Sharing a home with roommates can cause a lot of conflict. From figuring out morning shower schedules to keeping the kitchen looking socially acceptable, there are a lot of things that need to be worked out. One of the most important is determining how you will manage your shared expenses between roommates.
To help solve this problem, we collaborated with roommate bill splitting app, Splittable. Here are 7 tips to help manage your shared expenses with roommates.
Communicating with your roommates about how you are going to manage expenses is crucial to set up from the very beginning. If you need someone to pay you back for this month’s internet by the end of the day, let them know.
Also discuss what expenses you will be sharing and what expenses will be individual.
Most roommates share the price for: rent, utilities, internet, basic cleaning supplies (soap and sponges, toilet paper), basic food supplies (salt/pepper, oil, spices).
Personal hygiene products and groceries tend to be paid for individually. Be sure to check before you use the last bit of your roommates milk or beware of the consequences.
Buy Furniture Separately
While it may seem like a great idea to go halfsies on your new couch, when it comes to moving out it will be unclear about who gets to take the couch to their next place. While items such as TVs, couches, pots/pans etc. tend to be shared, buy these items individually so you do not have issues on ‘who owns what’ when you move out.
Don’t resent your roommates for never chipping in on small expenses like toilet paper and cleaning supplies. Be transparent about when you spend money for the house and when you expect to get paid back.
Keeping household finances out in the open makes it clear to everyone who is spending money on what. The easiest way to track what is being spent at home is through using a free bill splitting app like Splittable. You can also easily request money to be sent to you for various household costs using an app like Venmo.
Put Everyone’s Name on the Bills
Protect your credit score by making sure everyone’s name gets put on each of the bills. If you only put your name on the bill, then you risk bearing all of the legal burden if your roommate doesn’t pay their share. Putting everyone’s name on the bills protects all of you financially if one person doesn’t pay up.
Don’t pay bills until everyone contributes
Usually, all roommates pay one person then that person pays the landlord when paying rent. While you may trust that your roommates will pay you back, you probably don’t want to cover their $1000+ rent for multiple weeks. It is generally best practice to ask your roommates to send you their portion of the rent ~1 week before rent. This gives you ample days to remind them to send you the money without incurring any late fees.
Develop a Guest Policy
While most roommates are happy to let your friends occasionally crash on the couch or have your significant other stay the night, sometimes it can get to be too much. If one of your roommates has a boyfriend who is spending the night 5 times a week and regularly taking showers, it is reasonable for him to start sharing part of the utility expenses. Determine what everyone believes is a ‘fair system’ when you are just starting you lease to avoid conflict in the future.
Don’t get Passive Aggressive
If a problem comes up, talk about it. Don’t leave an indirect note or send an passive text, address the problem – in person! The longer any issue boils up the bigger problem it is going to be. If your flatmate keeps drinking your wine, ask them to buy a new bottle. If your flatmate is regularly late on paying you back for rent, tell them is a problem. The sooner you address the problem, the quicker it can be fixed.
By: Julianne Sloane, Splittable