At some point in time, most of us have lived with roommates. It's definitely a must when you're a student. Splitting down rent and utilities allows you to live in a comfortable place. Currently, I have none, but I used to have some quite recently. Here are a few tips to make life easier when living with roommates.
1. Share Your Tech
One of the strangest experiences that I've had is getting a new roommate who spends all of his time in his room. You never know what he's up to. This is remedied easily by sharing some tech. For example, one of the roommates had a TV and stereo which he put in the living room. I added an Xbox 360 and all that was needed to play video games. Another roommate brought in some appliances. This allows you to interact with your roommates socially. It can be a lot more fun than playing video games all alone in your room.
2. Use Google Docs to Manage Dorm and Apartment Life
I have used a simple Google Docs spreadsheet to manage rent, common expenses, and shopping lists with my roommates. Since we were all technologically inclined, we shared these docs between ourselves. This allowed us to have a common view of what was going in our apartment.
Some items, like bread, milk, olive oil, cooking oil, coffee, etc, were bought by all three of us, so we shared these expenses. We simply crossed these out when we did them, and updated the financial spreadsheets with the amount of money we had put into the household.This includes stuff like cleaning supplies, toilet paper, and other items that we saw as household expenses.
While some roommates might dislike it, keep a track of chores is another good idea if you want to keep things tidy. Some people get motivated by seeing a list of things to do and being able to cross it off once it's completed.
3. Splitting Bills and Appliances Equally
While it's possible that only one roommate's name is on all of the bills, I have found that it's best to split up these bills, even though it might complicate things more when it comes time to pay them. Ultimately, it splits the financial burden and makes sense.
This also goes for appliances, depending if your apartment already has some or not, it's a good idea that everyone contributes when getting these. I remember when the previous roommate had moved out, he had taken the cooking range with him, as well as some furniture. All three of us ended up contributing to replace these lost items.
4. Hogging Tech
While it's good to share, it's impolite to hog tech, especially if it belongs to someone else. This has rarely happened to me, but it can. Roommates need to remember that even if they'd like to play with your Xbox 24/7, you might want to use it at some point in time.
5. Cooking Meals Together
At least once a week, my roommates and I cooked a meal together. This was an opportunity to invite some friends over, but even if we were only by ourselves, we cooked and ate together at a table, with our laptops off. This allowed us to talk about our day, have fun, and relax. We always had these meals on Fridays or Saturdays, with some music playing. I always found this a perfect way to end the week.