A Guide to Splitting Bills With Roommates


Living with roommates can help you cut costs, lower rental fees while giving you a partner (or partners) to share other bills. If you’re wondering how to share utilities with roommates, you’re not alone. Whether you’ve found your roommates online or are moving in with your longtime best friend, creating an organized and fair system for sharing bills with roommates can save you unnecessary stress and conflict when the time comes to move. pay those bills. Here are some steps you can take to make sure everyone participates fairly.

Step 1: determine which invoices you will share

The first step in figuring out how to split bills with roommates is to decide which bills you will actually split. Do you know how your rental agreement details every aspect of when and how you should pay your landlord? You can create a colocation contract that does the same. A friendly and honest discussion at the start of the roommate relationship to set ground rules and guidelines for how you will handle invoices can go a long way in preventing future conflicts.

You will need to decide as a group which expenses you will share and which expenses each tenant will pay individually. So should all roommates divide utilities equally? What about extras like Netflix?

Roommates often decide that it makes sense to divide utilities like electricity and water as well as entertainment that everyone uses equally like cable bills. However, if a roommate must have something (think: an HBO subscription added to the shared cable plan) that another roommate doesn’t want or use, you can ask the roommate who wants the added benefit of covering that. additional amount.

Step 2: Decide Which Invoices You Will Keep Separately

You don’t have to share every bill with your roommates just because you live with them – in fact, some bills are better separated. The bills that you can separate include mobile phone service and data plans as well as streaming subscriptions that you will use yourself.

Likewise, even if you are sharing something, you don’t always need to share the bill. Furniture is a prime example. Unless you plan to sell all of the shared furniture when you move out, you might consider buying different pieces of furniture separately. Otherwise, shared furniture can create stress when it comes to who can keep which items.

Instead of evenly distributing all the costs of shared electronics and furniture, some roommates prefer to make a list of the things you need for your new place and then assign different items to roommates. You can keep the overall costs equal while making individuals responsible for obtaining certain items. Just be sure to set some ground rules for the upkeep of these items – if one roommate foots the bill for a new TV and another breaks it, the latter may have to pay.

The grocery store is another example of the costs that roommates often choose to part with. Especially if you and your roommates have different diets and tastes, splitting grocery bills can create tension. If you plan on sharing your groceries, you can use meal planning and budgeting tools to ensure that no roommate has to fund another expensive meal choices.

Step 3: Get Organized

Organization is an integral part of peacekeeping. Roommates sharing expenses must decide:

  • How are you going to collect and divide the bills each month – for example, will you all pay one roommate, who will then pay all the bills? Will you keep different bills under different roommates?
  • When you will collect and split invoices each month
  • How much each roommate is responsible for paying

While all of this may seem obvious, new roommates often fall into the trap of waiting until the last second to figure out this logistics. This can lead to tension and stress, not to mention late bill payments! Here are some ways to get organized and stay organized:

Create a spreadsheet to split bills with roommates

Once you have established the ground rules for dividing bills with a roommate or roommates, create a spreadsheet. Your spreadsheet should describe each expense and how each roommate should pay. You’ll want to include details such as:

  • Due dates
  • Amounts due
  • Person responsible for payment

Pro tip: Monthly roommate meetings to discuss bills and go over the spreadsheet can help keep everyone on the same page. This way, no due date or cost can come as a surprise.

Schedule and manage payments with apps

Need to calculate how to distribute utilities among roommates? There is an application for that. Especially when it comes to big expenses, apps can help with math and collecting payments. Some apps to check out include:

  • Venmo: You can send and request money through Venmo. This app can help you notify your roommates that an invoice is also due.
  • Splitwise: Another popular app, Splitwise allows you to track invoices, count who paid, and send reminders. It is an alternative to the older spreadsheet method.
  • IOU: Using IOU, you can upload expenses, share expenses equally among roommates, and send email reminders. You can even create a payment plan for large purchases or set recurring IOUs for monthly invoices.
  • Splittr: This easy-to-use invoice sharing app does not require anyone to log in. You can import costs and choose between equal or unequal distributions with your roommates.
  • Our grocery stores: If you decide to share common food, drinks or ingredients with roommates, this app allows you to share grocery lists. You will have a simple tool for creating and adjusting lists, even crossing out items once you’ve purchased them.

Understanding how to share utility bills with roommates shouldn’t strain your relationship. Whether you just need a way to split up necessary costs like water and electricity or plan to take care of entertainment, groceries and more as a group, staying organized will help keep the peace. in your house. Start by having an open, direct conversation with your roommates about what bills you should (and shouldn’t) share, then create a system that keeps everyone in the know. You’re on the right track to maintaining a positive roommate relationship while keeping your bills under control.

Looking for a apartment with new roommates? Start your search and discover thousands of apartments for rent on Zumper.

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