8 Things You Should Stop Buying After Your Kids Move Out, Finance Experts Say
Save more for retirement with these budget-boosting tips.
When your children grow up and leave the house, your life changes in more ways than one. Besides the emotional transition of recognizing their newfound independence, you may also notice logistical and financial differences, too.
"It's a major milestone that often marks a time of change and new opportunities for parents, including the opportunity to save more money," says Aleks Grigoriev, a finance and real estate expert and co-founder of Priority Home Buyers.
However, becoming an empty-nester can also be a time of emotional and financial disorientation. "I have seen many families struggle with adjusting their spending habits when their children move out of the family home," Grigoriev cautions. The key, he says, is to take a momentary pause to regroup and form an intentional plan for moving forward.
Wondering which expenses to cut from your budget when your kids move out of the family home? Read on to learn nine money-saving tips from seasoned finance experts.
Family cell phone plans.
If your kids have moved out of the family home, this may also be a good time to boot them from the family phone plan, says Sammie Ellard-King, founder of the personal finance website Up The Gains. "If adult children are financially independent, it might be time to transition them to their own cell phone plans instead of paying for a family plan," he says.
If the plan helps you save money as a group, it may be advantageous to keep your contract with the phone company. However, it's perfectly reasonable to ask your grown children to contribute for their share.
When you're feeding an entire family, buying grocery items in bulk can help save you money in the long run. However, once adult children move out, experts point out that this will no longer be necessary—and could be a waste of your hard-earned money.
Jake Hill, CEO of the personal finance publication DebtHammer Relief, says that no longer buying excessive groceries can lead to significant savings. "Although these items may have been a big money-saver when you were feeding a household, having excess produce, dairy, or meat on hand is a recipe for wasted money. Instead, tailor your grocery list to pre-planned meals that you (and your partner, if you have one) will eat each week. This can drastically reduce your grocery budget," he tells Best Life.
Streaming services you no longer use.
Your children may have been the driving force behind you signing up for certain media streaming services, so if they've left the home, it's a good time to reassess. This is especially important now that certain streaming services like Netflix are limiting account access by household.
"Now that your kids have moved out, you can cut down on these subscriptions and save yourself some cash each month," says Grigoriev.
Excessive holiday gifts.
If you've spent the last few decades giving your children generous holiday gifts, it can become a tough habit to break. However, Jonathan Merry, finance expert at Moneyzine, says this is a good time to re-think your gift-giving style and find a more balanced exchange.
"In my opinion, when kids leave home and start earning, the dynamics of gift-giving should evolve," Merry says. "Sure, birthday presents from parents are always heartfelt, but for occasions like Christmas, the tables might turn. Grown-up children should now consider treating their parents occasionally or buying them Christmas gifts, regardless of the cost. Parents will always appreciate even the cheapest gifts, as long as it's from the heart."
RELATED: 10 Easy Ways to Save on a Fixed Income.
According to Tim Doman, an investment analyst, ex-executive of a private equity investment fund, and the newly appointed CEO of Top Mobile Banks, you should also stop spending your money on multiple vehicles once the kids move out of the family home. "It might be time to rethink if you've had extra cars for your kids. Insurance, maintenance, and even their sheer space can be burdensome," he says.
Andrew Lokenauth, a finance expert and founder of Be Fluent In Finance, says you should also re-evaluate whether you can lower costs on your car insurance once kids leave the family home. "Remove adult kids from your policy to lower premiums if they have their own insurance," he suggests.
When your children leave the family home, you may suddenly find that you have far more space than you need.
"Now might be the time to think about the space you're living in," says Tim Schmidt, a personal finance expert and founder of IRAInvesting. "With fewer occupants, you could consider downsizing, which can lead to reduced costs in various areas, from mortgage or rent to maintenance expenses. Plus, it can be quite freeing to have a more manageable space."
Another common financial mistake people make when their kids move out is that they start spending more freely. However, Schmidt says it's important to think carefully about how you want to manage your finances before falling into a pattern of excessive or impulsive spending.
"While it's tempting to indulge a little more now that you have extra funds, be wary of lifestyle inflation," Schmidt tells Best Life. "It's common for empty-nesters to start spending more just because they can. Remember, this is a golden opportunity to boost your retirement savings."
Anything you've been subsidizing for your kids
While your child is living under your roof, you're more likely to cover certain everyday expenses, such as clothing, toiletries, and other personal care items. However, once your child has left the nest, this is a good time to re-evaluate those financial contributions.
Grigoriev says this also commonly comes up with student loans: "If you were assisting your children with their student loans, discuss with them whether they are now financially independent enough to take over these payments themselves."
You can then redirect that budget towards your own needs or savings.
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