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A Simple Spreadsheet for Tracking Shared Expenses


Do you share monthly expenses with a roommate or significant other but pay for them from separate bank accounts? For better or worse, that’s how my wife and I have been splitting up our monthly expenses since we got hitched last August. We have a joint savings account and credit card, but we haven’t gotten around to joint checking yet.

Until about six months ago, we used a jury-rigged Excel spreadsheet that we emailed back and forth to figure out who owed whom—and how much. Then it dawned on me that our method was so 2007. With the brilliantly simple Google Spreadsheets, we can now both access and edit the same document from anywhere. That means it’s no longer just one person’s job to update the bills every month—with a Google Spreadsheet either of us can update the file as soon as we pay the latest bill.

This system doesn’t just work for couples, it’s perfect for roommates, too (who, arguably, will be more concerned about equally dividing living expenses than cohabitating lovebirds).

I’ve created a free, sharable version of this Google Spreadsheet for splitting joint monthly expenses. You can access it here, save a copy to your Google Docs account and share it with your partner or roommate. (This spreadsheet is only setup for two people splitting expenses evenly, although with a little finessing it could easily accommodate any number of roommates).

To use it, simply change the expense categories to reflect your monthly expenses, enter what you spent on each category. The other person enters what her or she spent in each category and the spreadsheet automatically calculates how much you owe the other person or how much he or she owes you.

What do you think?

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About David Weliver

David Weliver is the founding editor of Money Under 30. He's a cited authority on personal finance and the unique money issues we face during our first two decades as adults. He lives in Maine with his wife and two children.

Comments

  1. My wife and I use to do a sort of “ad-hoc” method of dividing up who pays for what (similar to your spreadsheet), but we came up with a different way that makes it so each person pays the appropriate amount of the joint expenses dependent on their actual income. I haven’t switched it to google docs, but I thought you might be interested in checking it out anyways – http://hurstwebdev.com/JointExpenses.xls

    • Just came across this post – Brian, your link doesn’t work anymore. Any chance you could share it again with a working link? Would love to see what you came up with!

  2. David Weliver says:

    Nice work, Brian. Thanks for sharing. The income-sensitive allocation is definitely something that could be useful for a lot of people, I’m sure. I like that it calculates an 8-month emergency fund, too.

  3. I have been using google docs for my personal budget for about 9 months now and it has changed my life! When we purchased our home I immediately set up a spreadsheet for our shared expenses. This was so much easier than the random slips of IOUs. We have categories for home improvement projects (lowe’s, home depot, etc). Thanks for the post!

  4. You should check out Wepay.com when you get the chance. It allows you to automate a lot of that stuff by linking your bank accounts to a group profile.