7 Things You Can Expect to Share With Your Roommates

Posted February 04, 2014 by
Two roommates playing video games, while their roommate is cleaning

Two roommates playing video games, while their roommate is cleaning. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Dorm life is the epitome of community living. You share a bedroom, a bathroom, and quite possibly a lot of other things with a roommate or a group of people. Because college is expensive—most students can expect to graduate with a loan balance of nearly $30,000—it makes sense to share costs whenever possible. Here are seven things you can share with your roommate in order to save money.

Kitchen Appliances

You won’t have room for a full-sized refrigerator in a dorm, and full-sized ovens are out of the question in such tight-knit quarters. Most colleges do, however, allow the use of mini-fridges and microwaves. Before moving in, conspire with your roommate-to-be about what each of you will bring to share. Mini-fridge/freezers at Walmart cost $100 or move, and microwaves cost $50 or more, so it makes sense to plan ahead.

Dishes and Cups

Dorm rooms don’t typically have enough space for a china cabinet, so it’s wise to collaborate when it comes to dishes and cups.  If you plan to share these items with your roommate, be sure to follow basic courtesy rules and clean your messes up right away.  If washing dishes isn’t your thing, consider splitting the cost of paper cups and plates between the two of you and keeping the stash in a central location.

Throw Rugs/Carpet

A large area rug is a great way to unify your dorm room while simultaneously cushioning your feet and creating a sense of home. Whether you prefer a barber remnant, an Oriental weave, or a stylish shag, it’s smart to consult your roommate before buying a floor covering. First of all, you want to make sure the two of you agree on a style and color. Second, you might decide it’s best to split the cost. Quality rugs, even remnants, can cost anywhere from $100 on up.


A college textbook can cost you as much as a college credit. Since the late 1970s, in fact, college textbook prices have risen 812 percent. Before you shell your dollars out for a year’s worth of these pricey books, check with your roommate to see if he or she will be taking any of the same classes with any of the same professors as you. If so, you might want to jointly rent or buy materials. Just be sure the two of you can work out a feasible time schedule in which to share materials.


You won’t want two different TVs blaring at the same time in your dorm room; TVs take up space and cost a lot, too. Decide which of you will bring the TV—preferably the person with the bigger screen—and discuss what kind of shows the two of you like to watch. If the two of you are into DVDs, assign one person to bring the DVD player and compare notes as to who owns what movies.  There’s no sense in having two copies of the same movie taking up space in your tiny abode.

If you opt out of subscribing to cable or satellite TV service, you’ll probably want to enlist the help of a stable internet provider to keep you connected to the world. The two of you will have to agree on a bandwidth and price point, so find the right package for your needs.

Electrical Gadgets

College students need all sorts of gadgets to help them through the day: hair dryer, vacuum cleaner, pencil sharpener, coffee maker, laser printer, camera, alarm clock, the list goes on and on. Some of these items you won’t mind sharing; others, you’ll want to keep to yourself. All of these items take up valuable space, however, so it’s wise to pool resources where you can.

Utility Bills

Just about every college student has a laptop, tablet, and smartphone they need to charge, as well as the aforementioned mini fridge, microwave, TV, hair dryer, and so on. Splitting your utility bills, particularly your electricity costs, is a smart way to keep things equitable. If your living situation allows you to choose your own electricity provider, you can easily lower energy costs by shopping around and comparing prices.

College is an exciting time of life.  Don’t let dorm costs bring you down.  Collaborate with your roommate about what expenses you can share so you can relax, study, and get the most out of this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

This article was brought to you by Annie Davis.

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