Written by: M Katie Helle, CPA

With many colleges and universities starting in the coming weeks, most students are gearing up to move into the dorm, an apartment, or house off campus.  Most students who live off campus do not consider creating a budget with their roommate, but doing so can help each party manage their financial responsibilities.

Creating a house budget can allow each household member to see what their portion of the bills are, such as rent, utilities, internet, and even groceries, if you are splitting them.  A budget with a roommate has four basic steps:

  1. Determine your monthly shared expenses and how you are splitting them.
  2. Track the expenses by fixed and variable. For example, rent and internet may be fixed, whereas your utilities are variable based on your usage.
  3. Determine who is going to be responsible for paying the various bills.
  4. Plan to communicate if issues arise with paying the bills.

It is essential to review the budget monthly to ensure the correct amounts are set and adjusted as needed.  This also helps to check your spending habits as a household.  For instance, if you are sharing groceries, you can see if the budget you created for groceries works or not and can adjust accordingly.

Budgeting with roommates will set all parties up for success and allow for clear expectations.  Make the budget a fun process – display your budget in your refrigerator or freezer.  If you need a quick refresher on budgeting in general, click here to read a previous post.


Katie Helle has been in public accounting since 2009, with experience in individual and small business taxation, specializing in payroll and sales tax reporting and compliance and QuickBooks accounting software. She is an Arizona native and resides in Chandler, Arizona with her husband, young daughter, and two goldendoodles.  Outside the office, she is actively involved with community outreach, enjoys fitness, and can be found with a power tool or two in her hand for her many crafts.