Should friends always split the bill equally?

Money and friends don’t always mix. Dealing with splitting bills, whether on a night out or living together, can be problematic.

Whether you’ve recently entered into your first house share, or are going out for a meal, the sticky subject of how to divide up all the costs is going to come up at some point—if it hasn’t already.

From splitting the bill at dinner and haggling over who had a starter to divvying up the costs of running your household in a way that feels fair for everyone, acasa, an innovative bill splitting and household management, can help to put your concerns at ease.

When should you split the bill equally?

In most cases it’s perfectly fine to split the bill evenly with your friends. For certain things, where individual usage cannot be worked out, for example, it may prove the best option. These might include:

Rent: You all knew what you were signing up for with this one, even before you viewed it for the first time. Chances are you all agreed an upper limit of what you’d be willing to pay when you went on the hunt for your perfect property, and that should account for any changes in your financial situation. If the drop in your budget is really that dramatic, it might be time to consider downsizing, living elsewhere or moving back home rather than asking your friends to cover for you.

Utility and broadband bills: It’s pretty hard to measure everyone’s exact individual energy usage in the house. But chances are that if you’re all regularly in the house with the lights on, showering, cooking and charging appliances, there isn’t a dramatic difference between you. Aside from exceptional circumstances—see below—it’s best just to chop this one into even chunks.

TV license: Your TV license isn’t measured by usage, it’s just a flat fee you pay to be able watch programmes on your TV. There’s no point haggling over it. Even if one of you is an avid EastEnders fan, who’s to say that someone else won’t find a show they can’t get enough of later on in the year?

A group activity: A fun group activity, such as bowling, is another example of something which is best split equally. Whether you win or lose, you still went bowling and should pay the same as everyone else!

When can you deviate?

Under certain circumstances, it might be acceptable for you to approach your friends with the idea of paying slightly less—or more, if you’re feeling generous—than everybody else. But remember, you can’t be selfish: your decision needs to be fair to the whole house.

Varying bedroom sizes: Some households agree to pay different amounts in rent based on the space they get to themselves. No, don’t get your tape measure out, I doubt anyone’s going to let you pay less because your room is 30cm narrower than your friend’s. If there is a substantial difference—as in, the biggest bedroom is twice the size of the smallest—you may have a case for yourself.

Different restaurant orders: If you’re short of cash, but still go out for a social meal with mates, the one thing you don’t want to happen is for someone to suggest splitting the bill equally between you all – after all, you didn’t pass on dessert only to pay for someone else’s!

Once you’ve decided how everything is going to be divvied up between you and your friends, whether it’s in a shared house or at your local Wetherspoons, systems such as a bill splitting apps can help you keep track of your finances and ensure that everything remains fair between friends.

And if you’re ever unsure about whether you need to pay someone back for something, there are some handy guides out there to help you decide. It can be a tricky thing to handle, but having an app to hand and good communication always helps.

Use acasa

acasa is a bill sharing and household management platform designed for students and house sharers. With acasa, you can avoid unnecessary conflict around splitting utility bills in a shared house or other situations where the splitting of a bill may be required, such as at a restaurant, using our specially designed balance tracking systems.

If you’re interested in an app which can help with the division of house payments as well as other bill splitting situations, why not download the acasa app today.

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