The Office for National Statistics estimates that 3.3 million adults live with their parents. With house prices and rental prices making solo or even shared living prohibitively expensive for many, living in the parental home is often the tricky reality. Some of us have never managed to move out, while others have tasted sweet freedom and have chosen to move back.
But don’t be too downbeat, Rafa Nadal, singer Adele, Steve Jobs and even Alexander Graham Bell had to live with their parents in adulthood. If it’s good enough for them, it’s got to be good enough for the rest of us.
Why move back?
Saving up for for a place of our own is one of the biggest drivers for adults living with their parents. But while we’re waiting for that bank balance to begin to grow, living with the folks can prove to be quite a challenge and not just for us – you will never know how much your parents cherished having their home to themselves until you rocked up back on the doorstep – so here’s eight pro tips for making the most of being back in the nest.
- Be as productive as possible – You might as well face it from day one, you’re here because you either have no money or you want to save up what little money you do have. That means that going to the pub or on holiday to escape the parental reigns are neither of your immediate priorities. To that end, you’d better make being at home as enjoyable and comfortable as possible, otherwise you risk extending your stay at Hotel Mum and Dad by frittering away money you could be putting towards a nice deposit.
Netflix and Youtube are two very inexpensive modes of entertainment.All you need is a laptop, mobile or tablet. Get into a new series, learn a new skill via Youtube or simply find a way to relax.You could even massively improve your employment options by learning to code or by learning another language. Khan Academy is an excellent place to start if you want to spend some quality time developing a new skill. It’s absolutely free too. Find out more here.Mike Upjohn is a web developer for top UK marketing agency Venn Digital.
He recommends combining an existing interest with the learning process to make it more rewarding and relevant.“Learning to code is extremely rewarding and you never feel alone with the amount of forums, tutorials and other content that is online to help you get started.“The best advice I have for getting into development is; pick something you are really interested in, and then develop a website, a piece of software or a piece of code to solve a problem in that area. The combination of learning development and having an interest in the topic can make for an exciting and rewarding project, interest and potentially a career too.
“Groups such as StackOverflow are extremely helpful in assisting with solving problems or developing your programming skills and as everyone is there for the same reason, it’s a fantastic environment for bouncing ideas off one another.“New developers shouldn’t be put off by the numbers of different languages out there. Once you develop the right problem solving skills and understand the method of programming, it’s simply a case of learning the syntax and its power (a bit like learning a foreign language).
“Developing anything, with any form of code is as much about testing the code you write as it is about writing the code in the first place.”
You don’t need to undertake something of this magnitude to make living with your parents rewarding. Hobbies can lead to interesting things too. For example, instead of going to the pub and spending deposit money, why not use the garage to set up your own home brew operation? The likes of Muntons and The Home Brew Shop offer very reasonably-priced starter kits for new brewers. You might even make a bit of cash on the side.
- Plan your exit – Nothing will make living at home with your parents more of a drag than having no light at the end of the tunnel. Even if it’s not for two years from now, have a plan of when you want to move out and know what steps you need to take to achieve this. How many months will it take you to save up a deposit? How many extra hours at work would you need to do per week to bring that date forward by a month? Knowing how you’ll make your escape for freedom will help you make the most of this period of your life.
- Make your contributions obvious – We know you pull your weight but sometimes your contributions can be overlooked. We’re not saying walk around with a placard saying “I did some vacuuming” but if you have indeed done some vacuuming, make sure you do a good enough job that your parents know about it.That means moving furniture, vacuuming under the rug and so on. Same goes for cleaning. If you’ve made the effort to clean, do the best job you can without hating yourself. Pro tip; ‘accidentally’ leaving the Pledge out will tip off an under-appreciative parent that you’ve not been watching Cash in the Attic all day long.
- Don’t be an expensive house guest – You cost money. Your parents will no doubt be aware of this due to the increased food and fuel bills. They won’t say anything though because they love you. If you can contribute, that’s great, but even if you can’t it’s good to minimise the expense that you represent. Showers are cheaper than baths, an extra blanket is cheaper than having the heating on all day, tap water is cheaper than writing “Evian x12 please!” on the shopping list. You get the picture.
- Get regular respite – Living with the folks is a challenge for everyone. That’s why you should make good use of your friends to give yourself and your folks some space now and then. Make a weekly thing of it so your parents can plan to make the most of your absence. Whether it’s five-a-side football, yoga once a week or simply walking over to a friend’s house for a cup of tea and a biscuit, knowing you’ll be out of the way at least once a week is good for everyone.
- Coordinate and plan your movements – Following on from the regular respite route, it may not feel like it but giving your parents as much advance info on your movements will reduce stress for all of you. Don’t want your mum ringing when you’re at your friends’ place? Tell her you’re going out and give yourself an hour’s grace on your ETA. That way she won’t fret (she loves to fret) when you’re ten minutes late back.Planning and coordinating can also result in some extra bonuses. Let’s assume for a second that your parents are going on holiday. That leaves you in the house by yourself. Now let’s assume that you’re planning on staying with a friend for a week.You’ve got a choice of when to go, when your parents are away or when they’re back. The latter is the correct choice as it maximises your time away from the house and gives your parents extra time together.
- Set boundaries and expectations – Your parents respect you but definitions of respect vary from generation to generation, as we’re sure you know. If you don’t want your dad washing your delicates, don’t just say so, prove it by doing your own washing. For every week your festering pile of laundry sits in the corner of your room, the more entitled your dad is to pick it up and do it.The same goes for meals. If you don’t want to be obliged to eat with your folks every night, let them know. Don’t let good food go to waste through a simple lack of communication. You’ll feel bad and your mum’s inherent aversion to throwing out perfectly good food will stress her out.
- Embrace it – Here’s something you might not have considered. Your parents are actually thoughtful, funny, interesting people. Instead of worrying about how to avoid your parents’ company all the time, maybe you could make the most of it.Your mum still loves a chinwag and your dad is only watching that documentary on steam trains by himself because he thinks nobody else is interested. You might not have chosen to be thrown back into the parental home, but with the right attitude it could actually be a really positive experience.