7 Tips for Boomerang Kids

It can be a bumpy transition to return home to mom and dad, but there are seven ways to make the transition easier.

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It’s becoming more common for young adults to take on the label of “boomerang kids”—adult children who move back home with their parents due to career or financial difficulties. It can be a bumpy transition to return home to mom and dad, but here are seven ways to make the transition easier.

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A group of college students use a laptop computer in a university classroom.

1. Set a Time Limit

Think about why you are back home. Is it because you haven’t gotten a job yet? Because you are trying to save up enough money to get started on your own? Or is it because your parents let you come home so you could save money for a down payment on a house? Whatever your reason for moving home, come up with a timeline for how long it will take you to accomplish your goals and move out. Setting a time limit will allow both you and your parents to see a light at the end of your boomerang tunnel.

2. Discuss Expectations

Before moving back in with your parents, sit down and discuss expectations. Will you have a curfew? Do they expect you to pay rent? When it comes to meals, do you need to buy your own food or help foot the bill for groceries? Are you allowed to have guests over? By discussing expectations before you move back home, there will be no confusion about rules, and you will be able to coexist peacefully with your parents.

3. Contribute!

Even if their expectations for you don’t include cleaning the house or making dinner, by stepping up and cleaning the kitchen when you see it’s dirty or cooking dinner once a week, your parents will be much happier to have you back at home. Who knows, maybe if you step up and contribute beyond what is expected, they’ll be more lenient with you if you aren’t able to meet the “leave the nest” time limit you set for yourself when you moved back in.

4. Spend Time with Your Parents

As your parents get older, the reality that life is short hits home more and more. Consequently, most parents will see their kid moving back in as a perfect opportunity to spend more time with them. So do it! Eat dinner with them once a week. Watch your mom’s favorite TV show with her. Go fishing with your dad. They will appreciate it, and you will too—even if it’s not immediately.

5. Save, Don’t Spend

By moving home, you will be spending less money than you would be if you were out on your own. Don’t use this as a free pass to take a bunch of vacations, spend more than you should on a new car, or blow your money at the bar every weekend. Your parents are doing you a huge favor by letting you move home. Take advantage of their generosity, and save as much as you can.

6. Move Towards Your Goals

It might be tempting to get comfortable back at your parents. It’s easy to fall back into old patterns that include sleeping in late, hanging out with friends constantly, and partying until the crack of dawn. But you’ll want to think about your goals each day and take steps towards achieving them. If you are looking for your first job, make sure you spend time every day job hunting. If you are trying to save up enough money to be able to move out on your own, consider taking on part-time work to save extra money. Whatever your goals are, make sure you continue moving towards them daily.

7. Realize It's OK

While you may feel odd moving back in with your parents after college, recognize that returning to the nest can sometimes be a good thing. While your friends are out spending money on rent and may be living with roommates they don’t get along with in a tiny apartment, you are living in a house you are comfortable in, and you’re saving money! There is nothing wrong with being frugal and saving up your hard-earned money to give yourself a head start in the game of life.

What advice do you have for boomerang kids? Share your tips in the comment section!

Ashley Jacobs is a columnist for the personal finance blog Wise Bread—a great resource of savings advice for college students and recent graduates.