How to use YNAB when living with roommate?

Hi! Let me start off by saying I'm a college student and this is my first time budgeting. Recently started using YNAB and am quite confused about how to manage living with roommates. Sometimes, I pay for our groceries and then we split it using the SplitWise app. Same goes for some restaurant visits. Other times, my roommate pays for stuff and I pay him back for my share. 

What is the best way to manage this? I pay for stuff with my credit card and when he pays be back, it goes to my checking. This part of it is quite overwhelming and I would really appreciate any help.

Thank you!

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  • Have a "Roommate's Spending" category. 

    When you buy groceries, split the transaction in YNAB. Your groceries come from your grocery category. His groceries come from his spending category. When he pays you back, categorize the inflow to his category. 

    If his category ever goes positive, you know some of his payment was covering stuff you bought last month, so you just manually move (use the move money tool) the available amount to your credit card payment category. 

    When you pay your roommate for groceries, categorize it as your regular groceries. 

    Same for restaurants, etc. 

    I'm not sure how splitwise works, but you'll need these techniques for accounting/budgeting in YNAB.  From what I remember on other threads, Splitwise just kind of keeps a running tab of who owes what, is that right?

  • This help doc might help you!

    I have a category in my budget called "Venmo Pending" and it's where I put transactions that I'm expecting to get paid back for. It just sits as a negative balance (red and "overspent") until that inflow from Venmo comes in to put it back to zero. 

    I also use my credit card for most of my spending so while my inflows from Venmo go to my checking account, because I have my credit card linked to my budget, it doesn't really matter. That money goes into the credit card payment category either way. 

  • The advice so far here is great! I wanted to chime in and add that you can track your Splitwise transactions, and it looks super similar to the above advice. The easiest way is to use a "Splitting" category and enter your payments to/from your roommate as regular transactions when you settle up. So, to set this up:

    -Create a "Splitting" category for the transactions that you both use Splitwise with. 
    -When you purchase something for them, you’ll enter the transaction into YNAB, splitting the transaction into your portion and their portion, categorizing their portion to the Splitting category. As with any reimbursement, you’ll want to fund that category to cover the initial purchase if you can!

    Once they settle up with you, enter the amount you received from them as an inflow, categorized to the Splitting category, to cover what you spent for them. 

    The money will show up in the available column of the Splitting category, and you can either move it and use it elsewhere in your budget, or you can simply leave it in that category to cover the next round of splits.

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