Budgeting For Shared Expenses With Roommates

If you’re moving in with a roommate or significant other, make sure you account for regular expenses (and the odd surprise) in your budget. Here’s everything you’ll need to save for if you’re sharing your living situation with a friend or loved one.
Group of friends organizing and planning

You and your roomie might get along great—you might even have a friendship that extends beyond the walls of your shared abode. However, when it comes to handling bills, you find it super uncomfortable to have to pester them for their share of the rent. Or maybe you play the culprit, and are the one who occasionally slips up and forgets to pay your portion of, say, the electricity bill.

Saving up for these recurring expenses together will help ensure your bills are paid on time and prevent potentially awkward conversations about money. Here are monthly expenses you can budget with your roommate.

Rent

Rent is the most expensive part of getting your own place, and not keeping up with payments can have dire consequences. Not making your rent on time could seriously ding your credit, and if it happens more often than you’d like, it could be grounds for eviction. To make sure you and your roommate stay on top of your rent, create a Goal that should be completed a few days before the end of the month—or earlier, if you can swing it. Work together to make this happen by committing to a day in the month to have the rent money by. Coming up with a plan that works for the both of you can ensure you have the payment in hand to your landlord.

While it may not be the easiest thing to get the rent money together early, check and see if there are any other budgeting areas you can cut back on. You can also drum up some ideas for side hustles.

The following Goal should set you up in a decent apartment for a month, but change the amount to suit how much you have to pay.

Rent
$1600

Utilities

As bills hit on different days of the month, it’ll be easiest for you and your roomie to save enough for your utility bills a month ahead of time. You’ll want to add any utilities that aren’t included in your rent, which might be the water, power, gas, as well as the internet, cable, or a video streaming service. Don’t forget to budget for a little more during the winter and summer months, as you might run a higher electricity and gas bill for blasting the AC when it’s hot outside or, conversely, running the heater when it’s chilly.

Utilities
$150

Insurance

Renter’s insurance is something you’d want to seriously consider, especially if one of you works from home. Figure out how much coverage the two of you will need, then figure out the best payment cycle for you and your roommate (whether that’s monthly, quarterly, or annually), and create a budget accordingly. If it makes sense, one of you might pay more than other other. For instance, if one of you keeps more valuable belongings at your place, then it might be more fair if that person paid a larger portion for insurance.

Year of renter’s insurance
$150

Groceries

Did your roomie drink half of your milk in the fridge? Or perhaps after some months of co-dwelling, you stumble upon the basic fact that it’s more cost-effective to divvy up a carton of eggs than to buy two separate ones.

Make a list of groceries that you and your roomie want to split, then estimate how much you’ll need to save for a month’s worth of shared groceries. If you and your roommate just moved in together, you can gauge how much to budget by using Reports to figure out how much you spent on groceries the months prior. Depending on how often you shop for food, it may be helpful to create separate Goals for every two weeks, or every week. Try out a few different approaches for size and see what sticks.

Shared groceries
$100

Household items

If you’re tired of buying some of the shared household items without getting paid for them, set up a shared Goal with your roommate for the supplies that you both use around the house. This might include anything from laundry detergent to the box of tissues you like to have on the coffee table to those sundry household items. These everyday items you’re footing the bill for can add up quickly, so you’ll want to make sure you and your roomie fairly split the costs. Find that you’ve saved more than you needed? That’s an awesome problem to have, and to make sure no dollars get left in a forgotten Goal, you guys can “roll over” that amount to get ahead for the month ahead.

Household items
$75

Photo: ©istockphoto/Geber86

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