It's not unusual to live with your parents a couple years after you've graduated from college. In fact, when I tell people I live at home, they remark how lucky I am to not have to pay rent. Despite all these pros to living with my parents, it can be hard to feel like an adult when you still sleep in your childhood bedroom at the end of the day. As a 20-something that has hit some of her milestones (graduating, getting a job, paying bills), it seems that the one task left unfinished was moving out.
My desire to move out stems from wanting complete autonomy and a place I can call my own. But because it's not financially smart to leave home just yet, I had to find other ways to feel more independent. Little acts like buying my own groceries (as if I lived alone) or paying my credit card bills gave me a sense of responsibility. I've realized for anyone who still lives at home with their parents that if you make an effort to be as self-sufficient as you can, you'll start to feel like a grown-up. Ahead, I've complied a list of 17 tips for adulting that everyone should try at least once.
1. Make your own lunch or dinner a few times a week: The benefit of living at home is always having a home-cooked meal. Instead of relying on your parents to make you food, however, learn how to cook your favorite meals. Start small by prepping your own lunch for work or making breakfast. You'll find that this simple change in routine will make you feel more independent.
2. Wash the dishes: It's easy to think, "Mom and Dad will do the dishes," but washing them as if you lived alone (and had no one else to do it for you) will get you in the habit of cleaning up after yourself. Also, your parents will appreciate not having to come back home to your cereal bowl from the morning.
3. Manage your own finances: If you have a job or internship that pays, keep your money separate from your parents'. Whether that means opening up your own savings account or credit card, you should separate your bills from the household's. Also familiarize yourself with topics such as 401(K)s and IRAs. To get started, check out these apps that will get your finances in order.
4. Schedule your own doctor's appointments: The first sign of becoming an adult is when you have to schedule your doctor's appointments and go alone. This includes picking up your own prescriptions.
5. Do your own laundry: Somehow your mom always ends up doing your laundry after you tell her you'll do it yourself. Once you see the hamper getting full, take the initiative to wash your clothes. Bonus points if you do your parents' laundry too.
6. Clean your room: There will come a time when it's embarrassing for your parents to still be cleaning your room. Make the conscious effort to pick up your room once a week. This will also prevent unwanted parental intrusions.
7. Text your parents if you plan to be out late: Since you still live at home, your parents will check on you from time to time. Sending a quick text or giving them a call when you won't be home for a while will ease their worries (aka your phone won't blow up with "where are you?" messages). Don't, however, let them impose a curfew. Sit down with your parents to discuss your comings and goings so they know the plan.
8. Invite friends over for gatherings or a small party: When you were little, inviting friends over while you parents were still home was totally normal. But, as a 20- or 30-something, you probably want some more privacy with your friends. Send your parents away for the weekend on a nice trip and then feel free to throw a little fete with your close friends.
9. Offer to help your parents with small tasks: Take on some responsibilities like buying groceries, cleaning the house, or whatever else your parents need. Not only should you do this for your parents, but they'll see that you've grown up from your high school days.
10.Have a space where you can retreat for alone time: The worst thing about having a roommate (or living with your parents) is not having a space all to yourself. Carve out a spot in your home where you know you won't be disturbed. If that's not possible, consider relocating to a library or coffee shop when you just want to be out of the house.
11. Take your parents out to dinner: Treat your parents to a nice dinner every once in a while. Not only is it refreshing to dine in a different setting, but also there are no dirty dishes to worry about. Your parents spend so much time taking care of you, it'll feel good to be able to do something nice for them.
12. Pay the bills: If you have a full-time job and are able to, offer to pay some of the bills your parents normally handle. This will take a load off their shoulders and it's good practice for when you have to pay for your own bills.
13. Walk the dog: This might be something you already do, but if you have a pet, walk them.
14. Shop by yourself with your own money: The next time you and your mom go shopping together, do pay for your own clothes or even your mother's. Your mom has been footing your closet bill for long enough.
15. Pay for your own gym membership: Like shopping, paying for your own gym membership is a given. Especially, if your parents don't even work out with you.
16. Invest in your own TV: You'll be able to watch and record the shows you want without bothering your parents. They can watch the Discovery Channel while can you binge watch The Bachelor on ABC in your room without any complaints.
17. Set aside money for a future apartment or house: The biggest pro of still living with your parents is that you can actually save money. Putting aside a portion for your salary will keep you motivated and focused on the day when you can finally move out.