How to live with roommates and keep your zen


Kaleigh Steinorth

Kaleigh Steinorth

Blog author Kaleigh Steinorth

Kaleigh Steinorth writes for PolicyGenius, a digital insurance brokerage trying to make sense of insurance for consumers.

Published November 4, 2014|4 min read

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When you start living with roommates, you take on a lot of risks. You risk your roommate not knowing how to turn on your oven and burning the place down (in this case you should really get renter’s insurance). You risk keeping your expensive facewash in the shower and waking up one morning to find it all gone. You also risk not getting a full night’s sleep because having "a few people over" turns into a stampede of elephants in the living room. But most of all, you risk losing a potential friendship with your roommates over avoidable arguments.If you’re sick of the passive aggressive note method, use these apps to keep all of the logistical stuff to a minimum, and start enjoying each other’s company.

How to make sure everyone pays their share of the bills:

Download Splitwise. This app lets you create groups, upload expenses and split them among the group. So if you and your roommates split groceries but you do the shopping, you can upload the expense and select "split evenly" to share the cost with your roommates.

It also shows you the breakdown of how much you owe each person from different expenses, but lets you pay the bill all at once through its integration with Venmo and PayPal. For example, if you need to pay your roommate for the electric bill and the takeout she so kindly brought you last night, you can do so at one time. You can also send reminders through the app to a forgetful roommate. This app makes organizing who-owes-who-what paperless and simple.

How to make sure everyone cleans:

Download Homeslice. This app basically becomes a private social network for roommates. The Whiteboard feature operates like a group message, but alerts about what household supplies you’re out of will also appear there. The supplies and chores sections are a dream come true for those with a habitually-slacking roommate . When you run out of something, you can alert your roommates on the whiteboard. Homeslice will also keep track of who bought what, so the roommate who never buys paper towels won’t be able to get away with it for very long.

Use the chores section to list all of the work that needs to get done around the house, and alert your roommates when a task is completed and when one really needs to get done. This will also show who is doing the chores, so no one should get stuck with all of them. Homeslice takes all of the mundane and annoying parts of living with people and sets you up to deal with them head-on and then move on with your lives.

How to sleep when your roommates are elephants:

Download SimplyNoise. This app plays white, pink or brown noise for free (the colors denote different frequencies). It might sound like something out of a scary movie, but it’s actually relaxing, and it helps block out any distractions. If you’ve got to get some work done or want to go to sleep early, but your roomies have decided it’s a great time to sing early 2000s Destiny’s Child karaoke, you no longer have to fall asleep to the distant screeches of "Survivor." Just pop in some headphones, turn on this app and tune out.

How to split the check when you hang out outside of the house:

Download Plates. This app is actually revolutionary for when you go out in big groups and pay individually. With Plates, you’ll no longer have to keep paying a few extra bucks to share the cost of the appetizer you didn’t eat. To split the check fairly, just add the amount of people, the cost of each item, and who ordered what. Plates then calculates tax and tip, and you can text everyone from the app exactly how much they owe. You can also integrate Plates with Splitwise, if you wanted to keep all of your financial records with your roommates in one place. Math-challenged and broke citizens of the world should rejoice.

How to stay calm when all else fails:

Download Simply Being. When you just need to escape, use this app to find some calm. This app makes your meditation experience totally customizable. You pick a length from 5-30 minutes, whether or not you want a guide and whether or not you want music. If you need to take a few moments to just breathe, this guide will be your best resource.Photo: Stéfan