Yes. The title of this post should be obvious. And you would think that I would learn. But I never do.
For the most part, my friends are awesome about money. We go out to eat and everyone throws in money and we end up with way too much, even with tip. Sure, some people are probably being a little stingy, but others are being overly generous, so it all ends up working out in the end. If it’s just two of us and what we’ve ordered is close in price but not the same, we split the bill evenly and make up the difference in the tip. It’s just understood that that’s how it works. If someone pays a bit more or grabs dinner one night, we know that it will work out in the end. Not a big deal.
My roommate, however, is starting to get on my nerves. And until this weekend, I didn’t speak up about it. It’s little things. Like how I always buy the coffee, and how I end up loading our laundry debit card most of the time. Admittedly, she’s a grad student so she doesn’t have a whole lot of money, but at the same time, I didn’t sign up to help support a grad student. I don’t mind paying more on the cable bill, because I wanted to have DVR and she didn’t. That’s fine. Sure, she uses it on occasion, but would just as happily not have it. That’s my choice.
This past week, however, was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Thursday, after a long day at work, I came home and decided to do laundry. Plus I needed pants for work on Friday. So I loaded up my laundry, walked down to the laundry room (just down the hall from my apartment), poured the detergent into a washer, tossed in my clothes and the fabric softener, and inserted the laundry card into the machine.
When my roommate had done laundry earlier in the week, she had used most of the money on the card and hadn’t bothered to reload it or even tell me that the card needed to be reloaded. And it was her turn to load it in the first place. Frustrated, I went back to my apartment, grabbed a credit card, and walked down the 12 flights of stairs to the lobby (I thought the added exercise would be good).
The machine was out of order.
Back up to my apartment, this time via elevator, to get my coat so I can run across the parking lot to another building in the complex to load the card. Victory is mine. I get the card loaded and head back to my building and up the stairs to the laundry room to finally start the wash. Twenty-five minutes after I initially tried to do laundry. Thankfully, no one had taken my clothes out of the washer.
At the end of the day, was this a big deal? Probably not. But it was frustrating, and you better believe the roommate is getting her own laundry card. I suppose this is the sort of thing that happens with all sorts of things when it comes to roommates. I would also be frustrated if I got up to find she had used the last of the coffee. Of course, that would just give me an excuse to hit Starbucks on my way to work.
I realized that I need to speak up about these little things and not let it get to me. I like having a roommate for the most part, and I really like the financial benefits of having someone to help pay the rent. She’s a reasonable person. We just need to make sure we discuss these things rather than letting them get to us. And try to not mix money too much.
Megan is a 40-something government employee in the Washington, DC area. She got interested in Personal Finance when she got out of college and realized that her paycheck wasn’t going to go as far as she had hoped. Since starting this blog, she has managed to buy a house and make a solid start on her retirement goals, and hopes to help others do the same. Here is her story:
In 2007, I was a gainfully employed 20-something with no debt but not a lot of knowledge about personal finance. It was a co-worker’s comment about Roth IRAs that sent me to the internet, searching for information. It was then that I realized that I really didn’t know a whole lot about personal finance and that my current financial situation was due a lot to inherent frugal tendencies, generous family members, a fear of debt, and good luck. While that was working for me, clearly I needed a better plan.
While I had no debt, I was also pretty much living paycheck to paycheck and not worrying about going over budget (I say this as if I had a real budget) because I had an emergency fund set aside to cover any overages.
Except that’s not what an emergency fund is for.
So I did a lot of research, read a lot of blogs, and decided that I needed a plan. I needed to budget. I needed to know what I was spending my money on. I needed to prepare for the future.
I decided to create a blog not only to make myself accountable to others but also to share the knowledge that I gained along the way. I’ve learned so much from my fellow bloggers, and I hope that my readers can find something useful in what I have to share as well.