Splitwise + Credit Cards + YNAB - oh my!

I have just started my 30 day trial of YNAB after struggling to keep myself on budget and racking up some credit card debt that I'd rather not have 🙀What continues to throw a wrench into my budgeting is that many of my weekly expenses are things that I split with my girlfriend. We use Splitwise, but she isn't as proactive about entering her spending. We've lately been trying to settle up once a week so we can keep on track, but not knowing how much I actually owe her continues to throw things off. Here's the background of my situation: 

I pay for almost everything with my credit card, with the exception of a couple bills (rent, water, gas etc.) that I have to pay out of my checking account. I have also tried to set a spending limit for myself on the card of $170 a week - this was calculated based on funds left over after paying all monthly bills etc. Often, money from that weekly budget gets spent on things that go into Splitwise. Similarly, my girlfriend often buys things in a week that we split, so the goal is to ultimately have spent $170 or less on myself a week, all told. 

I have been trying for a while now to find a system that would allow me clear visibility of how much money has actually been spent vs what is available (in an effort to not go over, and start saving), which is why I have signed up for YNAB. 

I would love any advice the community might have on the best way to integrate the shared spending my girlfriend and I do, so that my budget is truly and clearly reflective of my actual financial standing. I think the credit card probably doesn't help a whole lot here, but it's what I do (cash back, points etc.). Any advice appreciated! 

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  • this generally has to do with your level of diligence in categorizing because essentially your issue is the reimbursement from the split and true up.  Let's say you create budget for Food/Fun/Other, at $50/$50/$50.  You do your thing, you use your credit card, and then you your budget looks like this, $-20/$-10/$-40.  It looks like you've overspent in every category but it's just because you haven't gotten the split yet from your girlfriend.  When you use splitwise, how do you get the money back? Cash, Venmo?  To get your true share, you'd have to take the money input and put it back into all three categories and if it's a single amount you'd want to use the split function to map it to the right place.  

  • We true up using Venmo - what I've done to try and make sense of it all, which I think might (fingers crossed) actually work is this: 


    1. Created a new account in the left column of YNAB called Splitwise
    2. All transactions have the Payee as my girlfriend's name
    3. When I spend money that we split, I log the split amount in inflow, with the correct spending category
    4. When she adds something into Splitwise, I log the amount owed to her in outflow with the correct spending category

    This should theoretically make sure I am keeping within my set budgets for each category. In terms of settling up (we try to do this every Sunday, or at the very least every 2 weeks) - how would this work? I'd ultimately get a Venmo amount for whatever is owed to me (if anything) and then apply that amount across the categories? That's the part where I'm a little confused about how to best keep track.

  • I do something similar with my partner, though we have a separate CC that only gets used for expenses we split. 

    I like to always have the credit spending budgeted for. This allows me to avoid the "floating" before we settle up and allows me to pay the bill whenever and then settle up later. When do settle up, the incoming money that comes from my partner gets budgeted as income and budgeted as normal.

    The key to this working for me is having a category (ie Split Expenses) that has 2x my expected share of the expenses in it at the start of every month. We do this every month, instead of every week, but I don't see why this wouldn't work weekly. 

    If you don't have a ton of extra cash to cover the double expenses, you could be sure to mark the "settle up" transactions as inflow to the Split Transactions category. That way, those inflows will be there to cover the next weeks "double expenses". 

    Hope that helps.   

  • I always got to play banker in a roommate situation. I soon tired of fronting all the cash, watching my roommates party and go off on skiing trips, then having to wait until their pay day in order to be reimbursed to be able to spend my own money.  Change was needed. I argued that the person tasked with doing all the bookwork, paying the bills, running the errands, and being the account holder shouldn't also have to spend their own money and then wait on others to reimburse them. I also hated having to remind people about money they owed me.

    I implemented a pay ahead system for room mate splits, essentially I created a household account that everyone (including me) funded in advance.  I paid the bills from that account. If I didn't spend it all, it might even reduce the amount everyone contributed the next month.  This pre-fund/household account methodology would be the least time consuming in YNAB since you wouldn't have to split every single expense and track reimbursements;  you would simple create, fund, and use an account for joint household expenses.

  • My method of having a separate 'Account' in YNAB seems to be working best for me keeping track. The issue is that my partner is not as diligent as I am about entering things she has paid for into Splitwise, so I often know exactly how much she owes me, but not how much I owe her (I have usually spent more anyhow). This all gains clarity on Sundays when we settle up. 

    That being said - when she Venmos me what I am owed at the end of the week, what do I do with that payment, and how does it get integrated into YNAB / the "Splitwise" account I have set up here? 

    I emailed support, and they sent me this video which frankly doesn't seem like a great system, unless you're doing ~2 transactions a week and settling up immediately. This is simply not an option for us, as we both are incredibly busy, hence Sunday settle up. 

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