How to Split Living Costs with Your Roommate: 6 Tips

Aug 2, 2022 2 min read

You might have found the perfect roommate and the perfect place to live, but have you found the perfect plan to share expenses? These six tips for managing your shared expenses with roommates will fix the financial fuss and make your home a happy one. 

1. Set Rules About Finances

Before you begin exchanging money with roommates or a live-in partner, it’s helpful to establish some ground rules first. What are the overall expenses, and does each person agree to these? Who pays for what? Will one person handle the actual payments while the other one reimburses? What happens if someone is late with a payment? These questions should all be addressed initially, and then you can start organizing the finances and developing a strategy for how to manage expenses with your roommate.

Money management tips include:

  • Create a budget binder (digital or paper)
  • Prioritize bills
  • Build an emergency fund
  • Set aside time to review shared finances regularly

2. Use Digital Platforms to Split Expenses

Gone are the days of sitting around with stacks of bills and a calculator. No more tallying costs and then nagging each other to settle up. With an online digital manager like Splitwise, you can send an IOU notice to your roommate or live-in significant other whenever you pay a bill. Sharing expenses online makes dividing the costs of utilities, rent, renters insurance and even groceries, fast, easy and math-free.

3. Create a Shared Budget

When splitting bills with roommates, a single spreadsheet might be just the tool you need as it allows you to split household bills fairly, clearly and on time, especially if one of you handles all the payments and the other reimburses for their share. Creating a shared monthly budget spreadsheet also means you can avoid having to invite your roommates or partner to sign up for an app and then bugging them to use it, which could be another pain point altogether. There are plenty of free shared budget templates online to choose from.

4. Exchange Money In Seconds

Deciding who owes what and to whom is half the battle. One of the best ways to split bills with roommates is Venmo. The popular money-exchange app allows you to divide expenses quickly, efficiently and free of charge. How it works: Venmo connects to your checking account (or through your debit card) to facilitate withdrawals and deposits between you and your contacts. 

5. Schedule Direct Deposit for Rent

If your household struggles with gathering everyone’s portion of the rent each month, and then paying the landlord on time, PlacePay is for you. This app allows you to set up a direct deposit with your landlord. Housemates can then each pay individually via autopay from their bank accounts — all at the same time. 

6. Share An Account

If you’re living with a significant other but don’t want to open a traditional joint checking account, try a shared account on One. You’ll each have your own account, in addition to a shared version, and you’ll both be able to add money to the shared account to pay joint bills, such as rent or utilities. You’ll also get a notification each time one of you makes a transaction.


Check Your Coverage

Is one of your shared expenses renters insurance? If you’re renting, it should be. Contact your local Farm Bureau agent for more information about renters insurance.

Want to learn more?

Contact a local FBFS agent or advisor for answers personalized to you.