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How to Save Money with a Roommate

How to Save Money with a Roommate

One easy way to cut back on housing costs is to live with a roommate. There are all kinds of tricky situations that can arise from two or more people living in close quarters, but if you do it right, you can save some major moolah by getting a roommate. Here is your guide for how to save money with a roommate.

The Search

When searching for a potential roommate, it’s very important to be selective. You need to find the person who will not only pay bills on time, but will be a good fit for you.

Luckily, there are a ton of resources when looking for a roommate, such as Roommates, Roomie Match, Roomster, and Craigslist. If you happen to be a college student, you probably have additional resources available through your university.

The Interview

When vetting potential roommates, be sure to ask about their financials and their ability to pay bills. Find out how responsible they are with money, and use your gut to decide if you can trust this person to not skip out on the rent.

Other things to discuss include cleanliness, household chores and lifestyle preferences. You want to find someone who will compliment your life, not interfere with it. If you’re an introvert who likes to stay home a lot, you probably don’t want someone who will bring lots of friends over all the time.

The Rules

If you’re both going into a housing situation where you are equals (getting an apartment or house together for instance), you should both decide on ground rules together. However, if you are the owner or longtime renter and you’re just looking for someone to rent a living space from you, you can set the ground rules.

Now is the time to set and agree upon any house rules. Write them down for later reference to avoid any future conflicts.

The Law

Look up tenant laws in your area to find out what your rights are. Being aware of what is and isn’t legal is very important if you ever have to settle a dispute or evict a bad roommate.

Search for “tenant laws [your state]” to find out the specific laws applicable to you.

The Lease

Whether you’re living with one or two or twelve people, everyone needs to sign a lease agreement. This will protect everyone involved if the living situation goes awry.

If you need to create your own lease agreement, there are resources available to ensure you have a solid contract. Search for “lease agreement [your state]” to find applicable agreements.

The Bills

Now that you’ve got a great roommate, the only thing left is to take care of the bills. Figure out how much each person should be paying (which you should have established in the lease agreement, either by percentages or dollars). There are apps available to keep track of expenditures and who owes what for which bill, such as Splitwise and BillMonk.

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