If you need to lower your living expenses—and you hate the idea of living with your parents—a roommate is the answer. But even if you find someone with a similar personality and likes, at times you might not see eye-to-eye. And among the things you argue and fight about, money might be a hot topic.
Fighting about money can drive a wedge in any relationship. In fact, fighting about money is one predictor of divorce. If money fights become a pattern, your roommate relationship isn’t going to last long. Fortunately, you can minimize these fights.
Be Direct About Money and Don’t Beat Around the Bush
Be direct and open with each other and come up with a plan for covering expenses from the beginning. You minimize the potential for problems when both of you clearly understand which expenses you’re responsible for. Discuss whether you’ll split expenses 50-50, or whether one person will pay more than the other. The latter might be an option if one person earns considerably more than the other.
Some people are uncomfortable talking about money. However, these discussions are crucial when splitting expenses. So you’ll have to put on your big girl or boy pants and get over this hangup. Skirting around the issue leads to miscommunication. On the other hand, when you talk about money and get everything out in the open, you know what to expect from each other.
It’s also important to put your financial agreement in writing, just in case your roommate gets selective amnesia.
Don’t Be Shy About Screening Potential Roommates
If you already have a place and you’re looking for a roommate to share expenses, it’s your responsibility to carefully screen applicants and choose the right person. You might feel uncomfortable asking a prospective roommate for their employer information or copies of their most recent paycheck stub. But since you’re the acting landlord, you have every right to ensure this personal is capable of handling their share of expenses.
At the end of the day, it’s your name on the mortgage or lease. And if this person comes up short when it’s time to pay the property manager or your mortgage company, the difference comes from your pocket. If this person doesn’t want to divulge their financial information, then she doesn’t need to be your roommate.Be Direct About Money and Don’t Beat Around the BushClick To Tweet
Don’t Get Into a Pattern of Giving Freebies
Problems can occur when you start giving your roommate handouts and loans, especially if you feel you’re carrying more than your fair share of the household responsibilities. The situation can become awkward and tense if the two of you are also friends. But you have to be realistic about the situation. If you feel a roommate isn’t pulling her weight, maybe it’s better to part ways and save the relationship.
Leave Emotions at the Door
Moving in with your best friend may seem like the perfect situation. But choosing a roommate is a financial decision, and it’s important to choose carefully. You may get along and have a great time with one of your friends, but this doesn’t mean the person will make a good roommate.
If you know that a friend has problems managing money, or a habit of hopping from apartment to apartment, don’t expect the situation to improve once you move in together. To be fair, since you’ll be splitting expenses, your friend may start practicing better financial habits after signing the lease and moving in. But there are no guarantees.
Consider the big picture and listen to your gut instinct. If a person is habitually irresponsible with money and constantly makes poor choices with her finances, she may bring these bad habits into your living situation. This can have a trickle down effect and affect your bottom line, especially when you have to go into your pocket to cover extra expenses.
Whether you’re trying to live simple or save money, a roommate can be the ticket to a better financial outlook. But not everyone is your money match, so you need to choose wisely. This will spare you the headache of having fights about money.
Why do you think roommates fights over money?