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Budgeting in the Roommate Stuff

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Is it really cheaper to get a roommate? Living with another person is a way to save on rent, but what about the other costs of a housemate that you need to add to your budget?

Some of my newsletter subscribers left great questions this month in the newsletter giveaway post (look at the right sidebar if you’d like to sign up).  Here was one from Kim that needed it’s own post: Can you do a post on how having roommates affects your budgeting? As I’ve posted before, we rent out the downstairs spare bedroom of our house to a college couple.  We’ll also be living with my younger sister for most of January 2013 and maybe longer if she decides to rent out the spare bedroom upstairs starting in February. Overall, having roommates hasn’t changed our budget all that much.  There has been little extra expenses, but nothing budget-shattering.  And the extra $600 in rent a month is really nice for padding purposes, but it hasn’t ever been the difference between paying our bills or not. Roommate Expenses Here are the most obvious extra expenses that I can think of: Utilities – Based on the bills at the old house, our electricity bill increased $25-$50 when our roommates moved in and our water bill went up by about $5.  I don’t know their actual impact on our utility bills in the new house, which has … Read more

Doing it Again – Renting Out a Spare Bedroom

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We rented out the spare bedroom of our current home 2 of the 5 years we’ve lived here.  And we’re doing it again starting today. Back Story We had three tenants over 2 years.  The first one was our friend, but he only needed a place to stay for 3 months.  We enjoyed the extra income so much that we looked for another tenant (this time on Craigslist) when he moved out.  The second renter stayed for 1.5 years and was awesome.  Then we hit Craigslist again and got the third tenant – a complete idiot and jerk – for 3 months and then we sort of told him to get his crap and get out ASAP.  He vacated pretty fast.  That all happened from 2007-2009. Well, now a set of our friends are in a bad situation with a physically threatening landlord that rather they didn’t leave, so they’re hightailing it into our house for the next few months.  They appreciate being able to leave their current situation and we will appreciate the extra cash flow while we are saving up some cash on hand.  If it works out, they’ll continue being tenants in our new home.  If it doesn’t, they’ll find a … Read more