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Sharing your home with roommates means that you are all equally responsible for the various bills that come in each month. Not only does this mean the monthly rent but also things like the utility bills, the electricity bills, the water bills and possibly the phone and internet as well. Rent is only one piece of the financial puzzle to consider when renting an apartment or house. Before you move in to any place you need to sit down and see if you can afford not only the rent but also the general living expenses that come with living on your own.

Rental Expenses and Monthly Bills

Set up a time to sit down with your roommates and go through the expenses that you will need to share. This may include things like groceries and general homewares items (such as toilet paper, cleaning products, mops, etc). If you have a landline, then you might need to share this cost unless you all prefer to just use your cell phones. If you have one internet connection then this will need to be split as well. It will also include things like mowing and landscaping expenses, rates, utility bills and any other bills that come through.

In addition to the bills that you will split with your roommates, you will also need to consider your own bills to pay. If you are renting out furniture or on a student loan, then you might have to pay a certain amount each month. If you have a cell phone and wireless internet, this is another cost to consider. You may also need to pay your car insurance, renters insurance, groceries and fuel costs on a monthly basis. By setting up a budget and knowing exactly what you need to pay in terms of split roommate bills and individual bills, you will be in a better financial situation all year long.

Overcome Problems with Splitting Bills

There may be some problems when it comes to splitting bills with your roommates, especially if you have difficult living companions. For example, one roommate may take three showers a day and thus use up more water than the rest of you. One roommate may spend every night on the phone to his girlfriend overseas and thus rack up a huge phone bill each month. One roommate may insist on keeping the air conditioning on in her room thus increasing the monthly electricity costs. Is it fair for everyone to pay the same amount in these instances?

This all depends on what you and your roommates agree on. If you choose to split all the bills evenly, then you need to try to consume evenly as well. If you need your three showers a day or hour long conversation with your girlfriend overseas each day, then offer to pay more each month to make up for these costs. It is only fair, after all.

Another common issue is one of your roommates not paying their share each month, either because they ‘forgot’ or because they cannot afford it. Either way, this is not acceptable. When you sign a lease contract you are not only agreeing to pay the rent but also the other expenses that come with it. If you are unable to pay your share each month, then it might be time to look for a cheaper, more affordable accommodation situation for your needs, perhaps back at home with Mom and Dad. If you cannot stick to your budget and come up with your share of the bills to split bills with roommates, then you are not ready to be out on your own just yet.

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