How to Split Furniture & Other Costs with Roommates

how to split costs with roommates

Your college roommate may be someone you’ve known since high school, or you may be meeting for the first time on the day you move in. Regardless of your history, it’s important to establish the rules of your relationship right away — especially the financial rules.

Roommates share more than just dorm or apartment space. They also share the cost of living in and maintaining that space, and the key to a harmonious relationship is establishing the best way to spilt bills with roommates before you’ve even received your first rent notice.

If you’re unsure how to split costs with roommates, here’s a handy guide that can help you in any situation.

How Much Should I Charge a Roommate to Live with Me?

Assuming you live in an apartment with equal-sized bedrooms where everyone gets the same amount of living and sleeping space, the cost of rent should be split evenly among the occupants. If rent costs $2000 per month and four of you live in the apartment, that means you each pay $500 per month.

Things get more complicated, however, if you live in an apartment with a master bedroom. Then you can negotiate. For example, the person in the master may pay $100 more per month, or you may ask the person in the master to cover the monthly water bill by themselves. Deciding these terms together will be the key to a harmonious year. Don’t let one person dictate the arrangement, or it will just lead to gripes down the road.

How Should I Split Utilities with My Roommates?

Once again, the easiest way to split the bill will be to divide the monthly utilities between however many people are living at the apartment. Yet you may need to adjust your agreement based on these variables:

  • One person taking outlandishly long showers, driving up the water bill.
  • Someone’s girlfriend or boyfriend spending all of their time at the apartment, increasing water and electricity costs.
  • One roommate caring for a pet, which requires frequent baths or other special attention that impacts the monthly bills.

Agree to a once-a-month sit-down to address any of these or other concerns that may arise.

How to Split Furniture Costs with My Roommates?

Finally, you will also need to determine how to furnish your apartment. You will require furniture for your kitchen, living room and bedroom at minimum. Again, the best way to determine how to find this furniture will be to talk with your roommates before you move in.

Furniture Rental Package for Students

First, take an inventory of what people have on hand and how far away from campus they live. If you go to school in California and your roommate from New York has an extra bed, they’re probably not going to bring that with them. You may decide to take an “every person for themselves” approach and all bring your own furniture to campus or purchase it individually once you arrive.

Unfortunately, this can result in duplicates and mismatched décor. You may prefer to all chip in and buy new items together. However, one drawback will be who gets the furniture when you move out. One way to avoid that fight is to establish ahead of time that you will sell the furniture and split the proceeds. Additionally, you may all agree on which items to purchase, and designate who is to buy each item, keeping your purchased items at the end of the year or when you move on to your next apartment.

Another option could be to rent furniture. This offers the best flexibility, since you can all combine to split the rental fees, and you won’t need to fight over who gets the furniture at the end of the term. You simply return it to wherever you rented.

If you decide this option works for you, check out the student housing options from IFR, which include packages for multiple rooms.