Track Roomate Running Tally as an account?
My housemate and I have a LOT of shared expenses (we share two dogs and frequently travel together). Right now, I budget for what I know I should pay to keep the balance within a thousand or two of even-steven, but this messes up my budget in the short run (e.g. I don't have enough money in my dining out category to cover both of us - so I move some money from my "stuff I forgot to budget for category") and leads to the over picture of my spending if I want to track it to look a bit lopsided (e.g., I almost always pay for rental cars and lodging on our trips, so my travel category is quite large), but she more often buys dog food and I pay her for rent, but it's sometimes waived due to other shared spending, so those categories are smaller than they actual are after the spending is done. Our mutual laziness in "settling up" also means that sometimes I can deficit spend out of this tab, which I think leads to some behavior that is not very in the spirit of the 4 rules.
I was thinking that maybe I could treat our shared spending as an account and use split transactions to put the split of the purchase that was for her as a transfer to that account and then put anything she buys for me as income to that account.
Would this work? What kind of account should I use? Tracking? Not-Tracking? Credit Card?
Laura CA Sorry for the radio silence thus far - this is a great question! We want YNAB to match reality as closely as possible. That means I wouldn't necessarily recommend creating an account if there isn't an account in real life. This HelpDoc that covers reimbursements might be a helpful place to start if you haven't already had a look!
I wonder if creating a "splitting" category of sorts might be helpful here! For example: you cover a dinner out but you don't want the entirety of that amount to come from your restaurant's category, so you split the amount between "Restaurants" and "Housemate" (or whatever you decide to call it!). That way you have a specific category that is searchable if it's been a while since settle up and you need to quickly look at all the transactions that have been added to that category!
But I'll stop blabbering - I'd love to hear a bit more about how you currently have it set up, too! For example:
- Does most of your shared spending happen on a credit card, or out of a checking account?
- How do you typically record outflows to your housemate when you owe them? To the specific category(s) you're reimbursing them for, or to a category for reimbursements in general?
Let us know how it's going and we'll be here to keep spitballing!
So this is something I do with my mom, although not to the amounts it sounds like you might, and I still don't have a great solution.
I will say I have started a "Money I'm Owed" category that I keep a balance of about $100 in, I charge things I expect to be paid back for from there, then I don't have negative categories if the month rolls over. Also, I started trying to square up promptly, and I try to do the splitting less.
When I started using YNAB and realized how much it mucked up my budgeting, I got annoyed and tried not to have her pay for things for me or vice versa. I know it feels inconvenient, but with my YNAB budget, I realized how often we weren't square or forgot about the little amounts we had done. So someone didn't get paid what they should. Or if we were square, I found it to be a nightmare to move money around to appropriate categories so my reports would be helpful when I used them.
Maybe not the answer you wanted, but I find it helps to cost-share as little as I can or square up right away.
If it works best for you to cost-share, I'd love to hear what you figure out to keep the budget clear!
My ex-husband and I split a lot of expenses. I have a reimbursement category and split each transaction between the reimbursement category and the appropriate budget category, like Rachel suggested. However, I’m pretty anal about making sure I’m reimbursed. Every Monday I sit down and calculate how much I’m owed.
When he reimburses me, I categorize it as reimbursements. I also use my Stuff I Forgot to Budget For (which I call Life’s Surprises) to cover the category because I hate seeing the overspending alerts.
If you may not be reimbursed, you will need to cover the spending somehow. I don’t know how an account will help keep your budget and real accounts correct.
I would have a tracking account called something like roommate, and a reimbursement (or similar) category. When you spend money for her it's a transfer to this account with the category being reimbursement (or split between categories and transfer if you are paying some) and when she spends money on you it gets paid from the tracking account bringing the balance down. I think this most represents reality as the money is no longer in your budget to spend (just like reality) and when she buys something it will keep a log, but again no actual money comes into your budget