The Costs and Benefits of Living Alone and Living With Others
Life is expensive, and it only seems to get more expensive over time. These days, a rental in any one of the nation’s biggest or most livable cities costs as much or more than a month’s worth of entry-level wages. One answer to soaring rents and relatively stagnant wages is taking on boarders (a time-honored tradition in times of need), or going in with a friend, acquaintance, or stranger to split costs.
But for many of us, living alone is so desirable and the benefits so numerous, that it’s worth it, regardless of what else we may need to sacrifice to have an apartment or home all to ourselves. For others, roommates are a challenging necessity. And for some, living with roommates can be a joy, if it’s done right. In this post, we’ll take a look at some of the costs and benefits of living with roommates, or living all by your lonesome.
The Benefits of Living Alone and the Benefits of Living With Others
Community, shared risk and responsibility, and shared workload and expenses are the primary benefits of living with roommates. Depending on the relationships you build and maintain with your roommates, living with people can be a joy, with plenty of shared good times.
Living with others also means splitting household chores, splitting liability for damage to the home, and splitting fixed costs for things like cable, Internet, and garbage. It can also mean letting someone else pay part of your mortgage– earning equity beyond your means as a mini-landlord.
Solitude, quiet when you want it, and the ability to make noise when you want to, living with only one set of expectations (one’s own), and not being responsible for anyone else’s behavior and things are among the top benefits of living alone.
Living alone means making as much noise as you want when you want to (provided the neighbors don’t call the police). It means sitting around and watching Netflix in your pajamas if you feel like it, while eating chocolate ice cream with a spatula (if that’s your thing). It means only having to take care of yourself and your messes.
The Costs of Living With Roommates and Living With Others
Living alone is expensive: cable, phone, Internet, water, sewer, garbage, HOA fees, rent or a mortgage, insurance, power, gas, and the list of bills just goes on. Live solo, and you’re on the hook for all of it, which means potentially living house-poor and never being able to afford anything beyond the four walls you’re covering. It can also mean isolation, and it means having to pay someone to house/cat/dog sit if you need to get out of town for a few days.
Not all roommates are created equal. Some are irresponsible, messy, dishonest in word or deed, noisy, controlling, or a combination of some of these things. Everyone has behaviors that can push others’ buttons, and living with roommates means ignoring or accepting things that you don’t necessarily find to be ideal, or worse. It can mean getting ripped off or ditched with bills and damages that have to get paid, somehow.
The Final Analysis – What Can You Afford
You may not have much of a choice, unless you count moving to the sticks as an option; you may have to live with roommates. Or you may be fortunate enough to make enough money to have enough left over after covering all your bills that you can enjoy the area in which you’ve chosen to live.
But, if you’re somewhere in between, then you’ll just have to weigh the potential costs and benefits of both options and make your own educated decision. There will always be trade-offs, but the ultimate question is: can you live with them?