Having a roommate is a fantastic way to cut down on living expenses, but talking about money and figuring out who will pay for what can lead to many arguments. Determining a set budget before you move in together or while you’re currently living in a shared space can make your living situation more harmonious.
Rent and Utilities
First, determine the cost of rent and all other utilities that you will share the pay for. This will help you and your roommate(s) be aware of what your fixed expenses are going to look like so that you can budget accordingly with your discretionary income. Along with this, discuss how you will handle buying apartment-needed items like cleaning supplies, toilet paper, air fresheners and more. Are you all going to pitch in a few dollars to help pay for these shared supplies, or is one person going to buy paper towels and the other buy napkins?
There’s nothing like homemade cooking. Do you and your roommate(s) enjoy the same types of dishes? Are you going to enjoy meals together and share food expenses, or are you going to individually prepare meals for yourself? Disagreements can quickly arise, so it’s best to have an honest discussion about expectations surrounding food.
Do you want the highest-speed internet access available and don’t mind paying extra, or do you want the cheapest option that gets the job done? What about your roommate(s)? As they will more than likely be using the WiFi as well, have a discussion about what you are looking to pay for your desired quality of internet. Along with this, discuss your television options. Are you someone who does not need cable because you solely rely on streaming to watch your favorite shows? If you will not be using cable, but your roommate(s) will, they need to know that you will not be contributing to the bill. If you all want to stream your shows on the same service, it makes sense to split that cost down the middle.
If your apartment is unfurnished, you will more than likely want to buy items like a couch, table and television to liven up the place. If a roommate already has one, you will not have to factor that into shared expenses. However, if not, you can either equally pay for these items or have
one roommate buy a couch and the other purchase a television. There are other often-forgotten apartment necessities like dishware and silverware that need to be taken into account. Another thing to discuss is which roommate gets to keep the furniture when it is eventually time to move? Be sure to account for this when creating your budget.
There are multiple ways to share payments between roommates. It’s important to be on the same page about how you’re going to have the money sent. Payment-sharing apps sometimes charge small fees that you might not want to pay. Another option is to make a joint checking account that you can use for all household expense funds. If you don’t want to go through the trouble of going through a shared bank, you can send money transfers or simply use cash.
Budgeting doesn’t have to be difficult! Determining a set budget and sticking to it helps to ensure a happy living situation. Be upfront about all expected costs and determine all roommates(s) share of the expenses. By following our guide, determining your shared expenses budget should be a breeze.
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