Budget Living

Etiquette – Living at Home to Save: Who Pays the Bills?

It’s an uncomfortable fact for the millennial generation that rent is increasingly expensive and having a room all of one’s own is aspirational for many, never mind an entire house. It comes as no surprise that according to the Office for National Statistics, in 2016 25% of adults aged 20-34 were still living with their parents, some out of choice to avoid paying rent while they save to buy, and some out of necessity. If you’re a part of the percentage of adults with a full time job but still living at home, your parents may be expecting you to contribute and all of you wondering how to navigate the issue of who pays the bills. Should you be splitting things equally or should your parents be helping you out so you can save?

Money and living at home

Many adults still living at home do so because there isn’t any other option. Their income may not cover the costs of renting, whether that’s an entire place or a room in shared accommodation. Another reason for living at home among millennials is to fast-track the process towards saving a deposit to buy a property. In this scenario, any penny saved is a step closer to flying the nest. In both these situations the reason for living at home comes down to one thing; a shortage of available money.

Image of man living at home with mum

This state of affairs can mean that being expected to fork out to live in a home you lived in for free while growing up can seem incredibly unfair. After all, if your parents could afford to pay for you for all those years what’s changed now? And if the whole point of you moving home is so that you can save, then isn’t giving money to your parents counterproductive?

Related: 20 Stress-Free Ways To Save Money In Your Home

The parental point of view

On the other hand, if you’re working full time and earning a wage, why should your parents continue to pay for you? They may consider that your lodging, food and other bills should not be paid for by someone else when you are earning, especially when those people have their expenses to account for. There are more than a few parents who decide to not charge their children. This can be because they simply don’t want to or because they believe this will mean their children can save more quickly and therefore be out of the nest sooner. Freelance writer Melissa is of this opinion, stating that if she had not had to pay rent when she had to move back home she would not have had to scrape by; ‘I lived with my mom for 2.5 years. At $200 a month, that is $6,000 I paid her. If she had set that money aside and given it to me before I went to grad school, I could have saved myself an additional $6,000 in student loans’.

Image of someone saving for a home

However, for the majority of parents having no money coming your way can seem just a little unfair when you’re providing a roof, food, water, warmth and laundry. Every situation is different but asking your children to part with some of their income to help you out isn’t unreasonable, and can help them to adjust to the budget they’ll have to play with when they eventually gain their freedom.

So how much then?

If you’re living at home or are a parent negotiating this situation then working out how much rent to pay is a thorny issue. There’s no right answer to this question and having a talk between you will help to come to a solution that seems fair to both parties. Taking into account both your financial situations is integral to making an informed decision, as well as the reasons why your child lives with you. If they’re saving for a house, then even though they can afford to pay their way, it could impact their rate of saving. However, if they’re living with you because they are struggling with money, then you may need to find an alternative solution.

One solution is to ask for the equivalent of the going rate for rent in your area. For this your child not only has a room, but also food and bills included, meaning they’re already saving money. Or you could ask they pay a set sum per week. Anything from £25 to £100 per week is bound to make an impact on your finances as well as teaching them that nothing comes for free. If you are not actually in need of this money then what you then choose to do with this is up to you. Some parents save some, or even all, this money without their child’s knowledge. This can then go towards their much coveted first home, or rental deposit.

Image of man hoovering

If your child is living at home and can’t afford to pay you money, then an alternative arrangement can help to avoid feeling as if they’re taking you for a ride. For example, your child could be responsible for doing the weekly food shop, cleaning the house or doing the laundry. Reece Lerman, who lives with his father, lives rent-free but contributes to the utility bills as agreed with his father. Whatever your decision make sure it’s a solution you’re both happy with – after all, we’re all reasonable adults!

Are you living at home or a parent getting used to having your children back under the parental roof? Let us know how you managed the problem of splitting the bills.

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