Living with Roommates – Part 1: Splitting the grocery bill

Living with roommates can either be a great experience or a terrible one, very few people would claim to have a mediocre experience.  For better or for worse, I think everyone should go through it at least once though. They recommend that you don’t room with your best friend simply because you value the relationship so much.  Everything can change once you live together.

Depending on how many people you live with, you want to split tasks up and all the cards laid on the table. If you don’t know anybody who you are living with this is very important. My roommate and I didn’t really track every penny for groceries, we just went shopping and whatever was in the fridge was free game. The only thing that I didn’t touch was his yogurt and he didn’t touch my milk.  Other than that we used each other’s stuff and I never once felt that I was being taken advantage of. This is a rare case because most of the time it’s the opposite, in fact I’ve heard stories where the roommates would label everything in the fridge.  So as far as splitting up the groceries here are some common strategies.

Living With Roommates – Grocery Tactics 101

1. Every Man/Woman for themselves – this tactic can be used for any group of roommates, whether you are strangers or not. It’s especially good for those who eat different foods.

2. The Soup Kitchen – This is when the groceries are a free for all and anyone can eat anything. But all grocery receipts from everyone goes into a pot and you pay the difference of who paid for what at the end of the month. Not recommended for anyone whose roommates are twice their weight.

3. The Care-Free method – The same system my roommate and I had, it’s one big happy family and you don’t pay any attention at all to who bought what.  This plan works well because if you share your food with at care free mindset. Chances are that you share other things like movies, books, or booze. So by the end of the year things usually even out nicely.

Living with roommates isn’t the end of the world as long as there is open communication.

So each way can work fine, I’m sure there are other was to go about splitting up the groceries, but I think these are the most common.  Remember, the key for a successful year with your roommates is open communication so everyone knows who is responsible for what.  If you find that your roommates are eating twice as much as you, then just alter the plan to look more like our ‘man/woman for themselves’ model.  Personally, living with roommates has been a rewarding experience.

Living with roommates (image credit)

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