One of my proudest moments of my financial history was the day that my partner and I, at 26, bought a house.
At times it was incredibly tough – we both worked casually so our incomes varied each week and we were both studying at university. But there were things that made it easier- living at home and not paying board as neither set of parents would accept any money from us.
Some would attribute our ability to save $30,000 in 10 months only to the fact that we lived at home and truthfully a large part of our savings plan was that. So whilst that made it financially easier, it didn’t mean it was socially and emotionally easy.
Saving itself wasn’t difficult but making that choice to not do something so you could save extra money was. I can’t tell you how many after work drinks, birthdays, dinners out and just general catch ups I missed out on because I made the choice to save that money instead of spending it. My partner and I rarely went out during this time, opting instead to cook and do a movie night. I felt socially isolated as none of my friends had similar financial goals but looking back I’m so glad I made those choices – I don’t remember what I did last week so I imagine what happened on those nights out would be long gone from my memory.
I won’t say living at home didn’t have its perks – my grandmother lived with my family for the year before I moved out so there was always food cooking, the house work was split pretty evenly between myself and my parents yet I still had a place to call my own when I needed it. But I did miss out on experiences relating to living on your own or even learning to navigate housemates.
There are also a number of connotations that come with living at home that you need to put up with – that you’re lazy, you sponge off your parents, you have no independence etc and hey, I’m sure for some people it’s true. For me, I didn’t feel this way. I knew I pulled my weight around the house, I contributed to expenses where I could without my mama yelling at me and I was able to do as I pleased, quite frankly I was probably a lot more independent than some people who lived on their own but it was difficult reconciling what I felt about myself and what I felt others felt about me.
I hated that friends would go on about how lucky we both were to still be living at home because we had no responsibilities. I hated that they would guilt trip me when the majority had the opportunity to live at home too. But they chose to move out early and rent. It would frustrate me to no end when these same people would bemoan that they’d never be able to afford a house deposit but chose to rent in a very expensive suburb in a house much too large for what they require. If they really wanted to, they could have moved and easily saved themselves at least $600 a month so all I can think is that at that point in their lives, a deposit was a “future me” goal and something to complain about and not a priority.
But each to their own. I used to feel a slight twinge of shame about how I didn’t struggle to come up with a deposit and truthfully sometimes I still do feel a bit guilty about it but now I mostly own it. My partner and I made the choice that was right for us in order to reach a long term goal. In the end we were able to achieve it quickly and relatively easily by being ok not having the same things as those around us.