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Family Ties

adjective kə-ˈmyü-nəl, ˈkäm-yə-nəl : shared or used by members of a group or community : relating to or involving members of a commune (sense 1) : relating to a situation in which you are doing something with other people

As of now, my husband, toddler, and I have been living upstairs at my in-laws home for almost two months. Despite popular belief, it’s actually working out quite well. My little family lives upstairs where we have our rooms, a bathroom and a little living area. It’s cozy and we are trying to make it our own for the time we are there, but it is also just what we need for the moment.

Black and white photo of family eating together

We decided to move in with my husband’s parents so that we could try to get out of debt faster. Both my husband and I have degrees from a private university and ended up owning not one, but two houses before we made the “communal” move. We are now down to one house, but still lots of school debt (why don’t they have a “here is what you’re really getting into,” aka “lots of debt” class before you actually start college?). Here is where communal living perks come in! When you share a house (and bills) with another employed couple, it makes finances a lot easier.

While others might do things differently, we have come up with a system that works. All bills are split evenly. I do the grocery shopping and cooking and watch the babe (that is, the sweetest babe on earth). We split groceries evenly unless it’s something that one of us doesn’t eat; we don’t drink coffee, the in-laws don’t drink almond milk. On most nights, my mother-in-law watches the babe while I make dinner. In the evenings, we sit around and watch “Chuck” episodes or I get engrossed with my Pinterest projects and run up and down the stairs from the craft room to show my mother-in-law my creations.

The men folk are typically here too, and they do their manly things, of course. Whatever needs to be done around the house is so much easier as we have twice as many hands to do it. For the most part, I clean the upstairs and the main floor is a combined effort. We get free in house babysitting too! Can I get an Amen?! Our daughter gets to grow up (for now at least) surrounded by two generations and as her parents, my husband and I reap the benefits of having parents who made it through four boys and have lots of wisdom they gleaned from that experience.

Overall, I would say that all involved are happy with the arrangement. Are there things that frustrate any of us? Of course, but we don’t let it get the best of us. Enter me: buy whatever is cheapest, get the most for your money, save, save, save. Enter the mother-in-law: Dawn dish soap is different than “_____” soap, as is Philadelphia Cream Cheese, or Thomas’ English muffins. Soap is soap. As is cream cheese, right? Wrong. My brain screams, “why does the brand matter?!” And you know what I’ve learned?

It doesn’t.

If she wants her name brands, so be it. She is paying for half the groceries after all. We all have our little things that bring us pleasure, and a name brand that costs $.50 more than the off brand is not a big deal. Besides, sometimes I need the gentle nudge to spend the extra money for a quality product that will last longer and save me more money in the long run.

Many hands make light work. ~John Heywood

Communal living definitely has its ups and downs, but we love it for the time being. We are blessed to have great parents who would forego their (just recently) empty nest to have us move in and bring our noisy little life with us. If you have ever thought about trying communal living, I encourage you to give it a try. What better way to not only save money, but to also be green; if you share a kitchen/living room/etc., you only need one set of everything!

Thanks for stopping by,


*Disclaimer: My mother-in-law is a very sweet lady, not at all like the supposed monster-in-law that society thinks up, and I do not share the name rand example to belittle her in any way, merely to share a piece of reality in our home.

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