We all know that living with roommates is much cheaper than solo living. But the financial benefits aren’t just due to splitting rent multiple ways. Buying larger quantities of home basics can actually be a huge cash-saver in its own right. After all, there are plenty of things we all need that cost a lot less when you buy more. (Hello Sam’s Club and BJ’s Wholesale.) Check out this list of must-have items that you can go in on with roomies to save even more money per month:
1. Cooking Essentials
Cooking your own meals is a great way to save money, and it’s usually cheaper than ordering from a restaurant. But the initial investment to get all of your basics can be a barrier that keeps you dining out for every meal. The pots, pans, and utensils you need to recreate your favorite dishes can be expensive – but splitting the costs with your roommate is a no-brainer. You can also share the costs for things like oil, condiments, dried herbs, and spices. Just make sure to buy in bulk! One large bottle of soy sauce is a lot cheaper than seven tiny bottles.
Sharing food might be harder for some people than others, but going in together on snacks doesn’t have to be difficult. Find a few things everyone loves and take turns buying a plethora. You can order online and have enough to last through several episodes of the munchies without having to spend your whole paycheck. And it doesn’t have to be all junk! Stores like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s are great suppliers of healthy, possibly-addictive snacks.
Toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss, razors — all of these things are a lot cheaper in bigger packs. A single toothbrush might cost you $3… or you can buy a hundred for twenty bucks, and split the box. A one-time purchase could keep you supplied the entire time you live together. Razors, especially, will cost an arm and a leg to buy one at a time (not to mention the wasteful plastic packaging).
Handsoap, laundry detergent, shampoo—anything you need to keep yourself clean is available in bulk. All of these items are essential to your health and hygiene, but they don’t come cheap when you buy just enough for yourself. Rather than take turns buying it in small amounts, go in on one purchase, and it will save you money. Plus, if you buy enough, you won’t have to make an emergency run to the store when you realize you’re out.
5. Paper Goods
Toilet paper, paper towels, and tissues are all costly when you buy them one at a time. But unless you find a workaround, you’ll need to keep them stocked to keep yourself and your house clean. Costco is a great place to get a stash of all these items for a lot less, and you can split the cost of membership with the people you live with. Plus, they have plenty of other groceries you can save on buying in bulk.
6. Cleaning products
There’s a reason there are so many different products in the cleaning aisle, and the “all-purpose” option isn’t as flexible as it sounds. To keep your place sparkling, you’ll need to have a variety of cleaners on hand. But the more you buy at once, the cheaper it is. And if you’re well-stocked, you won’t be frustrated trying to clean the soap scum off your tub using whatever bottle of cleaner you found on hand under the sink. Keeping a clean home means you won’t be embarrassed to have guests; just as important, it makes relaxing easier for you.
7. Food Storage
Sandwich bags, plastic wrap, aluminum foil, and leftover containers can be pricey. Sometimes, they come in comically small amounts and it seems like most of the price goes to the packaging. You can get a lot more for your money without much effort, especially by shopping online. Trash bags can fit in this category, too. Some boxes contain as few as 15 bags, while others can have 150 bags for not much more money. Don’t let laziness get the best of you! Find a better deal and save your money for a nicer treat than trash bags.
Nails, push-pins, and screws can be ridiculously overpriced when you buy them as needed. But, sooner or later, you’re going to need more – whether it’s for redecorating or repairing a wobbly shelf. Buy them ahead of time, and you’ll have more than enough for only a few dollars more. You can even go in together on a set of tools and learn how to fix things around the house, so you’ll have the skills if you ever do decide to buy your own place.
9. Office Supplies
More and more people take their work home with them, but that doesn’t mean you get to steal staples or pens from work (although plenty of people do anyway). But those office supplies are much cheaper when you buy a lot at once, and you’ll have more than you can ever need on your own. Share the cost and consider going in on a printer together, too. Printing from home is much cheaper than going to a print shop, and if you split the paper and ink costs with your roomie, you can save even more money by buying in bulk.
Going out every night isn’t in the cards for every budget, but you can still have a good time at home with your friends if you’re willing to chip in and establish some house rules for roommates. That can mean splitting the costs of streaming services, board games, snacks (obviously), or drinks. Whether you prefer coffee, tea, soda, or beer and liquor, all of your favorite beverages are cheaper when you buy larger amounts. And hey, finding the funds to have a good time is important to your wellbeing. Not only does it reduce your stress, but it lets you bond with the people you live with, so your home can be a happy place.
Looking to solve roommate spats before they start? Common will restock essentials like laundry detergent and toilet paper each week. Learn more about coliving with Common.