I know you were expecting to read a post about how to get mo money– sorry to disappoint. This post is about how to pay for things with money you already have. How, as in, the method.
Now, I ended my multiple roommate cohabitation lifestyle this last summer in favor for a one-roommate/significant other lifestyle. But during the past year, I was in charge of collecting the money and paying the bills for my house. Needless to say, it required a certain amount of patience, as we were all busy, mostly poor twenty-somethings. Below is a non-exhaustive list of ways to pay for stuff.
1. Cash. This seems to be everyone’s favorite method. The old standby. As far as collecting money for utilities and rent for 7 people, might I say that I felt weirdly gangster and very vulnerable and scared going to the bank to deposit over $1000 in cash. It’s a little inconvenient to go to the ATM sometimes. What’s more, if you’re splitting bills with lots of people, often your share comes to $29.37 or some such uneven figure. What do you figure the chances of getting that change back? Let’s start moving away from this method… it’s 2013 for goodness sake.
2. Checks. I know, I know. Checks aren’t really “moving forward.” Although I love checks, I can certainly understand that buying them, if your bank doesn’t give them to you for free, is not great. I also know they can be easy to misplace in your multiple moves each year when you’re young. I also get that they can be confusing (although barely..). But they’re great because they’re safe, exact change, and sometimes convenient if you have them (shout out to moneygrams which are inconvenient to get, but safe to use.). But I do wish there was some online method of
3. Oh wait! There is an online method! Multiple ones as it turns out! In this day and age, it is entirely possible that your bank offers a “Pay a Person” feature, which is essentially a wire. All you have to do is know the banking info, email or phone number of the person you want to send money to. What can be annoying about this method is if there is a fee associated with using it or the amount of time it takes. If only there was a service that did this for free and fast and online
4. Oh wait! There is! 5. There are a few online sites, that will track your shared bills and allow everyone to have access to pay their share, such as SplitWise and BillsAreIn, which are really awesome. If you want more than just a way to pay, but want a fair and equal system for everyone to have access to in order to keep track of housing expenses, these are really good solutions. But what if you want a way to pay for stuff other than bills to your roommates?
5. BAM. WELCOME TO THE 21ST CENTURY. When I found out about this service, I face-palmed– duh! It’s such a great idea… why did it take so long for someone to come up with a web-based paying app that is actually user-friendly? If this had been around when I was living with my friends, life would have been so much easier for all of us. It’s called Venmo. I use it. It’s awesome. Super easy. The money is sent and received and can be deposited to your bank account super fast. It’s almost free. Receiving money and using your bank account or debit card to pay someone is free, but using your credit card to pay has a 3% fee, which is small. It’s compatible with all banks in the US and has a handy-dandy App for smartphones. All you need is your friends email or phone number and you can email/text them money (*as long as they have a Venmo account, too.) Need to pay $57.78 for Internet? Done. Need to pay back someone for lunch right now? Done. It’s incredible and I love it. There might be other services like this, but I’ve found them annoying to use (lookin’ at you PayPal). You can even “Charge” someone, so they get a notification they owe you. Splitting the bill has never been so easy. Paying someone back can be a thing you actually do, instead of saying you’ll do and then forgetting. Let no friendship have awkwardness about mooching from here on out!
5. Now, I think I should mention, there are a few online sites, that will track your shared bills and allow everyone to have access to pay their share, such as SplitWise and BillsAreIn, which are really awesome. If you want more than just a way to pay, but want a fair and equal system for everyone to have access to in order to keep track of housing expenses, these are really good solutions.
So there you go. Upgrade your paying-style today for more convenience, less stress and a mooch-free lifestyle!