Here's How To Deal With Roommates When It Comes To Food
Dealing with roommates when it comes to food is just another part of the college experience.
Many of us have either shared a room with a sibling, or will experience freshman year in a shared dorm room.
Learning to share a living area with another person is an important step in a person’s life. You might discover pet peeves you weren’t conscious about. This can come in handy when debating if moving in with your boyfriend is a good idea.
Meals and food issues are a critical part of roommate living that will teach you how to get along with others and grow consideration for differences and similarities. Here are some tips on how to deal with situations about food.
Communication is key.
It sounds like a total cliche or maybe your friends have told you this way too many times when your relationship isn’t going well. Constantly communicating with your partner is important to eliminate doubt or tension. Having a roommate is just as important as any other type of relationship.
An easy way to facilitate communication with busy, never-to-be-found roommates is hanging a cork board on the wall or sticking a magnetic whiteboard on the fridge. As you’re walking out, it doesn’t take long to leave a quick note that you’re out of milk. The next person might be considerate enough to leave a reply and run the errand. Leaving passive aggressive messages is not the point here — people just need little reminders.
The most logical form of communication about food with roommates is simply sending a text about something you forgot to get on the last shopping trip. These days, there’s no excuse for lack of communication with your roommate when smartphones instantly connect people. If this doesn’t work for the group, have a face-to-face chat about how you can improve communication.
Don’t think of grocery shopping as a chore.
Instead, think of it as a new way to get to know your roommates. What a person eats says a lot about them. To respect other people’s choices, I believe the best way to go about roommate living and buying food is by initially buying groceries separately for the first few times.
After taking note of what similar items are in the fridge at the one time, you can coordinate with roommates and decide how much money each person needs to pitch in for the items you’ll share. Agree to paying equal amounts of money and go shopping together to split any extra costs.
Most likely, a few items that roommates would buy together are milk, sauces like mustard and ketchup, eggs, seasonings, and cooking oil. Non-cooking kitchen items you’d share such as dish soap and paper towels can also be added to the budget.
Items you might want to consider buying individually would be your favorite cereal, bread, fruits, drinks, meat, side dishes such as potatoes or rice, and ice cream.
Dinner dates have their solutions too.
Whether you’re celebrating a roommate’s birthday or having some bonding time, going out for dinner with your roommates can get awkward when it comes to splitting the bill. Don’t worry though, there’s an app for that.
Venmo is a great app to use at those restaurants that don’t split checks. Simply sum up your portion of the bill with a little extra for the tip and transfer the amount to your friend’s account. Similar apps include PayPal and Splitwise.
Sharing a small kitchen space requires respect and honesty.
Most of us have clean kitchens and dining rooms at home because our mothers taught us to clean up after ourselves. So why should living away from home be any different? Kitchen space tends to get crowded when college students live together. Being honest about your messes and cleaning up after yourself is the best way to show your roommates you’re not a hot mess to live with.
An easy way to organize a refrigerator is giving everyone their own shelf, crisper — you know, the small drawers at the bottom where you store and ignore vegetables — or corner. Each person can buy small baskets to store their food items in. Usually, condiments and dressings will go in the door shelves. Designate a communal area where anything is free for the taking.
Family meals can be split easily too.
You can plan them all you want, planning a family meal is hard. Some people don’t eat meat, others say they’ll come but will eat before arrival, and others just don’t understand the amount of time and money put into such a small occasion. We’re all adults whose expenses are always strained between happy hour and rent.
First things first, count heads. Create a PowWow event or send a group text and invite your friends over. Ask if they’ll be eating at your dinner or not. Next, figure out a budget for your meal. Let your friends know what you’ll be making and if anyone has food allergies or preferences. Divide the budget between the counted people and collect before heading to the grocery store. For those who opted out of the meal, they could pitch in with drinks, snacks, or dessert. Lastly, prepare and set up. Everyone will feel great to have contributed to a good time!
When it comes to roommates and food, each person approaches and experiences the situation differently. Don’t be afraid to try different ways to buy food, split a bill, and share kitchen space. Remember to be honest about what is or isn’t working, discover apps that can help you split checks, and don’t be shy to start a money pool for a successful dinner.