Split Living Costs With Your Roommate
Living with anybody is hard. Sharing your space, fighting over the TV or arguing over who last did the dishes. Roommate spats are common. Like any fantastic relationship, you’re bound to run into problems when you are in such close proximity.
But fighting about money can also be an issue. When you’re breaking up the invoices with a roommate, fighting about money may impact your friendship and living situation. It may be worse than fighting with a spouse about money since you’re just looking out for yourself.
Learning how to budget with a roommate may be the difference between a lifelong friendship rather than talking to each other.
Here’s how to manage bills with roommates peacefully.
How to Split the Rent
Almost everyone I know has always divided bills with their roommates using a 50/50 split. However, I’ve also heard of scenarios where roommates split the invoices unequally because one person has a much larger room, a bigger closet or their own bathroom.
It may be worth splitting rent 60/40 in the event that you feel like one of you is getting a much better experience.
Before asking your roommate to pay a greater share of the lease, look at it from their viewpoint. They may have a bigger area, but do they have a smaller closet?
Are they there less often as therefore not utilizing as much of the anti virus? Did they donate more of the furniture or kitchen items than you?
Asking someone to invest additional money can be an awkward conversation, and thus don’t bring this up unless you really feel it is needed.
Use Programs to Track Spending
I have had three roommates in my own life and I can honestly say that the easiest way to control the bills was to use a program.
My favorite is Splitwise, an iPhone and Android app which makes it super simple to split the invoice on anything. You are able to divide bills by a percentage or dollar amount.
You can pay your roommate from the program via PayPal or Venmo, which will then record the payment at Splitwise.
You can also pay in foreign currencies, which was especially helpful when my roommates and I went on vacation in Spain and took turns picking up the tab.
I still use the Splitwise together with our former roommate because we discuss a Netflix and Hulu account.
The very best part of working with a program like Splitwise is you don’t need to do any complex math to figure out who owes how much. It only spits out a few for each of you.
Plus, as you can pay from inside the app, it tracks whether the other person has paid you back. No more arguing about if somebody paid their share of the rent.
Decide Who Pays Which Bills
Among the lesser-known issues that roommates have is that really pays the bills. Sometimes it’s a lot easier to have the more responsible individual pay all the bills and then have their other roommates pay them back for their share.
In my experience, resentment can build if just one person is handling all the bills. This is especially true when you have problems with your utility providers and you are always responsible for phoning customer service.
You may prevent these problems by having everybody pay the exact same number of bills. First, create a list of All of the invoices that need to be paid, including:
Be sure one person does not need to pay both the internet and the lease. These are the two which typically require the most telephone calls when something isn’t right.
It may also be a great idea to provide all the roommates access to the account, so they could make sure payments are made. Trust is important once you’re living with someone, but so is making certain the power bill was paid.
How to Split Groceries
However one thing we noticed is that we could never get through a half gallon of milk before it went bad. We realized it was cheaper for us to purchase a gallon of milk together.
We split the cost 50-50 although I’m pretty sure I constantly drank more milk than she did. It was just one of those things where we understood we’d each save money and we did not need to worry about who had been using more than who.
But any other time I have heard of roommates dividing supermarket, it always turns out to be a tragedy.
1 person will accuse the other of carrying more than their fair share while the other individual complains that they’re always the one to do the grocery shopping.
If you would like to split groceries, set some easy-to-follow floor rules and stop doing this if you feel a fight coming on.
Talk about Problems
It is simple for disagreements about cash to become a problem when you’re living with someone, no matter how well you get along.
When I was living with my very first roommate, we both decided to have cable. A month into the semester, she decided she was not home to watch TV so she wished to get rid of it.
I was pretty annoyed since it meant we would either need to cancel it I’d have to pay the whole bill myself. Eventually, we talked about it and she agreed to pay her half for the rest of the semester.
We all spent a few days venting to other buddies, but we eventually learned it was better to discuss problems directly. The whole problem helped us work out our communicating issues, which strengthened our General friendship.