By Kalee Cowan
Receiving monthly bills that are your responsibility can be a major wake-up call. When I moved into my first apartment, the whole concept of living away from home was new to me. The biggest misconception I had was about bills. Away from home and my parents, I discovered a lot of bills I had never considered because my parents had always paid them. While I heard my dad talk about the electricity bill going up or the grocery bill being high, I never worried about them because they were his responsibility. When I turned on the television, I didn’t think about the $120 bill my dad paid every month. Or when I left lights on when I was away from the house, I didn’t think about the cost of electricity. Or when I went to the grocery store with my mom and added whatever I wanted to the shopping cart, I didn’t think about how quickly the price of groceries adds up. These costs didn’t resonate with me because someone else always paid.
Living away from home, I was responsible for bills every single month, bills I had never even thought about before. This realization was intimidating, but I had two roommates, and we worked out a system to split the major bills. Here’s roughly how we did it:
My roommates had bedrooms of equal size and layout, and I had the master bedroom, so I paid more for rent. We divided the rent by three, subtracted $25 from each of their portion, and added $50 to my portion. This way, I was paying more for having the bigger bedroom and private bathroom.
For some other ways to split rent when rooms are not equal click here.
We each paid one third of the cable, internet, and electricity bills, even though one person may have watched television more than another, and one person rarely stayed in the apartment, so she used less cable, internet, and electricity than the other two.
Other Shared Expenses
For things that weren’t monthly bills like cleaning, laundry, and paper products, we created a system where we took turns buying what we needed because we all used these products. For instance, I bought paper towels one month, while another roommate bought laundry detergent. When one of these products was gone, the next roommate in order would buy more.
We each bought our own groceries because we each had different eating habits and tastes. Each person did, however, pick one night a week and cooked supper to share with one another.
Keeping Track of Bills
When we moved into the apartment, we hung a calendar in our kitchen and marked the due date for each bill. Since we had already created a system to divide the bills, we knew how much our part was, so we never had to question one another. Overall, splitting the major bills and creating a system that was fair and equal worked well for my two roommates and me. I definitely recommend creating a similar system so everyone knows when bills are due and how much each person owes.
Kalee Cowan holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Rural Studies: Writing and Communication, and is a customer service representative for an insurance agency. She loves to read, bake cupcakes, and attend every concert she can. She loves her hometown but constantly dreams of moving to Nashville, TN.