Roommate Rift: Groceries

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When a small space is shared with a number of roommates it may seem like a good idea to live family style. After all, you're all friends and living this way will not only cut costs, but will eliminate struggles about one roommate using the entire kitchen cooking for one, while the others looking on with growing hunger. However sharing groceries is, like most things, easier said than done. Different ideas of acceptable food budgets and diets can make this messy fast. 

Take for example a roommate who goes to the grocery store for his apartment. He thinks he is doing his roommates a favor by taking care of this chore. He buys all of his favorite foods, Ramen noodles, mac and cheese and hot-dogs. He thinks that he has set his roommates up to live like kings. However, his roommates are very health conscious and would not have made the same choices. When he leaves a note asking them to repay him for the shared food expense his roommates are very upset.

So what can you do? Does living with roommates have to be every-man for himself? It doesn't make sense to have a fridge that is filled with 4 separate milk jugs. Sit down with all of your roommates and discuss what you would like to share.

  • What is being shared 
  • How expenses will be split 
  • Who will do the shopping and how often 
  • Where shared food/supplies will be stored 
  • If and which meals will be shared- who will be cooking and cleaning afterwords 
  • It is also a good idea to designate areas as shared food and private areas 

I think back to one of my roommates who would steal my food because she had bought the same items and forgot where she put them (or if she already ate them). Even though I had a place that I exclusively kept my food, we didn't discuss that so she assumed it was hers. For food that is not shared have clearly marked shelves/cabinets, that way you are the only one eating that expensive chocolate that you splurged on.

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