5 Tips for Handling Finances with Roommates

One of the biggest challenges of living with roommates isn’t that one of them could eat your groceries or that they never clean the bathroom. One of the biggest challenges is sharing your household expenses. Read these five tips for handling financial matters with your roommates.

1. Buy Furniture Separately

When you move into your new apartment, you’re going to need to fill it with furniture. You’ll be tempted to go furniture shopping with your roommates and split the costs down the middle. Don’t do that. In the future, when one or more of you decides to end your lease and live elsewhere, you don’t want to spend days arguing over who gets to keep the coffee table or the living room couch.

It’s better to buy these items separately. Whoever paid for the item will get to keep it when they move out. This should make moving out a little bit easier.

2. Use Bill-Splitting Apps

While you shouldn’t split furniture purchases, you should split your household bills. You’ll want all of your roommates to pay their fair share for the utilities, including electricity, gas, and internet. A bill-splitting app can help you with that. It will calculate exactly how much everyone owes down to the last dollar.

A benefit of a bill-splitting app is that it eliminates the risk of conflict between you and your roommates. If you decide to calculate the costs on your own, someone could accuse you of being unfair or incorrect. An app is impartial.

Some bill-splitting apps you could use are Splitwise, Settle Up, and Splitter.

3. Plan Contributions in Advance

Don’t send your contributions for rent or utility bill payments at the very last minute—or worse, after the due dates.

Remember that checks and P2P app transfers take time to clear. Typically, it will take between 1-3 days for the money to go through. Weekends and bank holidays can extend this wait time. If you send your contribution too close to the deadline, your household might come up short on the due date. So, be prepared to send every contribution several days in advance.

4. Split the Rent

If you want to avoid a stressful scenario where rent is due, and your roommate’s contribution is nowhere to be found, you can ask your landlord whether they can split the rent between the tenants. You and your roommates would give the landlord a check or send them a money transfer for a portion of the rent by the due date.

In this case, if one of your roommates is not financially responsible, the entire apartment doesn’t have to take the blame for the lack of funds. And in the same vein, if you let the rent due date slip, your roommates won’t take any responsibility.

Your landlord might not offer this payment option, but it doesn’t hurt to ask.

5. Prepare for HouseholdEmergencies

You and your roommates should put together a household emergency fund. This can help cover the costs of urgent plumbing repairs, appliance replacements, and pest control services when your landlord is too slow to get to them.

Without an emergency fund, you might not have enough savings to cover an urgent expense. And you’ll want to find a borrowing solution where you don’t wait long for your money— after all, time is of the essence. One solution you could try is an online loan. An online loan will offer a speedy and straightforward application process. You could submit the application in 10 minutes or less. If your application gets approved, you’ll have temporary funds to handle your expense.

Remember to let your landlord know that you are having an emergency. Do this through email so that you have written evidence that you contacted them about the issue. Do not leave them a voicemail or slip a note under their doorstep. Keep the receipts from the emergency services. Your landlord should compensate you for footing this bill.

Another way that you can prepare for shared emergencies is by signing up for renters insurance.

Don’t let finances ruin the harmony of your shared household. Managing all of your expenses will be easy with these tips.

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