We’re always on the lookout for apps and tools designed to help make life better, whether they make it easier to share bills, organize monthly housekeeping or automate the day-to-day chores. Less stress on your plate and more time to enjoy your digs and explore your neighborhood — it’s a win-win. We’ll tell you what’s out there, you tell us what works for you!
When splitting bills in a household, organizing and tracking who’s paid what can be a challenge – or at the very least — unnecessarily time-consuming. Not to mention that it can be hard to see a situation clearly when you’re emotionally or financially invested — which is totally understandable. We’re all human. And typically, when new roommates try to prorate rent, they take into account obvious inequalities, such as the size of the room and whether there is a private bathroom. But is that the best way? These three apps have come to market to help solve these dilemmas, offering solutions for everything from tracking bills to dividing rent and other expenses fairly.
Roommates who want to avoid the back and forth.
Why We Love it:
Splittable helps make shared living simple, so that you can stress less and live more by taking the awkwardness out of shared bills. Rather than paying your roommates back for every little thing (because that can be really tedious when late nights and dollar pizza are a thing), the company promotes the idea of balancing payments for future needs against current debts.
“Rather than getting people to pay each other back all the time and increasing the admin around micro-repayments like some of our competitors, we just make it simple to see who should pay for what at home,” says Nick Katz, who co-founded Splittable with Vasanth Subramanian after experiencing his own fallouts with friends and roommates over financial disagreements both large and small.
You can track rent and everyday expenses with the All Squared Meter, which displays everyone’s standing in the house. Since you can see your payment history, you don’t have to worry about whether you’ve cleared an outstanding IOU. And it’s easy to see who should pay for the next communal expense.
“I can tell you that my six-person house share got a whole lot more friendly once we all started using Splittable,” says Katz. “And we never seem to run out of toilet paper anymore!”
(It’s true — whose turn it is to buy small household goods like toilet paper has been known to cause roommate frustrations.) Splittable’s site states the app works best when all housemates participate, since they can receive real-time notifications about home-related expenses if they choose. But you can also use it alone for your own portion of rent and expenses.
Splittable is available for Android and Apple devices.
Roommates who just want to split bills easily and automate payment.
Why We Love it:
Unbill promotes an “automagic” and painless bill paying experience.
“We’re different because our tech automates and synchronizes all your bills for you…it automatically pulls down due dates and balances,” says Scott Weinert, who co-founded Unbill. Weinert says that previous experience with student housing solutions app Comfy provided him and his co-founders key insights into how sharing expenses was an often-painful part of the co-living experience.
The “personal bill assistant” tracks rent, utilities and other shared expenses all in one place and splits them for you.
“So instead of one person being responsible for the total bill, all are responsible for their own share,” says Weinert.
The app can pay bills directly from your bank account (for a fee of $0.99 to pay by eCheck) or by debit or credit card (for a fee of 2.49-2.99 percent). And if one of your roommates doesn’t pay for any reason, the person whose name is on the bill has two options: using Unbill’s Bounce Payment Protection, which allows the bill holder to cover the balance and notifies the person who still owes money, or opting for a hands-off approach to resolve the situation. Your payments history is saved, so you have confirmation and proof that you’ve paid.
Unbill is available for Android and Apple devices, including Apple watch.
Roommates who want to be really fair splitting the bills.
Why We Love it:
Splitwise integrates the intangibles that can often go overlooked when negotiating the true value of any particular room. For example, do you have to walk further to a bathroom? Everyone gets a say, and then the calculator decides what’s fair.
If you’ve already got that rent squared away, you can continue to use the app for splitting monthly shared expenses, like the electricity or gas bills, cable, or shared grocery expenses. Or if you dine out and forget your wallet, you can track the split bill and send an IOU right at the table. The app will send gentle email reminders to your friends or family.
“It can be awkward to mix money and relationships, and Splitwise is designed to take the stress away from dealing with that,” says Splitwise co-founder Jon Bittner. “We’ve helped our users share over $1 billion.”
Splitwise uses Paypal and Venmo to settle the payments, so be sure to check on their fees per service prior to using the app.