Have you ever face the problem of sharing expenses between flatmates or roommates? I will try to discuss major aspects of sharing expenses with roomate in this article. I will answer questions, such as, What to share? How to share?
Firstly, it is important to agree in advance what model of sharing expenses you and your colleagues will be following. One option could be sharing no expenses, everybody is on his own. This makes sense for living start, when you do not know the person you are living with, his habbits and lifestyle. The other extreme option could be sharing everything, including food, kitchen utilities, transport tickets. It is recommended when your roomate is quite good friend, you often cook dinner and eat it together. It is important that you trust each other and believe than small loans will be returned. The most usual option, though, is sharing expenses partially - it means basically sharing expenses on kitchen tools (spatula, boiler), essential cooking ingredients (oil, salt, sugar) and ocasionally, costs of parties trhown on room. As we can see, despite which option you choose, you need a tool for managing expenses
The simplest technique ever is not couting and managing shared expenses at all. The motivation is simple: you and your friend believe that in the long turn total balance will be about 0, because one time you have money and buy something shared, another time your friend will take turn. However, it seems it is not the case in practise. People have different attitude towards spending money, some of them avoid carrying cash all the time, other's understand the need of particular expenditure differentely. This might lead to not only disbalance of ependiture among friends, but also trend to create small conflicts (eplicit or not explicit) - one of the friends can feel exploited all the time. As a reward, this technique is very simple and straightforward and works with small amount of shared epenses
The technique which works in practise, is sharing expenses via some computer application or spreadsheet. There are at least several of big advantages for this. First, no longer somebody feels exploited, because everybody pays exactly the amount they consumed particular product or service. Second, it comes out of the mind, letting it concentrate on other more important issues, the thing emphasized in top-selling personal time management book "Getting things done". Lastly, having numbers in some computer calculation we can make various amount of analysis: benchmaring, statistics. However, we will have to spent some time and effort, if we chose to manage expenses on computer application - this is the price we pay
To conclude, if you decide to start sharing small expenditure with your roomate, you will need a tool for it. I recommend to use the one, which i developed with my personal eperience bacground. It is free and does just what it has too - calculates who owns whom, after entering who paid for what and who used what. So please try it!