Living With Roommates: How to Split Expenses

Having roommates is a great way to cut your expenses by sharing the cost of living. It can also lead to headaches about money.

4 min read

Having roommates is a great way to cut your expenses by sharing the cost of living with others. It can also lead to some pretty delicate situations, especially when it comes to money. But living with others doesn’t have to lead to conflict or awkwardness. Learning some common-sense tips for handling money can help you navigate living with multiple people, and make the next months or years of cohabitation a breeze. 

N26 is here to help you get the right tools and knowledge to navigate life’s important financial decisions.  Our app is loaded with helpful features so you can live your way and bank your way — and your roommates can, too.

Splitting expenses

Roommates generally have two basic types of expenses that need to be handled differently: monthly expenses and weekly expenses.

Monthly expenses

Every month you’ll have to make payments on certain bills like rent, water, trash, electricity, and internet. Usually these expenses are split equally and everyone in the house pays their fair share, unless you’re dealing with a special arrangement unique to your situation. 

  • Create a roommate agreement. Decide in advance how the bills will be paid, who will pay them, and how you will stay organized so they are paid on time. If no one volunteers to be the person in charge of the bills, you’ll want to divide the duties up between all roommates.

  • Build a cost spreadsheet. No matter who’s in charge of each bill, everyone needs to know the amount of each payment and when it’s due. Set up a spreadsheet or calendar that includes this information along with the name of the roommate who is responsible for paying it. Check off each item as it’s paid each month.

  • Find a bank account that makes it easy to manage expenses. Keeping track of your money is crucial if you and your roommates want to budget for your monthly bills. With N26, you can see exactly where your money is going with automated spending statistics. You can also send money to other N26 customers instantly.

Weekly expenses

Weekly expenses include things like groceries, take-out, and home supplies (such as cleaning products or paper towels). It can be a little more challenging to deal with weekly expenses because they’re more sporadic than monthly expenses, and you might disagree on how to split them up. For example: If your roommate always eats at home but you dine out at restaurants five nights every week, you probably won’t feel like splitting the grocery expenses 50/50. Like monthly expenses, weekly expenses are easier to deal with when you set some ground rules up front.

  • Split expenses evenly or ask for separate checks. You’ll figure out pretty soon which method is best for you and your roommate(s). Some people have similar styles of spending, and some don’t. If you don’t, it’s no big deal — just pay separately.

  • Create a designated storage space for each roommate. This works especially well for food, which can be a source of tension between hungry roommates. With designated spaces in the pantry and fridge, everyone knows which food is off-limits.

  • Pay instantly. Owing each other money over any amount of time is a recipe for resentment and confusion. Don’t let small debts linger. When one roommate pays the bill for everyone, make sure that they get paid back right away. It just takes a few taps to send and receive money instantly in the N26 app using MoneyBeam, and you’ll even earn a bonus when you invite your friends.

Talking about money

Discussing finances with your roommates can feel awkward at first, but the more often you do it, the easier it gets. The key is to address your expenses early and create some ground rules. Don’t wait until you have a stack of bills before you decide how you’ll pay them. Make a plan together now and you’ll alleviate future financial stress. Timing is everything, so choose a time to talk when everyone is relaxed, in a good mood, and not in the middle of doing something else. Keep it casual and open. If you aren’t sure how to begin, simply approach it like this: “Hey, when would be a good time for us to sit down and talk about our bills?”

Split expenses and manage your finances with N26

Make it easier to sort out money matters with roommates by planning ahead, talking openly with each other, and taking advantage of N26’s helpful tools. From instant money transfers to automated spending statistics, the N26 can help you take control of your finances. Got five minutes? You can open your account right from your phone.

The N26 account is offered by Axos Bank®, Member FDIC. N26 Inc. is a service provider of Axos Bank. All deposit accounts of the same ownership and/or vesting held at Axos Bank are combined and insured under the same FDIC Certificate 35546. All deposit accounts through Axos Bank brands are not separately insured by the FDIC from other deposit accounts held with the same ownership and/or vesting at Axos Bank. The N26 Visa® Debit Card is issued by Axos Bank pursuant to a license by Visa U.S.A. Inc. The N26 Visa Debit Card may be used everywhere Visa debit cards are accepted.

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