Archives for June 8, 2012

Bad Money Choices: Getting a Roommate

(image via allexperts)

Today’s topic is on a Bad Money Choice I made that almost all personal finance bloggers will tell you is a great idea.  After living alone for several years, I got a roommate.

The reason this ended up being a poor decision is because the roommate and I had very different values and while she ended up saving money (I think), my expenses increased…. so how did that happen?

Since we both had dogs, we decided we wanted to move into a house with a yard.  Since houses don’t come cheap like one bedroom apartments, obviously it made sense to move in together.  We found a wonderful 1930s house that was approximately a 10 minute drive from our workplace.  We thought we could overlook the fact that it only had one bathroom.  Second mistake.  The first was that it was a 1930s house.

After moving in, I suddenly started paying for cable (I watched for maybe one or two months), my water bill increased by $20-50 a month overall (so $10-25 extra per month) and electricity skyrocketed to between $100 winter – $200 summer per month. Considering my electricity had never been higher than $60 on a particularly bad summer month before, this was a hit.  Even in the winter, I was spending $20 more on my half of the bill than I did on my highest month alone.

So let’s add it up:
– Rent – no change
– Cable + $20/month
– Internet – no change
– Water +$15/month
– Electricity +  $90/month*

Grand total per month = $125/mo extra spend or $1,500/year.
*based off of $60/mo previously and $150/month in house

I could have paid of my credit cards a month earlier if I’d just continued to live by myself in an apartment.  She wasn’t a bad roommate and aside from the usual annoying stuff that happens with roommates, the fact that I was spending more money (instead of saving) just added insult to injury and made the situation worse for me.  Well, that and my totaled car, but that’s a different story.

Lesson: If you’re going to get a roommate, make sure you’re on the same page.