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Jul
21

Tara’s on a Budget: Living at home isn’t so bad

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My parents (aka my roommates) may beg to differ, but living at home really is not that bad, especially for a money-conscious college student like myself.

When it came time to go away to college, leaving the nest just didn’t seem like the best decision for me. I was unsure of who I was as a person, and what I wanted out of my education. I decided that going to a nearby community college was probably the best bet for me. It gave me time to figure out what path I wanted to take, and helped me realize what I wanted out of my education.

At times living at home was hard. Many of my friends went away to school and I was forced to make new friends. Community Colleges attract commuters, typically with busy off-campus lives. Unlike university campuses, the community college campus doesn’t offer many opportunities to be social and meet new friends. Regardless, or perhaps because of the difference, it did teach me about myself. Being away from everything I once knew helped me discover who I was and the things I like.

Living at home may not be the most fun, or may not be the college experience you are looking for, but it should be considered by those who are trying to save money. I am very lucky, because my so called roommates don’t make me pay for rent, car payments, or food, which gives me a chance to get ahead of the game and save money.

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One of my very good friends goes to school in Chicago and lives in an apartment with two other girls. After the rent is divided up, her share of the rent for one year is $12,500. Shockingly, the dorms were even more expensive, costing $13,000 to $14,000 a year. Yes, I am sure there are cheaper options for my friend’s living situation, but she spends a significant amount of money to live in a place she likes and feels comfortable in.

It is so crucial to evaluate all aspects of a college before attending, because if you don’t you could potentially be setting yourself up for many years of debt. In simpler terms, if you do not have money to afford $30,000 on school, $12,000 on rent, and other expenses, you probably shouldn’t go there.

Recently, iontuition launched ionMatch, which helps students decide which school is best for them based on their goals and circumstances. It allows you to compare schools by price, average debt at graduation, salary data on exactly what real graduates actually earn, and more. Look for more from me on this helpful topic!

Like living at home, the choices you make are all about thinking realistically. I believe the problem with today’s generation of students is that they don’t understand the value of a dollar, and how much $30,000 in debt can affect someone’s life. If you want to go to a more expensive school you should consider alternative ways to save money, like living at home.

We should always differentiate our wants from our needs. For example, you need a college degree but you want a swanky apartment. You don’t need that apartment but you want that apartment. If you are having trouble trying to decide if you need or want something, just ask yourself these questions:

If I don’t have it, how will it affect my life? Can I live without it?

That is why I am a big supporter of living at home. As fun as being away from home seems, I’d rather not be faced with debt of $30,000, maybe even more, in my first few years of school. I’m not ashamed to say that yes, my parents are my roomies and I do live at home because in a few years when college is all said and done, I will be graduating with significantly less debt than the majority of my peers.


As Blogger and budget aficionado, Tara K. helps students across the country enhance their knowledge about money management and everyday  life. She is constantly looking for new ideas to transform into great advice for you. Pursuing a journalism major, Tara K. has a  passion for the art of inquiry, which is conveyed through her writing.

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