College Roommate Tips
Having a roommate is an essential standard of the college experience; it’s part of what sets college apart from any other kind of traditional schooling. For many students, living with a roommate is a wonderful experience that turns once acquaintances into lifelong friends. College is stressful enough when having to deal with the pressures and responsibilities of school, work, internships, etc. on your own, which is why having a roommate can be so great. Outside of the companionship that a roommate (or roommates) bring, there are several other benefits to having roommates, and good ones at that.
Are you a college student in need of finding a good roommate? Unsure of where to find the perfect roommate for your situation? Unsure of what qualities to look for or what the benefits are of having a good roommate? Here are five benefits of having a roommate, which will steer you in the right direction and how to potentially avoid problems when moving in together!
1. Lower Rent Costs: The cost of living today is significantly higher than it was 10 years ago, let alone 50. Due to this increase in the cost of essentials like housing and tuition, many millennials and students are cutting costs by living with roommates, instead of purchasing a home of their own. On a national scale, the percentage of 18-34-year-olds living with at least one roommate has increased over 2% between 2005 and 2015, while the percentage of the same age group living with parents has increased by 8%. This trend in economic hardship makes having roommates a huge benefit, as it cuts rent costs. If you live in an apartment with two or more people, splitting the rent and utility costs into thirds or fourths can make your costs of living both comfortable and affordable. While living with others is an added plus for lowering rent costs, be sure to responsibly keep up with bills to avoid any kind of money-related trouble in the future. To make splitting bills easier, put together a chart or spreadsheet of expenses that each person owes to organize payments and keep track of who pays what.
2. Sharing of Chores: Let’s be real, no one truly likes doing chores (unless you’re like me and sometimes like cleaning to de-stress). While you might be able to get away with not doing chores at home, when you live with roommates, your lack of tidying up in the house can definitely add up. If attempting to tackle cleaning a home or apartment by yourself is overwhelming to you, having roommates to help share the responsibility is a great plus. Before you even move in with your future roommates, however, it’s important to establish some basic, ground rules of living so you don’t find yourself in an unfair living situation. These rules can be simple and include alternating who takes out the trash every week, who cooks dinner on certain weekday nights, who washes dishes after dinner, who vacuums on weekends, etc.
3. Mutual Safety: Living on your own, especially if you are used to living at home with parents or family, can be uneasy and scary. Every creak and noise you hear in your new home can alert you and put you on edge. Though most of these noises are irrational fears, there is still always a risk of something happening when you live on your own. Having the constant company of others around can put your mind at ease and create a safer living space for everyone. More people means more ears and eyes to be alert for something unusual, and more defense if something does become threatening.
4. Sharing of Furniture/Home Goods: As stated earlier, the cost of living today is significantly higher than it was years ago. It’s not only rent and tuition costs that are higher, either. The costs of goods, such as furniture and home essentials have also gone up 1.3% just between the months of May and June of 2021. While this doesn’t seem like a huge jump, it’s the largest monthly increase in goods of this sort since 1976. Sharing furniture and home goods is another added benefit of having roommates, as splitting the costs of furnishing your home can make large purchases much more affordable. Just be sure to set up arrangements regarding who gets what if and when you go your separate ways.
5. Companionship: An obvious but notable benefit of having roommates is the companionship that one can bring to your life. Among the stressors of everyday life, things can be hard on your mental health and leave you feeling isolated, depressed, anxious, and more. The added companionship of roommates can give you comfort during these times, and ultimately lift your spirits while creating lifelong friendships.
While living with roommates can sometimes be a challenge, there are many benefits to sharing a space with other people, such as lowering your rent costs, sharing chores, and companionship!
Creating and sticking to a budget is one of the most important things you can do to save money as a college student. When you have a roommate, you are likely going to share items that you will have to split the cost of. This can be challenging, but working together and being open with each other will help things go smoothly.
Many problems with budgeting for shared items arise when there is a lack of communication. In fact, a popular TV show covered a situation where a character was not open about what she could not afford that her wealthier roommate could afford and assumed she could. Sit down and have an honest discussion with your roommate about what you can and cannot afford. It is better to be honest before you both buy things that will lead to one or both of you having to go to extreme measures to get the money necessary to pay for the items.
A crucial part of this is honesty. You are sharing the items you have agreed to share, so you both have to like the item. If you do not like a particular item, be sure to let your roommate know. Again, if something costs more than you can afford or are willing to spend on the item, make sure you let your roommate know to prevent things from building up and exploding down the line.
Keeping track of things like rent, utilities, and groceries can seem overwhelming. You have to figure out who is paying what amount and who is responsible for paying. Creating a spreadsheet can help you keep track of what needs to be paid, the due dates, and who has and has not paid. This will create a physical place where you can keep track of things to avoid stress and arguments. This will also allow you to have proof if someone claims something different than what is on the spreadsheet. Sit down and go over each part of your shared expenses and make arrangements for making sure bills are paid on time and in full.
As the semester goes on, you may find that you spend more money on food, and your roommate spends more money on things like décor. Keep track of expenses to see where things even out and to see how much you may have to pay to compensate. Use digital apps and spreadsheets to help keep track of money coming in going out, and to see who is spending what. Using apps like Venmo and Paypal also allows you to pay each other back easily, especially if you do not have the same bank as your roommate.
Avoid sharing food if possible
Food and groceries can be the thing that breaks an otherwise great relationship with roommates. Unless you know that you both enjoy the same things and plan all of your meals together, avoid sharing food and the grocery bills. This eliminates hassle if one roommate decides to eat out more than at home and stops fights about itemizing food costs. Also, some people have more expensive food likes than others, so avoiding sharing can help keep arguments over food to a minimum.
Coupons and discounts
One major perk of being a college student is the number of student discounts you can receive. Even if a store does not have a designated student discount, you may still be able to utilize coupons and sales. If you do decide to share food, sign up for your grocery store’s loyalty program to help save with coupons, freebies, and sometimes even gas discounts. See if your local public transportation has student rates, especially if you use public transportation to get to and from school, and see if there are discounts on parking passes if you carpool with roommates to campus. The best thing to do is just ask if a student discount is available. The worst that can happen is the answer will be no.
Prepare for unexpected expenses
Unfortunately, life does not always go as we plan. In fact, it rarely does. Making sure you and your roommates have money in your budget set aside for unexpected things to occur. This is especially true of potential damage to the apartment. If something is one roommate’s fault, they should cover the expense so the other roommate does not lose out on their security deposit. If the damage was both roommates’ faults, you should have enough set aside so that losing your security deposit is not a huge loss for you. Also, you never know when appliances will go. You might not have to pay for its replacement, but you might, so it is better if you are prepared and not have to pay.
Creating a budget is super important, especially when you live with a roommate. Working together on a budget can help decrease stress and headaches down the line.
Often enough during college, students are randomly assigned roommates. This happens both in dorms and in student housing in big college towns. In cities without a big population of student renters, properties tend not to offer random roommates or allow you to rent only a single room in an apartment. But in big college towns, apartment complexes often will help you find a roommate match by randomly assigning one to you. No matter where a college student lives, they are bound to experience being assigned a random roommate and having to face the prospect of sharing a living space with someone that they do not know.
Living with someone that you do not know very well can be a daunting prospect. How do you share a space with someone you have never met and feel comfortable and safe while doing so? Obviously, the answer is to get to know your roommate before you have to move in together. But that is much easier said than done. Just how exactly can you go about doing that? Read on for some strategies on how to get to know your roommate before moving in together!
Photo from Pexels
Connect on Social Media
A great way of getting to know your future roommate is to connect on social media. Seeing the content they post, the way that they interact with others, and what they are interested in will be much easier. Are they big partiers? Are they bookworms? Are they the kind of person who has lots of people over to hang out or do they prefer to keep to themselves? Do they have pets, and if so, will those pets be moving in with you too? Are they 420 friendly or opposed and how does that align with your views?
This is not to say that everything you see on social media is exactly what you will get when you move in together. It is important to note that social media only really shows what people want their followers to see and is a specifically curated collection of content from their lives. Social media does not always depict real life.
On another note, not everyone has social media, or might not be present on every social media platform. Rather than stalking them on the web, ask them for their social media handles so that they can give you the ones that they feel comfortable sharing. That way, it is less invasive and you are not just showing up and spying on them on social media platforms that they might not feel comfortable to share with you yet.
Set up a Face to Face
Another strategy to help you get to know your roommate over the summer is to set up a face to face. A video chat or zoom call can go a long way towards helping you two get to know each other. Just texting or emailing with each other can be sort of impersonal and it is also very easy to misinterpret tone over text. Things can be much easier to discuss and understand when spoken out verbally.
You might just make a phone call, but the added visual element of seeing your future roommate can also be really helpful in getting to know each other. First of all, knowing what your roommate looks like is very helpful in making you feel comfortable and safe sharing a space with them. Second, seeing their face while they talk can help you get to know them. What are their speech patterns? Do they speak in winding sentences that are hard to follow or do they speak briefly and brusquely, and what does that say about them?
When you can see a person’s face while they are talking, it can also be really helpful to get to know them. Are they pausing while speaking because they are thinking carefully about your question and what they want to say in response, or are they looking down, at their, unengaged? Speaking face to face can really help you to see clearly what kind of person your roommate might be.
Finally, another way you can get to know your roommate over the summer before moving in is to discuss your expectations for the time you will be living together. What do you expect from your roommate and what do they expect from you? Can you agree on ground rules for the space and see eye to eye on how things should be done? This can be from how many people can come over and when, if advance notice for guests must be given, how you plan to divide up chores and expenses, and more.
This will help iron out issues before you move in, or show you that you are incompatible with a roommate before you even move in, allowing you to take other measures to avoid being put in a difficult position.
These are just a few ways you can try to get to know your roommate better before you move in together. Make sure you take steps to feel comfortable and safe in your own space and to double check that you and your roommate will be able to coexist, if not get completely along.
As we get deeper into the summer season, many aspects of our lives are experiencing some form of change. For some of us, that change could be arriving in the form of higher utility bills as the weather gets warmer and you and your roommates are adjusting to the temperature change. Everyone has different responses to the warmer weather. For some, it’s a welcome change as they love sunny days and warm temperatures. For others, the heat leaves them feeling miserable and doing just about anything they can to keep cool. One of the easiest ways to keep cool, of course, is blasting the AC and every fan possible to keep your home chilly despite the warm weather outside. Unfortunately, this plan of action will result in a higher electricity bill that will definitely challenge your carefully planned budget.
While you may be okay with spending more time in a warmer apartment for the sake of cutting your electricity bill, your roommate may not be okay with your new strategy. Before you know it, your electricity bill could be your latest source of roommate conflict in the summer months. If you aren’t sure how to tackle the conflict, keep reading for tips on how to talk to your roommate about keeping apartment costs low in the summer.
Avoid passive-aggressive actions and keep open communication
Just as you would approach any roommate conflict, avoid being passive-aggressive as a solution. If you notice your roommate has turned on the AC a little too high or has multiple fans going on, don’t be quick to just turn the appliances off without consulting your roommate. While turning them off may be the quickest solution in your mind, it will likely only build up more tension and ill feelings surrounding the conflict from both ends. For you, you are not giving yourself the opportunity to explain the intentions and reasoning behind your choice to turn off the AC and creating more opportunities for misunderstandings. For your roommate, they’re likely going to feel like their wants are being ignored and are going to get the impression that you only care about things going the way you want them to.
Instead, get ready to tackle the topic head-on by discussing the situation with your roommate. Come ready to the discussion ready to discuss your side of things. Why are you feeling the way you are about the situation at hand? How would you like it to be resolved?
Be ready to compromise
When you are discussing the conflict with your roommate, it’s important to not come into the discussion expecting to get your way at the end of it. If you are coming into the discussion with that mindset, you are already creating a mental block in your thought process. You are not going to be able to hear and understand your roommate’s way of thinking if you are completely deadset on your own. More than likely, the discussion is going to end in a stalemate where both parties aren’t willing to compromise or even at least try to understand the other’s point of view.
Sure, prepare your talking points in order to get your point of view across, but don’t make it the focus of the conversation. Say your piece and be ready to listen to your roommate’s in full. You may find that you understand where they are coming from more than you thought you would. As much as you want your roommate to just go with your way of thinking, that’s probably just wishful thinking. Be ready to come up with a compromise that leaves both you and your roommate satisfied.
Introduce alternate ways to keep cool
Part of crafting the perfect compromise is introducing alternate solutions to the conflict. While your roommate may not exactly be getting their way of blasting the AC 24/7 until the weather cools, that doesn’t mean they have to suffer through the heat for the rest of the summer. Come up with some ideas that will keep your living space (and roommate) cool while keeping costs low this summer.
– Share common spaces when both of you are home. If you and your roommate are planning to blast the AC or keep a fan or two on, why not do it in the same room? Keeping one room cool is going to be a lot more budget-friendly than keeping multiple rooms cool, so discuss keeping the AC or fans on in shared spaces like the living room so you and your roommates can enjoy the chill and keep electricity usage low.
– Cool down during the nights. It may seem counterproductive to let outside air in during the summer months, but if it gets chilly at night, use the opportunity to leave a few windows open overnight to let your space air out and get some cooler air in.
– Keep the sun out. While the sunny weather is bringing tons of natural light into your living space, it’s also bringing in the heat. Consider keeps your blinds shut during the sunny hours of the day to limit sun exposure and keep your living space cool. If your blinds are fully covering a window that is getting direct sun, you can reduce heat gain by up to 45%.
If you are able to offer efficient solutions to the conflict, your roommate will likely be more willing to see your side of things and be more likely to reach a compromise. With these tips in mind, you can approach your roommate with full confidence and make this conflict one of the past.
Navigating the world of romance can be tricky. Breakups are hard, and helping someone through a breakup often means treading on thin ice. This is especially true if the person you are helping is someone close to you, like a roommate. Helping someone through a breakup can push the boundaries of your relationship, and it is important to approach the situation delicately. If this someone is your roommate, it is even more important to be prepared and proactive. Whether you are good friends with your roommate or merely acquaintances that live together, certain tips and tricks can make helping someone through a breakup, especially a roommate, a smooth process.
Photo via Unsplash
Be A Good Listener
Going through a breakup is, as it sounds, heartbreaking. Your roommate will most likely be experiencing a lot of painful emotions that will be difficult for them to process on their own. Your roommate may need someone to listen to their struggles. If you are helping someone through a breakup, you can be the ear that listens.
It is important to remember that everyone processes their emotions differently. Helping someone through a breakup doesn’t always mean giving practical answers to their problems. Is your roommate actually asking you for advice? Or, are they looking for a safe space to express their feelings? If you are helping someone through a breakup, don’t try and solve their problems. Instead, listen intently and put yourself in your roommate’s shoes. When you avoid giving out unwanted advice, you also avoid damaging your relationship. Helping someone through a breakup means being an active and empathetic listener.
Lessen Their Workload
There are many generic ways you can go about helping someone through a breakup. However, as a roommate, you have the chance to provide a special kind of support that only roommates can give to each other. Helping someone through a breakup can mean giving emotional support, but it can also mean providing physical support where it is needed. As a roommate, you can be the perfect person to lend a helping hand.
Many people develop systems to avoid certain roommate problems, like uneven chore distribution. These are important expectations to uphold to ensure that everyone is living fairly and carrying their own weight. However, going through a breakup is just as physically exhausting as it is emotionally. You may notice that your roommate takes longer to complete their chores, or is less enthusiastic about participating in the household overall. Helping someone through a breakup can sometimes mean extending grace and being understanding. You can do this for your roommate by lightening the household workload for them while they a grieving. Consider offering to complete their least favorite chore for them, or doing the grocery run for the week. You don’t have to completely take over their tasks, but helping someone through a breakup by lifting some of their burdens can speed up the process and show your roommate that you care.
Set Healthy Boundaries
Breakups are always hard on those who have ended relationships, but they can also be difficult on their support system. This is because helping someone through a relationship often involves a lot of emotional support. You can’t pour from an empty cup, and it is very easy to over-extend yourself to those you care about, like your roommate. Finding a balance between being a good friend while also taking care of your own well-being may be the most important thing to consider while helping someone through a breakup.
All good relationships, whether they are romantic, professional, or platonic, thrive on maintaining healthy boundaries. This is especially true when it comes to your relationship with your roommate. You may feel obligated to ignore your own needs to help your roommate through this difficult time. Because you live together, it is very easy to cross important lines that you may not have tolerated before. You may give up your privacy to make your roommate feel like they can always come to you. Your roommate may be struggling with their sleep schedule and pull you into a routine that doesn’t work for you. Understand that it is within your right to say “no” to someone when you need to. Helping someone through a breakup doesn’t mean giving up your own mental and physical health to help them heal. You cannot be a good support system to someone if you are also struggling. The best way to get your roommate through their heartache is by first taking care of yourself.
Helping someone through a breakup is a complex situation. It can become more complex if that someone is your roommate. Because you live with this person, you will most likely see them at their lowest point. It is important to approach their heartbreak with as much empathy as possible. This can look like being a good listener and lessening their workload. It is also important to take care of yourself and establish boundaries to protect your relationship with your roommate while they are navigating an emotional point in their life. The relationship you have with your roommate is unlike any other relationship in your life. Helping them through a breakup will show them that you care about them and their emotional wellbeing.
When college gets stressful, we always want something that gives us a sense of peace, comfort, and love. Sometimes this comes in the form of an ooey-gooey warm cookie at 12 a.m., other times it’s hanging with friends and watching something cheesy on Netflix. While these small activities are great, nothing quite compares to having a warm, cuddly animal to soothe your soul on those bad days.
If you live alone, you can make the decision on whether or not you want a pet. When living with a roommate, however, things can get a bit more complicated. While your roommate may want a pet, it might not be the best for you and your current situation. You don’t want to feel obliged to take care of the pet if your roommate falls behind, but if you don’t have the time or resources to do so, this can become an issue. Prior to a situation like this happening, it’s important to have conversations that establish ground rules with your roommate about having a pet in your shared living space.
Are you currently living with a roommate? Looking for ways to approach setting ground rules with them regarding their pet? Here are five different suggestions, and how to best set rules with your roommate!
Image via Pexels
Before Setting Rules
● Evaluate Your Boundaries First: Just like it is important to evaluate your wants and boundaries with your roommate regarding other living situations like bills and cleanliness, it’s important to do the same regarding their pet. Perhaps you’re completely easygoing and don’t mind the quirks of having a pet in your apartment, or maybe you are a bit more reserved about what you can and cannot tolerate. Regardless if you are one or the other, or maybe fall somewhere in the middle, it’s necessary to figure out what you can put up with before coming to your roommate with a set of rules. Doing this will give you a clear mind and make it easier to state your rules with your roommate.
● Have a Clear Idea of Who the Pet Belongs To: While this is something obvious and seemingly simple to do, not doing this can cause unnecessary tension and problems in the future. If it was your roommate’s idea to get a pet, then they are the primary owners. However, if you both jointly made the decision, then you both own the pet and share the responsibilities of taking care of it. Having this established between the two of you helps to ensure that the person (or people) who are supposed to take care of the animal are indeed taking care of it, rather than putting the responsibility onto someone else.
When You Have a Pet
● Set Boundaries on Where the Pet Can Go: When having a pet in your home, whether you wanted it or not, there may be certain places you don’t want it to go. Is the bedroom off-limits? Is the pet allowed on the furniture? Is the pet allowed in your office space? These are all important questions to ask yourself and once you know your boundaries, bring them to your roommate so you both can compromise and establish a shared set of rules.
● Ask What is Ok vs. Not Ok: Maybe when your roommate is gone, you’re warming up some food and you give the pet a piece of your lunch. While this seems harmless in the moment, it might be completely wrong to do and against the wishes of your roommate. Dive into these more complex topics and figure out what all of the rules are. Covering treats, discipline, routines, and rules about furniture and various apartment spaces will help you know what’s ok and not ok so even if your roommate isn’t around, you’re maintaining the pet status quo. And this is applicable to any pet and its unique situation!
● Figure Out Who Does What: If you share ownership of your animal, one necessary rule to set up is who does what in terms of grooming, taking the pet out/cleaning their litter box, and vet appointments. You can do this by creating a schedule and having days where you alternate who does a different duty, such as cleaning up the waste, taking the pet for walks, annual checkups, etc. Doing this helps to split the responsibility as evenly and equal as possible, and avoids any confusion on who does what. If you don’t share ownership, then you aren’t obliged to do any of the general tasks that come with taking care of the pet, though you may want to! Just establish what you are comfortable with doing with your roommate and make clear boundaries so the situation works for both of you.
● Determine the Costs: Owning a pet is not cheap, in fact, it can become quite costly depending on the pet you have and what they specifically need. If you and your roommate share the pet, then you both share the costs of taking care of it and you need to agree on how costs are handled. Establishing a shared cost for taking care of your pet is necessary and the right thing to do, as no one deserves to be taken advantage of by draining their bank account when the other could easily chip in. If you don’t share the pet but don’t mind chipping in here and there, talk to your roommate! Communication is key to making these situations stress and tension-free.
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Living with a roommate that has a pet can sometimes be complicated, even if you don’t jointly own the pet. Maintaining open communication and establishing ground rules in both situations will guarantee a smooth living experience for the both of you, as well as your pet!
By Elise Nelson
Catching feelings: it happens to the best of us. As many of us know, catching feelings can sometimes cause a tricky situation. Maybe it’s feelings for a coworker, or feelings for a friend’s ex or sibling, or feelings for a roommate; in any of these cases, things can get very awkward, very quickly. If you’re reading this, then you and your roommate have probably fallen for each other and are wondering how a relationship will work. The good news is that it’s possible, as long as you both remain practical and think critically. Dating a roommate can sometimes stir up trouble in the home but following these tips can help you remain unscathed.
Consider the “What ifs”
In most scenarios, it’s better to avoid all the “what ifs” that take over your brain and focus on what’s happening in the moment. However, when dating a roommate, you actually might want to consider a few of those possibilities in your head. What does happen if you break up? In any other situation, you’d probably just go your separate ways, but it’s trickier when you’re living together.
Will one of you move out if the breakup is too messy? If you have shared items in the home or a pet, who keeps them? You don’t have to map out an entire plan right away. However, it’s best to at least have an idea. Nobody likes to think about the idea of breaking up, but sometimes it’s just part of being practical.
Discuss with other roommates
If you’re living with more than one person, it’s courteous for you and your roommate-turned-significant-other to sit down with your other roommates to talk about the relationship. This is especially true for groups of three. Consider the situation from their side; perhaps you started as three friends moving in together, but now two of you are a couple and they might feel like a third wheel.
It’s better to avoid sneaking around to keep the relationship a secret because this can only lead to more drama later. Have a talk with the group to set some boundaries and discuss what will change now that the two of you are dating. Ask them for any concerns that they have. You might find some possible issues you hadn’t thought about. Your roommates will likely appreciate that you took the time to consider their feelings and they’ll be more understanding about the relationship.
Establish some basic living rules
It’s important to set healthy boundaries in any relationship, but even more so when you start dating a roommate. The change from roommate to significant other will likely be sudden, so it’s important to recognize what will be different now for both of you. Rent.com suggests discussing if you will sleep in the same bed; after all, you probably both already have your own rooms. You may want to keep your bedrooms intact so that you have your own spaces (we’ll get to that later), but sleepovers in each other’s beds are likely. You may want to establish how often this will happen, especially if you think it will make things awkward between you and other roommates in the home.
Go out for dates when possible
When it comes to spending time together, your first instinct may be to just hang out at home. After all, you’ve probably hung out together at home as roommates plenty of times before, and it’s cheaper than going out. However, it’s important to throw some date nights out into the mix for a few reasons. For one thing, this time out of the home will help differentiate between actual date nights and those times when you just hung out as roommates. Date nights out on the town may help you feel more like you’re in a relationship. You don’t have to go out every time or spend too much, but once in a while will help.
Going out may benefit your other roommates, too. If you often hung out as a group before, it can be difficult to establish what is now supposed to be a date and what isn’t. They will feel less like a third wheel, and you two can have some alone time. Win-win!
Give each other space
On the flip side, it’s important that you both have time to yourself. Moving in together often comes after several months of getting to know each other’s needs and habits, but when you’re already living together before dating, the transition can sometimes be too much to handle. You probably didn’t spend every waking moment together as roommates, so there’s no need to do so in a relationship. Make sure that you each have alone time and your own spaces; this is why keeping your separate bedrooms is a great idea. Establishing and maintaining space from each other on a regular basis is one of the first boundaries you should set.
Evaluate the risks
Before jumping into things, make sure that you both evaluate the risks of dating a roommate and figure out if it’s worth it. Do you know that it will cause a rift between you and another close roommate? Will you be unable to move out in the event of a breakup due to financial or lease reasons? If you do remain roommates after a breakup, how difficult or awkward will it be? You may find that the relationship is not worth the risk of losing a close friend.
At the end of the day, dating a roommate comes down to respect, practicality, and maturity. As long as you think everything through carefully and try your best not to let feelings cloud your judgment, you can end up in a happy, healthy, long-lasting relationship.
Living with roommates for a year is an experience unlike any other, but when it comes time to part ways, things can get a little tricky, especially when it comes to items you either bought together or that everyone utilized.
If you lived in an apartment or dorm room in which the mentality was “sharing is caring,” it’s possible that you’re now at the point that you need to divide your belongings amongst everyone. So what exactly is the best way to do that without hurting feelings? Here are a few tips to help divvy up your belongings with your roommates.
1. Determine Who Paid for What
First and foremost, you should be dividing belongings based on who contributed to paying for them, and who did not. For instance, if a roommate bought a pot and pan set for all roommates to use, that set still belongs to the individual that purchased it.
This can get tricky when individuals split bills and paid for items together. In these instances, the individuals involved should discuss who gets what and come up with a fair solution that benefits everyone.
2. Sell Shared Items
One option, especially when dealing with multiple roommates contributing to a single item, is to sell that shared item and split the earnings amongst those that contributed.
While this isn’t always going to be a possibility, it is a quick and easy way to ensure that one person doesn’t end up with more than they deserve and to make sure everyone actually walks away with what they contributed. Again, if this isn’t a possibility, there are other options, but if it is an option, you’ll likely avoid an argument.
3. Go Through the Process Together
In other words, don’t take an opportunity in which your roommates aren’t home to begin going through their things and allocating based on your own personal preference. The best way to make sure everything is sorted fairly is for everyone to be present.
You can always turn this into an event – order in some food and drinks and begin sorting out and packing belongings together. This not only makes the time go by much faster, but it also ensures that everyone is on the same page and has the same information, which also helps to avoid conflict.
4. Don’t Get Argumentative
Tensions can get high, especially when multiple individuals believe they are in the right, which is why it’s so important to keep a level head when divvying out your belongings.
If things begin to get heated, everyone should step away from that item and return to it when they’ve cooled down. You can also use an impartial mediator to help make tough decisions, such as when an item was bought by two individuals with a 50/50 split of the bill. Just do whatever you can to avoid argument here.
5. Try to be as Fair as Possible
Life isn’t always fair, and unfortunately, there’s not always going to be an easy way to split up belongings. While it makes sense that someone that spent a majority of the money on a piece of furniture would be the one to take it away, that’s not to say those that contributed just slightly less are going to be okay with it.
So, try to be as fair as possible. If that someone chipped in 60 percent of the bill, and someone else chipped in 40, the individual that takes it could toss them back their part (or a part of that contribution) to help even the score. Find a method that works best for you and your roommates and stick to it.
6. When in Doubt, List it Out
Last, but not least, it’s possible your divvying up requires more organization and forethought than a simple conversation could provide, so when you’re in doubt as to whether or not something is fair, make a list.
List all of your belongings, and list out who paid for them. This way, you can not only see that visually, but you can also determine a fair way to split belongings that were paid for by multiple parties, as you can count the number of items going to each individual. There’s a number of ways this could be helpful, so it’s all about your organizational skills and whether or not this method works for your needs.
Moving out is a bittersweet feeling, but splitting up belongings with your roommates can definitely pose a particular challenge that can really put a damper on the mood. It doesn’t matter how close you’ve all become, when it comes to sharing, things can be messy quickly, so it’s important to tread lightly.
That said, rather than struggling through this transition, utilize these tips to not only help you divide everything up but also ensure you’re doing so fairly. Once that ugly step is out of the way, you’ll all be ready to part ways and go wherever life plans to take you next!
Love them or hate them, just about every student lives with at least a roommate or two during their college career. Roommates are just part of the college experience. And a college roommate can make or break your college experience. A good roommate experience makes your time at school happier, easier, less stressful, and more successful. A bad roommate experience, well… you can see why finding ways to coexist happily with a roommate is so important.
If you are not sure how to move forward with a roommate or want some more strategies to help ensure that your roommate experiences are positive, then read on to learn more about peacefully sharing space with roommates!
Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
Pretty much the most important thing that you can do to uphold your relationship with your roommate is to communicate, communicate, communicate. Honestly, this is one of the most important things you should do in every relationship. But it is especially important in a roommate situation because this is a person that shares such an intimate part of your life.
You split bills and finances with your roommate. You share belongings, like furniture and sundries, with your roommate. You share a living space with a roommate, something very humbling and intimate. Your roommate is the one who sees you stumble into the house after a long and crazy day and is the one to see you stumble back out after a long night of little sleep and lots of studying.
You want to communicate from the outset, you want to communicate to both avoid and resolve conflict, you want to communicate over the course of time. Basically, you want to always be in communication. This does not mean that you have to overshare or constantly have meaningless chatter with your roommate. But you should talk about important things, like creating boundaries and checking in with each other.
If something your roommate is doing is bothering or upsetting you, you need to communicate that. Without communication, the problem will 1) fester, leaving you upset with rising tension, and 2) remain unresolved because even though it may be clear that there is a problem to you, it might not be so clear to your roommate.
In order to both avoid and solve problems, you have to be willing to communicate with your roommate so your time together will be peaceful.
Part of communicating with your roommate is creating boundaries. But what is a personal boundary, and how can you create them with your roommate?
The University of Kentucky describes it like this: “Personal boundaries, just like the ‘No Trespassing’ sign, define where you end and others begin and are determined by the amount of physical and emotional space you allow between yourself and others. Personal boundaries help you decide what types of communication, behavior, and interaction are acceptable.”
For example, if you do not like other people, even your roommate entering your private spaces, like your bedroom, without your permission/knowledge, you can communicate this to your roommate and make that a personal boundary. If your roommate having guests over that you do not know makes you uncomfortable (especially in the time of coronavirus), you need to communicate that and then be willing to work with your roommate to create a system that works for both of you while still respecting your personal boundaries.
Personal boundaries are different for each person and while creating them, you have to be willing to communicate with your roommate and make sure you are accommodating and meeting the needs of their personal boundaries as well, not just your own. You both deserve to feel safe and respected in the sanctity of your own home and your wellbeing does not come at the price of your roommates.
Stick to Your Commitments
The pièce de resistance to peacefully sharing a space using the two strategies listed above is after communicating and creating boundaries, to then stick to your commitments. Creating shared boundaries is making a set of shared commitments, and communicating and setting the boundaries does nothing if you then do not follow them.
Do the things you say you are going to do. Come through on your commitments, just as you would like your roommate to do. And if for some reason you are unable to or feel that these commitments need to shift, refer back to the previous two strategies and communicate how you are feeling, and then create new boundaries, AKA commitments.
It may take some work (and it needs to be from both sides, not just your own) but it is certainly preferable and definitely possible to peacefully share space with a roommate in college as long as you try and implement these strategies, in whatever way applies to your situation.
College students have a lot of expenses and a limited budget. If you live with a roommate or two, buying taking advantage of buying in bulk can help save money. While sharing things like your favorite snacks or health products, sharing various other essentials can help save on costs. There are stores specifically designated for bulk purchases, but those often require a paid membership. Even buying things in bulk at your local grocery store can help you save money.
While buying food items in bulk on your own can seem unproductive as they may go bad, buying cooking essentials like eggs, seasonings, milk, ketchup, cooking oil, and flour in bulk may be useful. These things are used frequently across multiple recipes, so it is useful to have the bulk of these items so you and your roommate have enough for all the things you like making. If you have specific needs or brands that you prefer in these items over ones your roommate uses, make sure you have your own stash.
You and your roommates may have individual snacks that you buy in regular portions, but if you know that you all enjoy a specific snack and find yourself eating each other’s stash, you may want to consider buying those snacks in bulk. You may even be able to find healthy snacks depending on where you shop. Just be sure you are clear about individual snacks, and if you decide that you want to buy a snack in bulk next time you go shopping, make a note on a shopping list. Be sure to check expiration dates so that you do not end up wasting food and money.
Image: Nico Smit via https://unsplash.com/photos/PTv-B97DHNI
Things such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss, and razors all cost less when purchased in bulk. Individual toiletry items can cost up to $5, but a large pack of even 100 can be $20. If you take care of these items and store them properly, you may be able to have a stock of toiletry items for the duration of time you are with your roommate. This allows you to split the box and split the cost. Not only will you be saving a lot of money, but you will also help reduce plastic packaging to help the environment.
Soap and cleaning supplies
Whether you live in an apartment with your roommate or a dorm, you will have to keep your space clean. Things like hand soap, shampoo, bar soap, laundry detergent, and soap for cleaning can add up when purchased in individual portions. Buying in bulk will help you save money and make sure you do not run out of supplies when you find yourself having to clean up a mess. You will likely need various types of cleaner, so having these in bulk can help make sure they last while you are with your roommate.
Textbooks, tuition, and a computer are all expensive enough, but as a student, you will likely need things such as pens, pencils, notebooks, binders, and index cards. These things can add up if you buy them individually or in smaller quantities. Since you are all in school, you will all likely need these supplies and will want to have plenty on hand, especially since pens tend to go missing. Before each semester, take a look at your syllabi with your roommate to see if there are specific supplies that you will need. Otherwise, stick with general supplies that you anticipate needing. That way, you will not have to panic when you lose your pen or have to do notecards for a project or exam.
Paper goods such as toilet paper, paper towels, and tissues often come in individual quantities, but since you are living with a roommate, you will likely need to have a bunch of these supplies handy. The good thing about paper goods is that you do not have to worry about them going bad, so you can have a large supply of them so you are not caught in an emergency without toilet paper or paper towels. College students are notorious for getting sick and spreading germs, so having tissues on hand can help ensure that you do not have to make a store run when you or your roommate are sick.
If you know that you will use a bulk item before it goes bad and you know your roommate will use it as well, it is worth buying. Otherwise, buy the smaller portion so you do not waste the money and food. Consider buying the store brand of the bulk items to help save even more money. Only buy things in bulk that you and your roommate both use and be sure to make clear what items are yours.
While the initial cost of buying in bulk may seem higher than buying in smaller quantities, if you sit down and do the math, buying items in bulk actually saves money over time. This is essential as a college student, especially if you have a roommate and can split the costs.