College Roommate Tips

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.

4 Important Roommate Rules To Establish Right Now

By Bethany Fischer

Most college students experience living with a roommate at some point during school. In order to keep the peace, it is important to establish roommate rules for everyone to follow. It can be difficult to live with someone who isn’t related to you for the first time. Having a set of rules that everyone adheres to can help ease any tension and create a comfortable living space for everyone.

Everyone’s living situation is different. Depending on the type of person you are, you may thrive off of different rules than others. That being said, there are some general guidelines that everyone should follow when living with someone else. Here are 4 important roommate rules you should establish right now to have a healthy relationship with your roommate.

College Roommates: 4 Important Roommate Rules To Establish Right Now
1. Communication is key

Like every kind of relationship you have, communication is the most important thing to practice. This roommate rule ensures that everyone is on the same page at all times. While there may be times where you have to have uncomfortable conversations with your roommate, keeping an open line of communication is the best way to avoid any miscommunication that could lead to serious problems.

A lot of issues that roommates have with each other stem from under-communicating. It can be tempting to push your feelings aside for the sake of peace or go for a more passive-aggressive approach when things are bothering you. However, people don’t know what they don’t know. It is likely that your roommate is unaware of your feelings and isn’t intentionally trying to cause problems. The best way to practice this roommate rule is by being honest and transparent. This will help you avoid any conflict or hostility in the future.

2. Give each other space

It’s awesome when you and your roommate get along. In a perfect world, you and your roommate would be best friends. However, even best friends need time away from each other. Giving each other space is one of the most important roommate rules you should have to keep the peace in your home.

Time alone is essential to having a healthy relationship with your roommate. It ensures that everyone is getting time to care for themselves, think through their emotions, and avoids co-dependency. College is stressful for everyone. If you spend every minute of every day with your roommate, you run the risk of overwhelming each other with your own problems and emotions. Giving your roommate space is a great roommate rule that should be implemented at the beginning of your living arrangement.

3. Make a roommate agreement and stick to it

Sometimes, things are clearer when they are written down. This is especially true when it comes to roommates. A good roommate rule to implement is the roommate agreement. A roommate agreement is a signed document that lays out all of the rules, boundaries, and expectations that all roommates should follow. A good roommate agreement makes everything clear and will help navigate or avoid conflict altogether.

Roommate agreements can be personalized depending on the living situation. However, some general roommate rules should always be included, such as:

● Rent/ utility payments
● Overnight guest rules
● Cleaning/chore schedule
● Violation consequences

By using practicing this roommate rule, you and your roommates can avoid any kind of future miscommunication.

4. Pay your share and pay it on time

One of the biggest conflicts that roommates face comes from money and paying bills. Having the money talk can be uncomfortable, but it is necessary to make sure that everyone is paying their fair share. Part of being in college means facing adult situations in a mature way. The best way to implement this roommate rule is by being honest and holding up your end of the payment agreement.

There are so many things that need to be paid for when living on your own. Big things, like rent, internet, electricity, and other utilities should be split amongst all roommates. Other things, like groceries, toiletries, a home decor, can be personalized based on usage. A good way to manage payments amongst roommates is to lay out all of the monthly bills as a list or a spreadsheet. This way, everyone knows what is due, when it’s due, and what their contributions are. Some people’s roommates split bills evenly; others pay based on a percentage of their income. Whichever way you decide to split bills with your roommates, make sure you are paying your fair share and doing it on time every month to avoid unnecessary conflict.

Making the transition to living with roommates isn’t always easy. There will be times when you have to deal with conflict and other uncomfortable situations. However, having clear roommate rules for everyone to follow can help ease any tension and make a more comfortable living environment. Implementing rules like communicating, giving space, making a roommate agreement, and splitting bills fairly can increase your chance of having a positive roommate experience. With clear roommate rules and expectations, you can begin to build a healthy relationship with your roommates.

Roommate Halloween Costumes

By Danielle Wirsansky

Dressing up for Halloween while you are in college can be some of the best fun. Even if you can’t go trick or treating, dressing up in costume and going out and about, especially with a group, can lead to just as much fun. Group costumes are a lot of fun too, and who better and easier to coordinate it with than your roommates? You live together, you vibe together, and often, you hang out together. When you live together, you can work on your costumes together, keep each other on track as your are building/buying/making your costumes, and then hang out in your costumes together.

But sometimes the trickiest part of group costumes, especially with roommates, is figuring out what to dress up as! Read on for some suggestions for some really great roommate Halloween costumes!

Roommate Tips: Roommate Halloween CostumesPhoto from Pexels

Peas in a Pod

If you and your roommates are really tight, good friends, a good way to celebrate that friendship in an easy, gender-neutral Halloween costume—Peas in a pod! If you and your roommates are peas in a pod, then it seems like a no-brainer. Wear all green to be peas and then stick together for the night, something you were probably already planning on doing. If you want to go the extra mile with this costume, take the time to construct a pea pod out of green fabric or felt. That way, you really will be stuck together for the night! This can be done with as few or as many roommates as you have.


If you are looking for something a little bit scarier or “costumey,” then another great roommate Halloween costume option for you might be zombies! Zombie costumes can also be pretty simple, as long as you have some face paint and enough fake blood. You can wear your everyday clothes with it or get more elaborate. This costume idea is great because it can be for any number of roommates and is also gender-neutral (or non-specific). It is also a little bit scarier and is a good compromise for those that like the darker side of Halloween.

Super Heroes

Another great roommate Halloween costume option is to dress up as superheroes! Superheroes are very popular today. You can make up superheroes that fit your personalities. You can be superheroes from the Marvel or DC universes. You can dress up as any kind of superhero you want! Usually, everyone can find at least one superhero that they connect with. There can be as many or as few roommates in your group to dress up as superheroes and it will not make it an odd number, and superheroes come in all shapes, sizes, races, and genders, so there is sure to be a superhero you can be!

Cow Boys/Girls

A simple Halloween costume for you and your roommates is to dress up as Cowboys/girls, depending on what tickles your fancy. Everyone owns jeans, right? That is already half of your costume! Wear your favorite denim jeans, throw on a flannel (and a vest, if you have it), your closest proximation to cowboy boots, a bandana, and get yourself a hat, and there you have it! Instant Cowboy or Cowgirl. If you want to go the extra mile, you can get a shiny sheriff’s badge, a whip, or even a horse head on a stick to gallop around on and really get into character with your friends and roommates.

Deck of Cards

Dressing up like a deck of cards with your roommates for Halloween is another classic Halloween costume choice. They can be as simple or as elaborate as you would like them to be. At its simplest, you can just wear a white shirt with black pants and either draw or pin the letters and card symbol onto your outfit. If you want to go all the way and be an actual card, your group can get white poster boards to make sandwich boards to wear over yourselves. You can all be from the same suit, or you can change it up. Anyone can be whichever card they want. Does one roommate want to be the Queen of Spades? Cool! Does aanother roommate want to be the Two of Clubs? Awesome! There can be any number of cards in a deck (well, really up to 52, but it is highly unlikely that you have that many roommates anyways) and cards are gender neutral too!

Roommate Finder: Roommate Halloween CostumesPhoto from Pexels

You and your roommates know best what group costume will work best for you and encompass the kinds of things you are really interested in, but hopefully, these roommate Halloween costume suggestions will come in handy and help make the decision on what to dress up as just a little bit easier.

Roommate Fall Break Trip Ideas

By Kaitlin Hurtado

As we step further into the fall season, you may find yourself swamped with schoolwork as you also get deeper into your fall semester. There are midterms, extracurricular activities, and trying to plan your holiday season out with travel plans. With all these things stacked up on your mind, you likely haven’t given yourself the break you deserve.

Embrace the fall season and give yourself a much-needed break by planning a fall break trip with your roommates. Not sure where to start? Keep reading for some roommate fall break trip ideas.

Roommate Finder: Roommate Fall Break Trip Ideas

Visit local haunts

If you and your roommates are keen on marathoning spooky movies every fall, why not venture out on your own spooky adventure? If you are fortunate enough to live near amusement parks, many of them have their own Halloween festivities going on as they transform their parks into something for Halloween — Knott’s Scary Farm at Knott’s Berry Farm, Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios, Fright Fest at Six Flags Magic Mountain.

If you do not happen to live near any amusement parks, do a quick Google search on local haunted attractions in your area, from abandoned haunted houses to haunted hayrides at a local farm.

Visit local farms for apple picking or pumpkin patches

If you are scrolling through social media during the fall season, you are likely seeing multiple photos of people posing with pumpkins at a pumpkin patch or picking their own apples at an orchard. Take a much-needed break from spending too much time indoors for classes and studying and venture out to your local farm for some fall festivities.
If you are going apple picking, plan a roommate night back at home where you can make use of your fresh fruits. For example, if you all love to bake or spend time in the kitchen, make a mini-competition out of who could make the best dish from the apples.

If you are visiting a pumpkin patch, make an entire night out of it by setting up a pumpkin carving session back at your own home, complete with fall treats and Halloween movies.

Visit a national park

If you and your roommates love the outdoors, plan a roommate fall break trip that will take you directly to it. Choosing to visit a national park during the fall can bring plenty of perks. Not only are you going to see less crowds now that summer is over, but you are going to be able to experience the outdoors as the seasons change the foliage.

Every park will have something different to offer, and depending on how much you and your roommates want to travel, you have a variety of options. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, for example, has a large population of deciduous trees. During the fall, they are colored in a variety of red, orange, and yellow — the perfect combination for fall.

With national parks, you and your roommates can also plan a brief camping trip. Make sure to research the national park you are going to visit as camping rules will vary from national park to park, and they may also be subject to closure depending on the weather. If you and your roommates aren’t ones to go camping, you can book a local hotel or Airbnb and enjoy your trip to a national park just as much.

Visit breweries for fall-themed beverages

If you and your roommates are of legal age, plan a day of hopping around breweries. Fall-themed drinks aren’t just limited to the pumpkin spiced lattes you pick up for a long study session. Many breweries will have seasonal drinks to celebrate the season.

Visit a brewery or two with your roommates to unwind over fall-themed brews.

If you and your roommates are more likely to enjoy a wine night, book a wine tasting tour instead.

Visit each other’s hometowns

Depending on how close you are to your roommates, plan a trip or two to visit each other’s hometowns. If you choose to stay with your roommate’s family, you also can get the benefit of a home-cooked meal that will surely beat out dreary dining hall food or the takeout you’ve been surviving on for the past semester.

You may be close with your roommates now, but getting the chance to look at their life back home is a new level of roommate bonding. Have them take you on a tour of their hometown, from their favorite eateries to spots they hold close in their heart from their time before college. Bonus points to them if they could find a fall-themed activity to do in their hometown.

The holiday season brings plenty of opportunities to spend more time with your friends and family, something that is definitely a nice change of pace as you near the end of your fall semester. While finals still loom ahead, treat yourself to a nice fall trip with your roommates.

How to Get a Shy Roommate to Come Out of Their Shell

By Victoria Robertson

Living with roommates is a lifestyle adjustment that not all individuals are fully prepared for. That said, when living with a roommate that’s completely shy, the situation can be made all the more challenging.
However, that’s not to say you can’t help them to come out of their shell and make the most of both of your college experiences. For that reason, here are a few helpful tips to help get a shy roommate out of their shell.

Student Roommates: How to Get a Shy Roommate to Come Out of Their Shell
Photo Via Pixabay

Invite Them Out

First and foremost, when you have a shy roommate, they are likely not going to invite themselves to join you in your plans. For this reason, the first step to drawing a roommate out of their shell and into the world is to actually invite them, regardless of their typical response.

As you build your connection with them at home, inviting them out with you every time you can will suggest to them that you want them to join you, and you’re always willing to have them around. While they’ll likely say no more than a few times, it’s always nice to give them the option. Who knows, they may surprise you.

Adjust Your Plans to Their Interests

When your roommate is shy, they are likely to confine themselves to their comfort zone. So, rather than continually trying to force them to go out according to what you find fun, take the opportunity to listen to them and what they actually enjoy.

For instance, if they aren’t a big partier, but do like occasionally going out to the movies, meet them halfway and have a movie night at home with a few friends. Work together to figure out what works for both of you and make plans accordingly.

Build a Stronger Connection at Home

Your roommate is likely within their comfort zone at home with just you. For this reason, use the opportunity to strengthen the bond between you. Spend time together rather than separately. Take advantage of the fact that you live within close proximity.

When you build a stronger bond with each other at home, you’re more likely to want to do things together outside of the dorm or apartment.

Start Small

Again, shy roommates are less likely to agree to a loud party with a ton of people that they don’t know. So, when you begin inviting them to attend events and other happenings around campus, keep this in mind and instead, start small.

For instance, if you’re meeting a group of friends for a small study group for a gen ed you and your roommate are both taking, invite them to tag along. If you’re simply walking around campus for the evening, ask them to join you. Just take those baby steps to help them open up and get out there.

Be Willing to Compromise

With roommates, regardless of the situation, compromise is key. In other words, within this context, you shouldn’t always be doing what you want to do just because your roommate is shy.

Instead, open yourself up to the ideas that your roommate has. For instance, if they go out with you one weekend, the next weekend, opt to do what your roommate wants to do instead and maybe hang out at home for a quiet night in. Especially when your roommate is shy, when you do things that they enjoy, they’re more likely to feel comfortable with you.

Always Listen to Their Needs

Lastly, as alluded to previously, you should always be listening to your roommate’s needs, just as you are familiar with your own. Compromise is key, but listening is just as important.

If your roommate has suggested their uncomfortable in a certain context, or that there is a certain amount of time they need to open up, respect those wishes. While it’s okay to push them slightly outside their comfort zone, you should still be cognizant of what they want and respect their wishes. In other words, don’t push them into anything they aren’t willing to do.

Drawing a roommate out of their shell isn’t an easy feat, though it’s one that’s going to benefit the both of you in the long run. For this reason, when you’re living with an extremely shy individual, you should take these steps to help ease them out into the college experience.

That said, make sure you ease them into the situation and don’t force anything. Remember that they need to be in control of their actions, so you can only help them so far as they’re willing to be helped. That said, if you take these steps, not only will you both have much more fun, but you’ll also build a stronger bond that will likely last beyond your college experience.

5 Benefits of Good Roommates

By Alicia Geigel

Having a roommate is an essential standard of the college experience; it’s part of what sets college apart from any other kind of traditional schooling. For many students, living with a roommate is a wonderful experience that turns once acquaintances into lifelong friends. College is stressful enough when having to deal with the pressures and responsibilities of school, work, internships, etc. on your own, which is why having a roommate can be so great. Outside of the companionship that a roommate (or roommates) bring, there are several other benefits to having roommates, and good ones at that.

Are you a college student in need of finding a good roommate? Unsure of where to find the perfect roommate for your situation? Unsure of what qualities to look for or what the benefits are of having a good roommate? Here are five benefits of having a roommate, which will steer you in the right direction and how to potentially avoid problems when moving in together!

Student Roommates: 5 Benefits of Good Roommates

1. Lower Rent Costs: The cost of living today is significantly higher than it was 10 years ago, let alone 50. Due to this increase in the cost of essentials like housing and tuition, many millennials and students are cutting costs by living with roommates, instead of purchasing a home of their own. On a national scale, the percentage of 18-34-year-olds living with at least one roommate has increased over 2% between 2005 and 2015, while the percentage of the same age group living with parents has increased by 8%. This trend in economic hardship makes having roommates a huge benefit, as it cuts rent costs. If you live in an apartment with two or more people, splitting the rent and utility costs into thirds or fourths can make your costs of living both comfortable and affordable. While living with others is an added plus for lowering rent costs, be sure to responsibly keep up with bills to avoid any kind of money-related trouble in the future. To make splitting bills easier, put together a chart or spreadsheet of expenses that each person owes to organize payments and keep track of who pays what.
2. Sharing of Chores: Let’s be real, no one truly likes doing chores (unless you’re like me and sometimes like cleaning to de-stress). While you might be able to get away with not doing chores at home, when you live with roommates, your lack of tidying up in the house can definitely add up. If attempting to tackle cleaning a home or apartment by yourself is overwhelming to you, having roommates to help share the responsibility is a great plus. Before you even move in with your future roommates, however, it’s important to establish some basic, ground rules of living so you don’t find yourself in an unfair living situation. These rules can be simple and include alternating who takes out the trash every week, who cooks dinner on certain weekday nights, who washes dishes after dinner, who vacuums on weekends, etc.
3. Mutual Safety: Living on your own, especially if you are used to living at home with parents or family, can be uneasy and scary. Every creak and noise you hear in your new home can alert you and put you on edge. Though most of these noises are irrational fears, there is still always a risk of something happening when you live on your own. Having the constant company of others around can put your mind at ease and create a safer living space for everyone. More people means more ears and eyes to be alert for something unusual, and more defense if something does become threatening.
4. Sharing of Furniture/Home Goods: As stated earlier, the cost of living today is significantly higher than it was years ago. It’s not only rent and tuition costs that are higher, either. The costs of goods, such as furniture and home essentials have also gone up 1.3% just between the months of May and June of 2021. While this doesn’t seem like a huge jump, it’s the largest monthly increase in goods of this sort since 1976. Sharing furniture and home goods is another added benefit of having roommates, as splitting the costs of furnishing your home can make large purchases much more affordable. Just be sure to set up arrangements regarding who gets what if and when you go your separate ways.
5. Companionship: An obvious but notable benefit of having roommates is the companionship that one can bring to your life. Among the stressors of everyday life, things can be hard on your mental health and leave you feeling isolated, depressed, anxious, and more. The added companionship of roommates can give you comfort during these times, and ultimately lift your spirits while creating lifelong friendships.

While living with roommates can sometimes be a challenge, there are many benefits to sharing a space with other people, such as lowering your rent costs, sharing chores, and companionship!

Creating a Budget With a Roommate

By Ashley Paskill

Creating and sticking to a budget is one of the most important things you can do to save money as a college student. When you have a roommate, you are likely going to share items that you will have to split the cost of. This can be challenging, but working together and being open with each other will help things go smoothly.

Roommate Tips: Creating a Budget With a Roommate


Many problems with budgeting for shared items arise when there is a lack of communication. In fact, a popular TV show covered a situation where a character was not open about what she could not afford that her wealthier roommate could afford and assumed she could. Sit down and have an honest discussion with your roommate about what you can and cannot afford. It is better to be honest before you both buy things that will lead to one or both of you having to go to extreme measures to get the money necessary to pay for the items.

A crucial part of this is honesty. You are sharing the items you have agreed to share, so you both have to like the item. If you do not like a particular item, be sure to let your roommate know. Again, if something costs more than you can afford or are willing to spend on the item, make sure you let your roommate know to prevent things from building up and exploding down the line.

Create spreadsheets

Keeping track of things like rent, utilities, and groceries can seem overwhelming. You have to figure out who is paying what amount and who is responsible for paying. Creating a spreadsheet can help you keep track of what needs to be paid, the due dates, and who has and has not paid. This will create a physical place where you can keep track of things to avoid stress and arguments. This will also allow you to have proof if someone claims something different than what is on the spreadsheet. Sit down and go over each part of your shared expenses and make arrangements for making sure bills are paid on time and in full.

Track expenses

As the semester goes on, you may find that you spend more money on food, and your roommate spends more money on things like décor. Keep track of expenses to see where things even out and to see how much you may have to pay to compensate. Use digital apps and spreadsheets to help keep track of money coming in going out, and to see who is spending what. Using apps like Venmo and Paypal also allows you to pay each other back easily, especially if you do not have the same bank as your roommate.

Avoid sharing food if possible

Food and groceries can be the thing that breaks an otherwise great relationship with roommates. Unless you know that you both enjoy the same things and plan all of your meals together, avoid sharing food and the grocery bills. This eliminates hassle if one roommate decides to eat out more than at home and stops fights about itemizing food costs. Also, some people have more expensive food likes than others, so avoiding sharing can help keep arguments over food to a minimum.

Coupons and discounts

One major perk of being a college student is the number of student discounts you can receive. Even if a store does not have a designated student discount, you may still be able to utilize coupons and sales. If you do decide to share food, sign up for your grocery store’s loyalty program to help save with coupons, freebies, and sometimes even gas discounts. See if your local public transportation has student rates, especially if you use public transportation to get to and from school, and see if there are discounts on parking passes if you carpool with roommates to campus. The best thing to do is just ask if a student discount is available. The worst that can happen is the answer will be no.

Prepare for unexpected expenses

Unfortunately, life does not always go as we plan. In fact, it rarely does. Making sure you and your roommates have money in your budget set aside for unexpected things to occur. This is especially true of potential damage to the apartment. If something is one roommate’s fault, they should cover the expense so the other roommate does not lose out on their security deposit. If the damage was both roommates’ faults, you should have enough set aside so that losing your security deposit is not a huge loss for you. Also, you never know when appliances will go. You might not have to pay for its replacement, but you might, so it is better if you are prepared and not have to pay.

Creating a budget is super important, especially when you live with a roommate. Working together on a budget can help decrease stress and headaches down the line.

How To Get To Know Your Roommate Before Moving In Together

By Danielle Wirsansky

Often enough during college, students are randomly assigned roommates. This happens both in dorms and in student housing in big college towns. In cities without a big population of student renters, properties tend not to offer random roommates or allow you to rent only a single room in an apartment. But in big college towns, apartment complexes often will help you find a roommate match by randomly assigning one to you. No matter where a college student lives, they are bound to experience being assigned a random roommate and having to face the prospect of sharing a living space with someone that they do not know.

Living with someone that you do not know very well can be a daunting prospect. How do you share a space with someone you have never met and feel comfortable and safe while doing so? Obviously, the answer is to get to know your roommate before you have to move in together. But that is much easier said than done. Just how exactly can you go about doing that? Read on for some strategies on how to get to know your roommate before moving in together!

Roommate Tips: How To Get To Know Your Roommate Before Moving In Together
Photo from Pexels

Connect on Social Media

A great way of getting to know your future roommate is to connect on social media. Seeing the content they post, the way that they interact with others, and what they are interested in will be much easier. Are they big partiers? Are they bookworms? Are they the kind of person who has lots of people over to hang out or do they prefer to keep to themselves? Do they have pets, and if so, will those pets be moving in with you too? Are they 420 friendly or opposed and how does that align with your views?

This is not to say that everything you see on social media is exactly what you will get when you move in together. It is important to note that social media only really shows what people want their followers to see and is a specifically curated collection of content from their lives. Social media does not always depict real life.

On another note, not everyone has social media, or might not be present on every social media platform. Rather than stalking them on the web, ask them for their social media handles so that they can give you the ones that they feel comfortable sharing. That way, it is less invasive and you are not just showing up and spying on them on social media platforms that they might not feel comfortable to share with you yet.

Set up a Face to Face

Another strategy to help you get to know your roommate over the summer is to set up a face to face. A video chat or zoom call can go a long way towards helping you two get to know each other. Just texting or emailing with each other can be sort of impersonal and it is also very easy to misinterpret tone over text. Things can be much easier to discuss and understand when spoken out verbally.

You might just make a phone call, but the added visual element of seeing your future roommate can also be really helpful in getting to know each other. First of all, knowing what your roommate looks like is very helpful in making you feel comfortable and safe sharing a space with them. Second, seeing their face while they talk can help you get to know them. What are their speech patterns? Do they speak in winding sentences that are hard to follow or do they speak briefly and brusquely, and what does that say about them?

When you can see a person’s face while they are talking, it can also be really helpful to get to know them. Are they pausing while speaking because they are thinking carefully about your question and what they want to say in response, or are they looking down, at their, unengaged? Speaking face to face can really help you to see clearly what kind of person your roommate might be.

Discuss Expectations

Finally, another way you can get to know your roommate over the summer before moving in is to discuss your expectations for the time you will be living together. What do you expect from your roommate and what do they expect from you? Can you agree on ground rules for the space and see eye to eye on how things should be done? This can be from how many people can come over and when, if advance notice for guests must be given, how you plan to divide up chores and expenses, and more.

This will help iron out issues before you move in, or show you that you are incompatible with a roommate before you even move in, allowing you to take other measures to avoid being put in a difficult position.

These are just a few ways you can try to get to know your roommate better before you move in together. Make sure you take steps to feel comfortable and safe in your own space and to double check that you and your roommate will be able to coexist, if not get completely along.

How to Talk to Your Roommate About Keeping Apartment Costs Low in Summer

By Kaitlin Hurtado

As we get deeper into the summer season, many aspects of our lives are experiencing some form of change. For some of us, that change could be arriving in the form of higher utility bills as the weather gets warmer and you and your roommates are adjusting to the temperature change. Everyone has different responses to the warmer weather. For some, it’s a welcome change as they love sunny days and warm temperatures. For others, the heat leaves them feeling miserable and doing just about anything they can to keep cool. One of the easiest ways to keep cool, of course, is blasting the AC and every fan possible to keep your home chilly despite the warm weather outside. Unfortunately, this plan of action will result in a higher electricity bill that will definitely challenge your carefully planned budget.

While you may be okay with spending more time in a warmer apartment for the sake of cutting your electricity bill, your roommate may not be okay with your new strategy. Before you know it, your electricity bill could be your latest source of roommate conflict in the summer months. If you aren’t sure how to tackle the conflict, keep reading for tips on how to talk to your roommate about keeping apartment costs low in the summer.

Roommate Finder: How to Talk to Your Roommate About Keeping Apartment Costs Low in Summer
Photo: Pexels

Avoid passive-aggressive actions and keep open communication

Just as you would approach any roommate conflict, avoid being passive-aggressive as a solution. If you notice your roommate has turned on the AC a little too high or has multiple fans going on, don’t be quick to just turn the appliances off without consulting your roommate. While turning them off may be the quickest solution in your mind, it will likely only build up more tension and ill feelings surrounding the conflict from both ends. For you, you are not giving yourself the opportunity to explain the intentions and reasoning behind your choice to turn off the AC and creating more opportunities for misunderstandings. For your roommate, they’re likely going to feel like their wants are being ignored and are going to get the impression that you only care about things going the way you want them to.

Instead, get ready to tackle the topic head-on by discussing the situation with your roommate. Come ready to the discussion ready to discuss your side of things. Why are you feeling the way you are about the situation at hand? How would you like it to be resolved?

Be ready to compromise

When you are discussing the conflict with your roommate, it’s important to not come into the discussion expecting to get your way at the end of it. If you are coming into the discussion with that mindset, you are already creating a mental block in your thought process. You are not going to be able to hear and understand your roommate’s way of thinking if you are completely deadset on your own. More than likely, the discussion is going to end in a stalemate where both parties aren’t willing to compromise or even at least try to understand the other’s point of view.

Sure, prepare your talking points in order to get your point of view across, but don’t make it the focus of the conversation. Say your piece and be ready to listen to your roommate’s in full. You may find that you understand where they are coming from more than you thought you would. As much as you want your roommate to just go with your way of thinking, that’s probably just wishful thinking. Be ready to come up with a compromise that leaves both you and your roommate satisfied.

Introduce alternate ways to keep cool

Part of crafting the perfect compromise is introducing alternate solutions to the conflict. While your roommate may not exactly be getting their way of blasting the AC 24/7 until the weather cools, that doesn’t mean they have to suffer through the heat for the rest of the summer. Come up with some ideas that will keep your living space (and roommate) cool while keeping costs low this summer.

– Share common spaces when both of you are home. If you and your roommate are planning to blast the AC or keep a fan or two on, why not do it in the same room? Keeping one room cool is going to be a lot more budget-friendly than keeping multiple rooms cool, so discuss keeping the AC or fans on in shared spaces like the living room so you and your roommates can enjoy the chill and keep electricity usage low.

– Cool down during the nights. It may seem counterproductive to let outside air in during the summer months, but if it gets chilly at night, use the opportunity to leave a few windows open overnight to let your space air out and get some cooler air in.

– Keep the sun out. While the sunny weather is bringing tons of natural light into your living space, it’s also bringing in the heat. Consider keeps your blinds shut during the sunny hours of the day to limit sun exposure and keep your living space cool. If your blinds are fully covering a window that is getting direct sun, you can reduce heat gain by up to 45%.

If you are able to offer efficient solutions to the conflict, your roommate will likely be more willing to see your side of things and be more likely to reach a compromise. With these tips in mind, you can approach your roommate with full confidence and make this conflict one of the past.