If you’ve decided to live with roommates, chances are you did so, at least in part, in order to save money. Splitting rent, utilities, and groceries can help you in various ways financially. It can enable you to save money, and it can also help raise your standard of living compared to what your standard would have been living alone. Still, roommates carry with them all sorts of problems, least of which is making sure everyone in your household is doing and paying their fair share. In order to optimize your savings living with roommates, here are a few tips.
- Decide from the very beginning how you will split expenses.
Even though you may assume when living with roommates that all expenses will be split evenly, it tends to be a lot more complicated than that. For example, if you live in a three bedroom apartment with two other roommates, the person electing the master bedroom should expect to pay more. Same goes with other expenses like use of a carport, etc. Meet with your roommates before moving in to discuss how rent-related expenses can best be divvied up.
- Use online tools like Splitwise to ensure that each roommate is paying on time.
In order to avoid inevitable fights that occur among roommates, keep track of expenses with the help of your computer. Of course, the tools or software you use is up to you, but one free and easy-to-navigate site, called Splitwise, was designed specifically with roommates in mind. Splitwise uses a special calculator that can help you split rent fairly based on different factors, which is especially helpful if you decide not to split every expense evenly. Each roommate can log onto the site and know immediately how much they owe and when it’s due.
- Avoid pooling and evenly splitting variable expenses like groceries.
Although it may sound great in theory to buy into a community groceries arrangement, splitting groceries evenly usually ends up being a bad idea, and it usually ends up costing you (or someone else) a lot more money. This is because some items that you buy, only you will use, and vice-versa. If your roommate loves spending some serious cash on expensive cuts of meat, and you are a vegetarian, then you end up paying extra for that expense.
- Room with people who live similar lifestyles.
It’s likely that you have chosen to share a living space because you want to live with your friends, acquaintances, or a significant other. Rooming with people you know can be a wonderful (and challenging) experience. But if you truly want to save money, be sure to live with roommates who have similar financial values as you. If you have roommates who spend money quick and fast, you’d be surprised by how their behavior can affect yours. If you have a shared goal of living frugally, you’ll end up saving much more in the end
Jacelyn Thomas writes about identity theft for IdentityTheft.net. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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