Whether you’re a recent college graduate or are leaving Mom and Dad’s to head to college for the first time, it’s tough to give up the comfort of your home. In fact a Pew Research Center study released in mid-2012 revealed that 42% of adults ages 18-29 who graduated college live with their parents. You are saving money by living at home even if you’re not consciously thinking about it. From putting a roof over your head, to paying for the electricity that powers your technology all hours of the day, your parents invest more into your “nesting” than you might realize.
But there comes a time in life when you must make the move—and it’s better to be financially ready, than to leave your parents’ house only to gain financial burdens you weren’t prepared to handle. Fortunately, God’s Word provides clear, practical guidelines you should consider if it’s time to leave the nest. In short, be wise, be content and be a good steward of your money and what God has given you.
Be wise. Are you ready to leave your parents’ house? While it’s important to move out eventually, leaving the nest prematurely could propel you into a financial disaster. Before you move out and begin paying rent at your own place, ask yourself: Do you have enough money to cover a catastrophic emergency and rent for a few months if you lost your income? If you’re sure it’s time to make the move, discipline yourself with spending by carefully comparing your income with bills you must pay and essentials you must purchase. Consider downloading a free budgeting tool to ensure you get started on the right foot. If you are disciplined with your spending from the get-go, it will be easier to stick with your plan down the road. As Proverbs 19:20 says, Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise.
Be Content. Going from living with your parents to living on your own can cause feelings of discontentment, especially if you were accustom to living a certain way and you are forced to make changes due to a restricted budget. Learn to be content and thankful for what you do have, and avoid comparing your situation with others’. As Hebrews 13:5 says, Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you: never will I forsake you.”
When you are content with what God has provided, it’s easier to avoid spending money on unnecessary items, and you’ll find yourself more gracious for what God has provided.
Be A Good Steward. Biblical stewardship stems from the idea that we’re entrusted with the money God has given us, and therefore should take care, save and spend it wisely. There are many practical ways to be a good steward of your money. Start by simply tracking it, noting where you are spending it and what you are purchasing. You can also go into “pretend play” mode while still residing at your parents. Try working with your parents to create a scenario where you are required to pay for rent, bills and even groceries, so you can more easily grasp how much living on your own will cost. This will help you learn to spend responsibly in a hands-on way, as you will be required to pay bills each month and stay out of debt. Being a good steward means growing the money God has given you and using it to help others, but never falling in love or into an obsession of having money.
Leaving the nest to move to your own place opens windows of opportunities to be wise and content about your finances. Planning for your financial future now, even by reading what God’s definition of financial stewardship is and learning how to act upon his Word, will prepare you for living on your own. When Paul was providing counsel to Timothy in 1 Timothy 6:17 he said, “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.” Above all, place your hope in God, who will continue to provide whether or not you opt to leave the nest.
Steve Smith is the Chief Executive Officer of Mvelopes and Money4Life Coaching, as well as the author of Money for Life: Successful Money Management and Financial Fitness in Just 12 Weeks! and the Money for Life Success Planner: A 12-Week Companion to Achieve Financial Fitness. He has strong strategic and tactical business skills and combines them with a passion to develop products and services that make a positive difference in people’s lives.
Publication date: July 5, 2013