July 14th, 2011 Jamie
When I first moved away to school, I was a little shell-shocked by how much it cost to enjoy the luxuries of non-ramen food and brand-name laundry detergent. To keep our wallets happy, my roommates and I quickly figured out what we could share (and to keep the peace, we figured out what we couldn’t, too–hands off my Ben & Jerry’s, guys). If you want to live a little without breaking the bank, think about splitting these 5 things with your roommate, BFF, or significant other.
- Costco Membership (and Food). Buying in bulk at Costco can save you a ton of money if you plan ahead, but it also means you have to pay the membership fee AND consume in bulk–unless you share. Split the cost of a membership with someone you trust (or if you can piggyback on your parent’s account, even better!) go shopping together. Members can have one extra bill per trip, so they can bring a friend. Divvy up things you might both need, like bulk food, TP, shampoo, etc. (Tip: If food sharing is an issue, divide up your items before eating time comes around, and be sure to label or keep them in your own spot.)
- Netflix Subscription. My roomies and I really enjoyed hanging out and watching movies, so when we ponied up the cost of ¼ rent, utilities, and water, we also split a Netflix subscription 4 ways. You can either agree on things to watch together, or figure out how to make sure each of you has 1 DVD to rotate (AND access to the instant watch feature, which sucked up a good portion of my free time this summer).
- Carpool/Roadtrip Costs. If you or your roomie drive to the same place everyday (like, um, school?) why not go together and halve your gas costs? And if you’re heading home–or off to Vegas–for spring break don’t go solo for the drive. Get a group together and split the cost of gas and hotel stays. Driving with the right bunch is way more fun than going it alone anyway!
- Textbooks. I’ve mentioned before that sharing a textbook with a classmate can be a great way to save some cash (they’re so expensive!), but you will need to work out a rotation for the actual reading time. Still, cutting the bill in half might be work a little extra scheduling. (Check out this article about how to save on textbooks for more ideas.)
- Appliances. If you and your roomie can be respectful of each other’s property, there’s no reason to bring two of everything. Share fridge space, split TV time (or find some common ground–maybe you can bond over some reruns of Ninja Warrior?), and if you need a land line, share a phone. Just be sure you draw lines (i.e. which fridge shelf is who’s, and how you feel about sharing your iPod, computer, etc.) before the sharefest begins.
Anything else you’ve successfully shared or big flops we should avoid? Let me know in the comments!