We’re living a cliche: Our daughter – who graduated from college in May – is living in our basement.
When you hear that do you picture a kid eating Doritos and watching Netflix all day? Yeah, same here.
But on the contrary, Lindsey’s gainfully employed and she actually moved home at our suggestion. It seemed like a good opportunity to let her ease into the world of adult money matters without taking on a rent payment right out of the gate.
(As a side note it worked perfectly into my plan to have her return home at the same time her brother was getting ready to go to college. I know an empty nest is inevitable, but our excellent family planning a/k/a dumb luck means I don’t have to face it quite yet.)
In addition to keeping expenses low, having her at home has made it easy for us to help her navigate some of her first financial decisions, post college. Here are some she’s tackled so far.
Room and Board
Her room and utilities are on us. We’re not asking her to pay rent, although she is putting the equivalent of a rent payment into savings each month so that she knows what making that kind of a payment feels like. The bonus is that she’ll have a nice financial cushion available when she does decide to move out.
And food has been a non-issue. She makes her own grocery store runs, but she’s welcome to eat our food too.
Lindsey already had a crash course in the economics of health insurance when our family switched to a high deductible policy plus an HSA at the first of the year. That change took a little adjusting for all of us.
And it turns out that being able to fluently speak the language of deductibles, out-of-pocket maximums, and preferred provider networks came in handy as she waded through her insurance options at her new job. Once she did that, she and I compared the costs of the various work policies to the cost of her staying on our family’s plan, and she opted for one of the work policies.
(Confession: she had double coverage for a month or so because I wanted to be double, triple sure her work coverage was in force before I dropped her from our plan. I’m not going to lie: not providing your child’s health insurance for the first time in 22 years is a weird feeling.)
Lindsey’s car is a paid-for Saturn Vue that my husband and I bought for her used when she was in high school. Lindsey’s always paid for her own gas, but now we’re handing over the other costs of car ownership to her too.
When the property tax bill for her car came this month – all $96 of it – we passed that along to her. We also made arrangements for her part of the auto insurance premium to be billed to her separately.
As far as repairs, we’re kind of holding our breath. Honestly? I wouldn’t be opposed to her buying a new or new-to-her car. Something modest, but a late model with a reliable track record.
But she loves her car. Really loves it. And it hasn’t given us a lot of trouble, all things considered.
One thing you might have noticed as I write about these expenses she’s taking over, is that we, her parents, are getting a bit of a raise. That’s true, and it’s nice, although it’s all being sent down I-70 from Kansas City to Saint Louis University.
But there is one part of having her home that I’m really enjoying: she’s a built-in dog sitter. It makes going out of town or even taking a staycation that much easier.