Yes, I pay rent when living at home and I think it is the right thing to do.
No, the money is not going back to me sometime in the future. My folks are not holding it for safe-keeping for me.
Two main reasons:
1. I am a working adult who has a job and I am using their space.
If I am contributing to the monthly utility bill, eating food, and utilizing a room that they could have rented out, I think it is only fair that I pay my share. My folks are paying for the monthly mortgage and groceries, so it is not like they are skipping out on paying their part of living expense.
2. Teaches me to live realistically.
Because I am paying rent already, my monthly expenditures already have a buffer for rent. If I were to move out, it would not be as much as a shock to my budget as not having paid it at all. I am use to living with a certain amount of disposable income after basic needs are accounted for.
All in all, there is a sense of pride of being independent and self-reliant because of my own finances.
February 2018, DONE.
Now, I only have $1 800 left to pay in March. This has been a long time coming and I can’t believe that now I can say I only have ONE MORE PAYMENT TO GO.
I think I’m finally okay with being alone again.
I realized this on Valentine’s Day, probably the cheesiest time to hit this kind of epiphany, but I swear, it was that day. I was suppose to have a date on February 15th, but they bailed on me. Instead, in a surprising turn of events, I ended up having dinner with a VP from my company. We discussed industry trends, company life, and my career aspirations over a great Mediterranean meal.
The evening turned out to be a lot better than I had originally planned and I thought about this.
“Would I have been able to take such a spontaneous opportunity if I had a commitment to a partner?”
We went our separate ways and I stood waiting for my late train at the subway station. I have not seen so much innocent PDA ranging from putting one’s arm protectively around the other’s shoulder, or giving loving pecks on the lips and forehead. These actions made me smile. I didn’t know I was until I caught it myself.
I didn’t see these actions with envy. I was genuinely happy for them. There was no feeling of needing someone myself to join the festivities. I’m standing just fine on my own and doing things on my time. That is the kind of freedom I had from being single for so long. You don’t have to think about an extension of yourself. Sounds a bit selfish, but being single means I can make decisions without accounting for another’s feelings or opinions – have 100% focus on my own development.
At this point of my life, that’s exactly what I need and want.
Mint. Adaptu. HelloWallet. All great budget and spending apps.
I will still keep all my physical receipts, manually input my expenses, and plan out my budget through the good ole Excel spreadsheet.
Why though? Why make an extra step in your weekly routine to do book-keeping?
Because I want to literally be hands-on with my money when I keep tapping my cards. Apps are great because they compile everything for you in a nice diagram to see where you are spending the most. However, when handling receipts and logging it in individually yourself, this truly gives you the pain of how every little purchase adds up.
When everything becomes digitized, it is much easier to be disconnected from your cash flow. Looking at every receipt from my purchases that week forces me to revisit regretful purchasing decisions and think before another impulse buy. Editing my spreadsheet keeps personal finance top-of-mind, and prevents me from having a passive attitude towards it.
And another one bites the dust.
I never thought that I would be able to say this. Now, there is only $3,600 remaining of my $28,300 student loan!
My goal is to pay it off by my 24th birthday in March, making the payback period a little less than two years since I graduated in June 2016.
This journey has honestly not been smooth sailing. I remember moving back home from university, after an unsuccessful recruiting season (AKA not finding a full-time, salaried job), and being incredibly overwhelmed by the sheer number of it. Even when I started working and paying it off, it seemed like no matter how much money I chucked at it each month, the number never went down significantly. $28,300… $27,200… $25,800…
I was upset, thinking that I was not getting ahead or living my fullest life in my early 20s. Seeing classmates and friends moving out of their parents’ house to live downtown or travelling to amazing adventures made me incredibly envious and resentful. On top of that, I was, and still am, commuting almost four hours a day from nowhere to get to work, in order to save money on rent. Knowing that a large portion of my paycheck was automatically locked up each month is not a pleasant feeling.
Eventually, I came around to figuring out what I can do to make me happy and enjoy the journey. Still didn’t make it any easier, just a little more enjoyable. Finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel has never felt so satisfying.