Cut the drama out of splitting bills with strangers.

Cut the drama out of splitting bills with strangers.
Whenever you move into a new home with new flatmates, household bills can be a touchy subject. I’ve lived in shared accommodation for a while now and splitting bills has always been a headache.

Over the years, I’ve learnt a few things (I’m definitely still learning) and picked up a few tips. Hopefully sharing these tips will help make “the bill chat” and your life, a little less stressful.

1. How to split your bills

There’s a few ways you can split and manage your bills.

1.Put one person in control

Give one person the responsibility to the pay the bills from their bank account. Each housemate can then transfer money into their account each month.

By using your own account, it will be up to you to make the payments on time regardless of whether the other housemates transfer you the money on time.

2. Use a joint account

Set up a joint bank account where each of you pays into the account and the bills are taken automatically and shared out equally.

If you have a joint account you are financially linked with the other owners of the account. This means whatever happens in this account will impact your credit file and future financial decisions.

3. Use a tool

There are bunch of tools and websites that can help with splitting household bills. I personally use splitthebills.co.uk. For me it takes the stress out of negotiating bill payments with my housemates.

Never having to think about bills was so worth it. Since there are five of us it saves us so much money. All the bills are included and we don’t have to be conscious about conserving energy because the payment is an overestimation over the whole year. We’re not even conservative with heating and we still save money! It was a relief to find a way to manage the bills with zero stress.

2. Dodge potential conflicts

Everyone thinks about money differently and will vary in how they prioritise paying bills. The easiest way to avoid any conflicts is to sit down and set expectations early. This way you’re on the same page from the start.

One year I lived with a girl who was paying back a number of short term loans and and didn’t want to (or couldn’t afford) to pay for extra TV packages. We understood her situation and took this into account when splitting bills.

A common problem can be if one person in the house has a smaller room than the others and feel they should pay less. Obviously each situation will be different but again my advice is to sort things out early and be flexible. 90% of the time it can all be sorted with common sense.

Key takeaways:

1. Sort it out early:

Put together a meeting with all your housemates ASAP to discuss the best way to tackle paying the bills.

2. Find the way that works best for your house:

Whether it’s having one account holder, a joint account or paying a third party service such as Split the Bills to calculate and pay your bills for you, discuss as a team.Priority is keep it simple so you avoid fines, late payments and drama.

3. Take responsibility and be flexible:

However you choose to split the bills make sure you pay them on time. If you can be flexible it will make your life and everyone else’s life a whole lot easier.

If you’re struggling with money, talk about it.