Your Roommate Is Money in the Bank

Half the sitcoms you love are probably about roommates in the big city. Whether it's Friends or 2 Broke Girls, there's hardly a better scenario for hilarity, conflict, and bonding than odd couples sharing a small space. But it's the right choice for 5.8 million real-life Americans, and new data indicates why, to the tune of saving an average $10,000 annually on rent.

The website SmartAsset just released a report analyzing rent savings in the 50 largest cities in the United States. In the top 10 most expensive markets, shared housing can save you anywhere from $600 to $1,100 each month. The biggest savings came in places like San Francisco and New York, unsurprisingly — both are among the costliest cities in the world.

SmartAsset's report also looks at places where it may be more worth your while to live alone. If you're looking for apartments in Tucson, Arizona, for instance, a roommate may only make a difference of $250 or so.

Cost of living isn't just rent, of course. Roommates are also a great way to save on utilities and on amenities like cable, internet, and streaming services. The key to making it all work is clear communication. Lay out all your expectations before you sign a lease together, including chores, how you like to socialize, whether you can make room for pets, and how you'll split costs. Put it on paper and sign it, just like you would any other agreement.

That said, the benefits of a roommate can extend far beyond savings — you could be making a friend for life. That's a best-case scenario, of course. In totally practical terms, sharing an apartment can mean a big boost in quality of life.