By the Smoor team
Smoor is the people to people lettings platform that creates a safe and secure environment to let and rent property. Find them on Twitter, Facebook & instagram @smoorapp
This is all new to you. Your parents probably didn’t ask you to split the household bills, but now that you are in university and are living on your own, you can’t get someone to handle your bills. You need to manage them on your own, but with your roommates who might very well be complete strangers. These people have their own ways of doing things, and their own way of thinking and their own ways of handling potentially awkward situations, so there is a need for some navigation ad a few chats to get things right and avoid arguments.
Here are some basic things which you should consider while sharing the bill with your flatmates:
Establish Some Basic Rules
This is the first thing that you should do. Sit down with all your flatmates and make some rules and principles which all are willing to follow. You need to first decide which expenses should be shared and which expenses will be paid individually. For example, some common expenses like WiFi charges and electricity should be equally split by all. You need to also decided who will pay the bills and what will be the mode of payment. All of these may sound a bit obvious. But many people forget these basics which results in conflicts.
Keep All The Records
After you have finalized all the rules, you need to make sure that your record all the expenses when they are being incurred. Just make a cost spreadsheet and keep a track of all the expenses. Also, mention the other necessary details like when is the due date for payment and who is responsible for the payment. It is also a good idea to hold a meeting once a month and discuss the spreadsheet so that everyone has an idea regarding how much they have to pay.
Some Purchases Should Be Separate
It is impossible to share all the expenses equally. Some things like furniture should be purchased separately. While moving out, you will obviously want to sell away all your furniture. However, if you have paid jointly for that product, then there will be chaos. In order to avoid confusion, groceries should also be paid separately. People have different food habits. If you prefer fruits and fresh foods while your flatmates rely on burgers and pizzas, then it will be impossible to share the expenses.
Maintain Healthy Communication
In case there is an issue, you should communicate with your flatmates regarding it. And make sure that you communicate in person. Leaving a note or texting doesn’t usually solve the problem.In fact, it makes the situation worse.
Don’t Pay The Rent Unless Everyone Contributes
In most cases, everyone generally pays one person initially and he pays the bill to the landlord. In case you are that person, then don’t pay unless you receive the money from everyone. You never know when you are going to get your money back and it is awkward to ask for money from someone.
There are some great apps which will make it easier to split money effectively. For example, Splitwise is a brilliant app. First, you need to add all your flatmates. You can make separate groups as well. You can add photos of the bill and then enter the percentage each one has to pay. The app will do all the calculations for you. The app will also remind you of the due date. You can also use Rent Share. It is not an app but it is an online tool which can be easily accessed from your smartphone. It has a very user-friendly interface and is packed with lots of features. You can also pay through this tool.
Living with strangers can be tough, and often the breaking points are to do with money. But it doesn’t mean that you are guaranteed not to get along with your flatmates, and it doesn’t mean you wont have fun in this is a great period in your life. Just be aware of the humans living with you who have their own habits and own needs.