Two Can Live More Cheaply Than One ~ Consider a Roommate
If living expenses are eating up your budget, one of the most popular solutions is to find one or more roommates to share them. Rent for a multiple-bedroom apartment is usually not significantly higher than that of a single bedroom or studio unit. So actually, with a roommate to share the expenses, you’re able to live much more cheaply. There are many places where you can find people who are also looking for roommates. Check the classified section of your newspaper and with acquaintances. Post a notice at your church, at work, or, if you’re a college student, on a bulletin board at school. There are also several websites which focus on finding roommates and living accommodations. Choose Your Roommate Wisely . . . You must keep in mind that you’ll be living closely with this person (or persons) so there are several things you should consider when choosing your roommate: • Make sure that your schedules and interests will compliment each other. If you like a quiet life and your roommate loves to invite people in for impromptu parties, it’s probably not a good mix. • How you live is another issue that should be considered. If you’re a neat freak and your prospective roommate is a slob, there will be problems. • If you’re a pet owner it’s important to find someone who shares your love for animals. • Be sure and specify whether you wish to room with a smoker or non-smoker. • If you plan to share shopping and cooking responsibilities choose a person who likes the same types of foods you do. These are just a few of the issues that must be resolved if you intend to live in harmony with other people. Take the time to get to know a little about the person with whom you intend to share a home. It will prevent a lot of difficulty later. Agree On the Rules From the Start . . .
1. Choosing a location: If you have already chosen a roommate, or roommates, and are looking for an apartment, be sure you only consider locations that are convenient for all of you.
2. All roommates should be included on the lease. This will prevent anyone being left “holding the bag” if one of the roommates decides to make other living arrangements.
3. Decide how the bills will be divided. How the rent, utilities, phone bills, etc., will be divided is extremely important. While heat, water and electricity are usually divided equally, other bills can be divided according to usage. For example, if one roommate has a larger bedroom and a private bath, while the others share a communal bath and have smaller rooms, this should be taken into account when determining what percentage each pays for rent. And, while the basic cost of the phone bill should be shared by all who use it, personal toll calls should be the responsibility of whoever made them. If there are Internet and cable bills, you can hardly expect someone who doesn’t use a computer at home to share the Internet charges. Be sure and put all of these arrangements in writing so there is no question or dispute later. It’s a very good idea for each roommate to set up one of the utility accounts (electricity, gas, etc.) in his/her name.
4. Decide how housekeeping chores will be divided and put it in writing. While this may seem like a lot to worry about, you and your roommates will get along better if everyone knows what’s expected from the start. Take the time to iron these things out at the beginning to prevent later dissension and hard feelings ~ you’ll have a much greater chance of living together happily and harmoniously if you do.
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