Splitting Bills With a Roommate
Moving into your first apartment can be very daunting. To help alleviate some of the stress that may come with your first move, many people decide to move in with a roommate. One of the biggest advantages to having a roommate is splitting the bill for rent and utilities. However, money can be a sensitive matter. To avoid any issues, figure out how you are going to split up your bills early on.
Choose your roommate(s) wisely
You don’t want to live with someone who is never going to pay the bills. This could leave your credit hurting, especially if they don’t pay their portion of rent and you can’t afford the rent on your own. Before selecting a roommate, consider requesting they check their credit scores and suggest you can do the same. That way, both of you can be more secure in your decision for a roommate.
Establish ground rules and guidelines
Once you have chosen a roommate, lay out some ground rules surrounding what expenses you will be sharing and what you will be paying for individually. Consider the cost of rent, furniture and appliances, utilities, cleaning supplies, and food.
Make a cost spreadsheet
After you decide who will be paying for what, make a spreadsheet detailing each expense you and your roommate will need to pay. Each expense should show information such as due dates, the amount owed, and who is responsible for paying.
If you are splitting certain expenses, there are a few apps that make it easier for you. Venmo, a money sharing app, lets you send money from your debit account to another person’s. It also allows you to request money. Splitwise allows you to track bills, see who has paid and send reminders to make sure you’re not late for any payments.
Keep some purchases separate
There are a few things that you should keep separate. While it might be tempting to split the cost of furniture, it can make it difficult when it comes time to move. Make a list of furniture and electronics you need for your apartment and figure out who will be responsible for each to keep costs even.
Discuss the worst-case scenario
What will happen if someone is unable to pay rent or if someone decides to leave mid-lease? Discuss how far in advance that person will need to give their notice and who will be responsible for finding a replacement.