What Are the Benefits of Having a Roommate?

Living with someone isn't easy. Having to share your space and possessions, make compromises and deal with constant company takes some getting used to. Still, if you look on the positive side of things, it's easy to see that having a roommate comes with just as many benefits as downfalls, if not more 1.

For Financial Freedom

Having a roommate does not guarantee financial freedom, but splitting your living costs with someone else will reduce the money coming out of your bank account 1. It's not just rent, either: Heat, water, gas, garbage, cable, Internet and other common housing costs should all be shared among roommates. Splitting the costs of items such as cleaning supplies, food and furniture can save you money, but it has to be done carefully. Come to an agreement with your roommate before spending money on these things. For example, you don't want to split the cost of groceries equally if your roommate eats twice the amount of food you do.

Safety in Numbers

Having a roommate can give you a sense of security, especially if you are young and don't feel safe coming home to a dark, empty apartment 1. There's safety in numbers, and two or more people living in one home means that the home is less likely to be empty, and therefore less likely to be robbed. You and your roommate can also go places together; if you have to walk down a dark street, bring your cohabitant with you. Sharing the cost of a cab is not only frugal but also safer.

It's Convenient

It's convenient to have a roommate when you are going to be gone for extended periods of time. Your roommate will probably agree to water your plants, get the mail and take care of your pets. If you can carpool with your roommate to school or work, you will save on gas money and parking fees. If schedules permit, you might even be able to share one bus or subway pass.

Make Friends and Network

Having a roommate forces you to become more social 1. You may make a lifelong friend, or you may make friends with your roommate's friends. This also represents a great opportunity for you to network. Having a roommate means you have access to all of his or her connections 1.

Share the Chores

Let's face it: Having a roommate means less work for you. Ideally, instead of cleaning the entire kitchen by yourself every night, you get to trade off with your roommate. The same goes for caring for a garden and attending to other general household maintenance chores.

Fun and Games

Living with a roommate means you have a built-in buddy to go out with. Seeing a movie, hitting the bar for a couple of drinks or going to a ball game is more fun when you have a friend to do it with -- and who better to ask than the person who lives with you? If you do go alone or with a date, you know that your roommate will have your back if you need a ride home or if you need a quick escape from that blind date your sister set you up with.