On Christmas Eve 2013, at the grand old age of 31, I moved back in with my mum and dad. I’d been in a houseshare for a year and a half, but one of the girls was moving away and the other was moving in with her boyfriend, and when I talked through my options with my mum, she started trying to convince me to move back in. I really didn’t want to. I get on absolutely fine with my parents – they’re lovely, supportive people – but living under the same roof as them just isn’t COOL, especially at my age. It’s more than that though – I’d become used to having my own space and freedom, and I knew things would be different when I moved back.
My mum is desperate for me to some day own my own place, so we struck up a deal; that if I saved a certain amount in a year, she would match it. It was both generous and awesome, and what’s more it was achievable. I fought it for a little bit, but inevitably gave in because I realised it would make a huge difference to my life.
So, a year on, I’m not ready to buy a place yet. But I am in a much better place, financially. I know that if I run out of money before the end of the month, I’ll be ok. I have no credit card debt any more. I have a new car. And I have an ISA with five figures inside it.
Most importantly, I’ve learnt to budget and to save. I weirdly enjoy going through my budget spreadsheet and seeing my savings build up, and working out where they’ll be in a year. Saving some of my wages every month is just a given now, and as someone who was permanently broke no matter how much she earned, I’m happy and amazed to have cracked it.
It hasn’t been that easy. I've struggled with the loss of freedom. For instance, at my parents’, I don’t feel like I can leave dirty plates out on the side. I would never lounge on the sofa in my pyjamas for an entire Sunday. I have to let them know if I’m going to be out all night. They eat my food. I eat their food. They get a little offended when I don’t want to talk about my day. It’s never got too much to bear, but sometimes it’s a bit irritating. But I feel guilty complaining about it though - I really haven't spent a lot of time here this year as I've had Matt's flat just up the road to escape to, and I know I'm lucky to have been given this opportunity and to have supportive parents.
Buying a place of my own probably won’t happen until 2016 now. As much as I could save even more if I stayed at home another year, I don’t want to. A year has been plenty, and I have a handsome young flatmate lined up to rent with next month, so I’m more than ready to fly the nest again. I’ve moaned about living at home quite a bit this year, but for anyone who has their finances in a muddle and is considering it, I can’t recommend it enough. I really feel like it’s set me up for life, and I think that’s pretty damn amazing.