Good Ways for Roommates to Handle Food Expenses?

Good Questions

Q: I'm going to be sharing an apartment with someone for the first time this year. What is a good way to handle food?

I've thought about a "food money jar" where we both put in and buy as we need things, but I'm very frugal and I don't know if he is. I've also thought about buying food separately, but then how do you handle sharing dinners?

Sent by Joshua

Editor: Joshua, first off, we're going to refer you to this recent post about couples sharing food responsibilities, because a lot of the advice there will apply here:

Good Ways for Couples to Share Food Responsibilities?

Of particular helpfulness: Communicate, communicate, communicate. We suggest having a thorough discussion about eating preferences and budget, just to see where you both are comfortable.

As far as specifics go, we've tried lots of things with roommates: Shopping separately, shopping together, sharing a budget, going it alone. Probably the best option, in our opinion, is a combination of all of these, where you each have a set weekly amount of money that you pitch in for shared staples like milk, bread, cheese, fruit, and butter. (Provided, of course, that you both need and want to have these things around. If your idea of pantry staples is very different than his, then this probably isn't such a good idea.) Then you can supplement these basics with groceries that you buy on your own.

Readers, when it comes to food and roommates, what arrangements have worked best for you?

Related: Kitchen Etiquette: Tips for Shared Kitchen Spaces

(Image: Flickr member p200eric licensed for use under Creative Commons)