College Roommate Tips

What to Do if Your Roommate Can't Pay Rent

By Kaitlin Hurtadol

The biggest benefit to having a roommate is making rent more affordable when you can split the cost. In an ideal world, all roommates will pay their share of their rent in a timely manner as agreed upon, with no issues for the entire time you live together, however, this isn’t always the case. Life happens and for whatever reason, you may find yourself in a situation where your roommate is unable to pay their share of the rent as promised. It’s a stressful situation for everyone involved, but you can’t just let the situation go by unsolved as it’s going to affect you as your name is on the lease as well. Keep reading on what to do when your roommate can’t pay rent.

Roommate Tips: What to Do if Your Roommate Can't Pay Rent

Stay calm and assess the situation
In the best case scenario, you have a good relationship with your roommate and they bring up their inability to pay their rent as soon as they are aware of the situation themselves. When you do become aware of the situation, it is important to stay calm as you figure out the best way to handle the situation.

If you are close with your roommate, such as being close friends outside of just a roommate relationship, you may be more comfortable coming to an agreement to temporarily cover their rent. If your roommate just got laid off, for example, you may opt to cover their rent as they find a new, steady job and get back on their feet on the condition that they can pay you back after a chosen time period.

However, if your roommate is a random match-up you found on a local ad calling for roommates or someone you don’t get along with, you may be more wary about their ability to pay you back should you offer to cover their share of the rent. If this is the case for you, you may opt to go straight to your landlord to figure out your options (and if you are truly responsible for their share of the rent).

Whatever approach you decide to take, make sure you make an effort to document everything along the way, from emails between your roommates and landlord, to bank statements showing any transactions regarding rent.

Check with your lease to verify if you’re liable to cover the rent
Once you have assessed the situation you are facing, refer back to your lease agreement to verify if you are responsible for making rent is paid in its entirety, not just your portion. In most roommate situations, you both will be listed on the lease agreement. Check the lease to see if the agreement has joint or several liability. If you and your roommate are jointly liable, you are both equally responsible for making sure the total rent is paid, regardless of whether or not you or your roommate are paying their individual portion. If you and your roommate are severally liable, you are only responsible for your portion of the rent, and it is your landlord’s responsibility to get the other portion of the rent from your roommate.

Speak with your landlord to discuss your options
You and your roommate aren’t the only renters that have found themselves in a situation where they are unable to pay rent, and your landlord has likely dealt with this situation before. Depending on the landlord, they may be able to offer options to help your situation.
Your landlord may agree to have your security deposit cover the portion of the rent that your roommate can’t pay.

Your landlord may also be more flexible when it comes to deferred rent or establishing a repayment plan. For example, your landlord may offer to let your roommate pay in installments over the course of a month rather than paying the rent in full at the beginning of the month. Or, they can allow your roommate to apply for rent relief if they find themselves facing financial hardship.

Evicting your roommate
If you happen to be the only person on lease and are not coming to an agreement with your roommate on them paying rent as promised, you may have to look into eviction to solve the issue at hand.

Tenant’s rights will vary depending on the state you are residing in, but doing a quick search on your state and “tenant handbook” or “tenant rights” can get you the information needed to navigate a possible eviction. Eviction can be a difficult process, so it may be something you consider as a last resort rather than the first solution you choose.

For example, if you and your roommate are both on the lease, you would not be able to evict them just because they aren’t paying rent. Your landlord will have to get involved to take action, and may have to evict you as well, which will affect your credit and your ability to rent in the future.

Finding out that your roommate can’t pay rent can be a stressful situation for anyone. With this information in mind, you can help yourself and your roommate find the best solution for your situation.

Why You And Your Best Friend Shouldn't Be Roommates

By Ashley Paskill

Having a roommate that you do not know can seem overwhelming and scary. If you and your best friend go to the same school or live in the same city, you may be tempted to be roommates. However, this may not be the best idea. Several issues may arise that may dampen your friendship, no matter how strong it is. Some friendships may survive, but there are reasons you should take at least some time to consider other roommate options.

Roommate Tips: Why You And Your Best Friend Shouldn't Be Roommates
Image: Karolina Grabowska via

Annoying habits

If you have never lived with your roommate or even had a sleepover with them, you may not know some of their habits that you do not see. Their room may be cluttered and they only clean when you come over. You may not know some of their habits, so at least having a conversation before moving in together can help you determine if it is worth the hassle of putting up with the habits. On the flip side, your own bad habits will be on display for your best friend to see. You were able to hide the habits before, but living together means that they will be exposed. If you are not ready for this, consider moving in with someone else.

Less space

While moving in together means you will see each other more frequently, this can lead to issues if you get into an argument with each other. When you got into arguments before, you could go your own separate ways to your own living space and cool off. If you live with each other, this becomes a lot more difficult since you are living in close quarters. Consider how many arguments you have had and how you have dealt with them before. You may also just need some alone time, even if you and your friend are not arguing. Think about yourself and your relationship with your friend. If you are someone who needs space, especially after a fight, consider a different living arrangement.

Money talks

When you live with a roommate, you have to talk about money. Rent and utility bills need to be paid, and grocery shopping needs to be done. It is likely that you and your best friend have never talked about financial topics before, but moving in together would require these conversations to take place. If bills are not paid or your friend owes you money, your relationship may be strained.

Distractions from tasks

Living with your best friend may seem like a dream come true because you will get to spend a lot of time together. This is true, but you will both have things like studying, chores, and other tasks that need to be done. If you and your friend can get these things done without distracting each other, great. If not, consider a different option. You need to be sure you are putting your schoolwork and other tasks first before having fun with your friend.

Boundaries and rules

Like with any roommate, you will need to set boundaries and rules with your best friend. Some people and friendships can handle setting these things in place, but for others, these things may seem like an attack on the friendship. Have a conversation with your roommate about rules and boundaries, including what things are shared and who does what chores. Know that you will both have to be firm with keeping these rules and boundaries. Setting boundaries and rules may seem like they would put a damper on your friendship, but not having these in place may do even more damage. If you are not comfortable having rules and boundaries in place, moving in with your best friend is not for you.

Missing out on opportunities

One of the best things about college is getting to meet new people and have new experiences. If you have your best friend as your roommate, you will miss out on meeting other people who may be your roommates otherwise. While you do know your best friend and know that you get along, part of growth comes from meeting new types of people and figuring out how to get along with different types of personalities. Just because you have other people as roommates does not mean that you cannot spend time with your best friend. Different people will allow you to experience new things and push you to grow in ways that spending time with the same people do not.

No one to vent to

Living with roommates has its struggles. If you live with your best friend, you will not be able to vent to your friend about your roommate issues as they are your roommate. This will leave you struggling to find someone to vent to. Even having other friends nearby is not the same as venting to your best friend. However, living with someone else allows your best friend to be someone you can vent to when things get tough.

Living with your best friend may seem great, but it likely will not be all that it cracks up to be. Struggles will occur that you have never faced, and this may strain your relationship.

Living with a Foreign Roommate

By Kaitlin Hurtado

For college students, living with roommates is fairly common. Everyone has a different roommate experience, some opt to live with their closest friends while others try their luck with complete strangers. Another roommate situation you may experience during your college years is living with a foreign roommate. Just like any roommate situation, living with a foreign roommate can come with plenty of new experiences for you during your college years. Keep reading for insight on what you can expect when living with a foreign roommate.

Student Roommates: Living with a Foreign Roommate

A language barrier may be your first obstacle
If your foreign roommate’s first language isn’t English, you may experience a language barrier if you don’t speak their language as well. Luckily enough, there are plenty of ways you can navigate a language barrier with the help of technology, from learning simple phrases through learning apps to using apps to get real-time translations during conversations.

Don’t look at the language barrier as an obstacle, but as an opportunity to learn a new language by getting the chance to learn and use it on a regular basis. The same could be said for your foreign roommate — they could use daily conversations with you as the basis for learning more English.

Learn about their culture (and accept it’s bound to come with differences)
While you and your foreign roommate may both speak the same language, you likely are going to have cultural differences during your time living together. From customs to the food they eat, living with a foreign roommate will give you exposure to an entirely different culture. Rather than analyzing how different you and your foreign roommate are, embrace your differences by taking the opportunity to learn about their culture while living with them. At the same time, you can also take the opportunity to teach them more about your own culture.

Getting to know your roommate will take some time, especially if you are encountering a language barrier. With patience and a genuine desire to learn and communicate, you can end up having an amazing roommate and experience living together.

Just like with any roommates, keep things clear with communication
When you are living with a roommate, you can expect to clash over certain situations, regardless of where they are from. Everyone has their own ways of doing things and the smallest issue of how you like to clean a certain area can escalate into a bigger problem among roommates. Just like with any roommate situation, you want to make sure you establish and maintain clear communication and boundaries with a foreign roommate.

If you do not even speak the same language, you may think that you can carry separate lives in the same space with no issues, however, leaving things left unsaid and hoping for the best can lead to a disaster. Make an effort to host open conversations about expectations and boundaries you both would like to maintain in your shared living space, from cleanliness to having guests over. Coming from different cultures and backgrounds, you are bound to have some different expectations surrounding your living space, so it’s important to get these types of conversations done as soon as possible to make your time together easier and more enjoyable.

Expect some homesickness
Imagine living away from home for months on end. If you moved further away from your hometown from college, you can understand the idea of homesickness and how it could affect you emotionally and mentally, and in turn, affect how you may behave around others. For your foreign roommate, homesickness can come and go often as they are far away from home and likely without their support system as they live abroad.

This doesn’t mean you have to be your roommate’s best friend and their ultimate source of support as they experience homesickness while they live with you, but it does mean it’s something you should expect and be understanding of. For example, you may notice your roommate feeling down after they miss out on something back home, such as a close friend or family member’s birthday. Offer to spend some time with them over a meal or a movie, or let them know you are up to listen if they need someone to talk or vent to. It may not seem like a lot of effort on your part, but to your roommate who is living abroad, having just one person to lean on for a moment can mean the world to them. Living abroad can be a fun but lonely experience for many.

Living with a foreign roommate may leave you apprehensive at first, especially when you know there is going to be a language barrier. Don’t let what you don’t know, or haven’t experienced yet, hold you back from getting a roommate experience you wouldn’t get anywhere else.

Renegotiating Your Apartment Rent Breakdown with Your Roommates

By Alicia Geigel

When living with roommates one of the several things that occupy your mind on a regular basis is paying bills and rent. No one looks forward to the day of the month when rent is due. Hopefully by the time rent is due you and your roommates have established a fair and effective way to split the rent, because it can get messy if not.

Sometimes in a renting situation, prices go up. This can include cable, internet, water, heat/air conditioning, electric, or even rent. Price increases can be attributed to a number of reasons, which could spark a conversation between you and your roommates about how to renegotiate your rent breakdown to adjust for these price changes.

Are you living with roommates? Looking for an effective, new way to split up the rent among everyone? Here are a few simple ways you can renegotiate your rent breakdown with your roommates, with fairness and without conflict!

College Roommates: Renegotiating Your Apartment Rent Breakdown with Your Roommates

1. Gather the Information You Need: Paying bills and rent relies on a knowledge of hard numbers, not guesses and estimations. Before you even start to try and split up payments, gather all the important information and documents you need in order to total the monthly living costs for everyone. This can include: rent, utilities like water and electric, internet and cable, subscription services, heating and air conditioning, food, etc. Get the numbers together for each category and make a spreadsheet that includes the category and the total monthly cost for each. Once you do this, everyone will have a clear idea of what the costs look like and will have a better place to start when splitting up the rent and renegotiating it.
2. Have an Open Conversation: Any discussion that involves money can get complicated and emotional at points. People want to make sure that what they are paying into something is fair and everyone is paying equally and accordingly. Once you have the numbers that total your monthly budget, sit down with your roommates and suggest different ways to split the costs of living. This can be done in a number of ways, such as splitting the cost by the number of people, splitting the cost by square footage per person, or splitting the cost by room. However you and your roommates decide to do this is up to your discretion, but be sure to hear everyone’s opinion and feedback on suggestions before leaping into any one decision. Each person has an equal say and share in what they think is fair and they should be treated as so!
3. Establish When Everyone Should Pay: Another element to factor in when splitting and renegotiating rent are pay dates. It is important for everyone to give their share of the rent payments in a timely manner, before the due date for each payment. It is always better to be a little early than run into a problem and be late on payments. Establish a payment schedule with your roommates to ensure each bill gets paid on time. A dry-erase board or a calendar could be helpful to remind everyone of important dates. Place the calendar or board on a wall in a space that is constantly occupied, such as a kitchen or living room, so you and your roommates can see it and be reminded of payments consistently throughout the month. If you trust your roommates enough, you can also give someone the responsibility of handling the money and making payments for things like subscription services or food, as the rent payments are typically issued per person if you’re living in a complex. If not in a complex, someone could be responsible for handling rent payments as well, but that is up to you and your roommates to decide!
4. Keep an Eye Out for Price Changes: As stated earlier, prices are always open to change. You typically will get a formal notice about a price change, whether it be for rent or something else connected to your living costs. Be sure to always look out in your email or physical mail for any information regarding a price change so you can discuss how to renegotiate your living costs accordingly.
5. Communicate Openly: A key to a healthy and stress free living situation with roommates relies on open communication. Always have an ear to listen to your roommates but also speak up if there is anything you disagree with or have a problem with. This could include having issues making monthly payments, splitting the rent, utilities usage, etc. If you don’t speak up, others don’t know how you feel and will live normally because they can’t read your mind. Encourage no-judgment, open communication with your roommates to maintain a peaceful living situation and ensure that payments can be made in a stress-free manner.

Splitting rent and renegotiating payments between roommates is typically one of the more difficult things to do. Adding and dividing up the costs in a fair way can be difficult, but if you follow these tips and tricks, you and your roommates will be able to do so calmly and effectively!

How to Still Have Privacy When Sharing a Room with a Roommate

By Alicia Geigel

Living with a roommate has its pros and cons, with the biggest nuisance being the lack of privacy that often comes with sharing a space. Privacy can become even more scarce when sharing a room with another person. Jointly living in a home or apartment is one thing, but sharing a room is a whole other level of closeness. Along with sharing common areas like the kitchen, bathroom, and living room, your most private space, aka your bedroom, is also jointly
lived in.

There could be several reasons why you are sharing a room with your roommate, whether it be a space issue or a financial one. While it may seem like there is no means to having privacy in this situation, there are a few simple ways to both share a room and still have a small sliver to call your own.

Are you sharing a room with your roommate? Is the lack of privacy driving you mad? Here are five simple ways you can make your space more private.

Student Roommates: How to Still Have Privacy When Sharing a Room with a Roommate

1. Try to keep your Possessions to a Minimum: One common issue when living with a roommate is the blurred lines between your items and the items of your roommate(s). Often, things like food, toiletries, or household appliances get used and mixed up, which can lead to frustration and conflict. Living in the same room can further complicate things. To avoid this, try to keep your possessions to a minimum-at least the possessions that are visible and in the way. Storage containers and storage furniture can help to organize your items and keep them out of the way of your roommate.

2. Invest in a Screen Room Divider: Depending on the size of your room, your space can feel very cramped and crowded. Simultaneously, your room can also feel less comfortable and, simply put, yours. To give your room a degree of separation, think about investing in a screen room divider. A screen divider adds a makeshift wall to your room, giving both you and your roommate some much-needed privacy, whether it be when you are changing clothes, hanging out with a friend, or unwinding after a long day.

3. Consider a Loft Bed: Remember earlier when I briefly mentioned the perks of storage furniture? While a loft bed does not offer optimal storage, it does give you a unique way to design the layout of your room and help you utilize your space better. A loft bed is like a bunk bed, but rather than having a bed on both the bottom and top, it has open space on the bottom for things like a desk or couch, with a bed on top. If your room allows for the space, a loft bed is a great option. You can have the privacy of being on another height in the room while relaxing or sleeping.

4. Make your Bed Private: In the case that you cannot get a loft bed or a screen divider for your room, another way to make your bed and living space more private is by purchasing something to cover up your bed, such as a canopy or a bed tent. Items like these are typically inexpensive and can help to give you a greater sense of privacy, whether you’re wanting a bit of alone time for studying or sleeping.

5. Establish Specific Hours to Have the Room to Yourself: If you and your roommate have exhausted all possible options, one easy last resort to consider is to establish specific hours for each person to have the room to themselves. It sounds controlling and dictator-like, but it could be a game-changer for the both of you. And since many public spaces on and around campus have WiFi, your “banishment” won’t be the end of the world for either of you – in fact, it may be a great opportunity to explore a park or go for walk.

Living with a roommate can be difficult enough, but sharing a room with them is a different level of closeness that can drive even the most level-headed to the brink of a breakdown. Though it can be difficult to compromise and live with your roommate in a room, there still are means to maintain privacy and have a space of your own. Whether it is by using a space divider or taking a step outside, you and your roommate can come to an agreement that works for the both of you.

5 Annoying Roommate Habits and How To Deal

By Ashley Paskill

Living with roommates, especially if it is your first time living with roommates, can be difficult. It is challenging living with different people you are used to who have habits that may be different than you are used to with your family. Learning how to cope with difficult roommate habits can help you improve your relationships with your roommates and give you peace of mind for navigating the semester.

Not doing chores

Roommates who do not do their fair share of chores can be difficult, especially if you are someone who likes to be clean and tidy. While different people have different ideas of what “clean” means, it is important to figure out common ground for how to make it work.

There are many ways you can navigate a roommate who does not keep up with chores. Create a schedule for chores. Have each roommate do a specific task or tasks that they volunteer for. Rotate which roommate does each chore and write them down so there is a visual. While it may be tempting to just do all of the cleaning and chores yourself, this will eventually lead to burnout, so be sure to share tasks and be upfront when things are not getting done.

Roommate Finder: 5 Annoying Roommate Habits and How To Deal

Ineffective communication

Communication is important in any relationship, and the relationship between you and your roommate(s) is no different. Your roommate may be passive-aggressive in their communication method by leaving post-it notes. They may not bring up issues that need to be resolved and might not communicate about anything at all.

When dealing with communication issues, it is better to be upfront and honest. Ask them why they made a comment or if there is an issue. As roommates, you should be comfortable enough with each other to speak up without fear of retaliation. Have a time each night where you can talk to your roommate(s) and get a feel for how things are on their end and share your thoughts as well. If your roommate still is not communicating effectively, consider bringing in a third party or finding a new roommate.

Invading privacy

Even if you are living with roommates, you deserve to have some privacy and not spend every waking hour with them. Your roommates may borrow your belongings without asking for permission or bang on the bathroom door, wondering when their turn for a shower is. They may decide to have friends over or have a party without checking with you first.

When dealing with privacy invasions, establish rules and boundaries. For example, have a rule that says that roommates must ask before entering another roommate’s room and must check before having friends over. While you and your roommates are friends, establish that it is okay for you and your roommates to have other friends. Label things in the fridge that are yours and have your roommate do the same, especially for things you do not want to share.

Not paying bills

As a college student, your budget is limited. If you live in an apartment or house, you have to pay rent, utilities, and other necessities on top of tuition, supplies, and groceries. You likely split these expenses with a roommate, but if your roommate is not paying their fair share, you may be forced to cover them so you are able to have what you need. However, this is unfair to you and your budget will decline as a result.

To deal with bills, make a spreadsheet of shared expenses. Make note of the cost of each, how much each roommate owes, how it will be paid, and the deadline. This way, there is no confusion and it is easier to keep track of. Avoid making purchases and assuming your roommates will want to chip in and hold onto receipts for agreed-upon purchases. Use apps and websites to help streamline the payment process. If a deadline is coming up, check in with your roommate to be sure the bill gets paid.

Unwanted noise

Whether a roommate slams doors or listens to their music too loudly at all hours of the day and night, having a noisy roommate can be a challenge. It can disrupt your studying and sleep, and your neighbors may be mad at everyone as a result of noise, even if it is not your fault.

Your roommate may not realize how loud they are being or that they are bothering you. Confront them honestly and calmly and ask them to be more mindful of you and their noise levels. Explain how the loud noises disrupt you (wake you up, disrupt your concentration, etc.). You may even want to establish a time when you and your roommates can listen to loud music.

Living with roommates can be a struggle at times, especially when their habits get on your last nerve. However, there are solutions you can do to make the situation better while maintaining the relationship with your roommate(s).

How to Cheer Up a Roommate When They Get a Bad Grade

By Kaitlin Hurtado

Everyone has a different roommate experience in college. For some, they live with best friends they consider a second family. For others, they live with people they consider casual friends with whom they can comfortably share a living space. Regardless of how close you are, you are more likely to see your roommate in their more vulnerable state as you share a living space with them. Whether it’s the latest bout of homesickness or stress for upcoming deadlines, you are probably going to be able to tell when your roommates are going through a tough time. Even if you aren’t best friends with them, it could be difficult to see someone feeling upset in close quarters and not being able to help them in some way.

As college students, you are bound to go through your ups and downs. A common “down” is getting a bad grade, regardless of how hard you studied or worked on an assignment. Your roommate could be going through the same thing, and you may have no idea how to help get their spirits up. Keep reading for tips on how to cheer up a roommate when they get a bad grade.

Roommate Tips: How to Cheer Up a Roommate When They Get a Bad Grade

Take on an extra chore or two
Sure, you may have your go-to methods of cheering up your closest friends when they’re down, but there’s something you can do to cheer up your roommate that others typically won’t be able to do – chores. Depending on how you and your roommates decided to split up housework, everyone is likely going to have one chore that they absolutely dread doing over any of their other assigned chores.
If your roommate is feeling down about a bad grade, offer to cover a chore (or all of them) for the week. While it may seem completely unrelated to the problem at hand, it can go a long way to cheer up your roommate. One, it shows that you recognize they are feeling down and care for their wellbeing. Two, it takes one thing – no matter how small – off their plate. By taking one chore off their plate, they can have that much more time to themselves to destress, or even study toward the next round of tests they are going to go through.

Offer solutions
If your roommate is feeling down about a particularly bad grade, help them find a solution for their troubles. Do they struggle with keeping on top of their studies? Offer to have a study session with them. While you may not be able to offer academic support if you don’t share the class or same major, you can definitely offer some emotional support as you sit by their side at your kitchen or coffee table and study at the same time.
For some, having someone to sit by while they study helps keep themselves accountable, and also can help alleviate the stress and anxiety that may come with studying or working on a project alone.

Take them out for their favorite meal
Treating yourself doesn’t just have to be limited to celebrating or giving yourself a reward for a job done well. It can also be for times when you are feeling down and need a pick-me-up. If your roommate is sulking over a bad grade, take them out for their favorite meal or sweet treat. Not only will it take their mind off of the issue at hand, but it’ll give them a chance to destress and unwind, something much-needed after they had likely spent hours stressed over studying.
It doesn’t have to be a lavish dining experience, something as simple as going to your favorite go-to spot for a happy hour of appetizers and drinks can be the perfect solution to cheering up your roommate.

Have a roomie night in
Rather than taking your roommate out of the house to get their mind off of things, set up a roommates’ night-in to give them the opportunity to destress from the comfort of their own home. Gather their favorite snacks and drinks and plan a night of video or board games, or binge-watching their favorite TV show. Go the extra mile and invite some of their close friends over to help cheer them up even more. The night doesn’t have to be extravagant or perfectly planned, but setting some time aside to cheer up your roommate and help get their mind off their bad grade can mean the world to them when they are feeling down.

You don’t have to be best friends with your roommate to recognize when they are feeling bad about something. Even if it’s something as small as a bad grade on a paper, one sad roommate can bring down the whole vibe of the apartment, especially if said roommate is the go-to jokester. With these ideas in mind, you can have at least one way to help cheer up a roommate when they get a bad grade.

Cute, Cheap, or DIY Holiday Gifts To Give Your Roommate

By Danielle Wirsansky

Gift giving is a really special aspect of the holidays. Sometimes finances can be tough and it can be hard to get a gift to show appreciation to everyone in our life that deserves it. However, one person you do not want to forget to get a gift for is your roommate!

No one spends more time with you than your roommate. They live with you, for Pete’s sake! They have seen you at your best and they have seen you at your worst, and whether you like it or not, you are stuck together (at least until the lease ends). Roommates put up with a lot, so whether you like your roommate or not, you should show appreciation. Read on for some cute, cheap, or DIY holiday gifts to give your roommate!

College Roommates: Cute, Cheap, or DIY Holiday Gifts To Give Your Roommate
Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Coloring Books

Coloring books have been making a comeback in recent years and they are no longer just an activity for children—they’re now an awesome stress-relieving activity for adults as well. You can choose a coloring book based on a theme you think your roommate will enjoy, like unicorns or beautiful locations. Most TV shows and other pop culture items have related coloring books too, so you can find them a coloring book of their favorite cartoon characters or TV show or movie. If you are not sure what your roommate might like, you can always pick something simple like flowers or mandalas, things that anyone would find peaceful.

If you want to go the extra mile, you can provide crayons, coloring pencils, markers, or other colorful writing utensils to be sure that they can utilize your coloring book gift (and without delay).

And as stressful as college can be, why not give your roommate a simple and cheap way to de-stress as a gift? The winter break is the time to unwind, so providing them with a coloring book as a holiday gift is well-timed.

Body Scrub

Spa and health and wellness gifts are very popular and everyone has a body, so why not give your roommate a body scrub? According to Healthline, there are many benefits to using body scrubs like the fact that “they allow your skin to absorb moisturizer better…. They unclog pores and prevent ingrown hairs…. They leave your skin smoother and more even.”
You can customize the body scrub to be a scent that you know your roommate enjoys. If you are not sure what your roommate might like, you can just choose a scent that seems pleasant to you. The same goes with the color!

A body scrub is a cheap gift to buy, but it is also a really easy gift to DIY. There are lots of different recipes of varying levels of simplicity that you can find online. You can also choose a body scrub recipe based on how they help your skin, so if you know that your roommate suffers from acne or has particularly oily skin, or is prone to breakouts, you can customize the kind of body scrub that you are making to better fit their skin needs. If you are not sure, you can still make a simple, basic body scrub that is sure to be a hit.

Personalized Coupon Book

Another great gift for your roommate is a personalized coupon book! You can make it yourself and have it look cute, professional, or whatever style you want! Create item or task-based coupons that your roommate can redeem throughout the rest of the time that you live together.

They could be simple things, like doing a chore. You can be kind and offer to do a specific chore that your roommate really does not enjoy doing or you can be a little more laidback about it and offer to do a chore that you do not mind doing.

Beyond chores, you can also offer coupons for things like a home-cooked meal, a batch of cookies, their favorite food or something along those lines. If you enjoy spending time with your roommate, you can also offer coupons like having a movie night, going shopping, having a spa day at home, or other assorted tasks you and your roommate might specifically enjoy doing together like going to garage sales or seeing a play together. The coupon book is a simple but thoughtful gift to show your roommate that you care.

There are many different gifts you can make or buy for cheap for your roommate this holiday season. Think about what you know about your roommate and then make the best decision you can! Remember, it is the thought that counts!

5 Simple Winter Activities to Enjoy With Your Roommates

By Alicia Geigel

Winter is a great season full of Instagram-worthy pictures of the outdoors, baking cookies, and staying bundled up on the couch with Netflix as your companion. Some people like to venture outside, make snow angels (when snow is available), go on chilly morning walks or other winter activities. On the contrary, others enjoy the cold from the comfort of inside the house, wrapped up in a warm, fuzzy blanket.

Even though binge-watching your favorite Netflix series for the fifth time in a row or catching up on reality show reruns is tempting, this same repetitive routine can become boring when you and your roommates are looking for fun things to do. Whether you and your group like to stay inside or explore the outdoors during the winter, there are plenty of winter activities to do together. Read below for my favorites!

College Roommates: 5 Simple Winter Activities to Enjoy With Your Roommates

1. Fun by the Fireplace: One of the greatest feelings is cozying up to the fireplace after being out on a super cold day. Though a fireplace is not a household item for many, this can also take place by a space heater, wherever you can get that nice, instant warmth totally works. Have your roommates gather their blankets, pillows and get some of your favorite snacks for a fun time playing board games or even mobile games like Heads Up. You could even make s’mores on the stovetop or in the microwave and eat them by the fireplace/space heater for that outdoorsy, campfire feeling! Nothing says cozy like this, and if your group tries it, can you invite me too?
2. Indoor Movie Day: Remember being a kid and making blanket forts for just about every occasion? For this activity, you and your roommates have to embrace your inner child again. Gather up any blankets you can find in the house, (preferably larger ones because they make for better forts) and get to building a fort! You can use chairs, pillows, just about anything to hold up your blankets. After you all are done assembling your fort, pop some popcorn and collect some of your favorite candy or cookies to bring into your new lair. Once you have everything set up, everyone can vote for a movie and pop it on! Something seasonal like Christmas movies or even movies that take place during the winter are great as they contribute to the overall cozy ambiance.
3. Host a Tea Party: At first glance, this sounds a little lame, but it can definitely be fun! The winter months are a great excuse not only to stay inside but also to bake cookies and host tea parties! Play some of your favorite music to channel your inner Betty Crocker and scope out some recipes that appeal to you. You can never go wrong with a good chocolate chip and peanut butter blossom, but explore different cookies that you and your roommates like! Even better, each roommate can assign themselves a cookie to bake, kind of like a cookie potluck! After the cookies are baked, brew some tea; the standard Earl Grey is great, but if you are feeling adventurous, try something fun, whatever appeals to the group! When everything is made, assemble the plate of cookies, mugs for tea, and pretty napkins and embrace your inner Mia Thermopolis (Princess Diaries, anyone)?
4. Indulge in Comfort Foods: Winter is the perfect time to indulge in comfort foods. Some easy comfort foods include mac and cheese, grilled cheese and tomato soup, or French toast- all can be made on a budget and are super yummy and delicious. On a blustery cold day, invite your roommates to each make comfort food and have your own pot-luck style dinner with some candles and glasses of wine. Nothing is more appropriate for winter than hibernating in your apartment with roommates and enjoying some of your favorite foods, enjoy a bite for me!
5. Have a Spa Day: The stress of the semester coming to an end, studying for finals, and preparing for winter break can take a toll on just about anyone. When living with roommates, it’s always important to check in with one another and make sure that everyone is not feeling burnt out. A cold winter day is a perfect opportunity for you and your roomies to unwind and relax together. Head to the store and get some face masks, soak some washcloths with warm water, gather all of your favorite nail polish colors, and have a spay day. If you have an air diffuser, using calming aromatherapy oils (lavender or eucalyptus) is a great way to make the space calm. Music is also a great help, so enlist the help of the roommates to find the perfect chill playlist. After this, everyone will be relaxed and forget about the plunging temperatures.

Whether it’s having a post-seasonal Friendsgiving or indulging in a group self-care spa session, these winter activities are perfect to do with your roommates and will bring you all closer together before the semester ends.

How To Host Thanksgiving For Roommates When You Can`t Go Home

By Ashley Paskill

Whether you live far away from your home or are studying abroad, you may not have the chance to go home for Thanksgiving. Instead of sitting around and doing nothing, consider celebrating the holiday with your roommates. It may not be the same as spending time with your family, but your roommates can be your chosen family for the day. You are likely thankful for your roommates, so take the opportunity to celebrate them.

Food galore

If you are studying abroad, you may want to consider trying out the local cuisine and incorporating it into your Thanksgiving meal. One of the highlights of being able to study abroad is trying new food and embracing a new culture, so having dishes from where you are studying can help diversify your dinner table. For those just staying on campus for Thanksgiving, have everyone make their favorite Thanksgiving dish so you can learn something about each person. Have them say why they chose to make the dish, whether it is their favorite food or they grew up eating it at Thanksgiving. This will help you bond with your roommates as you will get to learn new things about them and their family traditions. If you and your roommates are not good at cooking, consider ordering takeout from a favorite campus or college town restaurant for your meal.

Location, location, location

Choosing the perfect location for your Thanksgiving dinner can be a challenge. Dorms can be a bit small for hosting multiple people, so consider eating at a dining hall or cafeteria on campus. See if there are any restaurants nearby that will be open for Thanksgiving, as these can be good spots for eating out as well. If you are studying in a warm environment, you may even consider a local park or beach for your meal. Just be sure to alert the appropriate parties to let them know your intentions of hosting a meal for you and your roommates in their facilities, and follow any required rules.

Decorate the space

Once you have found the space for the meal, decide what kinds of decorations you want to include. If you are studying abroad and there are not any Thanksgiving-specific decorations, consider using fall decorations. For those eating out at a restaurant for their meal, see what kinds of decorations you can and cannot bring, and see if the restaurant has décor already. You will have more freedom if you are able to eat in your own apartment or a dining hall. You can use things like tablecloths, candles and candle holders, signs, and other themed décor to help make your dinner more festive.

Roommate Finder: How To Host Thanksgiving For Roommates When You Can`t Go Home
Image: Designecologist via

Be budget-friendly

As a college student, it is crucial to be mindful of your budget. It may be tempting to go all-out and buy a lot of food or decorations, but it is important to take money into consideration. Have attendees bring a side dish. See if your campus has a Thanksgiving dinner for students living on campus. Many times, these on-campus Thanksgiving meals are free. When buying decorations, see what is available on sale or with coupons. Serve smaller portion sizes, which will help you reduce the amount of food you need to buy and will help save you money. If you eat at a restaurant, take any leftovers you have back to your dorm or apartment. Whether you cooked or ate out, actually eat the leftovers you have.

Plan activities

Usually, when you spend time with family on Thanksgiving, you do more than just eat and leave. It does not have to be any different when spending time with friends. Plan activities such as a movie marathon or game night to continue the festivities. This way, you do not have to feel sad about not spending the holiday at home. Consider playing some more active games or even having a dance party to cancel out the calories from dinner to stay healthy.

Look for off-campus activities

If you live in a college town, it is likely that there are plenty of activities you can do with your roommates off-campus. See if there are Thanksgiving-based runs or walks that you can participate in before you have a meal. You and your roommates may even decide that you want to volunteer some time at a soup kitchen for the day to help serve meals. Even just exploring your college town can be fun, even if stores are closed. Look to see if there are any parades in the town your school is in.

Enjoy the perks of being on campus

Whether it is saving money on travel expenses or not having to deal with nagging family members, there are a few perks to staying on campus for Thanksgiving. You get to spend more quality time with your roommates and if you live in the dorms, you get more access to the “good” showers. Take advantage of these perks while they last.

Being on campus for Thanksgiving break can be sad, but there are things you can do with your roommates to celebrate the holiday and take advantage of the time together.