How to Move Back in With Your Parents Without Going Crazy

A 7-Step Survival Guide

Moving back in with your parents may seem like your only option if you’ve lost your job or are unable to find a job after college graduation. While it may seem less than ideal, it can be a great way to get control of your finances or get out of debt as quickly as possible. 

But there are other times you may be considering moving back in with your parents. For example, you and your spouse may do so to save up money for a down payment on a house. Here are a few things that you can do to make living with your parents easier on both you and your parents.

Have Your Exit Strategy in Place

Young woman with mother, moving into apartment
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Before you move in with your parents, you should have an exit strategy in place. Have a specific date or goal that will determine when you move out. 

For example, you may just want to move in with your folks until you find a job and saved up enough for a deposit on an apartment. If you are trying to get out of debt, your debt payment plan should have a definite end date, which will be both the date you expect to pay off your debt and the date you expect to move out of your parents’ home.

Set Up a Formal Agreement

Happy mother and daughter having tea outdoor
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When moving back in with your parents, even if only temporarily, it’s a good idea to set up an agreement with your parents. You may also consider putting it in writing, which will make things more formal and will help you balance being back at home while also maintaining your independence.
This agreement should outline any expenses that you are expected to contribute to, such as a reduced amount of rent, a portion of the grocery bill or utilities, or household duties they expect you to help out with while living there.
The agreement should also include some basic ground rules – such as acceptable times of the day to have company, when they should expect you home at night, and ground rules for keeping common spaces clean. Spelling this all out early on will make things easier down the road.

Don't Be a Mooch

Focused black student working on his laptop computer
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Even if you are unemployed when you move in with your parents, don’t be a mooch. You should at least find a part-time job in the meantime so you can contribute to bills or other household expenses.

Additionally, you should commit to spending at least four hours a day searching for a job, and applying. Set specific tangible goals and apply to a specific number of jobs each week. Sticking to a schedule like this will stop you from falling into a rut and getting comfortable with staying with your parents long-term.

Be Prepared for Parental Judgments

mother and son
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When you move home to get out of debt, don’t be surprised if your parents get upset whenever you spend money. Remember, your parents are making sacrifices to have you home in their space and by covering some of your expenses, and will likely have a hard time keeping their opinions about your finances to themselves, especially when you are the one that opened the issue by moving back home.
Try to avoid this by sharing your debt payoff plan or your plan to get a job, along with end dates to achieve your goals.

Help Out Around the House

young man cleaning window
Maskot / Getty Images 

When you move in with your parents, it can be easy to revert back to the old parent-child roles and a time when your mom made you dinner every night and did your laundry.

But when you move back in with your parents as an adult, it’s important to not let this happen. Take on specific chores that you will complete each week to help out at home. This may be cooking dinner a few times a week, doing the dishes when you are home, or helping with the weekly cleaning and yard work.

Show Your Parents Respect and Courtesy

Shot of two men working on a project together at home
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Show your parents common courtesy and respect while you live with them. While you shouldn’t have a curfew as an adult, it is polite to let them know you will be out late and that they do not need to wait up. Keeping your parents informed is one of the expectations that accompany living at home. Remember it is their house, and you have to follow their rules.

Similarly, pick up after yourself, and be sure not to leave a mess in the common areas of the house, just like you would if you had roommates.

Stay Focused

Very Happy parents posing with their daughter
  Juanmonino / Getty Images

Finally, you need to stay focused. Your twenties are a time to have fun, and living at home is not going to be as much fun as having your own apartment. Living at home with your parents should be motivation to achieve your financial goals more quickly.

Try using this survival guide if you have just graduated from college to help you stay focused. Get an extra job if you are getting out of debt so that you can move out more quickly. And when you are ready for your own place, try some strategies to save on rent.

Updated by Rachel Morgan Cautero.