Roommate Survival Guide

Housing is expensive, and more and more people choose to save money by living with roommates.  Of course, living with roommates is much easier said than done.  Read on to learn how to combat some of the common issues roommates have.

Chores

Problem: On the day you moved in, it seemed like everybody would pitch in and help with cleaning communal areas. Today, a few months later, you find that you are always the one unloading the dishwasher and scrubbing the toilets.  Is it too late to say something?

Solution: No, it’s not too late to say something! Find a time when everybody is home and tell them you would like to create a chore chart to ensure that every duty is getting done. An example of a chore chart can be found here. Or, you can make your own by making a list of the chores that need to be done each day, week or month, and each roommate does a different chore each time.

Money

Problem: You divided the bills up so each person is responsible for a different bill, but one roommate is not paying on time, which costs you money.

Solution: Propose you use a payment app like Venmo. All you need to do is download the app and link your bank account to it.  Then, you may send and receive payments instantaneously.  It is so easy to use, and your roommate will no longer have the excuse that he/she is out of checks or doesn’t have cash.

Problem: You find yourself always buying the toilet paper, trash bags, cleaning supplies and communal food, because if you don’t, who will?

Solution: Make a list of the items you all use.  Either offer to buy all of the items if your roommates will pay you back (they can do it quickly using a payment app), or suggest a chart similar to the chore chart of whose turn it is to buy supplies.

Communication

Problem: You want to talk to all of your roommates, but the one who causes the most problems is never available to talk.

Solution: Use a group text or group message for quick questions you want to ask the group.  You can also use a whiteboard/cork board in a communal space to post reminders, notes and bills.  For bigger problems, use those methods to schedule a time you can all talk at home.

Guests

Problem: It’s fine when your roommate invites a friend over from time to time, but lately his/her significant other is spending every second in your home, and is driving up your utility bills.

Solution: If possible, find a time that your roommate is without his/her significant other.  Your roommate might get defensive if you bring it up in front of their guest.  Say something like, “I think it’s great that you and XYZ have become so close, but it’s not fair for me to be paying extra for all of the showers he/she has been taking here.”  Either ask your roommate to pay more for utilities, or request that his/her significant other stops using your utilities.

Problem: You feel like a third wheel in your own home.

Solution: Again, wait until your roommate is alone to bring it up.  Be honest about how you feel, and ask if they could spend more time in your roommate’s bedroom.  If you share a bedroom, explain that you feel more comfortable when it is just you and your roommate in your personal room.

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