More and more Americans are seeking roommates to help cut back on expenses. The number of shared households, defined as an adult who is not in school and is living with a family member or other adult who they aren’t romantically involved with, increased by 11.4 percent, to 22 million, between 2007 and 2010, according to Today. Furthermore, shared households accounted for 18.7 percent of all U.S. households in 2010, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, up from 17 percent of all households in 2007.
And while rooming with someone (or several people) can help you cut back on expenses, it can also be stressful. Rooming with others means relying on them to pay their fair share. Luckily, thanks to the many great website and apps available, there are plenty of stress-free ways to ensure everyone is paying their cut each month. Here’s how you and your roommates can split and keep track of your household finances.
1. Site sharing
There are several great websites available that are worth checking out. Using a website, or app, prevents one person from being stuck with managing the house’s finances because, let’s face it, no one likes that job. Take Splitwise, for example. It’s simple; all you need to do is enter some information about the apartment, and let the calculator do the thinking for you. It will give you an estimated cost, based on your specific room, and it takes into account the size of your bedroom, whether your room has windows, and even if it’s a long walk to the bathroom, according to the New York Times. The calculator is intended to help simplify group finances, encourage on-time payments and prevent awkward roommate encounters. It also keeps a running total over time, so your roommates can pay each other back in one big payment and avoid disagreements on who owes who what. It even has friendly email reminders for those who may be a tad forgetful.
The Rent is Too Damn Fair is another site worth checking out. “Splitting rent fairly between roommates is a difficult problem. Not only do rooms range in size, condition, and features, but personal preferences vary, too. Enter TheRentIsTooDamnFair, a system designed to elegantly consider all these factors and determine who should live where and how much they should pay,” according to the website.
The site splits the rent using a three-step process. First, every potential occupant bids the most they would be willing to pay to live in each of the house’s rooms. The site then assigns each person to a room, and calculates each person’s rent, making each roomie’s “surplus,” which is the difference between their rent and their bid, equal. Just like that, you’ve eliminated hours of discussions with your roommates about how much everyone should pay.