One of my April goals was to either have a roommate move in or at least secure a roommate. By posting the goal online, I felt the motivational boost to go into full-effort mode to try to secure a roommate. I posted ads on Craiglist and, for the third time, asked my Facebook friends too. I’m so excited that I met this goal by mid-month.
Since starting the hunt for a roommate, I’ve been asked some questions about why I needed a roommate. I was also told by some people that they thought they (and I) were too old to have a roommate. So I figured I’d share here a list of reasons why I don’t need a roommate, but at 30 years old, I got one anyway.
1. I Have $100,000 In Student Loans
Regardless of how much money I have in my checking account, I owe the government (via a servicing company that changes as frequently as I figure out who they are and how they operate) six figures of debt from law school. It would only be five figures if it weren’t for the outrageous interest rate charged on graduate student loans.
Student loans mean that we have to make sacrifices in unplanned areas.
I refuse to become complacent about those loans. I know in another 20 years or so they will be forgiven if there’s still a balance. But I’m just not interested in being haunted by them for my whole life. Every penny that I can save on my daily expenses gives me hope that one day I’ll be truly debt-free!
2. I Don’t Need This Much Space To Myself
Housing in the Pacific Northwest is a lot smaller than housing in Nevada. And it’s still more expensive. When I moved here, I came from a house that was about 2,500 square feet. I moved into an apartment that was slightly under 1,000 square feet. It had a mini office-den-room thing that I put my desk in and then never used unless people were staying the night for some reason. 1,000 square feet for one person seemed totally reasonable at the time, even though I didn’t use that space. But for the same reason as #1 on this list, plus my credit cards and the car I paid off this year, I needed a cheaper place.
I moved to a smaller unit in the same building. I was told it was 700 square feet. I have a terrible sense of dimensions, and I believed it until they had a professional come in and measure the units. The landlord and managing company ignored me every single time I asked how big my unit measured. Yes, this still pisses me off. My friends estimated later (after hearing how big the rental ad said it was) that the unit was more like 450-550 square feet. I’m inclined to believe them because after I couldn’t take that cramped space anymore, I moved out of downtown and into a unit that was 650 square feet and had a washer and dryer (lap of luxury!). That was just enough space for me and way bigger than the unit I was in downtown.
My house is nearly twice the size of my Goldilocks apartment. I just don’t need it. I have an office and then a “guest room,” which until my roommate moved in was totally empty except when people stayed over after a night on the town ― at which time it had a twin-sized air mattress in it. People kept warning me that I would just keep buying furniture to fill up space if I let myself.
I also remember another blogger, Michelle, sharing how much her sister’s extra $300 a month helped their budget a few years ago. When I bought a 3-bedroom house, I knew I would want to rent out that room, or else it would be like watching money fly out the window every single day. I don’t care how old I am ― I don’t need three bedrooms all to myself!
3. That Money Can Go Straight Into Savings
I have a checking account with a bank that I can’t make proper use of because I don’t have direct deposit. Because it’s not connected to my standard checking account, the money is hard to get to. This seemed like the perfect way to have a house emergency fund. And so far, it’s been great. There have been a couple of times where I got “extra” money somehow, and I’ve put it straight into that account instead of onto my credit cards. This way, if something goes wrong with the house, I won’t be forced to charge it.
Getting a roommate when you can afford your expenses yourself = instant emergency fund savings!
I’ve received one rent check so far. I took that money and immediately put it into what I’m calling my “home savings account.” I put the debit card for that account away so that I won’t be tempted to use it on other random things. And aside from my Mint account, I don’t check and see how much money is in there.
Now if, God forbid, something horrible happens to my house, I will not be pulling out my old frenemy American Express to get me through.
4. It Helps Me Live A More Aware And Considerate Life
It used to be that I’d get up in the morning, drink coffee, eat some breakfast, while sitting at my table and reading my bible, turn on the news, work on my blog, and then throw all of the dishes in my sink, change and head to work.
Now, I wake up. Drink coffee and eat some breakfast while I read my bible and blog. Sometimes I turn on the news, sometimes I don’t. Then I rinse my dishes and put them into the dishwasher. Fold the blanket I was using. Put it away. Change. Head to work.
I get home after work, and the house is still clean! It’s an extra 2-3 minutes into my routine, max, but it’s made such a huge difference. The only reason I’ve added these (hopeful) habits into my morning (and evening after cooking dinner) is because of my roommate. Last weekend I was ready to do my chores. I paid my boyfriend’s teenage cousin to mow my lawn and did some other yard work things at the same time. Then I came inside to clean the house. It was already clean. I suppose I could have mopped the floors, but instead I soaked up the amazingness of having a house that was kept clean minutes at a time during the week instead of hours at a time on the weekends.
I don’t say this kind of stuff often because I’m a firm believer in appreciating where we are right now, but one day I would love to get married, and I’m hoping that by learning how to be a more considerate roommate now, I will be a more considerate “roommate” to my one-day husband. Based on what my friends have told me, that doesn’t automatically happen in a marriage.
5. It’s Nice To Know Someone Is Here When I Travel Or Work Late
I travel a decent amount for work, and there are times I work really late or because of my workout class, I’m at the barre studio really late. It’s so nice to know that when I’m gone I don’t have to bother one of my friends to check on my house or stay the night and house-sit. As summer gets closer we will also start taking the boat out and staying in marinas or dropping anchor. Between my roommate and I, someone will be home. That extra level of comfort is wonderful.
If you feel like you’re too old for a roommate, I’d encourage you to give it a shot anyway! It’s a lot different than when I was 18.
Do you save money in a way that other people criticize? Do you have a roommate, or a roommate horror story? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!
Brittany is a 30 year old lawyer, living in the Seattle-Metro area. She is the creator of and writer at Where My Soul Belongs, a blog that focuses on appreciating life right where you are, every single day. At WMSB you’ll find articles on faith, fitness, frugality and managing to somehow have work-life balance in the middle of it all. You can follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Periscope @brittany_wmsb.