Sharing an apartment with a roommate is a good way to manage the cost of living. Establishing a budget is essential so you and your roomie can tackle expenses efficiently.
Here are some tips for a productive budget conversation.
Have an Honest Conversation
Personal finances are a sensitive subject, even if you’re talking with your best friend. However, it’s an important conversation that should happen before you move in together.
Discussing the following will give you an idea of your roommate’s finances:
- Their job stability
- Monthly income
- Personal expenses such as car insurance, loans and phone bill
- Their credit score
Discuss Shared and Individual Expenses
Rent and utilities like water, electricity and heating are commonly shared costs between roommates. Other optional expenses include internet, cable, streaming services and renters’ insurance. You’ll need to discuss who will pay for those services or if you’d like to split them evenly. For example, you both watch Netflix, but it’s your roommate’s account. He or she may wish for you to chip in for their subscription since you’re sharing the account.
Decide How to Pay for Groceries
Working out how to pay for groceries might be tricky. You and your roommate may have different eating habits and schedules. You may like to cook while your roommate prefers takeout, making it hard to determine what you need to fill your fridge and pantry.
Buying your own food is an option, but will you finish things like milk and condiments on your own? Discuss which foods and beverages you’re willing to share and take turns buying those items. You could also split the cost of cleaning supplies. Each roommate can buy their supplies or divide the supplies per room. One person buys items for the kitchen, while the other purchases for the bathroom.
Pick Someone to Pay the Bills
Most rent and utility bills require a primary account to make payments. Having one person pay monthly expenses all at once is often easier than separate payments from multiple people, which can lead to confusion and over- or under-payments.
Discuss who would best handle the expense schedule. That person should create a deadline for each roommate’s portion of their expenses to ensure everything is paid on time. Or split up the bills per roommate and collect each other’s share after it’s been paid. For example, you take charge of rent and electricity payments while your roommate ensures the water and heating bills are covered.
Record and Track Expenses
You’ll have several monthly bills to manage, and you may encounter a situation where you or your roommate can’t remember if you paid. Tracking expenses is a must, whether in a notebook or on a spreadsheet or app.
Collect your monthly statements and keep them in a communal space where everyone can find them. Highlight the due date and amount or input them in a spreadsheet. You or your roommate should log the date next to each bill once it’s been paid to eliminate confusion and error.
Ardent Communities has several apartment and townhouse communities in Columbus, Ohio. Connect with us online to learn about our residences and application process.