When you're figuring out how to live with a roommate, figuring out who should pay what should be discussed early on so that no one is put out when someone the bills are due.
Here are some roommate tips for splitting the rent & bills:
Establish how much rent everyone will pay
Some rooms are larger (or smaller) and have different amenities from other rooms in the home or apartment. Example: A master bedroom may have a private bathroom and a walk-in closet. That room is worth more money than a smaller bedroom with a shared bathroom. Also, consult with your property management company to see if they have any particular rules about how to handle rent in a roommate situation – multiple checks, online payments, etc.
Determine What Extras the Home Will Have
Little things like cable, internet, Netflix, housekeepers, or gardening service all add up. Discussing these extras upfront helps eliminate any surprises. From there, you can decide what will be a shared or individual bill. Don't forget things like paper goods, electronics, or appliances that are in shared spaces.
With lots of people coming and going, mail and other important documents can easily get misplaced. In most situations, it's easiest for one person to take this responsibility. Someone needs to be in charge of gathering up the paper bills or emailed statements and then actually making the payments to the utility or landlord.
Communication is Key
Whether it's a shared Google Calendar or a paper calendar on the refrigerator, it's good to know what expenses are due and when. A simple calendar that highlights the house expenses, when they're due, and who is responsible for making the payment keeps everyone on the same page during the time of your living arrangement.
Download the Apps
Apps like Venmo, Paypal or Splitwise can make sharing bills easier. You can send money for free from your checking account directly to your roommates without having to wait for a check to cash. These apps also allow you to request money so you can ask your roommates for the money wherever they are without requiring an awkward conversation. Plus, with these apps, you’ll have a digital record of who paid what amount & when.
Some Expenses Should Be Separate
The grocery bill, for example, can be extremely tricky to split. Some people prefer certain stores and brands, while others prefer to stock up on frozen entrees. Perhaps you like to stock up on one grocery trip per month, but your roommate prefers to stop by the store daily. See the potential cost disparities here? While you may have to share a refrigerator, don't share the costs of groceries.
Figuring out how to live with a roommate doesn't have to be complicated. Being direct about the shared expenses will prevent future headaches about money. A little bit of communication and honesty can help make your time with roommates a pleasant (and money-saving) experience.