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Saying you’re financially independent sounds awesome, but is it true? If you’re using credit cards or borrowing from friends and family to heavily supplement your lifestyle you’re living a lie. Being on your own is expensive AF. That’s why a recent study found that more millennials— one in four—are opting to live with their parents until they can really get on their feet.

It makes sense. Many college grads are buried in student loan debt, and the rental market is high— that means leasing an apartment can put folks in the red. Staying at home, if it’s an option, allows twentysomethings to keep their heads above water financially until they hit a stride in their careers. While the support from loved ones is awesome, it’s important to take advantage of the cash you’re not dumping into a rental unit. If you’re lucky enough to stay home for free, or a nominal fee, instead of just spending the extra few dollars partying and traveling, it’s best to consider a strategy to secure your financial footing once you do leave the nest. Here are some ways to spend your time, and dollars, wisely.

Kill the Student Loans

Triple or quadruple up on any student loans or credit card payments. These are finite bills that won’t re-accrue once you pay them off, so get rid of them. Doing so frees up your monthly cash flow.

Save for a Co-Op, Condo or Starter House

Instead of saving up for broker’s fees or six months of rent to give you a head start, consider saving money for a down payment on a property. Most places require 10-20% down payment and closing costs. Set up a house fund and automate your savings. Once you move out, you can get a roommate to help pay your mortgage. You’ll be building equity for yourself instead of someone else.

Stack Your Cash Aggressively

Building an emergency fund is hard. If you don’t have student debt, but make too little to live on your own use this time to strengthen your savings muscle. Actively save your extra cash, so you have a main emergency fund and then regular savings for other needs (car, shopping, etc…).

Start Your Business

Have a million dollar idea? Use the cash you’re not spending on rent to fund it. Get your website up and running. Start buying supplies. Invest every dime you have into your business. It will change your life.

Invest In Your Parents’ House

Many people will inherit their parents’ homes. Is the plumbing up to date? How’s the roof looking? What about the HVAC system? Is the basement finished? If your parents are leaving you the family house, start taking care of it now. All investments made will increase the value and prevent you from having to deal with headaches down the road.