I read an article today on USA Today about friends and family moving in together to save money during the rough economic times. It got me thinking whether this trend is because the economy isn’t great and unemployment is higher than usual, or if it’s because people are moving back to the “old days” when we seemingly wanted to be closer to our loved ones? Maybe people just want to save money, but it could also be a change in the way that we want to live.
From 2005 to 2009, family households added about 3.8 million extended family members, from adult siblings and in-laws to cousins and nephews. Extended family members now make up 8.2% of family households, up from 6.9% in 2005, according to Census data out this week.
Since the start of the 20th century, there has been a trend that less generations have lived together under one roof and families have lived further away from each other. In the 1800’s and early 1900’s, it was common for multiple generations to live under the same roof or at least on the same property. Now, it’s less acceptable to let your parents move in with you when they’re older. Siblings as roommates in their twenties or thirties, yeah right! Not only do we not like living with our families, but we don’t like living near them either. Maybe the families in the USA Today article have the right idea; whether it’s for economic reasons or not, there are definite financial benefits to at least living near your family.
1. You can get free or reduced fee child care. You probably shouldn’t assume that your mom and dad will become your full-time nannies for free, but if they have a nice nest egg, they might watch your kid for free. That could save you anywhere from $600 to $1200 a month!
2. You’ll spend less on entertainment. I’ve noticed that when I am closer to good friends and family, we tend to spend less money on entertainment. Instead, we have people over for dinner, we spend holidays together, and we do more outdoor activities with loved ones.
3. You’ll spend less on transportation and parking. Think about all of the times you spend money to get to and from an airport or think about all of the tasks that an extended family member could do for you if you were all working together.
I’ll be honest, moving my parents into my house doesn’t seem like something I could do, but my wife and I have already talked to my mother about moving to our city when the baby is born so she can help out with child care a few days a week and so we can help her out with whatever she needs. What are your thoughts on this? Is anyone currently rooming with a best friend or a family member to save money? Do you feel like you save money by sticking close to family?
(photo credit: ymca columbia)