One Splitwise fan writes to ask if the ever-popular rent calculator takes into account location when deciding how to split the cost of rent between roommates. Continue reading The Downtown Roommate Dilemma
I had the fascinating experience of attending my first jury summons yesterday in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. I wasn’t sure whether to be disappointed or relieved when they dismissed me from the courthouse after 7 hours of waiting for my voir dire.
A randomly selected jury pool jury is in some ways the original, single-use fairness calculator. When confronted with a dispute, one presents the case to a representative sample of your peers. They vote for the result they think matches their common sense notions of what is relevant and who is right. If Splitwise didn’t do surveys to test our fairness calculators, it would be a bit like the government having a trial without a jury (maybe a stretch, but I think it’s a stimulating thought).
Continue reading Juries: The Original Fairness Calculator
“Should we split the check?” This dinner table cliché is just one part of an age-old sharing conundrum: should group costs be divided evenly among all parties, or allocated based on actual usage?
On holiday vacations with friends or other families, we are frequently confronted with these anxiety-inducing decisions. Items like lodging and transportation are often paid in advance, and a single person will often purchase groceries or supplies for the whole group. To add to the confusion, people will occasionally lend each other money (“Don’t worry, I’ll cover you and you can pay me back”).
It’s never pleasant to deal with these questions after the fact, so allow me to present some original research and a helpful tool that should take the stress out of settling the bills. While some cost-sharing choices remain a matter of personal taste, there is broad consensus on how to share the most significant vacation expenses.
Continue reading How To Split A Shared Vacation House
Very few survey respondents actually would offer to pay cash to a roommate based on disrupting them. It’s a more of a guide to the value of the appropriate gift for, or to how much value your apartment would lose on the open market if you knew how frequent the disturbances would be.
The way we calculate the number comes from linearly extrapolating loud sex to all other cases. Specifically, loud sex is worth (per incident) some number we get an average of from our survey. We take this as a fraction of the average daily rent contribution of our survey respondents. Lastly, we linearly extrapolate this percentage from the average badness of each sound type in the “how disruptive question” described in this article.
Make sure you use your personal rent contribution instead of the total rent for the apartment, or the number will be several times too high!
If you have questions about the procedure, feel free to use our contact form and I will respond as soon as I can (often well within 24 hours).
What if more than 3 people are in a room? Your rent calculator does not have a setting for this.
Our apartment has two bedrooms. The first is a guest bedroom (113 sq ft) being shared by two people, with a guest bath that also has access to the living room. The master bedroom (124 square feet) is being shared by three people, and has its own “private” bathroom. There is a living room (126 sq ft) with a fireplace, a balcony, and a normal sized kitchen.
Thanks if you could help me decide what to charge for each of us 5 apartmentmates.
Roommates à trois Continue reading When Three People Share A Room
Your friend asked on July Fourth if she could crash on your couch while she looked for an apartment. You didn’t mind her doing it and you didn’t ask her to pay anything. But now it’s August and she still hasn’t found a place. You don’t mind letting her stay for free, but your roommate is starting to get cranky and there’s nowhere else for her to go. You feel like if she chipped in towards the rent, that might help smooth things over, but when is long enough to start asking for a contribution? And how much money should you ask for?
Continue reading How much to charge a couch crasher
- The purchase price of the furniture
- The change in condition/quality of the furniture
- How long the furniture has been in use since it was bought
Thanks to interest from readers and responders like you, I have had a lot more opportunity to check my original work and the calculator is holding up quite well under public scrutiny. Thanks to everyone who gave feedback or wrote notes of congratulations – it’s made this whole project really, really fun!
Right after launch, I started collecting voluntary feedback from people using the calculator. Originally, I simply asked people to rate the calculator on a 1-5 scale. Here are the results from the first 1,338 respondents (before I switched the feedback system to the present one, which is still collecting data).
Fairness is a funny thing. One person’s fair is another person’s rip-off. So it is important for a rent-splitting calculator to jive with a broadly intuitive sense of fairness. It can’t just be what I think is fair – or what any one person thinks – or it won’t be useful.
In order to validate and calibrate the formula I used for the rent-share calculator on this blog, I did a rather in-depth survey on “apartment sharing fairness” with my friends. Here are the results – enjoy!