Lower Your Expenses

How to Handle Shared Expenses with Roommates

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Table of Contents  
  1. Show Notes

Living with roommates can be a minefield.  Particularly when it comes to splitting shared expenses.  Here are a few tips to navigate the situation.

One of the best things about roommates is splitting the expenses.  But it can also be one of the most fraught aspects.  Learn how to do it so everyone feels they’re being treated fairly.

Thomas is currently living with three roommates even though they are all done with school.  So he knows something about how to make this situation work.  They have individualized leases which not everyone may be able to get but is worth asking about.

The utilities are shared and you’ll have to decide in who’s name to open the accounts.  That person should automate the payments to ensure that nothing is ever paid late. Thomas uses Stripe to breakdown the amounts everyone owes and they pay him through it.

Some stuff is just not worth fighting over.  Breaking down who takes longer showers or works from home using the most electricity is petty and probably doesn’t make a huge difference money wise anyway.  This is easier when all of you get along well and none of you are on a starvation budget.

Using a whiteboard to list who was the last one to buy shared things like paper towels and trash bags is an easy, fair way to track things.  Having evidence will cut down on arguments.

When a problem does come up, don’t approach it as, “Hey, you should pay more.”  That will make the other person defensive.  Approach it as a shared problem that you will solve together.

If they're being a super dick, you may have to take off the gloves.

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Sometimes it’s just better to overpay a little if it avoids a lot of stress.  Saving a few bucks is not always worth the head ache. This attitude can relax the dynamic in the home for everyone.

If you’re moving into a place where the roommates have already been living, you have a right to ask to see the rent and utility bills before negotiating how much you will be paying.  Otherwise you may get into a situation where you are subsidizing everyone because you just paid what they asked.

Living with roommates can be a great way to share expenses but go into a situation carefully.

Show Notes

Shipyard IPA:  A single hopped IPA.

Kronenbourg 1664:  The premiere beer of France.

Stripe:  Automated bill pay.

SplitWise: Perhaps the best utilities sharing app for roommates. Found out about it after the fact and wish it existed years ago!

Candice Elliott - Senior Editor
Candice Elliott is a substantial contributor to Listen Money Matters. She has been a personal finance writer since 2013 and has written extensively on student loan debt, investing, and credit. She has successfully navigated these areas in her own life and knows how to help others do the same. Candice has answered thousands of questions from the LMM community and spent countless hours doing research for hundreds of personal finance articles. She happily calls New Orleans, Louisiana home-the most fun city in the world.

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