Living With A Roommate Sometime Means You Split Grocery Expenses
Learn how to handle roommate food expenses the smart way before you sign your rental agreement this year.
The last thing you want to find out after moving in with your roommate(s) is that your monthly expenses are not what you expected them to be.
You will want to know what you are signing up for apart from splitting the costs of rent and utility bills as that should be standard.
I’m sure you remember the television show, “The Big Bang Theory” and the roommate agreement that Sheldon Cooper (Jim Parsons) dished out after Leonard Hofstadter (Johnny Galecki) decided to become roommates with him.
It may have been outrageous and we laughed but don’t think this can’t happen to you. It can.
Over-night guests notification clause (The Irish Pub Formulation) – There has to be a 24-hour notice if a non-related female is staying over night
Section 37B, Miscellaneous Duties (The Friendship Contraction): Leonard is obligated to drive Sheldon to his various appointments, such as the dentist.
He must also provide a “confirmation sniff” for questionable dairy products.
A requirement of the agreement is to have quarterly Roommate Agreement meetings (The Viewing Party Combustion).
At the meetings, the Pledge of Allegiance is performed. Issues raised at the meetings include which kind of cereal to buy.
If you’re lucky and find a house or basement apartment for rent with your friends or a roommate looking to pair up with another who is apartment searching you can create house rules right from the start.
Be prepared that you won’t all agree on all the rules so even talking about a roommate agreement before you decide to rent together might be a smart financial move.
Moving costs are pricey for everyone but having to move out prematurely because of differences with your roommates over house rules can be costlier.
On a few occasions, I’ve received emails or comments from fans asking about grocery splitting when living with roommates for school.
When looking for a place to rent it’s important that a roommate agreement is created, signed and dated by all parties so there are no surprises.
You can’t always assume that you will rent to an easy roommate who will go with the flow and dish out cash for whatever is needed.
If you think like this you’ll soon find out how fast things go downhill and if you hold the apartment lease you may be stuck paying for more than you bargained for if your roommates move out.
When I lived in the UK and went to University I had roommates (flatmates) where we split rent and came up with a simple solution for buying groceries that made sense for the three of us.
We also had house rules which were pretty laid back and for the most part, seemed to be common roommate etiquette.
That meant we kept a roommate cleaning schedule on the refrigerator that we monitored monthly and rotated chores so we weren’t always doing the same chore each day/week/month.
This worked for us and we happily finished our education without any roommate battles.
Creating A Roommate Agreement
A friend of ours who has a son that attends University no longer wanted to live in residence after he finished his first year.
Beginning this September he has secured a house for rent with a few of his friends as roommates.
When visiting his parents which he does often as they live in the same city his mother asked him about the food situation.
When he was living in residence he had a full meal plan that his parents paid for but now he had to provide food for himself.
His mother was concerned and wanted to make sure he wasn’t eating out all the time.
She wanted to know how they planned on buying groceries and who was going to do the cooking.
Her son wasn’t too sure what they were going to do which meant they had not discussed the grocery shopping topic nor set up any roommate rules.
Since his mother, sister and I went to University and we were over for a dinner party when this conversation came up he asked for our advice on what they should do about grocery shopping.
Of course, it was my topic of expertise, but they don’t really know that since I don’t tell anyone I am the blogger at Canadian Budget Binder.
I offered him a few suggestions about how he could approach the situation of food shopping with roommates so he knew there were options along with some pros and cons of each.
First of all, I mentioned that the roommates should sit together and create a roommate rules agreement BEFORE school starts.
Creating a roommate agreement is not difficult and you can easily type it out, have everyone read it, date it and sign it.
Make sure to give everyone a copy of the roommate agreement for reference and keep a copy on the refrigerator for the same purpose.
How To Buy Groceries When You Have A Roommate
The topic of groceries is what I discussed with them and below are a few options I dished out.
Before I get into this topic I want to add that it’s important to always do a pantry check-list, freezer inventory, and refrigerator sniff.
Related: 30 must-have Student Pantry Staples
The last thing you want to be doing is buying more than you need. Stay organized and it’s a win-win for all, plus you might find you will want to eat out less too.
Related: How to keep an organized pantry
1. Buy your groceries
Set a grocery budget and buy your food. Label it and store it in the refrigerator, cupboards, and pantry if available.
You could even purchase a second-hand beer fridge for your bedroom to stash beer and other goodies you don’t want to tempt others with.
Related: How to create a student budget
The worst is when visitors come and help themselves.
You don’t have to share with anyone nor do you have to worry about running out of stuff or paying for food you don’t want especially if you are on a special diet.
The only con I can think of from my experience is that you have to watch how much you buy so you don’t have food waste.
2. Split grocery expenses with roommates 100%
Create a grocery budget and every week prepare a grocery list with your roommates. Use the grocery flyers or flyer apps to help all of you find the best deals on food.
Just because you are splitting the costs of groceries doesn’t mean you have to pay full price. Save money where you can, when you can.
Either you all go grocery shopping together, rotate who goes, or pair up depending on how many roommates you have.
This is only fair so that everyone participates in this chore as not everyone likes to do it.
One con to grocery splitting 100% is that you will pay for food that you don’t like, won’t eat much of or won’t eat any at all.
There is always one roommate in the bunch that eats more than the rest of you so portion control may be lopsided.
It’s hard to control this unless you can divide portions of all your food.
3. A partial split of groceries
This is a great option and one that we entered into when I was in University.
We all ate different foods so we kept grocery shopping for food personal.
That meant that we bought what we wanted based on our nutritional needs and grocery budget allowance.
What we did split on were products that were common or that we wouldn’t need to have more than 1 of in the refrigerator.
Products such as ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, baking supplies such as flour, baking powder, etc. we all pitched in on to buy.
This worked out great for us.
How To Create A Grocery List
The best grocery list app I’ve come across is the mobile Flipp app where you can get coupons, check sales prices, and compare from various stores plus create a grocery list at the same time.
Using a mobile grocery app is a great way to save time and ensure you don’t lose a paper grocery list which is fairly easy to do, ask my wife.
Then again she’s left her iPhone on the grocery store shelf before too.
We use our printable grocery list which you can download for free if you don’t fancy using an app.
Doing it the old-fashioned way is how we grocery shop because we don’t have a data plan on my wife’s smartphone.
- Plan your shopping trips ahead of time with the ultimate shopping list.
- Build your list and then Flipp will find you local deals to make saving easy.
- Check off items at the store with just one tap to keep you on track.
Paying For Groceries With A Roommate – Reader Feedback
I’m always asking the fans for feedback when it comes to reader questions because we are the source to help each other out.
I knew it was time to bring this topic up for my Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide since University and College is starting up again to help others who want advice about grocery shopping with roommates.
Here’s what the fans had to say…
Christine- I think I’d be buying my food and purchasing a small bar fridge to keep it in if I had roommates.
Susan- I bought my own groceries when I rented a house with roommates while I was in college. Friends who I didn’t room with all had problems with a roommate or the boyfriend eating the food.
Angela- When I returned from college to live with my parents the first time around, I did pitch in with the groceries. I would take two meals a week and buy what I needed to make it and always a little more. I made those meals too.Mary– I’ve never shared except at a skater’s lodge and cafeteria style meals were provided in the cost of the room & board. So, no choices except take it or leave it. smile emoticonColleen- I would prefer to each buy your own groceries and take turns buying cleaning and paper products and maybe even coffee/tea supplies….but…make sure you have a responsible roomie.Della-I’ve had a roommate and we split the groceries due to each bringing the same number of people to the household and this way, our food budget went farther and didn’t have to wonder/worry if the other family was eating our food.Tammy-Never been in this situation but if I did have a roommate I think I would want to buy my own groceries for my budget and taste. If you share a grocery budget, it could end up the other person eating way more or wanting higher cost items.I think it would be too difficult to say go to the store with $100 and have to each get what you want among common items. Just my 2 cents anyway.Pat-I lived by myself until I moved in with my husband. I think if I did share I would have to buy my food.
Mary- My nephew used to live with us, he would pay us $250 twice a month and usually one of those times we would go to Costco and stock up the freezer and pantry. This way he got to choose what we had also, seeing I did the cooking.
Heather- When we were living in our apartment (my husband and I) with his friend this was like 6 years ago – we always bought our own groceries as it was just easier to get what you like.Nicola-No, but when I lived with my mom and dad I would contribute and then anything else I would buy myself if that counts.
If you’re not sure what your roommate(s) has planned take the initiative to call a meeting and chat with each other.
Your house rules will either make or break your roommate relationship and possibly your monthly budget.
If finance and friendship is important to you then bring the topic to the table. You will all be glad you did.
Discussion: What other advice or tips can you offer to students moving in with roommates or for anyone who will be renting or splitting rent with a roommate outside of the education system? *Leave your comments below.
Free Money Saving Tools
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So many people pay for budgets and tools on the internet to help them save money and honestly, you don’t need to.
Even a paper and pen will do the trick.
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We still use this budget every month as it helps us to see our overall financial picture.
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Get organized with a FREE freezer inventory, meal plan, shopping list, price comparison list and much more all for FREE.
CLICK HERE to download all the free lists and even our family budget spreadsheet. So many free resources at your fingertips.
Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide
Everything you want to know about grocery shopping in Canada is packed into this amazing FREE grocery shopping guide that has taken over 4 years to create.
The Ultimate Grocery Shopping guide is ongoing with new informative money-saving posts added every month.
Even if you don’t live in Canada some amazing budget-savings tips will help put you on the path to more savings at the supermarket.
Share this guide with your friends and tell them about Canadian Budget Binder especially if they are struggling with their grocery budget.
The time is NOW to get started saving money on groceries so please enjoy the many money-saving posts in The Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide.
Discussion: What other tips can you offer students who will have a roommate this semester?
Leave your comments below.
2016 Grocery Shop Results
Yearly grocery budget for two + 1 Toddler 2016: $2820
(The above total does not include the stockpile budget of $300/year or $25/month.
Points Overview (add any other sections you need to show us your savings)
- Total Grocery Budget for the Month:$235.00-$40.93=$194.07
- Total Grocery Budget with any carry-overs $194.07
- Total Gift Cards used to date: $60
- Total Rewards Points redeemed this week: $0
- Total Rewards Points used to date: $0
- PC Points Plus Earned to date: 294,000
- Scanning Code of Practice (SCOP) to date $0
- Shoppers Optimum: Just under 850,000 Optimum points (I will update this twice a year)
Coupon Apps (add any other apps you use to save money)
- Zweet to cash out : $18.25
- Checkout51 to cash out : $22.00
Our Grocery Shop This Week
The final week of August grocery game challenge was a no-shop week for us as we have plenty of food in the house.
- Total to spend this month : $194.07 $235.00-$40.93 overage from July
- Stockpile budget 2016 : $25.00
- Stockpile budget used this month: $23.88
- Total coupons used this week: $0
- Total coupons used to date: $15.36
- Total in-store discounts this week:$0
- Total in-store discounts to date: $450.34
- Total spent this week: $0
- Total spent so far this month: $201.30
- Total over/Under spend this shop: over
- Total over/Under spend for the month: over -$5.23
- Total left to spend for the month: -$5.23
- Total Spent To Date 2016: (does not include stockpile budget) Jan $252.95 + Feb $249.46 + March $211.11 + April $248.11 + May $279.07 + June $231.96 + July $244.40 + Aug $201.30
Weekly Overview (your final thoughts)
It’s not often we get to say that we have a no-shop week even though we have been working very hard to incorporate them into our grocery budget.
With all of the free food and vegetables that we’ve gotten and stocking up the past month, we have plenty to get us by for now.
Hip Hip Hooray!!
Coupons and Coupon Apps
Here are some great places you can find Canadian Coupons!
Sign up for the Nielsen Canada Home Scan Program and you can earn rewards points fast to redeem for awesome products or gift cards.
I did this in the UK and loved it!
Grocery Game Challenge FAQ’s
- Grocery Game Challenge RULES: Read the rules first and if you have any questions email me or comment on this post with your question and someone will answer you as soon as possible. The rules have been updated for the 2016 challenge year.
- Do I have to be Canadian to post my Grocery Shop?: No, you don’t have to be Canadian to post your shops. We have fans who post their grocery shop who live all over the world.
- What is the monthly prize and who can claim it?- The monthly prize is a $10 PC Loblaws Gift Card and for our, out of country friends, it’s $10 CDN via Paypal if they win. As more people join I will add more money to the gift card or I will split it up and offer 2 prizes every month.
- When does the Grocery Game close each month?: The Grocery Game Challenge closes at midnight of the last Sunday of the last post for the month but you will still get a ballot when you post your shops even if they are late but I encourage you to stay on schedule. If you choose to post monthly or bi-weekly you will only get 1 ballot for that shop. It’s a proven fact the minute we stop doing something that is scheduled that we end up forgetting to do it altogether. Don’t let that be you! You can post your shops all month-long.
- Does your Grocery Budget include health and beauty and laundry products?: No, our Grocery Budget includes such items as shampoo, conditioner, laundry soap, fabric softener, dish soap etc. As of 2014-2015 we no longer include such items in our grocery budget so we can see actual food numbers at the end of the year in order to plan accordingly our budget.
- Do you stockpile food? We don’t mind stockpiling items that won’t be affected by expiry dates or have long expiry dates but not so much food any longer as we found we weren’t eating it fast enough. Stockpiling is still great and just one way to help cut your budget to save money if you do find items that you can buy in bulk at a sale price.
- Canadian Coupons: Where can I find Canadian Coupons?:
- Best Coupon Apps: Coupons are slowly fading with mobile coupon apps being the big rave these days. Just recently the popular coupon site Save.ca that mailed coupons to households has gotten involved with the addition of a new mobile Save.ca app joining forces with the many other coupon apps available. If you find an app that I don’t talk about please let me know as they are always being added and I’d like to review them.
- What is the Best Flyer App- We use Flipp on our Iphone so if you want to have all your flyers in one spot download Flipp from the Apple Store or get it on Google Play.
- What is an FPC?: An FPC is a free product coupon which means you can get a free product as described on the coupon.
- What is GGC?– The Grocery Game Challenge of course!
- How Do I Know what stores accept coupons?: If you are not sure it’s always best to call the store and ask.
- How Do I Grocery Shop?: I can tell you about grocery shopping and what we do in terms of shopping to save money and how it works for us. There are no wrong or right answers, just smart choices.
Nobody is perfect, heck we struggle with this part of our budget as many people do.
This is why the grocery game challenge was created back in 2012 and is one of the most popular hang out spots for people who want to save money on groceries in Canada.
If you’ve just joined The Grocery Game Challenge 2016 get ready to look at your grocery budget by learning…
- Where you are spending money
- How much money you are spending
- How much money you are saving every month
If you want to learn everything I know about grocery shopping in Canada check out my Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide! It’s FREE!
If you know a topic that should be discussed send me an email. If I use your topic I will put your name in a draw for a prize at the end of the year.
You’ve made a wise decision to take control of your grocery budget now show me your shops and let’s get saving!
Welcome to The Grocery Game Challenge 2016!
Some of the links in the body of the blog post are affiliate links which means I may get paid if you buy something from Amazon.
The items I’ve chosen are the products we use at home or similar to.
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