College students and other young American adults must decide whether they want to live at home or live on their own in an apartment. At first glance, living at home might appear to offer the most benefits. However, there are independence, credit building and design and lifestyle advantages to living in an apartment that many people do not get when they live at home.
When you live at home, you do not have to pay rent unless your parents ask for it. You also generally do not have to worry about buying groceries or helping with utility bills and other household expenses. Apartment living does not afford these same luxuries. In addition to paying for rent, groceries and utilities, you also must generally pay for cable and Internet access. Of course, you will probably also incur the expense of buying furniture, linens and other household items.
You are in charge when you live at your own apartment. Unless you have a roommate, there is generally no one to tell you what time to go to bed, get up in the morning or when to clean your home. Friends can stay over late and you can choose the forms of entertainment you will engage in. On the other hand, if you live at home, you might have to ask your parents if friends can come over and stay late. Depending on your parents, you also might have to arrive home at a certain time of the evening.
Style and Design
Apartment living allows you to decorate your living space with furniture that appeals to you. Some apartments also let you paint. Living in your own apartment gives you the chance to get creative and express yourself in your home. However, when it comes to living at home you might not get to put your own design style in every room. For instance, over the years, one or more of your parents have probably picked out furniture, carpet and other decor to suit their tastes. Although you might have gotten to offer your input when it came to choosing a new living room or bedroom suite, your parents likely had the final say.
Responsibility for bills, cleanliness and the overall maintenance of your home are required when you live in an apartment. Additionally, you generally must sign a lease with your landlord before you rent an apartment. Not only must you pay your rent by a certain date, you must also adhere to other items outlined in the lease agreement. For example, if you have a pet, you are responsible for cleaning up after the pet and ensuring it does not disturb neighbors. If you live at home, you can also have responsibilities. However, if you do not complete them due to illness or time constraints, another family member might complete them for you. For example, if you are responsible for mowing the lawn and you get ill with the flu, your parents might mow the lawn for you. When you live in an apartment, you must generally complete your responsibilities regardless of how you feel or work out an alternate arrangement with your landlord.
Each time you pay your rent and your utilities on time, you build credit. Over time, a strong credit rating can help you to get approved for an auto loan, a house or another purchase you want to make. Unless you have bills placed in your name while you live at home, you do not build credit when you live with your parents.