Roommates don’t just end at college. Even for adults with jobs, shared housing is quite common. Having a roommate comes with several benefits. You can rent a larger space, divide the house works, or, if you’re lucky, find new friends that fit in just right in your circle.
On the flip side, sharing your space with someone means you also need to compromise on tons of things. Lack of privacy, for instance, is one of the top concerns of those who have roommates. But more importantly, it can also lead to a more significant challenge, which is money matters.
While shared living can reduce living expenses, to do that, you have to be able to share the expenses first effectively. Splitting bills and expenses are essential that need advanced and in-depth planning. This time, we will be walking you through the five essential tips when it comes to sharing costs among your roommates.
How To Split Bills And Share Expenses With Your Roommates
What are shared living expenses?
Living with a roommate can go two ways: a great experience or a disaster. But before anything else, what makes up shared living expenses? What bills and costs are supposed to be budgeted and planned? Here are the things you must include in your plan when sharing costs:
The monthly rate will most likely be taking the most considerable portion of your living expense. Generally, splitting the cost 50/50 is the usual rule, but it might also help consider each room’s size and amenities. In some spaces, one bedroom could be a lot bigger than others or has an ensuite. Hence, splitting the rent wouldn’t be fair.
- Utilities, internet, etc.
Utilities typically include water or gas, electricity, cable, and the internet, all of which aren’t included in your rent. Unlike rent, utilities are far easier to divvy up equally between you and your roommates.
After all, it’ll be hard, if not impossible, to show proof that either of you is hiking up the water bill. That said, if you want to take a more particular method, then you can divide the utility bills based on room size, income, and other variables that play a role in your living arrangement.
- Groceries and household items
Sharing grocery and food costs are most of the time complicated, unless, of course, if each of you shops the same foods and with the same frequency.You may feel frustrated with your roommate because they didn’t replenish the eggs or drank all your favorite milk. Problems like these can occur when sharing groceries, so if you’re territorial when it comes to food, then it’d be best to shop for your groceries separately.
As for household items like napkins, paper towels, laundry detergent, and more, they’re easier to keep track of, so it’s safe to either buy them together or divide the cost each time.
5 Tips for Splitting Bills and Sharing Expenses With Roommates
At some point in sharing a space, shared bills become a problem with roommates. Setting aside other downsides like your roommate slacking off on their share of the chores, breaking your house rules, and so on, matters regarding finances is a whole different level of conflict.
The thing is, as much as we hate managing expenses with a roommate, it’s, unfortunately, a necessary evil, so you’ll have to deal with it until you can afford to have a place of your own.
Therefore, in the meantime, here are some tips you can follow to split the bills with your roommate and ensure peace in your temporary household.
1. Discuss how to divvy up the costs
First off, you must establish how to split up the living expenses reasonably. Most importantly, ensure that everyone agrees with the method of sharing costs. If there’s a new tenant, everyone must give their green light to the general guidelines.
Rent and utility bills are, of course, split among yourselves. Other bills like cell phone service, data plans, or streaming subscriptions are best kept individually.
2. Track your expenses
One of the most effective ways to split expenses with roommates is to develop a method to track everything they spend on shared costs. You can do this by creating a spreadsheet for every person’s purchases.
From there, you can divide the costs among yourselves at the end of every month. For instance, if roommate B bought paper towels, they’ll be reimbursed by getting contributions from everyone somewhat.
3. Have a roommate agreement drawn up
Another way to manage shared expenses is to create a roommate agreement. This is different from your rental contract with your landlord. A roommate agreement will ensure that all housing and financial responsibilities are agreed upon by everyone. A deal with direct non-negotiables is ideal for this kind of arrangement.
Your contract can also include how you divvy up living costs with everyone and stuff related to cleaning schedules, guest rules, and other living guidelines.
4. Keep some expenses separate
Not everything you’re sharing with your roommates requires everyone to chip in their contribution. For instance, buying separate furniture is an excellent idea so you can either sell or take it with you if you move out.
Sure, it may be logical to divide furniture costs, but what happens when your lease is over? Deciding who gets to keep it can create problems. Instead, you can list down all the necessary furniture, decors, and electronics, then discuss who will be responsible for each item while keeping everyone’s overall costs even.
Also, groceries may be something you want to consider as an individual expense since you likely have varied tastes or diets.
5. Set aside some bucks for spontaneous expenses
Splitting expenses is a given, but have you ever thought of how to manage unexpected costs with a roommate? For instance, if your house incurred damage, you need to divide the cost depending on whose fault it was, especially if the cost of repairs is more than your original security deposit.
Naturally, it’d be unjust to let other roommates cover the charge when it wasn’t even their fault. On the contrary, if the unexpected expense is because of everyone, you must split it equally.
Living with roommates doesn’t have to be a headache. If anything, it can save you a lot of hassle, not to mention money. The only thing you must be direct and firm about is the shared expenses so you won’t have any future financial issues. Communicate with your roommates, and don’t be afraid to ask for their dues.
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