I’m currently in the middle of a 10-day road trip with two friends of mine. We started off in Vegas, and are making a slow trek to Denver, Colorado, stopping at National Parks along the way.
It’s a lot of fun. It’s also a lot of shared hotel rooms and Airbnbs, shared meals and petrol purchases. Since we’re splitting a lot of those expenses, the 95 of them we have could be an accounting nightmare. Instead, we’re using a free app called Splitwise to keep track of it all, and it’s amazing.
With Splitwise I created a “group” for our road trip consisting of myself, my friend Sara and my friend Claire. It’s an app great for things like group trips, but could also be useful for any sort of situation where you’re splitting multiple expenses with a group of people.
As we’ve had expenses, we’ve added them to the app along with information on how they should be split. For instance, I paid the $250 for our Airbnb rental last night on my credit card and told the app that it needed to be split equally three ways. Sara charged our breakfast and split the bill by what we all ate since there were some large variations on that front.
Expenses can be divided pretty much any way you would want to. They can be split equally, by a percentage, or by a specific amount. You can also do things like have the app split everything equally, but then adjust it so one person it maying an extra few dollars.
You can add photos of receipts to individual expenses if you want. While that’s not necessary for our trip, since we are all here and see how much things cost, I can see that feature being useful in a roommate situation where you’re splitting household items like toilet paper or food and want to see how much individual items actually cost.
The beauty of the app is that it pays attention to how much each person is spending and then shows you how much you cumulatively owe other people or how much they owe you. So Sara might owe me $90 for that Airbnb, but I owe her $20 for breakfast. The app does that maths and deducts that breakfast from the Airbnb cost.
Once all your expenses are done, a “Settle Up” button allows you to tell the app that money has exchanged hands to make things even.
For us it’s been great, in that we all know exactly how much money we owe each other, and there’s no stress in someone always picking up meals or hotels and potentially getting finally screwed. All that info is right in front of you all the time which means you don’t have to have any conversations about money during your journey and can instead focus on having fun.