Venturing into the brave world of adulthood is thrilling, terrifying, and more expensive than you ever imagined, which is just one reason why it’s wise to have a roommate not just during your college years, but also during that uncertain period just after you graduate. Having a roommate allows you to share this once-in-a-lifetime experience with someone who understands what you’re going through; plus, the two of you can save some of your tech expenses and give each other a hand. You need the same tech treats — the internet, streaming services, a printer — so why not ease each other’s financial burdens and share the load?
Split Your Printer
It’s unlikely that you want to share a PC or laptop with your roommate, but your printer is another matter. Printers are expensive and they take up space, so there’s no reason you ever need to have two. Split the cost of the printer upfront, and then you can take turns buying paper and ink or toner. You each save money all the way around because you’re not responsible for all those costs by yourselves. In fact, since you’re each paying for half, see if you can afford a top-of-the-line printer, such as one that scans or prints pictures.
Share a Friendly Phone Plan
You have to save money anywhere you can while you’re in college. Neither of you wants to give up your cell phones, but you can think about getting a plan together. Multi-person phone plans cost less than individual plans if you’re splitting your bill. Research different deals, such as the affordable cell phone plans through T-Mobile that allow you to consolidate your phone expenses on one reliable 4G LTE network. Consider how much data you need and which phones you want, as well, then find out if you can bundle anything else, such as your landline or internet.
Go in Half on the Internet
You both need the internet. A stable connection is almost more important than having a washer and dryer in the apartment. After all, you need the internet to pay your bills, study, write papers, apply for jobs, and accomplish work tasks. You can easily afford a faster connection if you each pay half of the monthly bills, and it’s still cheaper than paying for it on your own. Since there are at least two of you, definitely spring for the faster speeds — that way you won’t have to deal with slow buffering or lag times.
Divide Your Entertainment Costs
Monthly subscriptions to online services such as Netflix and Hulu aren’t expensive, but if you’re preparing to enter the real world, every penny counts. Since the two of you share the internet costs and possibly access to the TV, then it makes sense to go ahead and share your entertainment expenses, as well. It’s not practical to split small bills that are less than $20, but perhaps one person can cover Hulu, for example, and the other person can pay for Netflix. With larger subscriptions to premium services, an even split works best.
Divvy Up the Extras
There are various other tech must-haves that you and your roommate probably both enjoy. Do you stream music? Spotify and iTunes each have friends and family plans, so you might consider combining your accounts as long as you live together. It’s particularly helpful if you each subscribe to different services. If the two of you play video games, then the monthly subscription to your preferred gaming network is another expense you can split.
Even if music and gaming aren’t cost the two of you can share, there are likely other luxuries you have in common. The luxuries are often the first things to go when you have to make a cut. By sharing the cost of the things you each enjoy, you won’t have to give up your hobbies.
During and just after college, you’re essentially learning how to live as an adult. However, exploring your independence doesn’t mean you can’t accept help from your roommate — you’re in the same boat; since you share the same tech needs, there’s no reason you shouldn’t give each other a hand and divide the bills between you.