There’s so much freedom that comes with living away from home, but there’s also a lot of responsibilities. Managing expenses, food, and household tasks can be tricky, especially if you have to coordinate with other people, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are some tips and tricks for managing money and other responsibilities in a share house.

Shared vs Individual expenses

A crucial first step is to clearly establish what expenses are expected to be shared and what expenses are expected to be yours alone. Examples of the former are rent, power, water, and gas and the latter might include food and internet.

You’ll also need to establish how you’re going to share the expenses, and whether it’s a fixed amount (e.g. $150/week rent, $20/month power) or a fixed proportion (e.g. 25% of power bill). A fixed proportion can sometimes mean that you could be paying for the excess water or power that your roommate uses, so make sure you agree on a plan that works for both. Ultimately, it’s up to you and your roommates to decide how you are going to split expenses, based on each person’s needs.

Learn More: How to be a Great Housemate

Managing expenses in a Share House

Keeping track of expenses is also an important part of living with roommates. If you or your roommates are struggling with tracking and splitting up the bills or getting them paid on time, consider using apps like Splitwise or Venmo. Both easily spilt rent or other bills and show you who owes what and when.

It’s also good to set up a budget. Managing your money and splitting the bills are a lot easier when you can keep track of all your expenses. Make sure you set aside a little bit of money for emergencies. If something does happen, you don’t want to have to dip into the money you usually spend on rent and bills. The Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC)’s Money Smart website offers information on budgeting, debts, and home loans, and has a great budget planner that can help you manage your money.

Managing groceries in a Share House

Deciding whether you want to split groceries and other household items really depend on you and your roommates. Before committing you could start a roster for getting weekly “essential” groceries with a view to split the bill for necessary items. Buying other, non-essential items, is really up to personal preference. If you keep having to buy the cereal that you don’t like, but your roommate does, then maybe suggest another way of splitting up the groceries. Apps like Out of Milk and Our Groceries help you and your roommates keep track of who is getting what groceries. They also let you share lists, so you always know what your roommates are getting at the shops.

Managing chores in a Share House

Everyone living in a share house should contribute to the upkeep of the house. Make sure to decide what chores you need to do, and what everyone’s views and expectations of a clean house are. You may also need to decide what chores to do daily, weekly, or monthly, and who needs to do them. Our Home, while technically made for kids, is a great app for listing the chores you need to do and keeping track of who has completed them. It’s also a good idea to decide if communal areas of your house (eg. kitchen, living room) are to be cleaned as a group or by the person on the roster. Regardless, make sure to clean up any mess you have made in a communal area; it will not only keep your roommates happy but keep the house running smoothly.