'Living alone is simply unaffordable': One reader shares the financial struggles of needing to share a roof with her in-laws

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"We never get time to just be alone and enjoy each other as a married couple should."
"We never get time to just be alone and enjoy each other as a married couple should."

In response to the recently published story Does your 20-something adult child still live at home with you? Because for 63% of British parents same, one Parent24 reader wrote in to share her version of the 'adult child still living at home' scenario, and we just know it's a situation many South African families can relate to. Read her response below: 


Also see: Why adult children stay at home: looking beyond the myths of kidults, kippers and gestaters

What's your version of the parent and adult child living situation? Is the choice purely a financial one or do you have other reasons? Share your story with us, and we could publish your letter. Anonymous contributions are welcome. 


"I'm not the parent in the situation, but rather the daughter-in-law. My husband and I, as well as my brother-in-law and his wife, currently stay in my parents-in-law's house. My parents-in-law and brother/sister-in-law are hardly ever at the house (maybe about 4 months in the year), so for the most part, my husband and I stay alone. We are in our mid-twenties.

The main reason we're staying with them is because it really is just too expensive to live alone. Combined, our salaries aren't too bad, we earn about R26 000 together after tax but we don't see much of that money. I have a car that I'm paying off (my parents were never able to help me with that) which is about R3 100 (with insurance). Then there's our petrol, which is about R4 000 a month, and food, which is maybe about R3 000 monthly. 

We're paying off a phone, a hospital plan, for when we decide to have kids one day (R2 660), rent (R3 000) and then there's a lot of extra expenses on top of all that. We're also putting money into a savings account so that when we do eventually move out, we're at least able to buy furniture and appliances so that we don't need to put ourselves in even greater debt.

The living arrangements aren't bad, we obviously save a lot of money staying with his parents. It does tend to feel a little over-crowded at times. If I was financially capable, I would definitely move out. There are a lot of times where things get planned without consulting everyone, we have to abide by their rules so there are things we aren't allowed to do that we would like to. Weekends can get tiring – you've been working all week and just want to chill but then they want to go on a house-cleaning spree. We never get time to just be alone and enjoy each other as a married couple should.

From my perspective, I really don't see how someone my age can afford to live on their own without the help of their parents. We have a dog, so finding a place to stay that's pet-friendly is already a struggle in itself. Finding something that looks decent, is affordable and pet-friendly is a whole different ball-game.

For a fairly decent two-bedroom house, you're probably looking at about R7 000 a month, excluding water and electricity. Then, of course, there are things like wifi that you need to take into account, the fact that the rent goes up every year, and the price of food and petrol keeps rising. All of these are factors we've needed to take into account that has made living alone simply unaffordable."

Chat back:

What's your version of the parent-and-adult-child living situation? Is the choice purely a financial one or do you have other reasons? Share your story with us, and we could publish your letter. Anonymous contributions are welcome.

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