My Initial Struggles
I just knew that when I graduated college, I would not be moving back home. I was going to be on my grown woman status: Move out into the real world, wear fabulous clothes, have a Pinterest worthy apartment with a high caliber job, all while traveling the world on the side.
Well, reality hit me like a doggone ton of bricks. Four years later, I unpacked my two jumbo suitcases into the same drawers and closet of my childhood bedroom. It was weird. There were so many mixed feelings once I realized that I was moving back to Michigan after 4 years of college in Washington, DC. Oh yeah, and back in with my mom and dad.
I honestly felt like I was doing something wrong. I pretty much applied for jobs all over the place: DC, Atlanta, Florida, LA, New York, and two in Michigan. Only 2! I got call backs from a few, some follow up interviews, but I got a solid offer from one in Michigan. This one. I was extremely excited, but a part of me still had reservations about moving back home to Michigan with my parents.
Don’t get me wrong, I love them to life, but I feared complacency. Home is comfortable and that’s always how I’ve viewed it. During my last semester at Howard University, everyone started getting job offers. Many of my friends were moving to New York, LA, going abroad, or had jobs offers from multiple Fortune 500 companies. Yes, multiple. Making negotiations and whatnot. Just popping.
It started to ware on my self-esteem a little bit. I got a little discouraged at times, especially before I had gotten my Spokester job offer. But I’ve learned not to let comparison rob me of my value and joy. I’ve also realized that my path is different than anyone else’s in the world, and that’s the beauty of life.
The Undeniable Perks
I'm learning that this is all about perspective. Trust and believe, washing the dishes a couple of times a week and checking in with my parents when I’m out late isn’t nearly as bad as dishing out all of my newly made income on rent, living expenses, food, etc.
Of course, moving back home is a major mental adjustment. You go from having the ultimate freedom, to almost feeling like a kid again (in some ways). But I can tell you that financially, it’s the most freeing feeling in the world.
I can focus on paying off student loans and saving for my future. I have a plan. I’m not trying to live with mommy and daddy forever - don’t get it twisted. But I enjoy the fact that I don’t have to live a life of discomfort by couch-surfing and eating eggs every night. That’s fine if you’re ‘bout that life. More power to you. But I prefer to kick-off my adult life with financial stability, and there’s nothing wrong with that either.
I think many young people have lost the practicality of having and managing money. We lack a sense of realism and instead indulge in a lifestyle of “struggling” to achieve our dreams. Almost as if money doesn’t matter when it comes to dream chasing. We move out, still relying on our parents to help us make ends meet because we want a sense of independence. But why not take a year or two in between graduating and “real life,” find a good job that will make for a great stepping stone into your career, and save. I’m talking about really stash up.
Don't Stay There Forever - Set Goals
Can you imagine graduating from college, making $30,000 - $50,000+ a year and not having any expenses?! You may have to help out with bills, but nothing like if you had your own place. You can easily save tens of thousands of dollars in a very short period of time or knock out your student loans very quickly.
Set a goal to save $10,000 a year, or however much is a solid amount for you. Do you know how much easier it will be to chase dreams when you don’t have to focus on money? When you are free of debt? When you have enough cushion to travel? Or to make a down payment on the house or car you really want?
One to two years of smart living and saving can only help you in the long run. So don’t be so quick to say “no” to an opportunity if it’s at home. Take advantage of it. Make the most of it. Enjoy the free meals, free rent, and all the other free stuff, until you’re ready to make the right move on your own.
We have to set our lives up in the best way that we can.