient and independent, you can go home and turn back into a 16-year-old without even realising you’re doing it. It’s pretty crazy but thankfully not permanent.

Once you’ve settled back in with your parents, try to negate these (very common) effects of regression by becoming a proactive member of the household. Regression will make you expect your laundry to be taken care of and dinner on the table every night. Don’t let it win!

Decide on a couple of nights each week to cook dinner, help out with household chores (even the boring ones) and above all: be consistent.

4. Set aside time to be social

One of the nicest parts of living back home with your parents is that you can get comfortable… Sometimes though, a little too comfortable.

Put in the effort to maintain your friendships, both personal and work relationships, and be sure to get out of the house every now and again. If it’s been a little while between drinks, organise something to get you out of the house so your parents can enjoy some time together too.

If you’re going to have a late one, send a courtesy text to your folks and let them know what you’re up to, so they know not to wait up. It will be just like you’re 18 again but this time without the permission slip.

5. Have fun - spend time together!

One of the best parts of growing up is the point when you realise that your parents were just like you (once upon a time) and had dreams of their own. Living together again as adults is one of the best opportunities you’ll have to get to know each other as equals.

If there’s something that you think defines you, whether it’s your creativity, work ethic or love of travelling, ask your parents if they’ve ever experienced something similar.

It doesn’t have to be all career or kids talk. Ask them how they grew up, and whether there were any challenges they overcame. Chances are they would have experienced something similar to you and you might even be able to learn from them!

Note: This article contains general advice only. Readers should seek a trusted professional’s advice on financial matters.

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