The true “costs” of cheap rent… (PART II)


It’s important to be honest about the challenges of shared living since it is often one of the first things that people mention when discussing strategies for significant debt repayment.

For the most part, my housemates are pretty great. And as I mentioned in another post, I have become extremely close to one of them and I will be sad when she moves out next month. For clarity’s sake, I will refer to her as Mahira moving forward. Mahira is in her early thirties, a psychologist, and a pretty chill housemate. She’s tidy, respectful of space, and very considerate of others. My other housemate, let’s call him Patrick, is a bit different. He is older (late fifties/early sixties), very rigid, and not as considerate. While we don’t have a great deal in common, my interactions with Patrick are generally pretty pleasant and brief.

However, one thing that annoys me to no end is how messy dirty Patrick is. He has every appliance known to man in our small shared kitchen and there is a thin layer of grease and crumbs all over each appliance and the area around them. You would think given his proclivity to be less tidy dirty that he would be a rather chill housemate. He’s not. Unlike Mahira and I who both work remotely and away from the home, Patrick is an Uber driver (who isn’t currently driving) and spends all of his time at the house. That isn’t a problem. You have every right to spend as much time as you want in a place where you pay rent. However, what is a problem is how “sensitive” he is to food smells. He is constantly complaining when Mahira or I cook anything that might be “aromatic.” We have an exhaust in our kitchen that goes straight out the window and whenever I cook, I make an effort to use it. However, today, Patrick stops me on my way downstairs and out the door to question if I am actually using the exhaust and to complain that food smells are still getting into his room. At first, I said, “Yes, sorry.” Then I said, “Actually, I’m not sorry for cooking in a place where I pay rent.” He continued to talk about how upset he was about the smells getting into his room and complained that he might need to buy a window fan for his room. My response was, “Whatever works for you.”

He seemed upset by this. As I finally made my way out the door, I thought, “Should I apologize?” A half-hour later and I’ve decided it’s not gonna happen. First, if Patrick is so incredibly sensitive to food smells, shared living might not be for him (NOTE: he also cooks “aromatic” things and the scents still make their way to my room…I just don’t complain about it because I accept that it is a part of shared living). Second, I think I would feel more obligated to go out of my way to ensure food smells don’t make it up to his room IF he were a similarly considerate person. However, despite multiple requests that he clean the kitchen counter/stove after using it, or remove food debris from the sink after making food, or not put his moldy-year-old kitchen sponge (seriously, it’s the same sponge since I moved in and he puts it sopping wet on the sink divider…there is a thin film on it and it looks shiny…ick) in the sink, then I might feel obligated to “do more.” Also, despite having a rigid schedule of when he feels he should have exclusive access to the kitchen, he constantly enters the kitchen at times that have been allocated to others just to “do my dishes real quick.” I realize I am entirely chaffed by his whining given he is not a considerate person.

Rant over. Again, I realize that there are far worse housemate situations out there and that I could be dealing with theft or violence but it’s still annoying/uncomfortable and it’s still not something you have to deal with if you live alone.

All of this led to me fantasizing about living on my own and doing a cursory search on University B’s off-campus housing website and Zillow. The prices were significantly more than I currently pay, or am willing to pay, and for a moment I was genuinely depressed. Then I decided that I just needed a number/goal. I needed a number/goal at which I could justify/be comfortable living on my own. I’ve decided that my number/goal is less than $50,000.00 in student loan debt remaining…and I want to get there this year.

10 thoughts on “The true “costs” of cheap rent… (PART II)

  1. I feel this. I am on shared living and sometimes it frustrates me no end… in reality my current housemates are wonderful, and actually rather lenient as, despite my best efforts, I may not be the greatest housemate myself (I’m working on it). Finding pet-friendly shared accommodation is damn near impossible. But I hate sharing spaces and wish it was possible to live alone and save up for a house deposit simultaneously. I just want my space to be truly “mine” and not rented or shared.


    • “…and wish it was possible to live alone and save up for a house deposit simultaneously. I just want my space to be truly “mine” and not rented or shared.”

      This, this, this. If I didn’t have debt, I would have no problem paying the going rate for a one-bedroom in my city or spending that much on a mortgage. It’s that I can’t afford to divide the pie at the moment.


  2. Sorry to hear about this! I totally get it though. It doesn’t have to be the big things (theft, violence, etc). Even the little things end up getting to you after a while.

    I’ve only ever had one person that I’d consider a “perfect” roommate out of 10+ roommates I’ve had.

    I’m glad that you’re turning this into a motivational force rather than let it get to you. I’m sure this is just the extra push you need to get to $50k!


  3. To make you feel better, even when you live with a partner, you face these kinds of situations, made even worse because you start resenting your husband, not your debt 😁😅
    So yeah, pay down your debt and remain single if you want truly YOUR space 😉


    • Bwhahahaha…my mother has a similar take. My parents have been married for 44 years and she still needles him about being messy and he gets frustrated with how clean she is. I think the difference is at least there is love there. My housemate…is a stranger lol While that means I worry less about the relationship being damaged if living together goes sideways, it also means that my incentive to advocate for anything other than my own needs is much lower.


    • Yeaaaaaa. The kitchen is the main battle area. Because I am on a floor by myself with my own bathroom, I can otherwise limit interaction but…everyone needs to use a kitchen.


  4. Ugh, that guy is irritating me and I don’t even know him. I’m sorry you have to deal with him. I’m glad you can limit it somewhat, but still.


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