Money

Living With Your Parents? 6 Things To Do Now So You’re Sorted Later

Forget feeling guilty or embarrassed about living with your parents. The baby boomer generation have made it mighty difficult for our generation to be able to own property, so don’t waste an opportunity to live rent-free. Take advantage of the luxury of no-bills all-frills living so when it’s time to leave the nest, you could be in a position to invest in one of your very own.

At 28 years old, Sydneysider Genevieve is about to buy her first home. And not with anyone else, she is the sole purchaser. We know what you’re thinking. Buying a house? At 28? In Sydney? By the beard of Zeus, how? Genevieve doesn’t have a trust fund. And she didn’t win the lottery. Or sell an app idea to Facebook.

She hasn’t spent a cent on rent. Ever.

Soon.

It’s a privileged position, but Genevieve managed to save up enough for a house deposit by living with her parents. As she prepares to lay down a whole lot of cash to purchase her first pad, Genevieve has only one regret: that she didn’t save more while she lived rent-free. She says she could save 50% of her salary when she was disciplined, but didn’t do it as often as she wishes she had now. Our vision is always 20/20 in hindsight.

“Living at home was such a luxury now that I look back on it. I had no rent to pay, and my only real expenses were my car repayments, health care, phone bill, half of my parents’ internet bill because I used it a lot for work, and some food,” she says.

Finance expert Noel Whittaker says being able to live rent-free by staying at home with parents is a financial opportunity 20-somethings should take advantage of if they have the means. “I think as long as the parents are happy and there is good communication between both parties about household contributions, it’s a win for everyone.”

Make the most of your rent-free window with these bank account-boosting tips.

#1 Be a considerate freeloader

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Happy families.

Before you can make bank off your parent’s goodwill, you have to ensure they don’t feel taken advantage of and wind up asking you for rent. “Many parents are happy not to charge board if their kid is working toward a savings goal,” says Whittaker – “but it might be different if their son or daughter is blatantly wasting money.” Set up a safe savings haven by communicating your plans to your parents, as well as being a contributing member of the household in other non-financial ways – take out the bins, be on dishwasher duty after dinner, cook the Sunday roast – without them having to ask.

#2 Automatically direct 50% of your salary to a savings account

It might seem extreme, but if you’re not paying rent you should be able to squirrel away about half your income (or close to it). Set up an auto-transfer to have half your salary moved to a savings account every pay day. It’s one of the fastest ways to make your funds flourish, and you will get used to living on less. Choose an account that offers high interest if you don’t make withdrawals like this or this – these accounts offer bonus interest rates of around 2.49% per year if you deposit at least $50 each month and make no withdrawals.

#3 Get the Daily Budget app

Star saver Genevieve used this app to keep her spending on track. You enter a savings goal and a deadline, and it automatically deducts the amount you need to save each day from your spending allowance. And if you’re over or under spend, the app will re-calculate your budget for the next day accordingly. Plus, the in-depth analysis reveals your biggest money suckers (you’ll never spend $8 on a juice again). Genevieve also recommends going old-school and using a piggy bank – those loose coins add up over time. When you finally crack it open, it’ll be like finding a $50 in your winter coat from last year. Times a thousand.

#4 Eat smart

If you’re serious about saving, making your own food whenever possible is an absolute no-brainer. A $1.20 bag of rolled oats and a $6 jar of honey will give you breakfast for literally weeks, so stop paying $5 for peanut butter toast from a café every day. It just takes a little planning, but planning can be easy.

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Cheap comfort.

Of course, making your own breakfast and lunch and sharing meals at home with parents can get a little dull for your taste buds (and social life). You can still eat out sometimes, just be clever about where and when. Lunch is always cheaper than dinner when eating out at restaurants, yet it is the same calibre of food. Website and app The Happiest Hour rounds up cheap meal nights in every capital city in Australia and New Zealand. Or, gather the collective wisdom of your friends and share the savings love at the same time by putting a call-out on Facebook or Twitter for a big cook up.

#5 Travel smarter, not less

Living at home with your parents when you’re an adult can be intense, but don’t let your desire for more personal space cause you to drop a suitcase full of cash on a holiday. Use the ‘Everywhere’ function on Skyscanner to see where the cheapest destination to travel to is from your city on your dates. Or, choose your destination and use the month-by-month view to see when the lowest fares are available.

Also, why not save money and be adventurous at the same time? Find a volunteering opportunity on Workaway, where you could do anything from teaching English in Cambodia, helping out at a winery in Argentina or assisting on a yacht in the south of France for free accommodation in return. Other money-saving travel websites include HelpX, which is similar to Workaway; Trusted Housesitters, where you care for someone’s home and pets while they’re away; or Couchsurfing, where you can meet new people and also crash on their couch.

#6 Break-up with your gym

For some people, going to the gym is what keeps them sane in a hectic world. If that’s you and you’re clearly getting your value out of it, then keep it. But if you’re the kind of person who often finds a week or two has gone by since you’ve visited, consider quitting your membership and using an app to get fit instead (or be really cheeky and take advantage of free trial periods at different gyms). Couch To 5K will turn you into a runner in nine weeks, Nike+ Training Club has a seemingly endless offering of guided routines, and 7 Minute Workout couldn’t be faster… well, unless it was six minutes.

Want to start saving?

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