How to keep your budget intact while living with roommates

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Ah roommates. Love ‘em, hate ‘em, never see ‘em. Whatever your experience, you can’t deny the simple fact that living with roommates can make good financial sense. Rent tends to be cheaper, your water and heating bills will be split up, and you can also share the cost of things like furniture and appliances. But living with roommates can also come with its fair share of unexpected expenses that may leave your wallet a little lighter than expected. If you’re looking for ways to keep your budget intact while living with roomies, check out some of these tips.

Talk it out first

Every house will operate differently, but whether you’re best friends or total strangers, it’s always a good idea to sit down with your roomies before move-in day and talk through the financial side of things. Make a list of all your fixed monthly expenses like rent, utilities (average), and Wi-Fi, then split the total cost equally between each roommate. This will avoid anyone having to pay more or less each month. Designate one roommate to be the payee and transfer your funds to them monthly. And remember, nothing gets paid off until everyone pays up.

Don’t give in to temptation

Living with roommates typically means the pressure is on to go out and have fun. But resist the FOMO as best you can and your wallet will thank you. Replace downtown excursions with cheaper options like cooking dinner together or imbibing at home, or having movie nights at home rather than shelling out for the latest in-theatre blockbuster flick. You’re paying all that rent for your place, you might as well enjoy it!

Shop together, check out alone

Although it might not make sense to have four separate cartons of milk in the fridge, buying all your groceries as a team can get confusing. Different people have different preferences, allergies, and diets, which makes it nearly impossible to shop for everybody in one cart. Go to the grocery store together but buy your own food. And if you want to cook meals together some nights, add those ingredients to your group cart and no one will be left paying more.

Share what you can

There are some everyday costs that you may be incurring that could easily be split up between roommates. If you’re using coin operated laundry, try and do your laundry together to save some spare change. Or if you each have your own Netflix account (or other shareable subscriptions), cut it down to one and share the bill. Try to see if you can share a Wi-Fi router with neighbors. Splitting the costs can mean big savings for everyone.