In this post, I write about how couples can track their expenses and split expenses, fairly, with the Splitwise app.
Before I get into why this is the BEST app for couples who are not married but live together, I’d like to update our readers who come back every month to read our content. I’m shocked but so grateful that almost 100 people come back to read the site every month – or at least, that’s what Google tells me, and Google is always right 😉
If you’re new to our site, welcome – I’m Ms. OYP (“Owning Your Profession”) and I’ve lived with Mr. OYP, who occasionally writes on the site, for 6 years. We’re 2 professionals who started this site to help other professionals take control of their money, career and lives rather than the profession controlling them. If you’re curious and want to learn more about us, click here.
What is the Splitwise App & How Does it Work?
The Splitwise App is a super easy way to share expenses as a couple, and also with friends and family so you can stop stressing about “who owes who” money. It also does all the math calculations for you, even in different currencies, so you can stop feeling like you paid more than someone else.
You can organize all the expenses that are split:
- throughout the month which might include things like groceries, gas, car washes, personal items (e.g. vitamins, protein powder), a birthday present or wine bottle to take to a party, parking, and DollarStore purchases.
- while travelling, which can include things like food, drinks, transportation costs, museum fees, shows, etc.
And, best of all, it’s FREE and available for Apple and Android phones.
How I Heard About the Splitwise App
I heard about the Splitwise App in 2017 when we traveled to New Orleans with one of our couple friends from law school. The moment we got to the airport and hopped out of the Uber together, our friend said, “We’ll just track everything on the Splitwise App.”
Mr. OYP and I had never heard about it and asked what it was. He said it was an app that would track what everyone spent and tell us who owed who how much at the end of trip. Sounded genius, kind of wish I came up with it myself. (**smiles**)
For some reason, we only used the Splitwise App when we travelled with friends but never for rent, household expenses, travel we did together, etc.
I don’t know why that is. Mr. OYP says he told me that we could use it for household expenses and suggested it, but I don’t recall such a conversation. So, here we are in August 2019 using the Splitwise App and loving it!
Why it's the Best App to Track and Split Expenses Fairly
Honest truth: I’m RARELY ever obsessed about anything, but I’m obsessed about the Splitwise App … this blog, Mr. OYP and yoga. Yup, that’s probably about it. Oh, and fries.
I’m loving the Splitwise App this month because we’ve had a number of recent trips and household expenses, including a Costco trip, that needed to be split and we were able to square up this month’s expenses in under 10 minutes.
This App is awesome because it:
- is FREE
- reduces time spent tracking and squaring up expenses at the end of the month
- is a real-time tracker of all the money that’s been spent throughout the month, and if you have a budget, it helps you know how much money is left in the budget (or not, assuming everyone is entering expenses more or less daily)
- does all the math calculations for you, so it avoid fights at the end of the month with calculations done by hand and defending how you arrived at your numbers
- is colourful and pretty to use (I LOVE colourful things, so it’s perfect for anyone else who does)
- allows you to make Groups, so you can have one for the month for household expenses (groceries, gas, etc.); another one for a vacation; another one for a conference, for example FinCon (which is a personal finance conference that we’re headed to in a couple days in Washington, D.C. – woot woot!)
- allows you to enter amounts in different currencies, which is great when you’re travelling especially to multiple countries
- you can do equal or unequal splits. I LOVE this feature. What this means is if the expense is owed by another person in full, then you can change the entry from a split to 100% owing by that person. I use this when Mr. OYP has me buy his vitamins or vegan burritos at the grocery store.
- you can enter expenses to it when you don’t have Internet, so you don’t have to be connected online. This was great when we were on the River Cruise and didn’t have Internet off the boat
- categorizes expenses e.g. food, transportation, etc.
What We Were Doing Before the Splitwise App
We’ve been living together for 6 years, and since then, we’ve been calculating who owes who how much money with a pen, paper, highlighters and a calculator.
Here’s what we did before the Splitwise App. Explaining in detail what we’ve been doing to track and split expenses between the two of us will be extremely painful. So, in summary, we would keep a jar (which eventually became an envelope) for receipts in the kitchen. For each receipt, we would mark the initial of who paid at the top of the receipt, highlight if any of the bills had items on them that were only for Mr. OYP (in blue) and only for me in pink. The receipts were put into the jar to be reviewed and calculated at the end of the month.
At the end of the month, Mr. OYP would sit down and go through each receipt and mark the totals on a piece of paper as to who paid how much and who owed who how much. He would then give his calculations to me. I would check to make sure that we didn’t miss entering any receipts (which you’ll still have to do with the Splitwise App) and decide if I agreed with his calculations. If I didn’t, I’d go back to him and we’d sort it out.
It kind of looked a little like this, but with way more receipts:
All in all, our 6 year tracking and splitting process was such a time waster and HUGE hassle. I’ve realized that after using the Splitwise App.
This month we’ve been able to fairly split our travel expenses and household expenses in under 10 minutes. And, it took 10 minutes this month because we had a number of trips just this month (a River Cruise on the Danube River, post forthcoming, and Las Vegas) which included currency other than our Canadian currency, along with the usual household expenses. Therefore, I expect the Fall and Winter months to take even less time.
The Splitwise App does all the calculations and allows amounts to be entered in foreign currency, which is perfect for when you’re travelling. The App also tells you in real-time who owes who how much, as long as each of you are keeping current on entering purchases on the App.
This month the App had done all the calculations for our different Groups that we created (one for the River Cruise on the Danube River; one for Las Vegas and one for August 2019), and it had a total balance for us of:
Of course, we double checked the entries that we had made into the App and checked to make sure all the expenses were entered, but after that it was simple. We knew who owed who how much, and there was no fighting over the calculations.
If you’re not convinced, read this post where the Splitwise App was rated as the Best-Bill Splitting App of 2019.