Roommates: How To Share Expenses (And How Not To!)

Thursday, September 26 at 09:00 AM
Category: Personal Finance

Thinking about getting a roommate? Or two, or three? Splitting rent and expenses can be the smartest way to get a lot more out of your money and build some savings for your future.

Living with roommates is not for everyone. And there can be disadvantages to sharing your space. But the financial advantages, alone, may outweigh any drawbacks if you have the right roommates.

So who are the right roommates? They’ll be people you think can work out household issues together. You’ll each need to be willing to communicate openly. And you’ll need to treat each other with respect, even when personal needs clash.

Once you’ve found the right people, how do you set up for success?

Here are six keys tips for starting off right: 

  1. Decide ahead of time who pays for what. Sit down with your roommates well before move-in day and plan it out. List all the expenses you can think of, and decide together how you’ll handle them. Who will owe what share of what? Who will collect it from the others on what date? And who will actually make the payment to the landlord, utility company, internet service, Netflix, etc.?

    Also decide together how you want to handle general household needs like paper towels, dish soap, trash bags and cleaning supplies.

    Smart tip: Wait to pay the rent or bills until you have your roommates’ shares in hand. Don’t pay out of pocket, just in case they don’t come through on time.
     
  2. Post due dates on a central calendar. Hang a calendar in a common place to remind everyone when bills are due. List how much each roommate owes, and mark it off when it’s paid. Or use a free online system like Google Calendar.
  3. Know your schedules. If you are all students, it makes sense to have a basic understanding of your daily routines. This is especially helpful when roommates have different sleep schedules, or if you have certain times of the day for study.
  4. Use Arvest to Arvest Transfers. If you and your roommate both bank at Arvest, you can also make free Arvest to Arvest Transfers to each other’s bank accounts. These process immediately, when made by the 8 p.m. cutoff time. Or, you can set them up to process on a future date or recurring date. And you can do it all straight from your Arvest Go mobile app or Online Banking With Blue IQ.

    One extra advantage of paying friends digitally over using cash: You’ll have the digital record of exactly when you paid them and how much.
     
  5. Don’t try to split the couch. Keep in mind it’s much easier to own furniture, electronics and appliances individually, instead of buying them together. Example: Maybe you bring the couch and your roommate brings the TV. Then when you move out, you each take what you brought. No hassles over what it’s worth or who gets what.
     
  6. Beware of groceries. From many people who’ve been there, consensus is that it’s too complicated to share everyday food and grocery bills. Mostly, because people like to eat different things. Also, it’s too hard to calculate fair share. How do you measure who drinks what portion of the milk? And preferences are personal: Your roommate likes generic ketchup, but you can’t stand it!

    It likely works best to keep your weekly groceries separate. But that’s not to say you won’t find ways you like to collaborate. Example: Your group might enjoy planning certain meals together that you’ll all chip in for.
     
  7. Do your part to communicate. It’s just natural that at least minor annoyances or tensions will come up between roommates, even if you’re best friends. A good mindset to have is to just expect this. Then you can be prepared to do your part by communicating calmly and fairly.

When everyone shows respect and goodwill, you can almost always negotiate systems and solutions that work for everyone. So look forward to life as a roomie and all the savings benefits!


 

Tags: A Spin on Spending, Financial Education
 

A Spin on Spending - Back to School Budgeting

Tuesday, July 30 at 09:00 AM
Category: Arvest News


As the summer comes to an end, back-to-school shopping begins and with that comes opportunities to save. Before you race to the store, or begin adding items to your online shopping cart, check to see if your area participates in the upcoming tax free weekend. This special weekend event is a staple in more than a dozen US states, including Arkansas, Kansas, Oklahoma and Missouri and allows you to skip out on paying sales tax on most back-to-school essentials in store and online.

One of the first things you should do before heading to the store or logging in to your computer, is to sit down and do an inventory check of what supplies you need for the upcoming semester. With your shopping list in hand, check to see which of the items are available for student discounts, then check online or with a cashier to see if the store offers price-match from other major retailers. When buying textbooks, calculators, or other technology – check online for gently used items. Online marketplaces often have the materials you need for a fraction of the cost.

Whether you’re living on-campus or off, limit dining out. If you bought a campus meal plan at school, use it. Sure you’ll want to splurge once in a while, but don’t make eating out a habit. Be sure to budget as you go along, and track your spending. You can view your spending activity in real time with the Arvest Go mobile app. You can save even more by bringing your own snacks and drinks purchased in bulk from a grocery store instead of a vending machine or convenience stores.
 

 

Tags: A Spin on Spending, Arvest
 

A Spin on Spending - Building Credit

Thursday, July 18 at 09:00 AM
Category: Arvest News


One of the first steps to building a good credit history is to know where you stand. Before you head to the dealership or hire a real estate agent, request a credit report, and take the necessary steps in improving your score. One way to do this is by making your loan payments on time. According to myfico.com, your credit payment history can make up 35 percent of your FICO credit score. The longer your loan payments are paid on time, the better your score can become.

It’s important to remember to keep your credit card balances low. Many of the credit bureaus’ scoring systems evaluate the amount of debt a person carries compared to their credit limits. If the amount owed is close to the limit, it’s likely to have a negative effect on your score. Maintaining high credit card balances can hurt you, even if your bills are paid on time each month.

Although it’s generally considered a plus to have established credit accounts, too many credit card accounts may have negative effects on your credit score. You should only open new accounts as needed.  When opening a new line of credit, don’t just jump at the first appealing offer – compare interest rates and fees beforehand.

 

Tags: A Spin on Spending, Arvest
 

A Spin on Spending - Fourth of July Celebrations

Thursday, June 27 at 08:00 AM
Category: Arvest News

If you’re having people come over for a Fourth of July cookout, turn your gathering into a potluck. This is a fun way to save money and involve your guests at every step. Create a list of needed items for the cookout, and share it with your guests ahead of time, letting them select which items they would like to bring. If some guests don’t want to bring food or drinks, they can always bring decorations or chip in some money for the cost of food. This is a sure-fire way to have a fun, stress free Fourth of July celebration.

If you’re spending the day at the lake or a park, be sure to make a list ahead of time detailing which items you need to bring to have an enjoyable day. By checking the list before you head out, you’ll be less likely to forget your sunglasses, towels, bug repellant, sunscreen, or lawn chair.

Download the Arvest Go mobile app to quickly make transfers to your friends and family from your Arvest account, to their Arvest account, if you need to make last minute purchase for the day’s events or to contribute funds to the celebration.

 

Tags: A Spin on Spending, Arvest
 

A Spin on Spending - Earth Day

Monday, April 22 at 09:00 AM
Category: Arvest News

There are a number of ways to live a more environmentally friendly life. A simple way to start is by saving electricity when you can. Conserve electricity by switching off appliances when they’re not in use. Electrical items like TVs, phone and laptop chargers, and kitchen appliances left in stand-by mode still draw electricity. It’s best to turn these off completely, or unplug them when you can. 

You can also avoid using disposable bottled water. Instead use a reusable water bottle. According to research, more than 90 percent of plastic waste isn’t recycled - most plastics don’t biodegrade in any meaningful sense, so all that plastic waste could exist for hundreds or even thousands of years.

Go paperless with your monthly bills and bank statements to help cut down on deforestation and pollution. You can enroll in Arvest e.Statements through Online Banking with BlueIQ™, or the Arvest Go mobile app. Once you do this, you’ll be one step closer to reducing your carbon footprint. 

 

Tags: A Spin on Spending

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