Break Out the Old Bunk Bed
As a child in Queens, N.Y., Katherine Martinez hated the endless Rice-a-Roni her thrifty Peruvian immigrant mother bought with clipped coupons. “I didn’t even realize name-brand clothes existed until we moved out of the neighborhood,” she remembers. Today, the high school teacher, 31, buys herself nice clothes and shoes, but she draws on one of her parents’ best cheapskate habits to get ahead financially: living en familia.
Three years ago, Martinez and her sister Mariella moved back in with their parents. While their social lives took a hit—“My parents would make comments about me going out, like ‘Why are you coming home so late?’ ” Martinez says—the sacrifice paid off. Mariella has now saved up enough to buy her own home, while Katherine is close behind.
Considering the average American spends more than a third of their budget on housing, living with relatives or roomies is one of the smartest financial choices anyone can make.