Lauren Harte: Saving for deposit makes living at home best option
Finding myself living back at home with a parent in my 30s is not where I imagined my life would be at this point.
But, as we all know, life doesn't always go according to plan. It is partly my own fault as I knew that taking up a new job in Belfast would probably involve a "short" stay at home.
It was either that or a 160-mile round trip from Enniskillen, where I previously lived, to Belfast five days a week.
Having the option to live with a parent who is based less than 15 minutes from the office seemed like a sensible move.
For me, moving back home was less of a difficult decision and instead more of a practical one.
At first it felt like I was taking a massive step backwards, particularly since most of my friends have already been there and done that long before me.
It also seemed as though I was in the minority. But as I have since discovered, I'm not alone.
Instead I am a statistic - an unexpected member of the Boomerang Generation.
I am among thousands of potential first-time buyers who have moved back in with their parents to save up enough cash for a deposit.
The latest government research shows that more young people are still living with their parents in Northern Ireland than any other part of the UK, so it is reassuring to know that it's not only me.
I know that living at home is not going to last forever, because there is an end goal in sight.
Like most people, my motivation and discipline to save has definitely increased with age.
Travelling and regular nights out in my 20s put serious saving on the back burner - that was always something for my older self to worry about.
In recent years I have never been quite sure where I might ultimately end up settling down, and in my chosen career path, it was never certain when unexpected opportunities could arise.
For the moment Belfast seems to be the place where I want to settle down as most of my family and quite a few friends are not too far away.
With that in mind, the next plan is to finally get a more permanent footing on the property ladder after years of renting.
Since a mortgage equals money, that's something I need to gain much more of over the next few months. So living at home seems like my only option if I want to avoid shelling out several hundred pounds a month on a flat share.
At this stage in my life renting feels like money down the drain when I could be investing it in a home of my own.
By this time next year I should be in the right financial position to make the move out of home permanently.
That will require patience, though - something I possess very little of, as my father can attest to!