As a frugal college student, or as I like to call myself, “a baller on a budget,” I will do anything to save every penny I have. Whether it is walking to class in below 20 degree weather to preserve gas or mixing loads of clothes to save on bills, I will make it work one way or the other. I think most college students can relate to doing these silly tricks to save a buck. Another great way to cut costs is investing in a roommate, and unless you are Beyoncé and you have that unlimited bank account to pay those bills, adding roommates to the mix can be financially beneficial for all parties involved.
The majority of college students have at least one roommate and although they can sometimes be annoying, roommates are actually good for some things. One of those things is splitting your costly rent and bills. Living alone can cost you upwards of around a $1,000 plus, but throw a roommate or three into the mix and you easily cut this cost in half.
Living in one of many nearby off campus housing facilities is easy and convenient because the bills are already evenly split for you by the complex. Having a roommate ensures that bills such as electricity, water and cable are split up and that everyone pays their fair share.
But be weary of that one roommate who will try and have their out-of-town honey staying at your apartment more often than you do. If this does happen, and you do not mind, just make sure he pays his equal amount of the rent and bills as well.
If you are looking to be even more cost effective and you and your roommate are good friends, you can even go as far as splitting common groceries such as milk, eggs, water, etc.
Unfortunately not everyone has the luxury of living in housing that splits the bills and rent evenly. Some people rent houses where the bills situation can get a little more trifling. Here are some tips to help keep you out of a hairy situation if you choose to live in a house.
You need to make sure that every person living in that house has their name on the lease and that it is not under one person, especially yours. If something were to go awry, and things usually do, then whoever has their name on the lease would be responsible for any damages. Try getting yourself off the hook if one of your roommates gets into a fight with their significant other and tries to Lisa “Left Eye” Lopez your house and burn it down.
If you call the Internet or cable company and sign a contract to turn on services in your name, make sure that you can easily change any and all passwords in case one of your roommates decides to pull a fast one and not pay up. Two can play at that game, honey.
Also, when you go to pay rent and one of your so-called best friends that you vouched for when signing the lease decides to spend their money on boos and other extra-curricular substances and cannot pay their portion of the rent, guess who the landlord is going to hunt down to get that money. There are so many reasons you should not vouch for anyone in a roommate situation because no matter how many years you think they have been loyal people can turn on you in the blink of an eye.
My advice is to just be careful, cover all your bases and make sure that you are not the sole signer on any facet of shared goods or services that everyone in the apartment or house will be sharing.