16 - 2011

Why Communal Living May Still be a Good Idea after College

communal livingThe following post is by Lauren Bailey.

When I was a college senior, one thing I fantasized about was having my own clean, tidy apartment, paying my own bills, not being strung by a financial umbilical cord attached to my parents. The day after graduating, I did some intense job searching from my parents’ home, and, luckily, within a month or two I found a full-time job that I loved. I quickly hopped on the single living bandwagon, found my own place, got some furniture, and reveled in the independence and privacy that living completely on your own affords. After years of living in dorms, having terrible roommates off-campus, and having to abide my parents’ rules under their house, I had had enough of living with others. Then, a year later, I realized in retrospect the benefits. Here are a few reasons why every newly independent college graduate should consider living with one or more people:

1. It saves a ton of money.

After I had decided to move out of my single, I did some real estate research and was amazed how much cheaper rent was for multiple bedroom apartments compared to single ones. After I had decided on living with roommates, I found that I could substantially improve my living quarters both in terms of location and the general quality of the apartment all while significantly decreasing my rent. For example, my one bedroom in a very urban, moderately priced city cost $850 in a neighborhood mostly populated by grocery stores and a big football stadium. After moving into a three-bedroom apartment with two roommates, I was paying $450 a month in a much more “hip”, centrally located, and safer part of town in a much nicer pad.

2. It’s simply healthier for you, both psychologically, and some recent studies suggest, physically.

Many new scientific studies are discovering the unexpected link between physical and social health. Living alone can become isolating, even if you have strong social group. When you live with others, especially those with whom you get along, you are much more likely to exercise, keep in touch with other friends, and engage in other healthy social behaviors. You’ll also have the structure and the stability of living with someone else who has a set schedule, effectively avoiding some bad habits that living alone can foster.

3. It’s more efficient and environmentally friendly.

Living with roommates isn’t just cheaper; it reduces your carbon footprint substantially. If you and someone else live alone, you have two refrigerators running, two electricity bills, and two regular household items that can easily be shared (think milk, common furniture, one toaster, one microwave, one set of cleaning detergents, etc.). You also have easier access to carpooling situation. In this way, choosing to live with even just one roommate can almost halve your carbon footprint without even trying!

These are just a few reasons to consider living with roommates even when you can technically afford to live on your own. Of course, if you are considering communal living, be sure to find a roommate or set of roommates that share your living habits and general habits. Bad roommates can sometimes completely nullify the benefits of living with others. Good luck!

This guest contribution was submitted by Lauren Bailey.  She welcomes your comments at her email ID:

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