When Three People Share A Room

Dear Splitwise,

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.

With gratitude,
Roommates à trois Continue reading When Three People Share A Room

See all debts at once

Ryan pushed out a mini-update this week for people who manage large apartments and big group trips. The feature lets you see who everyone owes, not just for yourself.

We noticed that if not everyone in your apartment was a registered user, it was hard to tell the big picture of who-owes who.  This is helpful if you manage finances for your apartment, and send out an email each month to settle up all the debts. Or if you go on a big trip and don’t want to bother registering every last person’s email.

This feature doesn’t look very pretty yet, but we felt it was important to have it, and we will be improving it over the next month or two.

I’ve been hearing a lot via email about international currencies recently, which is awesome. They’re coming right up! It’s our top priority once we get mobile apps out the door. Let us know if you want to make sure your currency is included.

For what it’s worth, I will probably be switching my blogging schedule to Monday and Wednesday from now on. With the exception being a post tomorrow.  Till then!

How To Share A Broker’s Fee

Today we answer our first question emailed to Dear Splitwise.

Dear Splitwise,

How does one split the broker’s fee fairly in a NYC apartment? If someone has their own bathroom, should they pay more, or is it split evenly by all roommmates?

Broke and Broker

Dear Broke and Broker,

It’s true that in New York, Boston, and other major metro areas you often have to pay a broker’s fee to the real estate agent to get an apartment, even one you would share with roommates. Which stinks.

So, Broke and Broker, your question is: if the bedrooms are different enough in quality that one bedroom should have a higher rent, the question is, should that person also pay a bigger share of the broker’s fee? Great question! Continue reading How To Share A Broker’s Fee

Guests in bedrooms

I neglected to post a link here to my most recent Forbes article yesterday – the last in the three-part series on guests. In it, we consider the merits of cold mutton and show some data on the question of what is fair for people living in your guest room for a long period of time. Check it out!

How much to charge a couch crasher

Image by Venturist via Flickr
How long before you ask her to pitch-in?

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

Announcing: “Dear Splitwise”

Splitwise is all about making sharing with your friends, housemates, and family easier. Since we’re fairly nerdy, we like to do that by making calculators that address common fairness situations. But sometimes, the situation is just too specific for a calculator. Since we started with the rent calculator in February, we’ve received several emails asking about the specifics of a given roommate situation.

If you have a fairness or roommmate situation that just does not fit into a calculator, email us at ask@splitwise.com. Not only do we answer really, really fast (usually within a few hours at most), we will study the question, consult with experts, or do a survey to solve your conundrum. Then we’ll turn it into a blog post for the amusement of others. Think of it like a relationship advice column for your sharing questions, answered by nerds with charts.

The Guest Calculator

I just posted the second article in the guest series over at Forbes, “How Much To Charge A Couch-Crasher” over at Forbes. Please feel free to indulge your inner survey-nerd and give it a look.

In the article, I introduce a method for charging your guests who crash on the couch for a week or longer. It’s called the Guest calculator and you can view it right now on Splitwise.com and from within the Splitwise interface.

I’m also posting the full-text of the first article about guests, “How Much To Charge Your Roommate’s Girlfriend”, on this blog, so that you can read it all here. That article has also been featured on AskMen.com and MSNBC, so if you found it first elsewhere – um, welcome! If I post content first somewhere else, I will try to post it here within a week or so.

How Much To Charge Your Roommate’s Girlfriend

Where is the line?
Let’s say that you live with a roommate who has a new girlfriend. At first, the girlfriend spends the night just a couple of times a month. You see her in the mornings, but it’s hardly a bother. After a while, she starts hanging around nearly every night, eating on the couch, watching TV, and taking showers in the morning. It’s almost like you have a new roommate! She’s not paying for your bills or rent, and she says she has her own place too. You don’t want to make her pay for everything twice. But is it fair that she uses your air conditioning, your kitchen, and your living room without contributing a dime?

Continue reading How Much To Charge Your Roommate’s Girlfriend

Using Splitwise for group travel

One thing that Splitwise has turned out suprisingly useful for is group trips: road trips, ski-trips, weekend getaways, whatever. It’s a classic money-organization problem. Someone rents a car, someone buys the groceries, someone pays for gas, and lots of money is getting lent back and forth. Without Splitwise, someone always ends up spending a few hours trying to reckon it at the end, and then someone gets confused and you do it over again. And then you have to figure out how to pay each other back, and money just gets lost in the shuffle.

Together, Ryan and I have used the site for 5 trips already. I’m currently staying at a rental house in Michigan with 11 friends in celebration of the wedding of my friends Lauren and Ben. We’re having a blast, and the people staying in the house love how non-stressful it is to just dump everything on the site – groceries, park passes, gas, the house rental, and beer runs. Once one of us enters the expense on the site (say, a grocery run), we just forget about it until the end of the trip. Kara loves how the site reduces the number of payments, so that if Rebecca owes Kara money and Kara owes Eve money, it just keeps track of the balances so that in the end Rebecca owes Eve. At the end, you can also see how much the whole trip cost you individually, which is a bitch to figure out without a computer.

To share a trip on the site:
1. Create an “apartment”
2. Add all your friends to the “apartment”
3. Everyone adds expenses that they pay for
4. Pay each other back at the end