Part of the reason my life expectations and reality don’t match is because I never expected to still be living with roommates in my mid-twenties. However, after a lot of introspection and thought about the subject I realized that living with roommates is actually a great way to get social interaction and save money!
Living With Roommates – The Reality
I’ve had plenty of roommates over the years during college and after.
I’ve lived with friends, family and strangers.
In fact, I’ve never lived alone. (Update: though I never really wanted to live alone, as I’m very social and hate staying alone in a house for an extended period, I’ve finally lived alone for almost a full year. I’m back to living with roommates because I now recognize all the special side benefits that make living with roommates worth it.)
I always figured by the time I was in my mid-twenties I would be living in a house with just me and my partner. I didn’t think I’d always have roommates and still be sharing space with people.
The reality is that living with roommates is harder than living alone because you have to share space. Communication is important and resentments can come up when there are disagreements about how the space should be used. Conflicts can arise over things like chores, cleaning, and sharing food. Ultimately the reality of living with roommates is that it takes a lot more work on interpersonal relationships.
Why I Live With Roommates
So why do I still live with roommates when I know it involved a lot of extra work?
Frankly, I still live with roommates because it is the cheapest living option. Regardless of what city I’ve lived in, or my spot in life, living with roommates has always been the cheapest living arrangement.
In my area renting an apartment costs me $600-700 at the low end and $800-1000 a month at the high end for a place I would really love. Then add another $200-300 for expenses like utilities and internet and all of that. It adds up fast when you are the only person paying for everything!
Living with a roommate cuts down on expenses quickly. I pay just $400 a month to rent a room and split the extras in a house with my current roommate. In the past I’ve paid under $300 a month.
Living with roommates may take some extra work to get along and you can’t do everything you want all the time, but it saves ridiculous amounts of money. It allows you to pay down my student loans. It lets you save up for things you need.
Living with roommates might not always be ideal or what you expect, but I know it’s what is best option to save money!
How You Can Live With Roommates
If you are single it’s a lot easier to live with roommates because you can simply move into a house with a lot of people or rent a room out from someone.
If you are married this is still possible. It’s also an option for you to rent or buy your own place and then bring in roommates. This will give you more control as you will be in the position of power to set rules and evict the person if things go wrong.
It always helps to have a written agreement or lease with people you are living with even if it’s just a temporary situation or you are the person moving in. This covers both parties in case something goes wrong and there are disputes to settle later. It might be awkward at first to bring up the fact that you want a written agreement to cover your roommate situation, but it’s a very smart idea in the long run!
Additionally there are many things you can do to be a good roommate and ensure that nothing goes wrong. Be a good roommate by:
- respecting your roommates space and privacy
- doing the dishes and other household chores when needed
- not being nosy about the roommates life
- setting clear boundaries for each other and respecting them
- picking up after yourself, especially in common areas
- respecting the other person’s right to reserve and use common areas
- being a happy and positive person in interactions with roommates
Do those things and you won’t have any problems at all living with roommates. In fact, it might be the best thing you ever did!
Ebooks To Help With Living With Roommates
If you want to be extra prepared for living with roommates, or don’t know how to handle a situation that has come up, try reading books and blog posts about how to deal with roommates.
There are several inexpensive ebooks that you can get to help you navigate the world of living with roommates. Try these to start:
- Roommates: A Guide to getting along with a Roommate
- Roommate Survival Guide: 33 ways to stay sane and have fun
- Roommates – How To Solve Tensions And Live In Harmony With A Roommate
- House Mates: A Guide to Cooperative Shared Housing
- Isolation Is Overrated – 8 Steps to Stress-Free Living with Roommates
These books are a great way to learn about roommate living and learn how to solve or prevent common problems that arise among people living together. You can spend $10 on all these ebooks and save yourself from unnecessary strife.
Good luck with your roommate living. I know it’s for me and I hope you can find a way to make it work for you too!