An issue almost everyone who attends university will run into at some point is how to go about sharing bills with your fellow students and roommates. Many disagreements have arisen through out the history of universities, the root cause of which, is student bill splitting!
While these bills may be small, most students find these expenses can quickly add up. Bills can include anything from the cost of your monthly broadband package to sharing the cost of a taxi.
As much as we would all like to be self-sufficient and be able pay for everything ourselves, as a student, normally that luxury isn’t really an option.
So what’s the best way to share bills? In this part of our guide to student bills series, that’s exactly what we’ll be answering as we take you through the best ways to split and share your student bills.
What we’ll be covering
- The Best Bill Splitting Apps
- Deciding how to Split Bills
- Placing all Names on Bills
- Creating a Joint Bank Account
- Tracking Expenses
- Comparing the Best Bill Splitting Apps
Let’s get started!
The Best Bill Splitting Apps
One great way to split your student bills and share the responsibility of payments is by using a bill splitting app. For those of you who are short on time, see our top three recommended bill splitting apps as listed below.
For a more in-depth overview on these apps and further budgeting tips, keep reading!
Student Bill Splitting: Decide how to Split Bills
The first thing that anyone should do when deciding how to split costs amongst a group is to come to an agreement over what is fair amongst yourselves.
What’s considered fair will be different depending on what it is your splitting and who benefits the most from the use of the products or service.
As an example, you and your housemates may well decide to keep track of some expenses informally, figuring that in the long run everything will likely even out. This could include things such as group meals, trips to the cinema or any other spur of the moment situations that are hard to anticipate and create a budget for.
The best solution for these sort of scenarios, is to settle-up payments, as and when they occur.
If your planning to go on a holiday as a group (as many student do), then it’s recommend to sort out any shared expenses before you hop on the plane and ensure everyone is one the same page.
A simple way to split holiday expenses, is to simply split up all of the costs equally between each person. When you approach this, discuss the various options for sharing expenses. Be sure everyone agrees on an approach which works for everyone.
Sharing Student Accommodation
If your sharing student accommodation, or renting out a spare room, then you’ll need to come to an agreement with your other housemates. Most bills and expenses associated with student accommodation, will be payable in re-occurring instalments, which makes things easer when calculating and organise any bill payments.
The difficulty can come in deciding who pays for what. For instance, should everyone pay for a service which only one or two house mates use, or should everyone pay equal amount of heating if only one person keeps turning it on.
Some of the bills students sharing accommodation typically have to pay are:
- Utility Cost such as Gas, Electricity, Water
- Broadband Packages
- Digital TV or Media Subscriptions
- TV Licence
Split the Responsibility
When paying these bills, one approach you can take is to split the responsibility for each of the bills between each housemate. Such as, one housemate would take responsibility for electric, another for gas, another for broadband and one for rent.
Once bill responsibilities have been allocated, each time a bill payment is due, the person who has been allocated responsibility to pay that bill, ensures each housemate has paid their share of the bill and that the bill is paid on time.
If you do decide to take this approach, ensure that everyone is responsible enough to meet any payment deadlines and the bills don’t get forgotten or missed. In some groups it may be best to have one person oversee this if they are the most reliable, which leads us to are next point, which is…..
Place all Housemates Names on Bills
This is the fairest way to share bills, and it also incentives everyone to pay on time, as to avoid getting a bad credit score. If you use this method, only those individuals who fail to pay, will be given a bad credit score.
By law, if only one persons name is on the bill, then that person is solely responsible for the bill payments. Placing all housemates names on each of the bills spreads this responsibility. With jointly named utility bills, every housemate is legally responsible for an equal share of the bill.
Create a Joint Bank Account
Most people assume you need to be legally partnered to open a joint bank account. But you can in fact have multiple authorized users on most standard joint accounts. With a joint bank account, two or more housemates can manage the same account.
Estimate the overall monthly costs of the bills and split the costs between each housemate. Each housemate can then pay their share of the estimated amount into the account each month. If there are any funds left in the account at the end of the tenancy, once all bills payments have been met, this can then be divided up between housemates.
You can often add an additional account holder to a current bank account by simply inquiring at your local bank branch. This is often easiest when still in the application process. Be on the lookout, as some banks will even run special promotions, such as offers of cash bonuses, for opening a new account.
If the idea of doing the maths to figure out your monthly budget makes your head spin. Don’t worry, you’re not alone, budgeting can be an intimidating endeavour so don’t despair too much!
One option is to take advantage of the many budgeting tools which are available online. These tools and programs can help you to track and work out your budgeting and billing costs and are often free.
Each of the bill splitting apps we are going to discuss, also contain functionality which will help you track your expenses. This is one of the advantages of using a bill splitting app, as it removes the need for using other budgeting software and allow you to manage all your bills in a single location, saving precious time.
Of course, if you are already skilled at keeping a budget, feel free to continue using whatever system works best for you. One of the most important parts when creating a budget is being honest and sticking to it once created.
Comparing the Best Bill Splitting Apps
Now that you know everything you need about budgeting and the in’s and out of student bill splitting, let’s take a look and compare some of the best bill slipping apps.
What is a bill splitting app?
Bill splitting apps, as the name suggests, allow you to divide the cost towards any payments where a group of people need to share some sort of bill. They make is easy for groups of students, friends or housemates to contribute their share of any payments.
To use a bill splitting app, you can simply download it to your smartphone or tablet. Any bills you have can be split between multiple people, with each person being assigned their own cost to contribute. It’s also possible to connect them to other payment services such as banks account or payment providers allowing payment to be made quickly and easily.
How much does a bill splitting app cost?
Most bill splitting apps are offered as free or freemium services. Paid for versions typically give you access to more features and wont display any ads.
Overall, bill splitting apps are actually quite cheap, with prices starting from £0.99 as a one time download or other charging 1 – 3% in transaction fees. When taken into consideration the headaches and hassle involved when trying to split bills yourself, it can be well worth it.
Best Student Bill Splitting Apps
Acasa is available to download for both Android and Apple phones. It’s specifically designed to manage household spending offering a tailored solution for student housemates
Free to use, it can be configured to automatically handle all regularly occurring bill payments such as electric, gas internet and rent as well as manage and budget household items.
What’s to like:
- 100% Free – Use at no cost
- Household Bill Sharing – Specifically designed for sharing household bills and students housemates
- Notifications – Send notifications on due dates, payments, and any service switchovers
- Auto Payments – Set up to automatically pay any re-occurring payments
- Track Budget & Expenses – Track budgets and any other type of expenses
Settle-Up is available on multiple platforms, including Apple, Android, Windows and also provides a web version. It comes with both free and paid versions.
The free version will occasionally display adverts, while the paid version allows you to store receipts and offers enhanced customisation features with no ads.
A simple one step sign up process is all that’s required to start using the app. Using the app is reasonable straight forward with a very intuitive UI
What’s to like:
- Bill Sharing: Share bills with friends even those who aren’t signed up
- Create Groups: Create custom groups to organise different expenses with different people
- Send Reminders: Send expenses via e-mail, social media, WhatsApp, or any other channel
- Great UI: Super simple user interface and splitting bills is a breeze.
Splid is available to download for both Android and Apple phones. It’s free version allows you to have one group of people to share expenses, otherwise you need to use the paid features.
It really shines if you use the paid version and can handle 20+ groups allowing you to easily share expenses with fellow students and download them as PDF or Excel files.
It’s primarily used for splitting up holiday expenses but can be used for bills too
What’s to like:
- Converting Currencies: Convert and tally using 150 unique currencies
- Download Files: Download a PDF or Excel file with a comprehensive summary of all the expenses
- Create Groups: Multiple payees can be added to each expense
Thus, concludes our guide on student bill splitting and how to share bills amongst your fellow students and housemates. There was a lot to cover, from making and agreeing to a budget, to even the possibility of setting up a joint banking account.
Hopefully you’ve learnt a thing or two and with your new found knowledge will be able to take the stress out of managing your student bills, all while avoiding any disputes or disagreements.
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