Many people would prefer to live alone, but the expense of maintaining an apartment by yourself can rule the possibility out. Who wants to spend their entire salary on rent and bills? Sometimes you have to settle for sharing with roommates, so like it or not, you have to make the best of it. And sharing an apartment does have its advantages. Here are some tips for successful sharing if you can't afford to live alone …
Having roommates can be good company, especially if you work from home and so don't have the sociable aspect of working in an office. So enjoy the company, without getting in their hair. It's nice to be able to chat with your roommates over a meal or talk about life.
When you're forced to share for economic reasons, you can subconsciously resent your roommates, even though it's not their fault. Maybe they'd rather be living on their own as well! They haven't made rents so high, so don't take it out on them. Be nice to them; if everyone can get along it will make sharing so much more pleasant that if there is an atmosphere.
When it makes financial sense to share, think of the advantages. Work out how much money you're saving by not living alone. Would you rather have $100s going to a landlord every month, or sitting in your bank account? You'll be saving on bills and rent, which will allow you to save for your own place or enjoy life, rather than never being able to afford to go out.
Remind yourself that living with roommates probably won't be forever, and it can be more tolerable. If you save as much cash as possible, you could move to your own apartment later on (if you buy a home, it's better to have a bigger deposit). So think of sharing as a stage in your life that will allow you to have your own place later on.
The right roommates really make a difference. Look for people who have a similar lifestyle and attitude towards you; if you're quiet or religious you probably won't enjoy sharing with party people. And if you go to work early, you'll soon get annoyed by people who make noise late at night. Try to sound out prospective roommates and get a feel for the kind of people they are.
Unfortunately many landlords try to maximise rental income by letting out lounges as an extra bedroom. Try to avoid this. You need an apartment with living space, otherwise you'll be spending all your time in your room when you're at home. Communal space is also more sociable and feels less cramped. Plus you really need two bathrooms, especially if there's more than two of you sharing.
Finally, remember that tolerance and consideration will go a long way towards creating a positive sharing experience. Always be as considerate as you can. You may get annoyed by your roommates' habits, but cut them a little slack and try to put up with minor annoyances. You probably do things that annoy them as well!
Sharing may not be ideal, but by following these tips you can make it tolerable - or even enjoyable!
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