There’s nothing like sharing food with roommates to help build a stronger bond. While food can help bring people together, it can just as easily drive a wedge in your amicable relationship with your roommate. Living with a roommate involves establishing boundaries, and let’s face it, most of us aren’t very good at that. So, Roomi is here to help you navigate your way through the ins and outs of sharing food when you’re co-living.

Related: Groceries And Roommates: How To Budget Better!

Starting the conversation: who goes first?

Although food is a big part of everyone’s lives, no one really thinks about it until they start living alone. Who knew that midnight snack cravings could be so expensive? As you venture into adulthood and budgeting (yikes), it’s important to track your expenses, and your roommate stealing your food usually isn’t part of the plan.

Before move-in day, ensure that you’ve ironed out all the finer details of living together, including food and grocery responsibilities. If your roommate hasn’t brought it up yet, don’t hesitate to start the conversation yourself.

Related: The Benefits of Living With Roommates Vs. Living Alone

What should you discuss?

If you’re in a co-living situation with multiple roommates, include everyone in the discussion. Whether you want to have a “roommate meeting” or discuss over text, you’ll need to keep a few points in mind.

Here’s what to discuss:

  • What are the staple items that you’ll share?
  • What’s the best way to split the bill?
  • How should you designate ‘special’ food items that are off limits?

Related: Sharing a Kitchen: A Guide to Peacefully Share a Kitchen with Roommates

Good roommate etiquette: Ask and ye shall receive

We all have cravings sometimes, or simply want to try something new. Set a good example by asking your roommate if you want to try something they’ve bought for themselves. It’s easier to ask first than to apologize later. By setting a good example of simply asking your roommate for their food, it ensures that they do the same for you. Want to earn extra brownie points? Be quick about replacing what you ate or buy them their favorite snack to compensate!

Save your receipts!

Decided to have a few common staple items? Ensure that you save the receipts! It can be difficult to keep track of how much everyone needs to chip in. Hence, it’s best to save the receipts. Stick the receipt on your fridge and have people write or cross out their names once they’ve paid their share. Not only does it serve as a quick reminder for everyone, but also makes it easier to keep track of payments.

Related: “Co-Living” Vs. “Having Roommates”: What’s The Difference? | Part 3

To label or not to label?

When you’ve not had a proper discussion about sharing food with roommates, it can be hard to know whether you should label your food items. You may think it’s rude to label all food items, and much easier to share the food amongst yourselves. Unfortunately, this can quickly lead to conflicts and arguments.

If you’ve already had a discussion about staple food items to be shared, you only need to label the food items that are the exception. In case you’ve decided not to share any food items, ensure that you label everything you buy – unless it’s something that you’re comfortable sharing.

Try cooking together!

While it isn’t feasible to cook every meal together, you can plan weekly or monthly dinners where you cook with your roommates. Not only is it a great roommate bonding activity, but it can also end up being much cheaper than trying to cook for yourself!

Go out to the shops and plan what you want to cook, and split the cost right away rather than leaving it for later. Keep everyone’s food habits and allergies in mind while you create a fun meal to enjoy together. It is an excellent way to catch up with your roommates, as well as indulge in some home-cooked dishes for a change!

Related: 7 Tips for Getting Along with a Roommate

Living with a roommate can sometimes feel like you’ve got lots of rules to follow. With proper discussion and good roommate etiquette, however, it’s easy to make sharing food with roommates a fun experience.

D’you know what else Roomi does outside of helping its readers learn about the best way to share food with their roommates? With our ever-increasing lists of rooms and roommates across the world, we’ll help you find your perfect match!