Financial Feud: Roommates share food vs. Eat alone

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In Dispute:

$125 a month

The Argument:

Qian

I live with roommates. We share food and other costs, but recently they started questioning the fairness of this system. They've been eating out almost every day and say it doesn't make sense for them to contribute the requisite $125 per month for food. I say the system was intended to encourage communal meals. Plus, divvying things up now would involve laborious separating and costly doubling on ingredients like flour, baking soda, rice, etc. AM I RIGHT?

Expert Opinion:

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Qian

The Argument:

I live with other people because I value economy and community, and I expect those I live with to encourage me to cook and eat communal meals. That’s a big part of why we came up with this food-sharing system to begin with. It also reduces costs and food spoilage.

My housemates admits that they also value eating at home, but lately, they have gotten into the habit of eating out.

Now, none of us are happy with the situation.

I'm unsatisfied, because I continue to be the only one who cooks, and I always eat home alone, while my housemates eat out. They, on the other hand, are effectively subsidizing my home cooking, while I don't contribute to their restaurant payments at all.

You are WRONG, Qian. The system isn’t working.

Two things need to happen: You need to have a meeting with your roommates and reevaluate your original intentions and shared values. If they have changed, you all need to come to an agreement to what would now be fair for everyone. Or, you need to find new roommates who share your values of communal living.

About the author

Louis Barajas is a small business and personal finance expert and author of five books on the subject.

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