Splitting utilities with roommates should no longer be a cause for concern. With so many resources to be utilized, it’s really hard to get it wrong. Here are a few tips, tricks, and apps to help you split utilities and navigate your way through fair sharing.
There’s an App for that.
When it comes to splitting utilities with roommates, precision is of utmost importance. A calculator and dry-erase board leave too much room for human error and discrepancy. Here are a couple apps that are designed to help equally and fairly split costs and bills including utilities. Splitwise is a free mobile app that allows you to keep tabs. Everyone in a “group” can see the running tab of who owes who and how much. Its great at maintaining accountability. Venmo allows easy transferring of money amongst roommates. Some banks even have mobile apps that will allow money transfer at your fingertips. An electronic receipt helps record who spent what and when.
Discuss every factor.
Before everyone starts downloading apps it’s vital to discuss the position of all roommates. Just as everyone decided the person in the largest room with a view pays a little rent than the person sleeping in the walk-in closet, fairness is applied to the utilities. If one roommate needs 3,000 television channels and another hasn’t had a TV in a decade, adjustments need to be discussed. Timing is important. These conversations need to be had right away, not when the late notice is slid under the door. Also that one person who turns the AC down to 65 in the middle of the night- don’t let him get away with it. That energy consumption comes at a price.
Determine how and when payments are to be made and who is responsible for that particular utility. This should be evenly distributed. The leader or control freak of the group may insist she make all the payments, avoid this. Someone take internet, the other electric etc. This person is responsible for collecting everyones share and submitting payment.
Once all roommates agree on how utilities will be split get it in writing. Type out all the details, big and small, and have everyone sign the roommate agreement. No, it’s not overkill and it will prevent problems. All roommates keep a copy and one posted on the fridge. Leave no excuses for when bills are due.