How to tell roommates "I don't want to spend money decorating our common room"

<p>My DD has a common room that she shares with 3 other girls. Today one of the girls sent a list of things that she thinks the roommates should share. It includes sofa, rug, tv, curtains, and even a bathroom scale. I have made it clear to my DD that I'm not willing to spend money in decoration. I will pay for what she needs and that is it. I know there will be things like refrigerator and lamp floor that need to be shared. We are over 1000 miles from campus, and I don't want to pay for storage at the end of the year. Her college allows her to store 2 boxes during summer. We have set a budget for her needs and I'm adding $100 for the common room ($30 for refrigerator included). How do I help my daughter tell her roommates "no to decoration". The girls are already planning a trip to Ikea with one of the parents.</p>

<p>Seems easy...your D just makes you the bad guy. "Sorry, but my parents won't give me any money for that and I don't have the money myself."</p>

<p>Do you have any items at home that you might contribute to the cause?</p>

<p>You haven't mentioned any decorations. They probably do need some kind of rug, and curtains for privacy. Are you sure there is an issue?</p>

<p>How did you come up with the figure of $30 for the fridge?</p>

<p>ditto what zoosermom has said; it's stuff that belongs to you so no chipping in...</p>

<p>we have had this same discussion this summer re: off campus house: what we came up with (like the OP) is a fixed $$ amount we are willing to contribute...but what we suggested was that each girl take "ownership" of an item in the common room soooo:</p>

<p>1) you only have to worry about that one item at the end of the year
2)if you decide you don't want to live with the same people next year, no difficulty of "splitting stuff up", compensating for items etc.....</p>

<p>one more note, no idea where your daughter is attending school, but there are def cheaper options if this is the route to go....in addition, there are consignment/used furniture stores everywhere.....not everything has to be "new".....</p>

<p>Check out Walmart/target etc....and a sofa can be a futon that can be converted to a bed (for guests) as well....even Costco has stuff that is prob cheaper than Ikea......</p>

<p>Be careful about chipping in to purchase durable goods. You don't want drama when it comes to "who gets what" at the end of the year. Also, we've found some great items at Goodwill and similar resale stores.</p>

<p>I would offer to buy some portion of what is needed (fridge maybe?) and then maybe have your D chip in for something like curtains. Does your D have any money? She will be using the sofa etc, so it would probably be a good idea to chip in for some of the stuff somehow. decorating a room between 4 people shouldnt be more than ~$200 or so, which isn't that much more than the $100 you were already allocating. Maybe your D could make up the difference. If your D says yes to helping with some things, it makes it easier to say no to others (like a scale)</p>

<p>zoosermom, I think that is her share of the fridge.</p>

<p>ec1234 makes a good point. If your D doesn't contribute to the truly common items, she may face resentment in using them during the normal course of living. I can see saying no to a scale (isn't that a personal item?), but if there needs to be a couch, shouldn't your D chip in in some fashion?</p>

<p>
[quote]
zoosermom, I think that is her share of the fridge

[/quote]

I get that, but I wonder if it's a realistic figure. In other words, has a specific fridge been chosen/ordered? The range of cost could be a little higher than that (or not), so I was just curious if it was a "here, this is what I think is appropriate" figure without regard to specifics.</p>

<p>
[quote]
but if there needs to be a couch, shouldn't your D chip in in some fashion?

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But does there need to be a couch? Does it need to be a new couch? That would be my issue. For my d, they split up the purchases, so each person could decide how much they would spend. One roommate wanted a couch, so she bought a used couch and paid to have it cleaned. We supplied the kitchen table and chairs. When they move out, the kitchen table and chairs goes with D, and we don't need to worry about the couch.</p>

<p>Is the common room unfurnished right now? If so, then it seems reasonable to me that all the girls chip in for some basic furnishings. A sofa, rug, TV and curtains aren't necessarily 'decorations' if they are needed to make the room functional. If these items are already in place, then, no, I wouldn't contribute but if they aren't, well, that's part of the deal when you share living space with people - you contribute something toward the common areas. It wouldn't be fair to expect the other girls to furnish the room and it wouldn't make sense to leave it empty - isn't that why she's in a suite - to enjoy having more space? I agree the scale isn't a necessity.</p>

<p>
[quote]
But does there need to be a couch? Does it need to be a new couch? That would be my issue.

[/quote]

I wonder the same thing, but if it's a suite doesn't there need to be somewhere to sit? What does the college actually supply? My niece was in a suite her freshman year and the college supplied a couple of sitting chairs and a table with chairs and that was it. But it was something, so a couch would have been optional.</p>

<p>southmoon, if you're willing to contribute $100 - $30 frig = $70 to the cause for the common room, that seems like a reasonable 1/4 contribution toward necessary common area things. They can get a lot at Ikea for $280.</p>

<p>All that needs to happen here is turn the presentation around to a positive. DD can respond to the email with an excited, "Fun idea! I know we can get some great stuff at Ikea if we pool our money! Don't know if the sofa will make the cut, but I'm able to put in $70 for my 1/4 contribution."</p>

<p>There may be others among the 4 who will appreciate a reasonable figure being set. I've found that kids accept their friends' budgets pretty well and admire peers who know their monetary limits and are savvy in stretching the spending value of a buck. "Recycling" is very popular now because it's "green," so hopefully your DD and her roommates will also have fun finding treasurers at Goodwill, thrift stores or on craiglist (free on the curb can be amazing). </p>

<p>Good luck! I am a wee bit envious because our DD has gone so green in recent years, she's outfitting herself and room (single) with almost exclusively used stuff. It's strange to suffer letdown over not being drawn into a shopping frenzy!</p>

<p>I would be really, really wary of going in on major items like a new couch that will have to be split up in some fashion afterwards.</p>

<p>I also think that they should not have a TV at all--Where are the desks going to be? Perhaps in the common room? Most students seem to watch TV either in the dorm living room or on computers in their own rooms these days-- that a scale is a personal item, and that students can easily buy cheap used furniture once they get there. My S's school has a used furniture sale every year during freshman move-in days. S and his room mate bought a used dorm fridge for $25. How big a fridge are these girls planning to have, anyway?</p>

<p>In any case, a girl sent an email making some suggestions. I would treat that as the beginning of a conversation, rather than a fait accompli. Your D can send around a calm email in reply pointing out the potential complications of buying shared items together, the storage limitations, and the possibility of buying used furniture once there that can be easily offloaded at the end of the year. She could suggest that those who have access to a spare rug or TV or whatever from home could let everyone know if it would be convenient for them to bring it instead of buying things.</p>

<p>
[quote]
zoosermom, I think that is her share of the fridge.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>Each girl needs to contribute items, not pool money for shared items. With Son's room, he provided the fridge and the roommate provided the microwave. The roommate left at the end of the semester. If they had split the cost of each, who would get what? </p>

<p>Kids leave school all the time - it's not uncommon. Of the four "suitemates" (Son, his roommmate and the two in the next room), only one of them is returning to the school next year. If they had all shared in the cost of a bunch of furnishings, who would end up with what?</p>

<p>Without regard to this specific situation (which I know nothing about), I would suggest that this kind of "cultural norm" is one of those important characteristics that should, ideally, be considered before a college is selected. There are schools where the community norm is the expectation that all students have unquestioned financial resources for extras such as buying bathroom scales, paying entertainment dues to a freshman hall, going out to dinner, and so forth. Other schools will have a culture that recognizes that paying for Ikea shopping sprees might not be in everyone's budget and respecting those students means scaling down the demands.</p>

<p>they obviously need to establish ground rules at the outset for decision making & problem solving & this is a nice structured problem to test out.</p>

<p>If they get together and share budgets, they can see what they can afford and what their options are.</p>

<p>When I lived with H before we were married , I contributed the same % of my income that he did to housing costs- he made more- so he had more to play with :P, but it felt fair.</p>

<p>But they don't need new stuff- my D is going to be living off campus for sophomore year- which is going to be a big outlay at first, I know- her sister didn't live off campus till senior year & even then it was in college owned townhomes that were partially furnished.</p>

<p>Plus, she only has one roommate- so they have to come up with more stuff- but I am going to insist on her getting at least a partial meal plan, cause I don't want to worry about her having to shop and cook all her meals.</p>

<p>Her roommate is out of the country at present- with no internet access , so I imagine a huge shopping rush before school- however- I am also expecting that she will stay there next summer ( she has already said she is going to do a summer program at her school- which I think is a good idea) so don't have a mad rush at the end of the year.</p>

<p>Also, both kids were able to store stuff at friends houses, even this past year when we moved her out, we couldn't fit everything in the car, even with a storage box on top, so some of her friends who live in town, stored stuff for her, and some of it she sold to other kids. It really all works out & it is good for them to learn to handle it.</p>

<p>I'd say no to sharing:</p>

<ul>
<li>TV (just not necessary in college).<br></li>
<li>Rug (unless they have concrete floors -- girls can wear slippers)</li>
<li>Curtains (unless Res Life does not supply shades for energy efficiency?)</li>
<li>Scale (hahahahahahaha -- try the free one in the gym)</li>
</ul>

<p>Couch & lamps make sense, but would ask if anyone close by could donate an old one. Refrigerator -- look into a rental, including pickup and delivery. (Probably more expensive, but convenience is worth something.)</p>