When you share an apartment with someone, you share your life with them. Whether that’s a good thing or bad for you and your roommates, only time will. But for intents and purposes, it’s almost like a marriage. And as any good marriage counselor will tell, knowing how to manage finances together crucial. Money is one of those things that everyone is uncomfortable talking about. Think about it- Wouldn’t you feel uncomfortable asking your colleagues how much money they make? You would, right? It’s okay, everyone feels that, it’s just how we’re trained to react when someone brings up the topic of money.
But when you share an apartment with someone, you need to throw all these etiquettes out. Being able to have a mature conversation about how to manage your finances is an important hallmark of a good coliving arrangement.
If you still feel a bit lost about how to navigate this situation, then don’t worry. Roomi’s got you! We’ve come up with a guideline on how to manage finances when you share an apartment with someone. So, let’s get started!
See also: Tips to set better Money Goals in 2021
How do I manage finances with a stranger?
There actually is a pretty simple answer to this- write it down. We know, paperwork is boring. All those legal jargon and mumbo-jumbo can confuse even the smartest of people. We’re not asking you to draw up a legally binding agreement with your roommates to manage finances. I’m sure you’ve signed enough legal documents to get into the apartment already. What we are suggesting you do is write down how you’re going to be handling money when you start to share an apartment. It’s always good to have this stuff in writing, even if it’s not notarized! This also means that you and your roommate will be on the same page about money. And this is always a good thing!
How much should you share?
When you share an apartment, there are some costs that you have to share no matter what. The rent, electricity, water bills stuff like that. But there are other costs as well that you need to think of. Do you want to split the cost of groceries? What about cleaning supplies? These are expenses that you can either split or keep separate- it really depends on you and which option costs less money. But in order to manage finances well, this is an extremely important conversation to have.
If you’re having trouble deciding how to split the expenses, check out this helpful blog.
Track your bills!
When you share an apartment with someone, one of you is Rachel and the other is Monica. That’s just the rule. Well for this one, one of you needs to go full Monica. A lot of the time it’s hard to manage finances because no one keeps track of all the bills that have come in. And then before you know it, your electricity is cut off and your shower’s not working. Don’t let it get to this stage. One of you should take charge of compiling all your expenses and bills and keeping them in one place. Trust us, even having all your bills in one place is the job half done. Once you know which bills need to be paid, you can just quickly sit down one evening and take care of them.
Technology to the rescue!
What’s that? You didn’t think you could love your phone any more than you already do? Well, think again. Apps that make it easy to manage finances are one of the greatest things ever invented. And you can do this for free? Well, sign us up. Sending money to your roommate, keeping track of who-owes-who-what is so much easier now. If you share an apartment with someone, it is mandatory to have these apps. Period.
Here is a list of some great apps that can help you keep track of your finances.
Know when to mind your own business!
Yes, you share an apartment with them, but that doesn’t mean you get to dictate how they spend their money. Outside of your agreed-upon expenses, don’t bother them about what they want to spend their hard-earned money on. An important part of learning how to manage finances is knowing when to stop. So, just let them breathe. If they are holding up to their end of the bargain, let them spend their money on whatever they want. Even if it’s something ridiculous like a giant ceramic dog. (Yes, that’s another Friends reference, no regrets!).
You may also like: 6 Shared Apps for Roommates to Help Keep Your Apartment A Conflict-Free Zone