Tag Archives: Budget

The Roommate Dilemma

Okay. So, probably not like 15 years ago.

Okay. So, probably not like 15 years ago.

I live unsustainably.

I’ve known it for a while, but it really became evident when I was kicking around how I might pay for expensive plumbing repair had any of my water pipes burst during a recent deep freeze and ice build up at my house which caused my water to stop running for two days.

A couple thousand dollars will really hurt given my current budget situation.

I know how pathetic that sounds.

But it’s true. I would need a credit card to pay for it. And I don’t possess any credit cards because I don’t want any more debt than I already have, and because I generally try hard to protect myself from myself.

Despite many, many cuts (and admittedly the undisciplined addition of a new car payment to offset some of the gains) since my ex-wife moved out nearly nine months ago, there appears to be more money going out than coming in. There aren’t many more nonessentials to cut.

First, there was a mortgage refinancing.

Then, a reduction in my mobile bill.

Then cuts to cable TV.

Then reduced internet speeds.

Day care costs less while my son’s in school, but that’s going to double over the summer, and that will be the end if I can’t figure something out between now and then.

The Options

I have some realistic things I can do to try and mitigate this problem.

1. I can earn more money. I’m likely to get a raise at work soon. I can work harder at my freelance-copywriting business (a huge challenge as a single parent 50 percent of the time). And I can try to find a higher-paying job altogether, though I am not eager to leave my current, stable position where I am treated well, and am already relatively well paid.

2. I can sell my house and move somewhere less expensive.

a. I don’t want to.

b. This is the only home my son has ever known.

c. I won’t make any money because I bought it at the top of the market and refinanced a couple times.

d. A very inexpensive place will be unsafe for my son.

e. A decent place will not cost THAT much less than what I pay now. How many months will I have to live in this new place JUST to offset the cost of moving? Maybe two years.

3. I can get a roommate. 

The Dilemma

After weighing all of my options for several months, this is the one that seems like the simplest, quickest fix.

I get a roommate. Someone to pay 40-45 percent of living expenses per month. That would provide the relief necessary to be comfortable.

Second to my mental, emotional, spiritual health, money—or a lack thereof—is certainly my biggest problem.

I want to solve it. Need to solve it.

But this is a problem, this idea. For many reasons. Here are some:

  1. First and foremost, I have a child half the time. A five-year-old son in kindergarten. His safety and security is my top priority. What stranger can I trust to live under the same roof as my child? The correct answer is: No one.
  2. I know exactly two people who I WOULD trust with my son and who I’ve flirted with asking. They are both recently divorced men like me. Ironically, both read this blog and will likely know who they are the second they read this sentence. One has a young daughter and lives a minimalist lifestyle. The other has two dogs and doesn’t need any financial help. They’re my two first choices. And still I haven’t asked either because there are still too many unanswered questions and too many doubts about whether they’d even entertain it.
  3. Not having any money to live life with OR having to sell the house is going to be bad for my son, too. I still kick around the roommate idea every day. What kind of a man would I let live in my home of eight years? Would we hang out? Be friends? Is that weird? Would I, or could I, ever trust him with my son? Do I want him having sex in my guest bedroom (which would become his room)? Do I want to consider him while planning my social calendar or time with my son? What kind of a woman would I let live in my home? What kind of a message does that send my son? The neighbors? My friends? Would I want to have sex with her? Would that be weird?

Yes. Yes, yes, and yes. It’s weird. A whole bunch of weird. And I’m always trying to do whatever the best thing is. In this instance, the answers don’t seem as obvious to me as they do with most choices I face.

I consulted my most trusted source for this sort of thing:

8ball

What’s Next?

I don’t know. I can do nothing and continue my slow descent into financial trouble.

I could potentially find another solution to the problem, but so far, I’m not coming up with any less-painful ones.

Should I start interviewing potential roommates? Do I really want to invite strangers into my home, advertising my possessions and the fact that I live alone with a small child?

Should I drop the entire thing?

I must make some financial changes.

A roommate (a good, trusted one) represents, near as I can tell, the simplest way to achieve my short-term goals.

I’d really like to hear from you guys on this one.

From parents.

From people who might have been in similar situations.

From people who have had good experiences with roommates.

From people who have had roommate nightmares.

If you have an opinion, I’d really like to hear it.

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