April 22, 2023 12:41 pm

Nayeli Ellen / @ellen_nayeli

College life comes with its fair share of challenges, and sharing living expenses with roommates is undoubtedly one of them. In this article, we delve into the experiences of college students who navigated the tricky waters of splitting bills with roommates. We’ll share their stories and learn from their successes and mistakes. So, buckle up and get ready for some tips, tricks, and a healthy dose of reality.

The 50/50 Split: A Simple Solution (John’s experience)

John suggests the 50/50 split as a straightforward and easy method to divide shared expenses. According to him, this approach can avoid any confusion or animosity between roommates. The simplicity of equally dividing all costs is often a reasonable solution when both parties use shared resources, such as electricity and internet, in a similar manner.

Splitting by Usage: A Fairer Alternative (Sarah’s suggestion)

Sarah believes in splitting bills based on usage. For instance, if one roommate consumes more electricity or water than the other, they should pay a higher portion of the bill. This method promotes fairness and encourages responsible usage of resources. However, it requires regular monitoring of usage, which can be time-consuming and might lead to disagreements.

The Art of Communication (David’s emphasis)

David emphasizes the importance of open communication when it comes to bill-splitting. He suggests that roommates should have regular discussions about their financial situation, clarify any misunderstandings, and establish clear boundaries. Communication is key to maintaining a healthy roommate relationship and resolving any disputes that may arise regarding shared expenses.

Creating a Shared Expense Tracker (Emma’s idea)

Emma shares the idea of using an expense tracker to monitor shared costs. This can be a simple spreadsheet, a mobile app, or even a shared Google document. The tracker should include all shared expenses, such as rent, utilities, and household items. This way, both roommates can easily access and update the information, ensuring transparency and accountability in handling shared costs.

Navigating Conflicts: A Lesson Learned (Michael’s story)

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, conflicts can still arise. Michael shares his story of a roommate who refused to contribute to shared expenses. The situation escalated, eventually leading to a falling out and a damaged friendship. This example underscores the importance of setting expectations and boundaries early on in the roommate relationship. Clear communication and compromise can help prevent similar situations from occurring.

The Roommate Agreement: A Proactive Approach (Sophia’s experience)

Sophia stresses the importance of having a roommate agreement in place before moving in together. She shares her experience of drafting a written agreement with her roommate that detailed how they would split bills, chores, and other responsibilities. This proactive approach helped them avoid misunderstandings and set clear expectations from the outset. A roommate agreement can serve as a reference point for any future disputes, ensuring that all parties are on the same page when it comes to shared expenses.

The Case for Splitwise (Daniel’s recommendation)

Daniel shares his positive experience using the app Splitwise to manage shared expenses with roommates. According to him, the app simplifies the process of splitting bills by allowing users to input their expenses and track who owes whom. It also sends reminders for pending payments, ensuring that everyone stays on top of their financial responsibilities. Splitwise can be an excellent tool for roommates looking for a hassle-free way to manage their shared expenses.

The Power of Compromise (Olivia’s story)

Olivia’s story highlights the importance of compromise when it comes to splitting bills with roommates. In her case, one roommate was using significantly more electricity due to their gaming habits. Instead of demanding that the gaming roommate pay a higher share of the electricity bill, they agreed to reduce their gaming hours and switch to more energy-efficient devices. This compromise not only saved money but also improved their relationship as roommates. Finding a middle ground can help maintain harmony and ensure that everyone’s needs are met.

Dealing with Unexpected Expenses (Lucas’s experience)

Lucas shares an experience where his roommate lost their job and struggled to cover their share of the expenses. Instead of getting angry, they worked together to come up with a temporary solution. They agreed that the unemployed roommate would cover a smaller portion of the bills until they found a new job. This empathetic approach helped maintain their friendship and ensured that both parties could continue living together. When unexpected situations arise, it’s crucial to be understanding and supportive, while finding solutions that work for everyone involved.

Learning from Past Mistakes (Ava’s story)

Lastly, Ava shares a cautionary tale about not addressing financial issues with her roommate early on. She admits to ignoring red flags and avoiding uncomfortable conversations, which ultimately led to a difficult situation when her roommate stopped paying their share of the bills. This experience taught her the importance of addressing concerns and establishing clear expectations from the beginning. By learning from past mistakes, we can avoid repeating them and foster healthy, transparent relationships with our roommates.


The personal experiences shared in this article demonstrate the importance of clear communication, compromise, and proactive planning when splitting bills with roommates. By taking these insights to heart and learning from the experiences of others, you can create a harmonious living environment and ensure that shared expenses are handled fairly and efficiently.

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