How to Find the Right Roommate for You

Happy Roomates

Now that we are renting properties for the 2015-2016 school year, it’s time to find your roommate if you have not already done so. While this process can be fun and exciting, it’s important to do your homework and find the right person. Trust us, you don’t want to be stuck in a lease with someone who you have nothing in common with.

Whether you plan to live with a friend or a friend of a friend or a stranger- you must find out important details about their personality, habits and lifestyle preferences before making a decision.

Tip #1-Set up an interview.

Even if you are moving in with someone you know, set aside time to have an honest discussion to find out of this is a good fit. Be honest about your expectations and make sure they match those of your potential roommate. Don’t tiptoe around the subject in order to seem polite, be upfront.

Tip #2- Ask questions before signing the lease.

Talk about your likes/dislikes, cleaning habits, friends, significant others, sleeping habits, etc. Establishing an open line of communication from the beginning will save you from potential misery down the line. Here are some basic ones you’ll want to cover-

1. Are they an early riser or a night owl? Light sleeper or good sleeper?

2. What is their typical work or school schedule? Will it conflict with yours?

3. What do they need to feel safe and secure (locking windows, etc)?

4. Are they neat or “relaxed?? Get clarification as this means different things to different people (and no one admits to being a slob).

5. What are their favorite/least favorite chores? How to do they like to divide up household work (chore list, just do it when they feel like it, etc.).

6. Are they extra-sensitive to fragrances and/or odors? This may affect what you choose as cleaning products and you may have to hide your running shoes after going to the gym.

7. Are they allergic to anything? (Examples: peanuts, perfume, milk, flowers, mold, smoke).

8. Do they smoke, drink, or do any other kinds of recreational drugs?

9. Do they enjoy talking or do they prefer to be quiet all the time? Do they talk about feelings or keep to themselves?

10. Do they enjoy decorating, or do they not care about decorating? What decorating style do they have?

11. What kind of music do they listen to and, more importantly, do they particularly enjoy listening to it when it’s loud?

12. How much TV do they watch? What do they watch? Are they fans of a sport team that you do not support or a sport you do not like

13. Do they like to share some items like pots and dishes or do they prefer to have separate everything?

14. How often do they invite friends and romantic interests over? Are you comfortable with the crowd they hang out with?

Source How to Find a Good Roommate on WikiHow

Tip #3-Listen to your gut instinct.

Your instincts are usually right on. If you get a weird feeling about a potential roommate, tell them politely that you don’t think it would be a good match and move on.

The University of Oregon Office of Dean of Students has additional resources for Off Campus living in addition to a list of places to search or advertise to find a new roomate. You can always contact our office at (541) 485-7776 for more questions, we are always willing to help in any way we can.

photo credit: Fun Ladies via photopin (license)

Essential Money Management Tips for Students

Money Management Tips College

Adjusting to college life is filled with obstacles, but basic financial management is one of the biggest challenges students must overcome to be successful not just in college, but in life. Unless you are living on trust fund, the costs of student life can be overwhelming. However, adopting simple money management habits like smart budgeting and spending can make all the difference in the world.

In order to form a strong foundation for money management, there are two essential steps students need to master:

#1- Know where your money is going.
#2- Create and follow a realistic budget.

Mastering these two steps will take time and patience. But the payoff in the long run is freedom from financial stress, dept and the means to provide for yourself and others.

#1 Know Where Your Money is Going

If you don’t already do this, get into the habit TODAY of keeping a spending log. Knowing where your money is going will allow to to take control of your finances and give you the ability to buy the things you really want in the future. A spending log is a very simple but powerful tool to get started. Click here to learn more and to download a spending log you can begin using today.

#2 Create and follow a realistic budget

Following a budget will ensure that you have enough to provide what you need and allow you to reach goals like saving enough money for Spring Break, buying a new bike etc. For this to be successful, it may take months of practice and patience and a willingness to make sacrifices.

To create a budget you can actually follow, review your spending log to see where your money is currently going and where you can cut back. To do this, you must determine between what you need (food, clothing, rent, gas, textbooks) and what you want (the other stuff). Here’s a great tip from the article, 10 budget tips for college students.

You must learn to balance between needs and wants. Your needs will always come first, and your wants second. You have to live within your means, so if your wants exceed your needs, you must either get another job, or sacrifice those wants. It’s a tough thing, but you can do it! It’s only for a little while. List monthly income sources, including savings, wages and parental allowances, and then write down estimated expenses for the month. It isn’t easy to identify college living expenses in advance, but you should try. Take costs such as school supplies, food outside your meal plan, personal care items and laundry into account. Then, try managing your budget and tracking expenses using an online personal finance management tool like Mint.com, which helps you easily create and stick to a budget.

Resources

Click here for a simple budget worksheet to help get you started. You can also learn more about personal budgeting, visit StudentAid.gov/Budget.

We recommend The Live Like a Duck program for students. This money management program provides tools and tips to help students and their families make sound financial decisions while you attend the UO.

photo credit: $23 lunch/beer/dessert 2009-11-02 12.05.49 via photopin (license)