Living with Mom and Dad after College

Have the financial responsibilities of the real world ruined your dreams of full-fledged independence? Don't worry – it happens to lots of new college graduates these days. The best way to deal with low entry-level salaries is to live at home with mom and dad. Although it may not seem appealing at first, it can be a worthwhile experience.

The best part of living at home is not having to pay rent and utilities bills each month. But even if your parents make you chip in, it's still much less than you'd pay to live in a mediocre apartment. And if your parents are like most others, they'll spoil you with free food all the time. The money you save can be used to pay off the student loans and credit card debt you accumulated in college. That results in a better score, which will enable you to make big purchases – like houses and cars – more easily and less expensively down the road. If you don't have any debt, you can use the money on less-practical things that make you happy. Buy the latest iPhone or iPod. Add to your book collection. Join the nice but expensive gym you've always fancied. Living at home also saves you the stress of finding an apartment and furnishing it as you're starting a new job. More likely than not, most items in your parents' house will be better than what you'd have in your home – including TVs, bathrooms and appliances.

Of course, there's always a downside to being in your early-twenties and living with mom and dad. By now you've come to expect a certain amount of privacy, but your parents still probably think of you as their little boy or girl. It's important that you establish boundaries and make it clear that you're capable of managing your own life. At the same time, give them the respect they deserve – after all, you're living in their home. Carry your weight and clean after yourself; don't be an inconvenience. Make it a mutually beneficial experience. Sure, your parents will be happy just to have you around, but contribute something to show you appreciate everything they've done for you. Remember, if momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.