Splitting the costs

Courtney Kerrigan

Finding financially compatible roomies can be challenging on and off campus.


Roommates save money through sharing


Splitting costs with roommates can salvage a few extra dollars, but finding financially compatible roomies can be challenging both on and off campus.

Nicky Kirkland, junior computer information systems major, said she splits rent and utilities with her roommates, Madelyn Koenders and Jamie Sekora, both junior nursing majors.

Utilities include electric, gas, cable, Internet and water.

With each paying $45 in utilities and splitting $700 in rent, Sekora said they cut the costs right down the middle and use a white board to keep track of everyone’s payments when bills arrive.

“It’s easier to divide everything evenly versus one person paying gas and another paying electric and so on,” Sekora said. “This way, everyone pays the same amount, and there’s no trouble.”

In a house on Miller Avenue, the roommates have a limit set by their landlord on how much gas they can use. For that reason, they keep the heat down around 60 degrees and make use of their fireplace.

“The biggest thing that helps save money is the budget that we’re on,” Koenders said. “We try to keep the cost down by sealing our windows with plastic and turning lights off whenever we leave a room.”

As for food, Kirkland said they pay for their own grub, while Koenders laughingly admitted to eating her roommates’ food. They also all chip in for cleaning supplies and toilet paper.

The only problems they admit having are trash and dish duty, but Koenders said she generally does it if no one else will.

Living off campus allows students to choose their own roommates, but on-campus life can sometimes bring unfamiliar roomies.

Sophomore anthropology major Alexa Stephenson and sophomore nursing major Hannah Bostdorff said they were lucky when they ended up living together in Lake Hall.

Bostdorff said they pretty much share everything from food to clothes to Stephenson’s television and Bostdorff’s DVD player.

“We kind of have to share in dorms because it’s a limited space,” Bostdorff said. “I mean, you don’t want to have two of everything, like TVs, so it does save money.”

The roommates go grocery shopping together twice a month and split items on their list, which include cereal, granola bars and soup. Bostdorff said she always buys the milk because she uses it the most but doesn’t care if Stephenson needs it.

Even when they buy food on their own, the roommates said they still share everything, including clothes. Stephenson said because they share clothes, she’s less prone to go out and spend money.

Bostdorff, however, admits to being a shopaholic, so nothing stops her from splurging.

They agreed it’s an easier choice to live on campus because food and classes are closer, but living off campus would be cheaper.

“In the long run, it’s going to be cheaper to live off campus because the food here is more expensive and we get a small room but pay a lot for it,” Bostdorff said.

Sam Rella, sophomore international relations major, chose to live off campus in an attempt to avoid the high costs of on-campus living.

With a house on College Avenue and five Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity brothers for roommates, Rella said they haven’t come across any major problems when it comes to splitting costs and sharing rooms.

The rent is $325 a month, but instead of scrounging up money each month, the roommates pay two installments of $1,950 each, the first in August and the second in February.

“I’d rather just do it by semester,” said Seth Treanor, junior visual communication design major and TKE brother. “It’s a lot easier than worrying about it every month, and this way we turn in one check and we’re good for six months.”

They also pay electric, gas, cable, Internet and water, and have a similar system to that of Kirkland, Koenders and Sekora’s. Rella said they also take care of their food on their own.

“Everyone’s different when it comes to living with people,” Rella said. “If you have the money then you obviously pay on time, and if you don’t, then you just work something out with your roommates.”

Contact student finance reporter Courtney Kerrigan at [email protected].