In today’s post I begin explaining How To Live Totally Free starting with the Housing topic and for good reason: We all need a place to live, and housing is the top expense for everyone. It doesn’t matter if you own a house or rent from someone. The best way to save money is to live with family or roommates to split costs. That’s what I do personally. And while there are some drawbacks (which I will explain later in this post) the benefits outweigh them.
The Main Reason To Live With Family Or Roommates To Split Costs: To Reduce Expenses
As I wrote earlier the largest expense most people is housing. And since inflation is rising all over the world, homes and rent rise along with it. If you want to live totally free and use your time as you see fit instead of selling it to an employer, then you need to reduce your housing expenses as much as you can. One of the easiest ways is to live with family or roommates to split costs.
That’s what I do. Although I prefer living alone that choice costs more. And I rather give up my personal space by living with my mom and brother to save money.
It works like this: We split the mortgage payment in three ways. The monthly mortgage payment is nearly $900 a month so we each put $300 into a bank account to pay that. Then we split the utilities three ways. Since those are variable the costs do fluctuate each month. However, we may sign up for flat-rate for electricity and natural gas later. Overall, each of us has about $400 to $450 of housing and utilities costs per month. And that’s for a 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom house that’s a little over 1400 square feet.
When I lived alone I paid a little over $800 for the mortgage payment and about $100 to $120 a month in utilities. Oh, and I lived in a HOA community so that was another $220 a month. So I went from about $1100 in monthly housing costs to about $450 a month. Because I’m paying much less now I’m not so dependent on my income and savings as I was before. Thus, I have more time to spend my time how I see fit.
The Drawbacks Of This Decision
Now, there are some drawbacks with living with your family or roommates. The main one is the lack of privacy. If you want to invite a friend over to hang out there’s probably someone around who can hear and/or see you two. And if you want to have sexy-time that’s going to be awkward with a family member sleeping in the next room, let alone a roommate. Yet, I know people who have no problem bringing their friends or a lover in the same place he or she shares with their family or roommates.
The other drawback relates to noise and different sleep schedules. Living with multiple people in the same household means there’s always noise. Either someone is watching TV or cooking or whatever. If you don’t like noise then I suggest investing a good pair of noise-cancelling headphones. I don’t mind the noise because I grew up in a multi-generational household so I can tune it out. Other people can’t, however.
Finally, people are going to have different sleep schedules. You may be an early-rising while a roommate may be a night-owl. I suggest keeping noise at a minimum in the early morning and late at night. That’s just courtesy.
Communication Is Key To Making This Work
If you choose to live with family or roommates to split costs then communication is key to making this setup work for everyone. You can’t assume that everyone is going to agree to pay their share of the mortgage or rent. Some people are leeches and will shirk their responsibilities.
To best defend against this you need to have a meeting with everyone you will share the household with and discuss the numbers. The mortgage of the house is in my name. I kept my mom and brother in the loop each step in the house-buying process and the mortgage application because they are paying too. We discussed the monthly payment we would be comfortable with and how much each person can actually afford to pay. Finally, we talked about how to pay for any big purchases for the house before we made them.
Finally, don’t forget to write all this information down. Your family member or roommate may forget what he or she agreed to. Now you don’t need to create a contract, but sending a text message or an email of the notes of the conversation is good enough. I created a Gmail account for the household and shared that information with my family. Thus, they can review the calendar for when bills are due and stay in the loop. You can consider doing the same for your household.
Remember, you need each other if you want to successfully live totally free. Now is not the time for secrecy.
If you miss any of the posts of the How To Live Totally Free series you can find all the posts here.