Living with your partner, or in a student house, can be really fun – until it’s time to share bills. It can turn into an ugly mess if you start arguing about money and who owes who for what.
Sadly, it’s all too easy for this to happen unless you have a system in place right from the start and everyone knows where they stand.
- How to share bills when you’re living with your partner
- How to share bills when you’re living with a group
- Bill-sharing apps
- More help managing your money
- Further reading on how to share bills fairly
If you’re living with your partner, it’s a good idea to keep your personal finances separate. Although, it’s usually sensible to have a joint account for paying household bills.
- Firstly, you need to agree what percentage each of you will pay of the bills, particularly if one of you earns a lot more than the other. Discuss this to make sure you’re both clear and that both of you agree.
- Use standing orders to ensure you both put enough money into your joint account each month. They will also ensure that bills get paid on time.
- If you’re married, then other purchases such as furniture and decorations could also come out of this account. Plus, you don’t necessarily need to keep account of who paid how much for each thing. However, if you’re cohabiting, it’s useful to keep receipts for items you have bought so that it’s easier to divvy up the items if you split up.
- Also, if you have bought a house together, make sure that you both have your names on the deeds and keep records of payments you make towards the mortgage, bills and furniture. If you separate, this will help you to get what you are owed.
Take a look at our further reading list for more ideas on managing your money as a married or cohabiting couple.
Remember, if you take out a loan together or do a hire purchase agreement, you’ll be linked to your partner’s credit history. That means that if your partner’s credit rating is poor, you may need to think again. Here are twelve things that could be bringing your credit score down (including taking out a loan with someone else).
It’s also worth checking out the Money Advice Service’s guidance for couples on how to manage your money.
If you’re a student sharing a property with others, this could be the first time you’ve faced bill-paying. Not the most fun, but has to be done!
- For starters, draw up an agreement about how much each of you will pay each month, what you will do if someone doesn’t pay their share and what you can and can’t do if one of you leaves or goes away for a long period. That way you have something to fall back on if problems occur.
- Nominate someone (the most sensible among you!) to manage the bills and all the financial stuff.
- If possible, automate everything by paying bills by direct debit and standing order. That way it all gets paid on time and no one has to keep badgering others to pay their money each month.
- Also, make sure that the nominated person keeps records of payments. Or, even better, use an app (see below) to manage the household bills, including food and bathroom cleaners.
There are some handy, and free, apps that can help you share other living costs fairly. They are particularly useful for house shares such as a student house or friends living together. They’re also good for couples and could cut down on arguments about who is contributing the most.
For example, Splitwise is popular to help you share bills. One user in London says “Splitwise is absolutely brilliant for splitting bills and household costs – e.g. bleach, washing up liquid – as you can just upload a pic of the receipt. There’s three of us in my flat and it makes life so much easier.” It’s free and you can use it on iPhone and Android and on the web.
There’s also the free Acasa app which helps easily split day-to-day expenses while you keep on top of the household spending generally. One user, Becky, says “Would highly recommend – the toilet roll split doesn’t become an issue on who’s turn it is next!”
Pingit is a free money-sharing app which is primarily for sending money to friends and family using just a mobile phone number. But, it can also be used as a bill-splitting aid for anyone sharing their home with others.
Klarna is a Swedish-based brand offering alternative payments globally. They work with retailers like ASOS, Arcadia, and JD Sports, offering a range of payment services from Pay now, Pay later and Slice it.
As part of their mission to simplify payments and help people to be financially healthy, Klarna has launched Mindful Money. This is a hub with helpful tips and tricks for managing your money and spending responsibly, from MoneyMagpie and other contributors.
Check it out for support with splitting finances while still having fun times and nice things.
We have an abundance of advice about cohabiting and how you can share bills effectively. Check these articles out: