The bill for brunch comes, and silence falls over the table. I’ve been there.
At 26, I’ve lived with 10 roommates at different times in my life. Splitting the bill — for brunch, utilities, rent, the movies, and everything in between — was a consistent pain point throughout these relationships.
Then I found Splitwise.
Splitwise is a free tool for friends and roommates to track bills and other shared expenses. The tool, which has been available for several years, tallies who paid what and sends reminders at the end of the month to settle debts.
Here’s why I’m obsessed.
I discovered Splitwise when I moved into an apartment with three male roommates. We shared the cost of pretty much everything, from furniture to take-out from Wingstop.
This is the home page of Splitwise. It shows you a tally of who owes what. (I no longer live with the roomies, so my home page is sparse.) Currently, I'm in the hole for $94.
Selecting the Groups icon at the bottom of the screen brings up a list of the groups I'm involved in. We gave them fun names, like my celebrity-couple name, 'Krylia.'
By tapping the group, I see a balance sheet for all participants. Josh sold Kevin his mattress upon move-out, and we all owed Josh $50 for a covering a furniture removal service.
Adding an expense is easy. Let's say I just made a groceries run. I hit the plus sign at the bottom of the screen and select the group that owes me money -- in this case, Krylia.
I add a description like 'groceries' so my significant other will know what it's for, along with the price tag. The 'Paid by you and split equally' button tells me how it will be split.
I could change it by clicking that button. If I borrowed $95 cash from my boyfriend and planned to use it all for myself, I would owe him $95 in full.
We recently got a dog, and he's an expensive little bugger. Whenever I place an order on Amazon or return from the vet's office, I add any expenses I paid to Splitwise.
The beauty of Splitwise is that we don't have to reimburse each other right away. We let our debts build up over the month. They often even out in their own time.
At any time, I can send a reminder via the app to a person who owes me money. I reserve this feature for times when my bank account really needs the cash influx.
At the end of the month, it's time to level the debt. I tap the 'Settle up' button on the previous screen and confirm the amount I want to reimburse.
Splitwise is partnered with PayPal and Venmo to make reimbursement easy. During set-up, I plugged in my Venmo log-in so the two apps are already paired. When I select it ...
Splitwise removes all the friction from borrowing money between friends and roommates.
A few years ago, we created a group for an event -- an overnight Halloween party in Sacramento. We invited our friends and used the app for gas, the hotel, tickets to the party, and brunch the next morning. No one had to ask, 'Do you want to split the check?'
It was heavenly.