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Could Co-Habitation, or Home Sharing, Be Right For You?

Updated on July 27, 2013

Would You Ever Consider Living With Another Family?

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The cost of living today can be high, factor in a home big enough for children and pets and we are talking crazy high. What if there was a way to cut down your expenses and allow you to get ahead in life. Co-Habitation could be your answer. I'm not referring to living with your parents, or staying at a friends house for a few months. What I am talking about is more of a mid to long term arrangement. Two families living in 1 house so that each and save to get ahead. In this article I will discuss the benefits of this type of living arrangement as well as some challenges that you might face along the way.

Is The House Large Enough?

It is very important not to look at this as a downgrading. You want to be living in a home that this large enough to support both families without being squished or taking away from privacy. Choosing a home that has 2 separate living areas would be ideal for maximum privacy. If you don't mind mingling together make sure that there are enough bedrooms for the number of people in the home. Each couple will need a room, children can share rooms if needed but make sure that they have enough space to do so, bunk beds are a great option to maximize space.

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The Kitchen

Now that you have made sure that there is room for everyone, take aim at the kitchen. Sharing a fridge is not a good idea, especially if there are going to be kids living in the home. Having space for two separate fridges is going to be your best option. No one will have to wonder what they can and can't eat. Another consideration is cupboard space, the rest of your food has to go somewhere. Ensuring that everyone in the house knows which cupboards have their food in them will save arguments if you are the type of person who is territorial over their food. Dishes can be an additional issue. If you have items that you do not want broken I would suggest not storing them in a shared area as accidents can happen.

Food preparation can be a bit difficult if there is one; stove, oven or microwave. If you discuss what each will be preparing for a meal ahead of time it will ensure that there is enough space to cook and you will have access to the appliances that you need.

Common Living Areas

Places such as the living room and rec rooms can be areas where everyone is; playing, doing homework, finishing business work and just relaxing. The main thing you want to keep in mind is, if you leave items in these areas and they are damaged you only have yourself to blame. For example; if you leave a laptop on the coffee table, knowing that there are dogs or children there, and it gets damaged you need to accept responsibility for that. Your best bet is to always pick up your things when you are done with them. Really all this is going to do is give you and your roommates a cleaner place to live and there will be no worry about damage to your things.

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Cleaning

This one can be tricky depending on your situation and there are a few ways you can deal with household chores. Creating a chore chart, like the one you had when you were a kid, is one way to delegate the different tasking in the house. Even children can be added to the chart and given small tasks to help keep everything neat and tidy.

Another approach is to just clean what's dirty when you have time. Different people have different schedules; nights, evenings, working away from home, working 7 days a week etc. It might not be a good idea to put someone who works away from home 3 days a week on dish detail since they wouldn't get done while they are away. It can be difficult to split chores equally, make sure that everyone does things when they have the ability to do so. For example; work and school come before cleaning, but cleaning comes before video games and television. If you have time to lean you have time to clean. Talking about it is best, laying down rules for the way you want it to work prior to moving in together will help keep things calm

My Basset Hound Rosie
My Basset Hound Rosie

Pets

Having pets can be very important to a families dynamic, but pets in a home with too many people can cause issues. Make sure that everyone is responsible for their own animals, and if you are concerned about cost of food ensure you feed them in separate areas of the home.

Childcare

Let's face it, childcare cost can be astronomical now a days. Fifty to eighty dollars a day in some cases, honestly who can afford that. Living with another family who has children can help to reduce or eliminate these costs. If you are willing to watch their children in exchange for them watching yours. With four adults living in a home you can juggle schedules to ensure someone is always home with the kids.This isn't just beneficial for working but also for the date nights. Wouldn't it be nice to get out with your spouse a bit more?

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Housing Costs

Living in a small apartment isn't exactly an idle situation. Most people dream of living in a nice big house, maybe in the country, with access to town when you need to. For some people this dream is far from their reality. Buying a home isn't necessary an option for all, especially if you have credit issues or a high debt load. Living with someone who already has a house, or splitting on a home with someone can greatly reduce your living costs, while keeping the standard of living you have been longing for.

Also included in housing cost are the everyday items purchased for your home; dish soap, toilet paper etc. It is important to decided how you are going to divide the financial responsibility for these items, as everyone will use them. One method is to purchase an item and then next time it is the other persons turn and they have to purchase that item. An alternative method is each putting the same amount of money per month into a jar and as items are purchased put the receipt back into the jar for record keeping purposed. This way there is no need to remember whose turn it is to buy things, whoever is going to the store can make the purchase.

Utilities are another topic you will have to discuss. Many people split these down the middle to make everything easy, but special considerations may need to be taken into account if one person needs a specialized long distance plan or a higher speed/bandwidth of internet. Make sure you talk about these things and it is clearly laid out who will be paying for what.

Never Being Alone

Depending on the type of person you are, not being alone can be a huge advantage. If you are a family with only one child and want them to experience living with others this is a great solution. Imagine your single child never being bored again, sounds good doesn't it. Also if one spouse works away from home or works nights, there would be no worry about being alone at night. Also having people to talk to and bounce options off of can be a huge asset if you are faced with decisions and need advice.

The list of advantages and disadvantages could go on forever. The important thing to think about if you are deciding to make this living arrangement is to plan ahead. Make sure that there is great communication between you and the people you are going to be living with, so if problems arise you will not hesitate to discuss them. Set all ground rules in advance but leave them flexible as things may change as time passes. Always remember that this is not best fit for everyone, but if you are comfortable sharing some space in your home you can save some money and always have friends close by.

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    • MelonieGilchrist profile image
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      Gamrgurl 4 years ago

      I actually have a child and can definitely see the clash in parenting styles. This actually effects the kids more then the parent in most case, since kids want everything even all the time. If you do make this choice and have kids its very important to explain to them how it will work before you live with other people. I explained that all the rules stay the same and made sure to stick to it :).

      Thank you so much for your feedback

    • Thundermama profile image

      Catherine Taylor 4 years ago from Canada

      I found this hub very interesting and it is a scenario I have considered trying. I have done the co-housing thing a number of times before I had children, but now think it would be very difficult to do. My husband is not exactly up for sharing his space and parenting styles can clash. Still I think I would be open to investigating it again when my children are on their way. Great practical tips in here, especially the two fridges. Voted up!