Todd and I have been living together for four years this summer. For a long time our method of settling up joint expenses was a magnetic notepad on the fridge with a pencil in a clippy magnet right underneath. We’d come home from dinner or the store and whoever paid (Did you pay? Did you give me cash? I forget! Is there a receipt?!) would write it down on the pad.

It was not ideal… mostly because I would always forget to write stuff down. And then I would get yelled at (gently of course) about that and feel guilt and hatred for bookkeeping. There is also the issue of recurring monthly expenses (cable, phone, newspaper, Netflix, YMCA) and forgetting to write those down. We would then tally everything up at the end of each month or, more likely, every two and a half months. This went on for three and a half years and I have the stack of cryptically-acronymed notepad pages to prove it.

We’ve reached a point in our relationship where we both now have smartphones with always-on 3G connections; this was not always the case, and up ’til now that made a technological solution more trouble than it was worth.

But now I bring you:

(Click to use this template)

Get the template and change the Name 1 and Name 2 field to you and your fave roommate. Then go into the spreadsheet portion and do the same. There are two sheets: the first with your results and the second with the balance.

My advice for ultimate efficiency is to save the form as a bookmark or home screen icon on your phone. That way you can easily update from the store or restaurant. Also add in your unique link to the balance sheet on the confirmation page so that you can click and open it after entering an amount and see the balance in real-time.

If you are living in a household with more than two contributors you can probably adjust the form but I am not a mathy person and so I am probably not going to try to make that an option. The calculator takes the shared expenses and halves them between two parties so you can see what one person needs to spend to make things even.

Please enjoy! Being a grown up is fun, right?

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why are you such a genius? we may never know. i’m totally using this for me and “Ernie.”

(our method is 2 nails super-glued to magnets. 1 nail = restaurants/takeout, other nail = grocery/drugstore. the nails get emptied calculated anywhere from 1 month to falling off the end of the nail. then i stare at the totals, and put the calc sheet in a folder. but i think your idea is better?

June 2, 2012 1:49 pm

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