Purchasing your first home is a big deal, and it takes years of preparation to get the home you’ve always wanted. You already know that I’m a frugal living ninja, but you have no idea how hard we are working to buy our first home.
One of the biggest things that we are doing to save for a dream home is living with my mom and step-dad to save up money. We are so lucky that they are willing to let us live here rent-free while we save and look for our dream home.
Not only are we saving money each month that would be spent on rent, but we are also in no rush to choose a home. That means we can wait until we find the perfect house for our needs rather than jumping into a purchase because we are desperate for a place to live.
Living with parents to save money isn’t for everyone, though. Here are a few tips for living with parents to save money for a house. We’ve been living with my mom and step-dad on and off for the past three years (a lot of that time was spent in Idaho at college). So, basically, we have a lot of experience.
1. Evaluate personalities.
We are incredibly lucky. My mom and step-dad are very respectful of our boundaries, and we do our best to be respectful of theirs. When I tell people that we live with my mom, they usually apologize or give me a look of pity. It’s hard to explain that she’s not that stereotypical all-up-in-your-business mom. We spend most of our time in our room, and she never tries to micromanage our lives. Living with parents will not work if you or your spouse is full of drama and/or don’t get along with the parents in question.
2. Evaluate lifestyles.
We’ve only been married for three years, but we are your standard boring married couple. We don’t drink, party, or do drugs. We don’t come in late at night. In most ways, my mom and step-dad are the same, but we knew before we started living here that there would be some differences. They go to bed a lot earlier than we do. Since their bedroom is right off of the kitchen, that means no late-night cooking – which is one of my weaknesses. When we live on our own, I cook dinner pretty late some nights – but not while we live here. Also, since this isn’t my house, I don’t feel comfortable inviting people over that often (unless they are people my mom is very comfortable with). These lifestyle differences are pretty small, but the potential lifestyle differences are vast. Don’t just think that it will be smooth sailing. Your lifestyles need to be compatible or it will be a rocky environment.
3. Pay rent and/or help out.
Are you paying rent? If so, pay it on time. If not, what are you doing to contribute to the household? We don’t pay rent, but we do cook, clean, take out the trash, bring in packages, pet-sit, and do some of the shopping. Your family’s needs may be different. Just make sure that you are making a positive contribution to the household. (This goes for spouses/partners too.)
4. Minimize impact.
Our room is usually a mess (except now since we cleaned it to show it off to you), but we try to keep our stuff out of the communal living spaces as much as possible. We turn off lights when we aren’t in rooms. We don’t use all of the hot water. We plan our morning routines around their morning routine schedules. We ask in advance if we want to do laundry. We don’t have people over when they aren’t in the mood. We don’t take their parking spots. We don’t eat their personal food. When we come in late, we do so quietly. We refill our water bottles before they go to bed so that we don’t make much noise. Once again, every family is different. The main takeaway is that you should be considerate at all times.
5. Be grateful.
If you are living with parents to save money for a house, you should be grateful. Not everyone is so lucky to have that option. Letting you live with them is a sacrifice for your parents. Thank them often. Let them know how much you appreciate their sacrifice, and don’t take this opportunity for granted. And most of all, use this opportunity to save for a house. Nothing shows your gratitude like putting the intended money aside so that you can meet your goal on time (or better yet, ahead of schedule).
6. Get organized.
This is an important tip, but I am terrible at it! Our room is usually a mess because we just have way too much stuff for the size of the room. Over time, we have added shelves and tubs to help better organize the space. It may not be as pretty as it used to be, but it sure is more functional. So yes, we have 6 tubs in our room (four of them stacked on top of each other). And yes, we have a hideous shelving unit on top of our gorgeous dresser. And yes, I am currently using my husband’s old computer towers (that he plans to rebuild someday) with a cookie sheet on top as a bedside table. We’ve had to get creative in order to find a place for all of our stuff, and we feel so much better when the room is picked up and organized. Find what works for you and your space. It doesn’t have to look like a room out of Better Homes & Gardens. It just has to be functional.
Ready for the room tour?
Don’t judge us. This room is functional… but it isn’t really beautiful. It’s still purple from my middle school color obsession. Yes, the ceiling is purple too. It would be a really cute room if we didn’t have so much stuff to keep in it.
We have a ton of pillows on our bed because I sleep in a nest. The bed is on risers so that we have storage underneath. At the foot of the bed, we have a trunk with sentimental items (and all of my shoes on top) and our clothes hamper. Yes, I know. I need to do laundry.
This is his side of the bed. Obviously, the bookshelf holds books, games, and other things, with some cute knick-knacks thrown in. He keeps his baseball hats on the top of the bookshelf. The media shelf to the right holds all of our CD’s, DVD’s, & games. The tubs contain various things that we don’t have a place for and act as a bedside table where he keeps his laptop. Also along this wall are his djembe drum, our tent, and his shoes. (It’s cramped quarters, but functional.)
This is the other corner on his side of the bed. We have our desk (which is really just storage and a place for the printer). As you can see, we have things stored under and around the chair and in all of the drawers. His golf clubs are in the corner, along with his two most-worn hats and our vacuum cleaner.
This is our view from the bed. You can see that our TV sits on a mini-fridge. Not your typical entertainment center, but once again…. it’s functional. His barbell, an umbrella, and a poster tube are next to the door and tucked out of the way. The door never hits them. We keep all of our towels and robes on the rack on the back of the door to the hallway, and his belts hang on the door handle to our closet. No, you can’t see inside of our packed closet. I have to draw the line somewhere.
This is the wall on my side of the bed. We’ve got four tubs stacked containing camping gear, winter clothes, and miscellaneous items. Next to that, I have my guitar and our camping stove. Then, you can see that we have a pretty extensive (and ugly) pantry shelf for storing our food. And of course, lots of drawers for clothes and our toiletries. And then, you can just barely see my pile of bags, bras, and hats because there just isn’t another place that keeps them all corralled. You can’t see my hideous makeshift bedside table, but trust me… it’s jankety. But, it does provide a place for the remote controls, my laptop, a few pens, and my planner.
I rarely let people inside of our room because I know it looks like we are hoarders. But that’s one of the sacrifices we are making in order to save money for our dream house. Yes, the only gaps along our walls are where the vents are located, but we live in a functional (albeit ugly) room that is helping us save hundreds of dollars every month. And living in close quarters has actually been good for our relationship. There are challenges to living with your parents when you are a super-grown adult, but they are worth it in my opinion. And while it isn’t for everyone, it is for us. We’re happy and so grateful for the opportunity that we have to live here. (Thanks Mom & Rick!)
Looking for a House?
If you are looking to purchase a home, you should definitely check out the Capital One Home Loans Online Neighborhood. The microsite covers all stages of the home buying process – from deciding whether now is even the right time to buy and how much home you can afford to the documents you need to apply for a mortgage.
So what’s the most creative thing you’ve done to save up for your dream house? Comment below. I’d love to hear some great ideas.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.
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