Living with a roommate can be the greatest experience or your worst nightmare — especially during a pandemic. You each get your own room and have fun decorating the living space together. But what happens when it’s time for dinner? Do you fight over who has to cook (again) or do you give up and blow your paycheck on take-out (again)? If you’re both looking to avoid the struggle — and the argument — over what to eat each night, check out these tips on meal planning with roommates.

Text by Nicole Anderson

Make Decisions

Just because you’re roommates doesn’t mean you enjoy the same things. Begin by discussing what you’d like to have for dinner that week. Make sure you include things that both of you want. Compromising is key. A fun way to do this is to let someone pick out the main item and the other can pick out the sides. The next time, you can swap.

Two roommates sitting outside fill out calendar.
Photo by Charlotte May from Pexels

Mark the Calendar

Once you decide what meals you all would like to cook, write them down on a calendar. This will help you remember the decisions you made and stick to a schedule. On the calendar you can also mark who’s going to cook that meal if you’re alternating days. Although, cooking with your roommates can be a fun activity. Try to make this a scheduled activity, so you are always prepared for the upcoming week. 

Girl in orange shirt buys groceries.
Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

Make a Grocery List

Since the meals are planned out, you can sit down and make a grocery list. Since you’ll all be enjoying these meals, the total spent can be divided between roommates. This can save everyone money. There are several ways to do this. You can have one roommate pay for the groceries upfront and then split the cost after. Or, you could list out the ingredients each person will pay for and purchase them separately. 

View from above of two roommates enjoying a meal they prepared together.

Enjoy and Repeat

You’ve now got all you need to provide a delicious meal everyone will love. Spice it up by trying new recipes. You may find a recipe worth adding to your calendar each week. Repeating these steps weekly can save a lot of time and money. Stick to the schedule and enjoy!