“I grew up in the suburbs and basically associate the suburbs with cultural death.”
– Billy Corgan
Why saving money is worth more than logistics
I’m staying with my parents until the end of summer. After that I’m going abroad. What a lot of readers probably don’t realize is that I’m currently located in arguably the most boring place on Earth. Back in the early 2000’s my dad sold his company and we moved to our weekend home in Iowa. While it’s a nice place for fishing and hunting the house is located in the middle of nowhere. The closest town has just over one thousand residents and it’s a good 15 minute drive to anyplace significant. While it didn’t bother me as a teenager, telling people that I lived at home and finding places to meet new people became a pretty big problem after I dropped out of college. Since I’ve gotten a lot of questions from readers who face similar problems, I’ve decided to explain how I dealt with both issues.
While I’m sure it isn’t a cool thing to say, I don’t really think that living at home is a huge issue. If you’re working on a business or building something it’s smarter to stay somewhere rent free than to blow money that you don’t have on an apartment. When you’re 20 saving $400 to $600 dollars a month is a lot. Not having to pay the rent also gives you more opportunities to experiment with business ventures. I don’t have to have a second job and can dedicate my time to building my freelancing business and trying other ideas. Writing books or making affiliate sites hasn’t really panned out yet, but it’s something I can work on while living at home.
Secondly, if you’re in your early 20’s you can get away with living at home. Most people are indifferent when they find out. Although I was initially self-conscious about it, I discovered that staying with your mom and dad isn’t even something that girls care about. If a girl asks where I live I just tell her that I’m working on my business and staying with my parents until I leave the country. Some chick who works in the cafeteria at her school doesn’t have a lot of room to judge.
Lastly, if you are working on a business you don’t have time to go out and party every night anyway. Whether you live in Vegas, Miami, or Iowa your time is going to be devoted to making money. For the past two weeks I haven’t gone to bed before 3 am just because of how busy I’ve been. Guys who base their 20’s entirely around getting laid and going drinking are no different from the girls who assume that they’ll be hot forever. Both parties are in for a rude awakening once they enter their 30’s. Tucker Max used to make his living off of getting drunk and having sex, now he looks like Toby Flenderson and runs a failed website. While you don’t need to work yourself to death, you should try to make as much money as possible. As fun as partying can be, it won’t actually get you anywhere. A million dollars has value, a story about drunk sex does not.
How to deal with terrible logistics
As I mentioned before my parents house is located in a pretty boring area. The nearest town has one bar and it isn’t exactly teeming with young people. However, there are several small colleges within 30 minutes of my place. It costs a whole $10 in gas to drive to any one of them. I can go out 40 times a year for what a tiny apartment near one of the campuses would cost me for a month.
Since I don’t have to spend anything on rent I also have more disposable income. While the majority of my money, as in almost all of it, goes straight to my savings account, I do have enough left over that I can usually do one nice thing a month. This means that I can take a little weekend vacation to a major city, or go on a road trip. Working seven days a week means that I don’t actually go on vacation every month, but when I have the free time I always do. Staying in Chicago or Minneapolis once a month is cheaper and more fun than wasting away in some generic suburb every single day. If I had the money to move to a large city I’d do so in a heartbeat, but because I don’t I rather just stay at home and focus on making money.
While on our way to Chicago to visit some relatives, my parents and I were actually discussing life in the suburbs. We all agreed that living in them was a waste of money.* It’s nearly as expensive as a major city, but there’s none of the culture or activities. You get stuck with Buffalo Wild Wings, traffic jams, and khaki pants from Old Navy. Most of the cities in Iowa, like Cedar Rapids and Dubuque, kind of fall into this suburb archetype. Outside of a few unique features, like the funicular railroad and horrible smelling Quaker Oats plant, they’re basically composed of chain stores and aren’t worth paying to live in. You aren’t spending money for a cultural experience, the weather is horrible, and there still isn’t a whole lot to do.
If you are staying at home there’s no reason to be ashamed. As long as you’re working on a project and have future plans you aren’t going to come across as a loser. Additionally, moving out for the sake of moving out is stupid. There’s no sense in living somewhere that’s overpriced for what it is, just because you are afraid that other people will judge you.
* Side note: My parents used to live in Lake View so it wasn’t like a bunch of Iowan yokels were musing about “city folk” as they rode in a turnip truck.