Budgeting / Living

What It’s Like Having A Roommate Who’s 10 Years Older Than Me

By Thursday, January 14, 2021

Turns out, people in their early 30s have way more of their life figured out than people like me, in their early 20s. Although my roommate and I are good friends, and became so after I moved in, I’ve recently begun to realize just how much I’m saving by living with her.

Keep in mind that, while I do save in the most literal, monetary sense, there are some savings that are most valuable to my overall peace of mind and well-being. Basically, some “saves” are just priceless.

Below is a breakdown of how much I save by sharing a living space with my young — yet mature — roommate.

1. Fully Furnished Common Spaces: $500+ 

When I first moved to the West Coast a little over two years ago, I wasn’t entirely sure I’d want to live across the country from my family for more than a couple of years. As such, I moved into a large townhome with multiple roommates and fully furnished common areas, purchasing only my own bed, desk, and chair.

However, when I moved in with my roommate earlier this year, I found that my entire living space was an upgrade—I now only had to share the common area with one other person and my roommate’s furniture, kitchen equipment, etc. was far superior to what I was sharing with six other 20-somethings in our townhome.

2. Access to Multiple Subscription Services: $50/Month

Moreover, my roommate has multiple subscription services I don’t, from Amazon Prime to Hulu to HBO Max. While she shares much of this with her older sibling or friends, I’ve nevertheless been able to benefit from these subscriptions while living with her; a perk I didn’t anticipate when I originally moved in!

3. Home Workout Equipment: $50 

While I also purchased home workout equipment of my own during the pandemic, my roommate obtained a full set of dumbbells—a truly invaluable resource, given how difficult weights have been to find!—as well as other items like quality yoga pillows which I’ve now come to use. Possessing a larger quantity of workout equipment has allowed me to add more variety to my workout routine and explore workouts I typically wouldn’t gravitate towards, like yoga, which has been invaluable for my mental health these past few months. 

4. Spices: $50 

My roommate is an avid cook and her spice cabinet is thorough, which I appreciate. Spices aren’t cheap and while I plan to fully restock any spices I wind up finishing, I’ve nevertheless been grateful to have access to a larger quantity of spices that I’d imagined. As someone who is quite money-conscious, I rarely buy spices that I’d use for just one recipe, like za’atar, but my roommate sees these as investments into her health and happiness. As such, I’ve really come to appreciate cooking and glean joy from it, unlike before, and I attribute this change to my roommate’s influence. While I certainly save money from having access to her spice cabinet, I’ve also broadened my own appreciation of the culinary arts, in the process. 

5. Stability/Reliability (re: Rent): Invaluable 

Another benefit of having an older roommate is the stability and reliability that comes with regular rent payments and a steady paycheck. When I lived with multiple 20-somethings, there was always a roommate or two who inevitably needed to move out before the lease term ended, leaving the state of the lease in chaos. Moreover, given how rapidly people switched careers or decided to move across the country, I constantly had new roommates. With my current setup, however, I can rely on my roommate to remain in town, given that she’s wedded to her career, at present, and is no longer changing industries as she might have in her 20s. This mental clarity and ease is absolutely invaluable, IMO. 

6. Less Drama / “Random” Guests: Invaluable

Another benefit? I no longer have to deal with unexpected guests, late night drunk drama, or other inconveniences that plague the lifestyle of 20-somethings sharing a home together. While there’s a time and place for the type of house parties I attended in my early twenties, and the efforts made to be a quiet roommate returning to the apartment at 2am, I am enjoying hosting more sophisticated get-togethers with my current roommate. Moreover, I can rely on my roommate to clearly communicate when she’ll be in the apartment, when she’s staying over with her significant other, or when to expect her significant other in the common areas, too. Given that she’s in her 30s, the added advantage is that her significant other has his own place, so she often spends her time there, giving me the apartment to myself and respecting my privacy, in that sense. I’m always grateful for my time alone and appreciate that we’re able to maintain such a clear and easy mode of communication with one another, as well. 

7. Wisdom/Advice: Invaluable

Finally, as alluded to above, I’ve learned so much from living with an older roommate. From cooking hacks to learning the art of “hosting”, there are so many valuable skills I’ve developed over the past few months. Moreover, it’s wonderful to have an older sister, almost, living with me and able to give me advice on professional emails or friendship troubles. While we’re different people, she has nevertheless lived through the major upheavals that mark a 20-somethings life. By sharing her experiences and offering words of wisdom, I’ve felt better about where I am and comforted by the fact that so much of what I experience is entirely normal for someone my age. Given that my parents are immigrants, and had entirely different experiences in a different country at my age, I find it even more valuable to have access to an older roommate than I likely would otherwise. 

***

While rooming with friends, or others in your age bracket, certainly has its pluses, I’ve really enjoyed living with an older roommate. And though it certainly seems as though I benefit most from the arrangement, I hope she has found much to appreciate from living with me, too.

Keertana Anandraj is a recent college grad living in San Francisco. When she isn’t conducting international macroeconomic research at her day job, you can find her in the spin room or planning her next adventure.

Image via Unsplash

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