Sharing an apartment or house with roommates is often out of financial necessity. Being able to divide shared expenses three or more ways can be extremely beneficial if you are already on a tighter than usual budget. The following first apartment tips (or second…or third) will help you keep things going smoothly with your roommates when it comes to finances and expenses.
Shared Expenses – Budgeting with Roommates
To make sure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to what each person is responsible for, a written agreement is essential. It must include every person’s percentage of the mandatory expenses like rent and utilities as well as what they may need to pay in terms of other items like groceries and household items.
Keep Track of Your Shared Expenses
Each person should keep track of all the things they pay for each month. A master budget should be kept where everyone can see it. This should include every person in the house and all of the shared expenses they are responsible for each month.
Rent and Utilities
Rent will be the same every month. Utilities may fluctuate from month to month. Dividing these shared expenses equally among each person is the best way to take care of the mandatory expenses that are required each month. These should be the first shared expenses taken care of each month.
Groceries and Other Household Needs
These shared expenses can be taken care of on an individual basis, on rotation, or with every person putting so much money into an account that can be used by the household. If this is the case, then everyone shares meals and if someone wants something unique, it is up to them to spend their own money. Items like toilet paper, light bulbs, paper towels, and dish soap are good examples of items that would be considered shared expenses.
Furniture and Household Items
If everyone pitches in to buy furniture, towels. Décor, and dishes, it may be difficult to divide everything up when the roommates all go their separate ways. In this situation, if everyone buys their own pieces of furniture to share with others in the apartment, the pieces will be easy to divide when the living arrangement is over. Most household items will be needed as people move on to new homes so buying your own makes more sense than sharing the cost.
Stick to Your Budget!
It can be extremely hard to stick to a budget, especially when you have shared expenses. Do your best to not go overboard. Sticking to your budget will ensure that everyone has what they need and no one will have to worry about doing without or covering for someone who doesn’t have the money for rent or other incidentals. Budgeting for shared expenses may also allow your little group to dine out once a month or do something fun on a weekend.
So, whether you are living in a West Chester off campus student housing or a residential rental with roommates, sharing living space saves money and is a great way for people who are financially strapped to make ends meet. Being roommates can be fun and exciting if you all work together to pay the bills and make sure everyone has what they need. Shared expenses can make living much easier, especially if you are a student who is already strapped for cash.