Money Saving Tips: Saving Money While Living with Roommates

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College life is all about getting used to weird living conditions with five roommates in a minuscule dorm room. Even if you’ve found your way off-campus, chances are you will still be living with another one, two… or six people. Fortunately, there are some money saving tips you can follow to help with the expenses.

First things first: try to live in a place with an even number of roommates.

It may sound arbitrary, but this gives you access to the two-thirds majority rule — and every college student knows that the two-thirds majority rule can settle any dispute. Want to watch The O.C. with one roommate, but the other wants to watch Grey’s Anatomy? Tough luck. The two-thirds majority rule will leave him or her out in the cold.

This rule is applicable for just about everything from TV time dispersal to chores and monthly expenses. Other examples of implementation include setting the temperature of the water heater, A/C and fridge. Hopefully you can see now that having an even number of roommates is key, preferably with friends that share your tastes. If you’re just about to begin your first year of college, too, you might as well read up on the official rules for riding shotgun.

Moving on: Don’t ever allow your roommates to drag you into “community funds.” Many often think that funds like these ease buying commonly-used items in bulk, like bread, milk, eggs, or paper towels. Simply put, it doesn’t work.

Other roommates’ tastes can adversely affect your wallet. If your tea-grubbing roommates decide to put a 10-pound bag of sugar on the community pile, you’ll end up paying for part of it even though you never use sugar. Your roommates might argue that you drink more milk than they do, but that just leads to more bickering.

From this we can extrapolate that a) anything “community” doesn’t work, with the exception of household appliances; and b) don’t buy food in bulk. Those three loaves of bread won’t eat themselves before they start to grow mold. Even if you buy for yourself and avoid the community concept like the plague, you’ll probably end up wasting a bit of food from time to time. I bought a regular 8-pack of hot dogs and accompanying buns not too long ago. Ten days later the buns were hard as rock and I had only eaten two of the eight hot dogs. Buying food in bulk doesn’t save, it wastes. Buy what you know you’re going to eat and just enough to last you a week. Presumably, visiting the grocery store every seven days won’t crimp your style too much.

While we’re on the subject of grocery shopping, a local tip: if you happen to live in a region of the United States that has a Publix supermarket chain, do your shopping on a Sunday or Monday. Publix has “mystery coupons” every Sunday and Monday.

Essentially, you may purchase one product that is determined by the mystery coupon for that day for only 1 cent, if you’ve already purchased $10. You’ll quickly realize that going later in the day greatly reduces your chances of that item being in stock. Go as soon as you wake up… Even if that’s 3:00pm.

In the end, one of our best money saving tips is to live roommates.