How to move to a cool area when you're young and broke and nervous
August 14, 2010 1:50 PM   Subscribe

Doing my first house/apartment room hunting experience out of college and sort of unclear on the craigslist etiquette AND if I should even be looking. Would really appreciate input and advice. This is really long because I ramble...but I SWEAR it's good!

So I'm looking for a room in a house/apartment so that I can be a little bit closer to my job and out of my parents house, since I'm starting to feel like living at home is just making me sort of lazy and depressed and anxious. Here are my thoughts/points that will somehow combine to make a series of questions, some of them can be combined to make super-questions. Sorry this is so scatterbrained.

1. I live in a boring suburb outside of an expensive major city and am currently commuting halfway around the loop of said city to get to my job, which is situated in an even more boring suburb outside of the city. It's an awful commute, usually an hour or more each way. I'd like to move to the hip/cool/semi urban walkable area that is about about halfway from my suburb to my job where it is well known that all of the young people go to live so they can be young and have fun. It is on the edge of my city (you probably can guess which city this is) and while I'd like to just live downtown it would be too tough to commute out and possibly make my commute worse. I have always dreamed of living somewhere where I can walk to everything; this place fulfills that dream and allows me to be closer to my job.

2. The problem is that this area, like the rest of the city is so damn EXPENSIVE. I want to live in a fun group living situation with many roommates, but even in this case it's tough to find places for under 900 dollars. While a lot of young people live there, they are still usually 3-10 years older than me and in a different life stage - more mature, more settled in their career. If they are my age -which many of them are - they make double my salary (which is barely 31k) and can support themselves entirely with their prestigious consulting/financial jobs. If I live there, my parents will have to subsidize a small portion of my living expenses like cell phone and car insurance which luckily they are very supportive and would be happy to do (I get along with them great and they just want to see me happy), but I still feel like sort of a baby that doesn't deserve to live on his own yet because mommy and daddy keeps him afloat. I have saved some good money living at home, but still not nearly enough (maybe enough to help me for 3 or 4 months)

3. This makes me feel intimidated by the roommates I've been meeting in my househunt, even if this is something they don't have to know about. I send out a LOT of responses on cragslist to pretty much every good deal that I do find in the area, but like I said, I'll usually show up to find that the people living there will be a little older and more established than me. In the past two cases, I've met them and was shown the house, and they've both looked at me like "so you ARE interested in the house, right?" and while it's the perfect location and (somewhat) affordable (would still need help from parents) I still feel sort of iffy about it because ideally I'd want to live with people my age who are in my life stage as far as experience, income, social lives etc. Still I tell them that I am interested because what am I gonna do, tell them "no I'm just yankin' yer chain"? And then I get really really anxious about them possibly accepting me, which would be flattering but I still sort of don't want to live with them, and there's always someone else who seemed so much better that I still have an appointment to view their apartment and I don't want to rule them out and blah blah blah.

*Long inhale after saying that in one breath*... SO. Here are my questions now that the preface to my novel is out of the way:

- Should I even consider moving out if I really can't afford to completely support myself? Should I just move to an inexpensive area in the boring ass burbs closer to my job? I could, but I'd be so far from all of my friends and would probably just have no life, plus I hate the idea of having to drive a half hour down to the hip young cool area to socialize every time I want to go out. The idea of moving somewhere where the only restaurants near my house are Chilis and TGI Fridays makes me feel depressed and goes against everything I've ever wanted for my post-grad life since I've been in college. I being a brat? Do I suck it up and move where it's a good couple hundred cheaper? Better yet, do I suck it up and stay at home for even longer till I save more money? (It's been about 8 months now and I'm starting to feel like I'm going stagnant)

- Is living with roommates who are older/more experienced than me really a big deal? Should I be concerned about it? I consider myself pretty mature and not loud/messy/fratty/etc, but how would you 25-30 year olds feel if an entry level 22 year old wanted to check out your group apartment? What if you discovered that mom and dad helped him float a little?

- When I meet craigslist prospects in person, what is the etiquette for checking out their place and deciding that I'm not really interested any more once I meet them? What if they email/call me to tell me that I got the room? Do I respond and lie to tell them sorry but I found another place? Also, if you show up to look at a place in the perfect location but you just don't feel like you vibe that well with the people, do I go with my hunch and decide not to live there?

- HOW can I find other young people to live with? How can I find my ideal post-grad living situation, or are my expectations to high? I already made a brief craigslist rooms wanted post (swear it wasn't as long winded as this shit, more like 3 sentences) but got no replies. I'd live with my friends, but they're all already moved out and settled in to their respective living situations, I'm just the friend who lives with his parents now.

Oh man, this is so long but I don't know how else to organize it. I guess the kind of answers I'm looking for are people who will read this monster and be like "holy shit that's long, uh, let me just tell you my experience/general advice" but if you want to try and answer everything then you wold probably be the coolest person in the world.

Also, if you were planning on saying something like "you are too anxious and mentally unfit to be living with roommates" trust me, I sort of agree, but I see a therapist who I really like and respect and he has told me that he thinks moving out would be a big improvement to my life and I think so too.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (21 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
yes, you are a brat in some ways. But I'm speaking as someone who, while my parents paid for tuition, room & board while in college, I was responsible for everything else, and the minute college ended, I was on my own and have been ever since. However, that said, I think it's good that parents these days are willing to help their kids get a foot up.

I think you get to move to the trendy cool place when you can afford it. You can't deal with Chilis being your only restaurant? Um, REALLY? That's the biggest problem you have? C'mon. You work towards your dreams, you dont get them handed to you on a silver platter - or you shouldn't. So find an area that you can afford on your own and live there, save your money, and then in a few years you can move to hipsterville.

I think that moving out will teach you life lessons even if you are being partially subsidized. Be a grownup here and lay out, preferably on paper, exactly what your parents are agreeing to and for how long it will go on - e.g. until you make X, until you can put X amount in the bank, for X amount of time - they may not ask for this but it is better for all of you in the long run if you do put some parameters around their support.

When you meet craigslist prospects in person, if you immediately know you don't want the place, you can say, "You know, thanks, but I can already tell this isn't what I'm looking for, thanks for your time." and then leave. Sane people will appreciate you not wasting their time. If you get a crazy person who's all 'BUT WHY' you can just say "It's just not what I'm looking for, thanks" and then go. You DON'T have to tell them that the 22 cats or the filthy bathroom or the kitchen that looks like a nuclear waste dump or the pristine white living room would drive you nuts - "Just not what I'm looking for" covers it.

Yes, go with your vibe if you don't like the people. Please, please do that.

I might or might not care about the 22 year old being 22 but I will be honest and say that while there are some 22 year olds who are independent and want to be and are at least starting to put their shit together, you aren't presenting like that now. So if you give off ANY of this vibe, someone who already has a life put together isn't going to want to go through your initial angst of being on your own. Other people will just care that you pay the rent.

As for whether they would care that your parents are subsidizing you, I would only care to the extent that it impacted your ability to pay the rent. I might be worried about what happened if they stopped, otoh I might think "cool, so even if anonymous tanks their job, there are parents to pay the rent". I would probably want to talk to the parents - actually I would insist upon it if parental support is part of rent payment. Someone is going to be asking you for some proof that you can pay your rent so at some point it's likely to come up.

How can you find other people to live with? when you call the CL ads, ask them up front: "I'm X age, I'm looking to live with people in my age range, what's the age range in the household?" and then you can save yourself the trip. I would ask your parents to help you write a craigslist ad because if it is even close to what you wrote here, there is no way in hell anyone will ever call you. Sorry. It's just too scattered.

I find it impossible that in whatever town you live in there aren't gazillions of young people in exactly your shoes. Do you have some kind of local alterna-paper? I would try that in addition to CL.
posted by micawber at 2:13 PM on August 14, 2010 [2 favorites]

Should I even consider moving out if I really can't afford to completely support myself?

No. But what do you mean by "can't afford" ? Can you pay $800-$900/month and still cover your other expenses, or not? If not, don't do it: stay at home or try to find something cheaper. If so, do it.

Is living with roommates who are older/more experienced than me really a big deal? Should I be concerned about it? I consider myself pretty mature and not loud/messy/fratty/etc, but how would you 25-30 year olds feel if an entry level 22 year old wanted to check out your group apartment?

Who do you think is visiting those other apartments? It's people around your age. 22-30 is pretty much an all-inclusive demographic. As long as you're employed, know how to clean up after yourself, and have a checking account, most people think, "independent adult who will pay the rent on time." You say how you have friends in the city, so obviously you are getting a chance to socially acclimate yourself to others in your social circle, some of whom might be a few years older, right?

HOW can I find other young people to live with?

You are finding other young people to live with. You just think they're "too old" because you're coming up with excuses to explain why you don't want to move out of your comfort zone.
posted by deanc at 2:17 PM on August 14, 2010

There is something very satisfying, very empowering, very character- and self-esteem building, very adult about standing on your own two feet financially. If I'm reading this right, you're choices are:
1. Live with your parents, and have them pay some/all of your bills.
2. Live on your own.
3. Live with roommates, and have your parents pay some of your bills.

Granted, #2 means a boring neighborhood. But it also means being financially independent and living within your means. My opinion is that's your best choice.
posted by Houstonian at 2:18 PM on August 14, 2010 [4 favorites]

I'm a couple years older than you and have very recently lived in apartments with people your age and a lot of other ages too. I don't think age is really that big of a deal except for when it comes to the things you mentioned, like if someone is still in a frat partyish stage. And even then, that's more of a personality thing than an age thing. Really my biggest concern would actually be more about your maturity around having non-family roommates in general. Communication skills, conflict-resolution skills, things like that. But again, people can have trouble with that at any age.

If you feel weird about living with older people then just ask their ages when you reply to the ad, and if you're worried about how they feel about your age then just tell them your age in your reply, also.

And FWIW, I don't think there's anything wrong with you, at your age, accepting help with the phone bill and minor things like that from your parents, if they are happy to do it from you. But why do you need to tell your roommates about that??? How would they ever know? That's none of their business. If it were me I would never bring it up. Not because there's anything wrong with it, just that there would be no reason at all to discuss it with them.
posted by Ashley801 at 2:31 PM on August 14, 2010

There is nothing wrong with moving out even if you can't support yourself completely. Car insurance can be horribly expensive and it doesn't make you a big baby if your parents have to help you out here and there. I'm not sure that saving more money will help much. Your monthly income is greater than your monthly expenses or it isn't. Savings are important, but they don't change that equation.

Remember that you are looking for roommates - not BFFs. You might be friends with these people and you might never see them. If you move to the fun-n-hip part of the city then you'll be hanging out with your fun-n-hip friends and not with your roommates. It's great to be on good terms with them and it's awesome if you do actually like hanging out, but it's hardly essential. Honestly, I'd be more concerned if my prospective roommates just totally wanted to be buddies and expected to hang out all the time. That sort of thing creeps me out.

If you don't want the place you can say "Thanks, it's just not what I'm looking for right now" or "Thanks, the place is great, but it's a little more than I can afford right now" or "This is kind of at the limit of my budget and I was hoping to get a little more space for the price" or "I didn't realize how far this was from downtown". There is no need to lie and say you found a place. You won't hurt their feelings. Be a good person and tell them in a timely fashion.

I'd try living downtown for a bit. You may find that you really can't afford to do it and have fun at the same time (or you may find that you end up driving a lot anyway) and then you can move to the horrible suburbs, spend less, and drive to the fun (which you can now afford).

Finally: despite your aside, I have absolutely no idea what city you are talking about.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 2:35 PM on August 14, 2010

You're worried about a half an hour drive to the party zone? Dude...that's nothing in most big cities. Hell, in most of the civilized world, with good public transit, it can take an hour to get from the areas where new grads can afford to live, and the cultural center.

I think it's nice that your parents are willing to support you, but I also think they shouldn't have to. 31k is enough to support yourself, although perhaps not in the way you want to be supported.

Hour long commutes suck...Most folks I know are commuting .25 - 1.5 hours each way every day, so it's not uncommon in American cities.

Look, trendy is fun, I get it. But if you're parents are subsidizing your life, it means that you're also not saving anything...which just puts you in this spiral of never being independent.

My opinion: (which will seem harsh, I'm sure)

Act like the grown up you technically are. Move out to someplace you can afford and still be able to save 5-10% of your income. Give your parents a break and allow them to save for retirement. Look for a better paying gig. Realize that 30 minutes to entertainment is no big deal, pretty much anywhere in the United States.

You sound like you're very sweet and nice, but you're also coming across as incredibly self centered and entitled.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 3:16 PM on August 14, 2010

I don't think you'll enjoy living beyond your means; if you're going to move out, make it affordable for yourself.
This has to do with more than rent -people 3-10 years older or who make double your salary are going to have a lifestyle that reflects their means, which means that you'll be surrounded by things you can't afford, and you'll always feel a little out-of-depth.

Having to drive a half hour down to the hip young cool area to socialize is not all that bad if you're saving money for 3-10 years from now when you CAN afford to live there.
posted by Sprout the Vulgarian at 3:35 PM on August 14, 2010

All of your questions depend on one thing - where, exactly, we're talking about. You're anonymous, so I'm going to speak from my experience as someone who did their 20's in New York.

If you work in a suburb, I see no real reason to move into a more expensive urban area merely for the cool factor. Unless you see yourself working in the city/closer to where you want to live in the very near future. For instance let's say that your job is in New Jersey but you want to move to Brooklyn. That's still going to be a hell of a commute, in a addition to not really being able to afford the neighborhood lifestyle and all the other tensions you're overthinking here.

When I was 22 I made the stupid mistake of taking an apartment I couldn't quite afford in Park Slope, Brooklyn, just because I thought that part of town was cool. None of my friends lived in Park Slope. It wasn't really convenient to work or school. And because I could only barely afford the rent, I couldn't afford the stuff people move to any particular neighborhood for (restaurants, shops, bars, etc). Living beyond your means sucks, not only because it makes you a "brat" who has to be all self-conscious about what other people think, but because it's living beyond your means - it's going to be stressful and unfulfilling any way you slice it.

On the other hand, I wouldn't be so worked up over accepting help from your parents if that's what you need to do. A lot of people get financial help in order to move to the city and pursue what they really want to do. It doesn't make you a "brat", per se, and if you were living in whatever trendy area with other bright young things, a lot of the people you met there would be in the same boat. And only a real asshole is going to judge you based on that. Who cares how you get your money? As long as you are respectful of others and understand that not everyone has those resources, it doesn't matter.

I meet a lot of young 20-somethings who still live with their parents in New Jersey or whatever and now have jobs in the city. And I consistently recommend that they take the risk and move here so that they can really experience what it is to live in the big city. Especially if they are creative people - there's something you can get in Bushwick that you just wouldn't be able to take advantage of living in your parents' basement. No matter how financially rewarding said living arrangement might be. But if you don't work in the city yet? Bide your time, find a job in the city if it's something you're interested in, and then move here.

Is living with roommates who are older/more experienced than me really a big deal? Should I be concerned about it? I consider myself pretty mature and not loud/messy/fratty/etc, but how would you 25-30 year olds feel if an entry level 22 year old wanted to check out your group apartment? What if you discovered that mom and dad helped him float a little?

Looking at it from the vantage point of the 25-30 year old roommate - I don't really give a shit where your money comes from. That said, I have seen and heard a lot of horror stories about people my age taking in 21 and 22 year old roommates. Not so much about money, but just that the lifestyle is really different. People who are just getting out of college party later/louder/wilder, tend to use certain substances to excesses that annoy the shit out of people who are more together, be sloppier, have less experience with grownup life, and in general just have a very different outlook. You should be free to be a wild 22 year old druggie who sleeps till 3 in the afternoon and never cleans the toilet or pays the bills, by all means. I certainly did my fair share of that. Just do it somewhere else, where I don't have to be involved!
posted by Sara C. at 3:38 PM on August 14, 2010

There's a reason why most of the people living in those better neighborhoods are 3-10 years older than you. It's because they have put in 3-10 more years worth of work to get there. Shit, I don't even want to talk about how long it's taken me to claw myself into a practically ideal neighborhood in NY. Earn it and you'll appreciate it.

It seems like you are able to support yourself, just not ideally. That's part of life. Your parents presumably worked their asses off to get to where they are. Now it's your turn. So, I think it's time you moved out. Move where you can afford, pay your dues and in 3-10 years you'll be living where you want.

As for finding places to live, it's a numbers game. Apply to as many places as you can, but be ready to strike if you find something nice.
posted by milarepa at 3:40 PM on August 14, 2010

Oh, and re finding a situation that matches what you're looking for - I tend to look for Craigslist ads that go a little above and beyond just describing the apartment and the neighborhood. I look for info about the existing roommate(s), what they're looking for in a new roommate, etc. You can really tell a lot about a place by reading the tone of the ad.

For instance this ad (again, I'm being NYC centric because it's where I live) paints a very different picture as compared to this one.

Thinking about neighborhoods and types of apartments can also help, especially if it's a big city with a diverse range of living options. Someone looking to rent a room in their townhouse apartment in gentrified neighborhood X is going to have very different expectations from someone trying to fill multiple spaces in an industrial loft in Y area which is still somewhat on the fringes. Price range can also be a good indicator, as can the size of the apartment (if I'm looking for a roommate to share my 2 bedroom, and it's going to be a one-on-one deal, I probably want someone a little more together than the person looking for someone to occupy one room in a 5 bedroom house who would be one of 5+ roommates).
posted by Sara C. at 3:50 PM on August 14, 2010

Speaking as a parent of a 20something--what are you spending your money on now? If my kid lived at home (he doesn't, goes to school in Europe) for free, I'd expect him to be saving a big portion of his salary towards moving out--like 75%.

Can you work 2 jobs? Plenty of people do. You could pick up a part time or weekend job that might bring in extra cash, so you can afford to live in the cool place you want.

You might try forming a congenial group of people with whom you'd like to share a house, rather than try to find an existing group house that needs another room-mate.
posted by Ideefixe at 4:27 PM on August 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

Just noticed you mention your salary is 31K. I'm 29, have been out of my parents' house since I was 16, and financially independent since I was 21. I manage to make it work on what you make, and as mentioned above I live in the most expensive city in the US (and in the sort of hip young urban area you aspire to). I highly doubt that your only choices are "live with parents on my current salary" and "live in the city with my friends but have to lean on my parents for help".

I also think that's enough of a salary that you really should not be going to your parents for money, period.

My only caveat to this would be if you have a lot of student debt, in which case, yep, you need to cut back in general and pay that down before you go play in the big city. Even so, you can afford not to live rent free with your parents.
posted by Sara C. at 4:37 PM on August 14, 2010

As far as which city it is: there are many cities that have a "loop" around them that the OP refers to. However, there are only two of those cities that are expensive: Boston and DC. Maybe he's referring to moving to Cambridge or Arlington.

If you want to find a place that's a really good deal, you should ask your friends if they have friends who are looking for roommates. One of the reasons your post is a bit incongruous is that you refer to having friends, who you presumably want to live closer to by making this move, but they don't seem to come into the picture when you talk about finding a place to live-- they should be able to tell you which of their friends are looking for roommates. And what you're looking for is an apartment in a small walk-up building or a group house where rent is going to be low, not sharing a 2 bed/2bath in a luxury high-rise. But at 31k, as long as you don't have crippling loans, this should be possible.
posted by deanc at 4:56 PM on August 14, 2010

I don't think I saw this point made by anyone yet: you say you're worried about The Age Thing, but only from your potential roommates' POV (you don't mind, yourself). Have you mentioned your age when you reply to these ads? The only people who are too old and sophisticated (or whatever) for you won't write you back, so you can assume that anyone who wants to show you their space is cool with you. Besides, I know a lot of 25-30 year-olds who aren't mature or established in their careers (we're friendly).
posted by bah213 at 5:50 PM on August 14, 2010

I'm going to stare into my magic crystal ball and say, with a great dramatic flourish:

You will not have any fun if you move to an awesome neighborhood, but your parents are paying your bills. You will spend all your time alone at home watching TV, because you won't be able to afford anything else. Your roommates will poke fun at you, and possibly take advantage of you if they learn that you're riding the parental gravy train.

Instead, you will find a roommate situation where you can afford to pay all of your bills. This will take some hunting. It will be a place on the fringes of The Cool Neighborhood, but not so far away that you feel lame.

This I have forseen.

*mutters; waves hands over crystal ball for a few more moments*

You will save up money, while working hard to get ahead at your job, and earn a raise. You will be irritated by your roommates, but also learn valuable lessons about how to get along with people.

You will learn how to manage your money wisely, frequently by having to deal with the consequences of doing the exact opposite.

This too, I have forseen.

Soon, soon then you will be able to afford to move into a really shitty apartment in the super fun neighborhood. It will be a great and terrible experience, which will leave you with many stories to tell which are only funny when you look back on them twenty years later.

What happens then? Outlook uncertain; ask again later.
posted by ErikaB at 6:34 PM on August 14, 2010 [5 favorites]

I don't really know what $31k means as an after tax salary in the US. Though it might be useful for you to look at this question about living in Brooklyn on less than this amount - I have no idea from what you have said which city you are talking about.

You should think through a budget and think about your priorities. You can probably have some of what you want and be independent from your parents, but not all of what you want right now. Freedom and independence is a very worthwhile thing, but when you first start out, you have to realise that you can't necessarily have the same standard of living as you would with your parents who have had decades more to get to where they are.

Everyone has to think about priorities and what to put their money into, but your salary will hopefully increase over time. I now clear more than twice as much as when I was working part-time to support my studies and therefore can afford options that I just couldn't have considered before. But when I earned less, I had to think more carefully.

So if living in a cool area is important to you, think about your other costs and whether they are luxuries or necessities.

I understand that car insurance can be expensive - for me, that meant when I was younger, I drove a crappy car and only paid for liability insurance, which was 25% of full insurance. Not sure whose car you are driving, and whether you would still need a car to get to work. But maybe in the hip walkable area, the car becomes a luxury, instead of necessity, so you could think about dropping it, or trading down to something less expensive.

I think that everyone should be able to cover their own cell phone costs. Have a look at the plan you are on, see if you are getting a good deal. Did you bundle an expensive phone? Maybe this is important to you, but think about where it sits in your hierarchy of things that are important to you.

Go through and do a budget, because I think you should be able to afford to live with roommates. After you've had a first try at it, if the numbers don't add up, go through the items and think about what the top priorities are and which things you could drop. Re-do the budget, putting the big things in as required. Also think about how you can get better deals on any of them (ie. shop around for cell phone deals, car insurance). If your parents are happy to chip in still, great.

There are plenty of people out there, you should also be able to find people who are in a similar position to you in terms of age/income to live with. You may find that those people are living in a slightly less 'cool' area (but still with plenty to do/easy access) because of the cost differences.
posted by AnnaRat at 6:48 PM on August 14, 2010

You are an Adult. Act like one.

- Should I even consider moving out if I really can't afford to completely support myself?

Sure, but not to the part of the city you want to live in. And yes, you are being a brat and coming off as being entitled. This is exactly why so many people are in debt: "I can't afford the BMW but I'll buy it anyway because I'll look cool and I'll fit in with the other people my age." Move to a place you can afford, and in a few years you will be able to afford the neighborhood you want.

- What if you discovered that mom and dad helped him float a little?

Nobody that actually paid their way in life will respect you. I worked 40+ hours a week throughout college to pay rent, bills and have a social life and I'm completely annoyed by the people who had their parents pay their way and then still pay their way after they are "on their own". Do yourself a favor now so you can at least tell your future kid(s) that you stood by yourself.

- I want to live in a fun group living situation with many roommates

From personal experience with knowing people in this situation: unless you are a very strong person your personality will be overtaken by the group desires. This ends up making you come off as Frat boy to your co-workers; for a lot of people in this situation that I have known the moment they stepped into a multi-roommate situation the action of going out to bars and clubs until after midnight became more important than being to work on time. Trust me, you do not want to be known as the person at work who is still trying to live in a Frat, your upward mobility will be brought to a screeching halt, so will raises.

And you do come off as entitled, as many out of college folks do right now. Your parents do not owe you anything, but you owe them a lot. Do not tell them you're moving out to give them more space but then immediately ask for money to pay for your new lifestyle.

Good luck. Please do what you can to bring about a positive viewpoint on your age bracket and not further the current one.
posted by zombieApoc at 6:53 PM on August 14, 2010

From personal experience with knowing people in this situation: unless you are a very strong person your personality will be overtaken by the group desires. This ends up making you come off as Frat boy to your co-workers; for a lot of people in this situation that I have known the moment they stepped into a multi-roommate situation the action of going out to bars and clubs until after midnight became more important than being to work on time.

I just want to point out that this is absolute bullshit. For all your self-righteousness of paying your own way, you forget that a lot of us who lived in roommate situations did so while working hard to save our money because we couldn't afford it, otherwise. And that's what living with roommates tends to be about: yes, on one hand it's about living with like-minded people you get along with, but it's also about doing so because that's the only way you can make it in the city where you want to live-- and that's perfectly normal and not some sign of professional and personally stunted growth. I suppose this may vary widely by region, but it's certainly what goes on in pricey cities where insisting on living alone is the province of people who blow all their wages on apartments they can't afford or masochists who live in absolute tiny hovels. The latter tends to come across as "trying too hard"-- as though you're trying to "prove" something about how mature you are by living without roommates even if it ruins the rest of your quality of life, otherwise.

In any case, there's an underlying subtext in this post implying that the parents actually want the OP to move out and are offering to cover some of his/her expenses in order to get on his/her feet. There's also repeated concerns of social discomfort, "what will people older than me think of having a younger roommate? what will people think if they find out their roommate's parents are covering some of my expenses?" I'm split between a possible, "are you sure you're capable of living with other people?" and, "this will be a valuable lesson in making it on your own."
posted by deanc at 7:25 PM on August 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

Wow, folks are being a little harsher then you deserve - go you for asking the question. The reason the folks are older and more established in the place that you're looking is because it's so expensive. You'll find people more your age to room with if you look someplace a little cheaper. Maybe that means a similarly long commute or someplace a little less hip - but at least you'll be someplace young and non-parental.

Worse comes to worse, I say move out to the cool place with older roomates and a tight budget and see how it goes. You're unlikely to harm others with your folks to back you up. I was helped with car insurance and such by my parents when I was your age, and moving out and getting a better understanding of budgets and independence were the first steps to becoming the sort of adult who is more independent makes sacrifices to live Exactly where she wants to be.
posted by ldthomps at 9:01 PM on August 14, 2010

If you lived at home during college, I wonder if you are aware of how much you need to do for yourself when you live on your own and what that takes in terms of time and money. Take a little time to get the budget and plans on paper. Take a hard look at whether you are now providing all your own meals and laundry and cleaning because that will be absolutely necessary when you move out. It won't do you much good to find the perfect place with good housemates, whatever their age, if you aren't prepared to take care of yourself. If you aren't sure of that, start doing all of it until you are sure. Meanwhile, save some money and make a good plan that might take a little bit longer.

It doesn't just happen that you move into the cool neighborhood and then you're having fun. Most people learn to live on their own by making a lot of mistakes and a certain amount of conflict. It's hard to do, actually, and that's exactly what would be good for you. You're very lucky you have your parents to fall back on but, if you lean on them too much, you won't learn how to take care of yourself.

I'm not meaning to insult you. I have worked with exactly your age group for many years and know you can do this but you need to expect it to be challenging and be prepared to work hard at it.
posted by Anitanola at 10:33 PM on August 14, 2010

My roommate was 22 and just out of college when she moved in, and I know that her parents pay for her phone. They may be helping her in other ways - I don't know - as long as she pays the rent & her share of the utilities, it's not my business. Things like noise level and whether or not it's ok to leave a cereal bowl in the kitchen sink all day are more important than age.

I know people who are living in houses their parents bought for them. They never seem to feel bad about it. Compared to a house, car insurance is nothing.
posted by betweenthebars at 10:57 PM on August 14, 2010

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