How to Split Rent with Roommates

In our day and time, it is very expensive to have your own apartment especially as a young single or a college student, so having a roommate helps you to cover your costs.  So how do split rent with roomates so it’s fair?

Establish Guidelines

First of all, before beginning to be roommates, you need to sit down and discuss the guidelines you’ll both observe and put them to paper.  This might be items such as no loud music or movies after 10pm.  You clean up after yourself in the kitchen.  Or whatever else you need to agree on.

Consider the Costs

How to Split Rent with RoommatesThen come the costs.  You typically think of splitting costs in half equally; however, there are a few things you might want to consider.  How much of a consumer are each of you?  Do you have a laptop, a television, a radio, and an ipod that you are constantly using and your roommate only has a laptop?  Or do you take long hot soaks and your roommate takes a quick shower in the morning.  If one is consuming a larger portion, it may be more fair to look at usage level and split it based on that such as 60% to 40%.  However, this would all need to be discussed and planned.  Always put it in writing so that you both can go back to the facts and not get upset with each other over the agreed upon plan.

Talk About Food

And finally, food.  If you have your own apartment, you will most likely be bringing in food items.  Do you each buy your own food which is yours and yours alone thereby covering your personal cost?  Or do you grocery shop together once a week and split the tab?  Think through your eating habits and how you are going to work together.

The main key to having a roommate is having a clear plan and communicating about that plan, so that you can work together with clear expectations as well as cut both of your costs.

About Jocelin Boutet

Jocelin Boutet is a homeschool graduate who grew up learning finances from a young age and now passionately has her own ministry – Standing in YHVH’s Hand Ministries – with a mission of training believers how to be stronger in their walk with the Messiah and free of the world in lifestyle, finances, and relationships. As well as being a Financial Coach and Trainer, previously serving with Crown Financial Ministries, and Certificate in Biblical Studies, her personal practical experience as well as involvement on a daily basis in Christian finances gives her a unique perspective. She has been blessed to speak regularly in person as well as on the radio on God’s View on Money.

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  • Tim @ Faith and Finance

    Having a roomate can be a great money saver…but it can be a challenge too. I can’t stress the importance of having everything in writing before you start sharing the rent. Even laying out the ‘chores’ and responsibilities of the roomates can resolve conflicts when they happen.

    Great reminders Jocelin!


    An additional tip:

    When posting an ad for a roommate (you can post an ad on Craigslist for free), specify the type of person you’re looking for. For example, in my ad, I specified that I want someone who’s clean and quiet, and I said that I like to have the house silent (including the TV off) after 10 pm on weekdays.

    Beware: It is illegal to specify anything discriminatory, such as a gender preference or a religious preference (example: “Looking for Christian roommate.”) You CAN legally talk about yourself (example: “I am a Christian”)

  • MoneyIsTheRoot

    I have had 1 or 2 roommates for the past 7 years. They have always been my friends, never strangers, so that is helpful.

    The one thing I will say… do NOT get into percentage of utlity usage for breakdown down costs. This is not the way to start an amicable living arrangement. Im a finance guy, I get the rationale, but let’s not get off on the wrong foot with a roommate for a $10 monthly difference in payment. Besides, unless you are an energy expert, how are you going to determine the percentage split of someone who has a TV that is 5 years older and not energystar rated, and also has a laptop, versus someone with neither… I wouldnt know how.