If your roommate pinches pennies at Costco, he may save you money on bills and expenses. Photo courtesy of Flickr user David McKelvey and licensed under CC by 2.0

Today’s guest post is from Kiley Theiring, a student at Chapman University majoring in Film Production and minoring in Japanese. She like to write and play video games in her sapre time. Give her a follow on Twitter at @loveglitterart

As if college tuition wasn’t already high enough, living on campus can mean paying astronomical prices for your sub-par college housing. Even if you like the dorms on campus, you’re definitely not going to want to stay there all four years of your college career. Depending on your school, living off campus can end up being much cheaper, especially if you play your cards right. Finding cheap places to live shouldn’t be too hard, but if you really want to slash costs, carefully consider who you’re going to be living with for the next few months. There are many reasons why choosing good roommates can save you money.

  1.  More roommates mean less rent. Sometimes, it pays to dish out extra money for a larger two bedroom apartment. While it may be pricey to upgrade to a more spacious living area, a large two bedroom floor plan can easily house four people, which means you can potentially save more than the upgrade costs. Right now I’m living comfortably with three other roommates in a two bedroom apartment, and we’re all only paying $370 a month each!
  2. Find a roommate who frequents Costco. Keeping enough food in the house for four people is much more challenging than just shopping for yourself. Initially when I moved in with my new roommates, we would find our entire pantry empty after just refilling it a few days before. I soon found out that one of my roommates had a Costco membership, and we have been saving money ever since. Buying in bulk at Costco is much more cost effective than trying to make frequent, inexpensive trips to the local grocery store. With four people footing the bill, our wallets can escape our shopping trips relatively unscathed.
  3. Don’t live with party hosts. Everyone can appreciate a good college party, but make sure you don’t live with the person who loves to host them. Frequent crazy college parties at your place will inevitably lead to damages to your house or apartment. Damages could result in pricey fixes, especially if it’s something your landlord will have to take care of. Not to mention, your landlord may not let you sign the contract next year/month if they get fed up with your constant parties and repairs.
  4. Room with busy people. If your roommates are constantly out at school, work, or whatever it is they do, it means that they won’t be sitting at home racking up utility bills. Choosing a roommate that is prone to sit around and play video games all day long will undoubtedly drive up your electricity bill. You can’t just let your apartment climb to 100 degrees or drop to 60, so whoever stays home will end up cranking the AC or the heater. To avoid paying big bucks for things you aren’t even using, try finding roommates with busy schedules or at least schedules similar to yours so you won’t be paying for nothing.
  5. Find out what you need, and then find a roommate that has it. When you move in to your own place, you quickly discover lots of things that you need that you didn’t even know about. Some apartments don’t come with fridges, microwaves, or even lighting. Other things you’ll need – whether you think you will or not – are things like tools, cleaners, and storage. Costs for all this stuff can add up quick. Buying these items by pooling everyone’s money isn’t a good idea either because when you move out, there will certainly be fights about who gets what. The best thing to do is try to figure out who has what and choose your roommates based on who will bring the most diverse selection of stuff you’ll need.
  6. Financially responsible roommates save you from headaches. Finding roommates who are very money conscious can help you save a ton. Late fees can put a huge dent in your monthly budget, but financially responsible people are much more likely to make their payments in time. They’ll be more careful about spending too when you are out on shopping trips, which makes it even easier for you to keep your spending down.
  7. Eco-friendly roommates are your friends too. Eco-friendly roommates are great to have around. They love recycling, so they can help keep you from having to buy things new over and over again. They probably won’t want to waste electricity or water either, so they can help keep your utility bills low. Chances are, if they’re that concerned with the environment, they are probably also more responsible fiscally as well.