Going back to “the nest”

I grew up in the Bay Area like most of my classmates at SFSU, and now as most of us are earning insufficient income (or none whatsoever) to meet the cost of living in San Francisco, those of us who have the ability to move back in with their parents are taking the plunge. As mentioned before in a prior post, we don’t feel entitled to some well paying gig out of school; most of us are being realistic and applying for internships, the most competitive ones paying just cents above the San Francisco minimum wage. Moving back in with mom, dad, sis and the dog is the only realistic choice for me right now.

Besides the blow to my ego, my social life, living farther away from my current internship and places I’ve been interviewing, doubling my commute time and fare, here are some broad reasons why it won’t be entirely bad should you be in a similar situation.

  1. Food expense
  2. Food is easily my biggest expense. Why? It’s not the dining out that gets me, I think it’s my insatiable appetite and addiction to caffeine. I’ll address the food first; I eat almost entirely organic produce and try to stay organic with everything else as much as possible. I know what you’re thinking, just go @backtoberkeley already! I shop mainly at Farmers Markets to get the best deals and the freshest stuff, and I think my body’s happy with that. The thought of eating something picked off the vine over a month ago when it was green, then being gassed to artificially ripen is absolutely disgusting to me. See the documentary Food, Inc. and tell me you don’t feel the same way. Anyhow, I am a grazer and don’t often stick to fixed meals since my schedule is all over the place, so I eat all day. Bag of almonds here, a nectarine, string cheese, an apple, dried mango slices, baby carrots, maybe a granola bar there, etc. It’s sort of a problem because I have no concept of how much I am eating and how much a typical day is costing me. Second, I cannot go a day without coffee. My usual drink of choice is a double iced espresso since it’s low calorie, less fluid and I can control the amount of milk (nonfat or soy) and sugar that goes into it. If not, a medium coffee. When I’m feeling dehydrated and starting to slow down, I’ll have a few cups of green tea. It’s a problem, but I’m working on it. For the most part, I only spend on my morning espressos on the walk from BART to the office, and I make coffee at home and bring tea bags to work. Still, that’s more or less $3 a day on one small part of my routine which is neither healthy nor economical.

    Triple iced espresso and chocolate chip cookie, a typical snack for Chelsea during finals week.

    Triple iced espresso and chocolate chip cookie, a typical snack for Chelsea during finals week.

    Living at home I will be able to leverage the shopping list by buying in bulk with the family, as before I lived alone and couldn’t buy large quantities of food without wasting.

  3. Essentially commitment-free
  4. This might not be true for everyone, but I do not have a lease, children, a spouse or pets, except for the family dog who remained at my parents house when I moved to Daly City for college. I am commitment free, besides the obvious burden of student loans, and relative to a lot of my peers from high school, this is a huge accomplishment. Let that marinate for a second. Would you even be able to move back in if you had those serious obligations? Probably not if your family has limited resources. Better to move in now while you have the option rather than scrambling for a solution when you are older and have these kind of issues; you moving now will help reduce the risk of this in the future, I guarantee it.

  5. Motivation
  6. Should you want to move back or not, or you’re praying for that safety net to catch you because you’re desperate, chances are you’re going to have a fire lit under to you seriously get on the job search not long after you move back in, after the initial excitement fades away. I don’t think I’ll have this problem because I want to work in San Francisco and the commute alone from Berkeley will be enough for me to stay motivated to work and move out as soon as I’m financially ready. Plus, my parents are already trying to get my on a chores schedule before I move back in. No thanks!

Just a few days left at my in-law unit here in the “Gateway to the Peninsula”.  Excited to move back somewhere with its own washer and dryer, to no longer live in an isolated neighborhood as I’ll be have the basic breakfast joint, grocery store, tapas bar, taqueria, sushi bar, park, Peet’s Coffee and Bank of America within a three block radius, a driveway I can actually use, getting to play with my dog daily, and to escape the Daly City fog. The move is probably the ultimate thing I can do to save, so I’m looking at it as an opportunity.

Are you/have you been in a similar predicament? Please share your tips on how to keep a positive outlook and attitude on compromising and learning to scale down after graduation.


About Chelsea Pearl

Community manager by day, style blogger by night. http://chelseapearl.com
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