The Ups and Downs of Roommate Living


Living alone is a preference for some, people who would never consider a roommate. But not many of us have the luxury of living alone, especially when we’re just getting started in our careers and our resources are limited. Roommate living has its ups and downs, and we’ll examine each one.

Your costs are lower. The best reason to have a roommate or to become a roommate is to hold down your costs. When fairly divided, you’ll split your rent down the middle or in even smaller portions if you have multiple roommates. Your other costs, including utilities can also be shared. Thus, your main costs may be for food, cell phone, and living expenses, enabling you to pay off other debt, including student loans.

Privacy isn’t guaranteed. Share space with another individual, an unrelated one at that, and your privacy is open for inspection. That alone unnerves some people, but it shouldn’t be a showstopper. A lot depends on the value system of your roommate and whether your privacy would be respected and vice versa. If you’re both of the mind to not get into each other’s business, then there is no concern here. Still, in this day of social media openness, something about you could be shared on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. You and any potential roommates need to set the ground rules on privacy, including on guest visits and whether they’d be allowed to stay overnight.

You can plan for your future. When living by yourself and on a tight budget, you may live paycheck to paycheck. This offers little hope for your future as you have no wiggle room or a way of escape. When you live with a roommate and split your costs, then you’ll have money left over. Those funds can be socked away and managed as you seek to fulfill your dreams, such as getting an apartment on your own or buying a house. No longer will you feel that life is so constricting — your dreams are not just a possibility, but are within reach.

Control isn’t something you have. Unless you rent the house or the apartment, you’ll always be subject to a roommate who is ultimately your boss. This person will collect your rent and otherwise share space with you. That’s not a problem if you are otherwise compatible, but it can be a challenge if you have different personalities or convergent views on how to get things done. Some things such as sharing a refrigerator or a bathroom can have a big impact on how you live. Life can become miserable for you if this person objects to the way you hang your toilet paper or your choice in coffee or cooking.

You’re not locked in. Regardless of your roommate situation — whether it is good or bad — you’re not locked in for life. In fact, just like an apartment lease you can commit for a year or less. If you’re not sure how a relationship will work out, then opt for the shortest possible term. Then, keep your exit strategy in mind. On the other hand, if your roommate situation turns out to be the best deal you’ve ever made, then plan for an extension. A roommate who is a jewel is something you don’t want to lose — you can mutually benefit each other here.

It isn’t your place. When you’re rooming with someone who holds the lease, your living quarters are never quite your own. You’re always subject to the whims of your roommate and if this person is selfish or unbalanced, life can quickly become hell for you. At the very least, the place where you live isn’t your own. It isn’t your roommate’s place either, unless they own the house.

Making Your Move

Weighing everything in the balance, you may have decided that having a roommate is still a good deal. If so, then you’re ready to pack, explore your moving options — including Smart Box Moving — and begin your transition to a new abode. Hopefully, it’ll be something you’ll be thrilled about.