According to U.S. News & World Report, the average student in 2014–15 paid $9,999 for room and board in just one year. Multiply that by four years, and suddenly living at home while you work on your degree may start to seem like the wisest financial move.
But living at home with your family can come with a few unique challenges, especially when you’re adjusting to life as a college student. We’ve compiled a few tips to help you stay sane.
1. Have the Rent Talk
Your parents may or may not decide to charge you rent while you live at home—and even if they don’t, they may still expect you to help out in small ways, such as contributing to utilities or grocery bills.
Have the talk about financial contributions early so you—and your parents—have clear expectations.
2. Have the Life Talk
Your parents may (or may not) feel ready for your new freedoms as an adult college student (change can be scary, after all). To avoid arguments, have a talk and set expectations for what it will be like living under their roof for the next few years. For example:
- Are you going to be helping out with the housework?
- Do your parents expect you to check in with them if you’re not coming home?
- Will you still have a curfew?
- How do you feel about privacy? Should you set new boundaries?
3. Join a Club
If you decide to continue living at home, make a special effort to become involved on campus. Getting active in campus life isn’t just a great way to make new friends and explore new interests—it’s also a wonderful excuse to get out of the house when you need to.
4. Schedule Your Classes in Blocks
Since you’ll be commuting, scheduling your classes back-to-back whenever possible will make your schedule a little easier, and help you avoid being stuck on campus or making quick trips home at awkward times between classes.
5.Get a Job on Campus
Similar to getting involved in campus life, finding a job on campus—whether it’s in the library, giving tours with the admissions office, or watching the help desk in a computer lab—is a great way to meet new people and become a part of the campus community. And you’ll make some extra cash while you’re at it.
If you’re dreading being “stuck” at home, it helps to remember just how much money you’ll be saving in the long run. Plus, it’s easier to “get it over with” earlier—rather than having to move back in with your folks after you graduate (yikes).
Looking for more ways to save money on your degree? Check out our Free Money for College guide, which includes a ton of information on scholarships to help you save even more.