Budgeting Tips for Living With a Roommate

By Garth Brunner

Budgeting can be so hard! After all, you have already taken the ultimate budget tip by living with a roommate. Still, there are other things you and your roommate or roommates can do to help your budget even further. It might seem like the best thing to do is to split everything in half, but this is not always the case. In fact, you could be losing a lot of money that you do not even realize. Here are the best budgeting tips for living with a roommate that just might end up saving you hundreds.

Student Roommates: Budgeting Tips for Living With a Roommate

Finding the right roommate

If you do not have a roommate yet, one of the best things for a budget is to find the right roommate. Find someone who is responsible with their money and has a good history of paying bills on time. After all, if they are late on payments and rely on you to cover for them, you will have to save even more money in an attempt to save your butts which can cause a lot of stress. If you already have a roommate, let’s hope they are a good one! If you are struggling, now is the time to have a conversation about the following tips so that you can save money and budget better.

Take salary into consideration

One of the best things you can do is compare salaries or wages to decide how much you both should be paying in bills like rent, electricity, or more. Most people decide to split rent in half, but if one roommate makes double or triple the other, it is best for both of you to split the bills not equally, but equitably. For example, rent can be one-third of what each roommate makes. That way, it is not a bigger deal for one roommate or the other and you can each budget accordingly for your remaining salary. Not everyone will be in favor of spending more on rent, but an open conversation may lead to something in everybody’s best interests. If your budget is tight, even just a small percentage less of rent can help with everything.

Talk about groceries

When you go grocery shopping, do not just split the bill in half and call it a day. You should only pay for what you are using. A gallon of milk that you both use? Sure! But your roommate’s box of slim jims that they use for late-night snacking? You should not be paying half of that! This is not to say that you should only buy things that you need. If someone is going grocery shopping, there is no harm in picking up everything needed for the apartment, but keep that receipt! Go through and split what is yours, your roommates, and communal. Request the money for your roommate’s items and half of what you share. That way, you are not paying for groceries you do not use.

If that is too difficult, there are alternatives. You can take turns grocery shopping and call it even so long as you are both contributing equally.

Create a joint budget

While shopping, you might both have different ideas of what to grab. When toilet paper is on the list, are you both grabbing one that costs the same, or is one of you grabbing something more expensive? Even if you split the cost of something like that, pennies add up and can end up pushing you over your budget. Agree on how much you are okay to spend on groceries that you split, cleaning supplies, and other things you two may share. If someone wants to go over the joint budget, that is then their responsibility.

Discuss what not to share

Even though you and your roommates might be using something, there is not always an obligation for both of you to pay. For instance, a new TV or a new furniture item. If one of you buys it but plans to take it when the lease is up, then they should be the one to fully cover the cost. Do not pay for something you will be losing in a year!

Record all payments

Lastly, the best budgeting tip not just for your household but for you is to keep track of what you are spending and where. Whether this is an app, a spreadsheet with names, dates, costs, and what you buy, or a jar where you keep receipts and go over them at the end of the month, you need to keep track of everything. This way, you can see what might need to be cut going further or what you are paying for that you are not using.

With these tips in mind, budgeting will not be easy, but it will be easier. You and your roommate can do this and save money together while also sticking to your respective budgets.

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