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 split up our monthly expenses for the years we lived together before we got married and combined our finances. We had a joint savings account and credit card, but we didn’t get around to joint checking until after we tied the know.
We used to use a simple Excel spreadsheet that we emailed back and forth to figure out who owed whom—and how much.
By replacing the Excel version with Google Spreadsheets, we could 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’ll need a free Google Drive (formerly Docs) account to access it.
By default, you can’t edit the spreadsheet (lest you want all of us to see your monthly expenses). To start using the spreadsheet, you must save a copy first! Then you’ll be able to edit your copy. (You DO NOT need to request access to edit the spreadsheet. Just save a copy, and have at it.)
How it works
The joint expense tracking spreadsheet is very simple. For each month, you simply enter what you paid for in one area and what your partner paid for in another. The spreadsheet adds it all up and tells you who owes who what.
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.