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Bill Splitting

Simple & Effective Bill Splitting 💰

Vanja PetreskiVanja Petreski

When you have group activities for extended period of time (group traveling, for example) you need Bill Splitting. You will go together to restaurants, bars, renting things, etc, so we need a way to properly track and split costs that group has. It’s important to be simple and easy to use, so that we don’t spend too much time and effort. Two things are important:

Splitwise App

My choice is Splitwise application. It’s free, available for iOS, Android and Web, simple and with excellent features.

After you install mobile app and signup, first thing is to create a group, configure it and invite people:

You can see that Vanja created the group “Peru Trip”, invited Patron and Petreski to the group and turned on “Simplify group debts” option. What does that mean? Imagine that Vanja owes $10 to Patron and Patron owes $10 to Petreski. If we want to settle – Vanja would have to pay $10 to Patron and Patron $10 to Petreski. With simplify group debts on, app is smart and knows that it’s enough if only Vanja pays $10 to Petreski. This way we avoid complicated and multiple settles. Now application looks like this – Vanja can see his friends, group without entries yet and all activities within the group (very important):

Vanja, Patron and Petreski went out for some beers, bill was $30 and Vanja paid. Now it’s time to add this bill to the app. Vanja can add the bill or anyone else in the group. It’s important to select who paid – in this case Vanja. Let’s see how to do that and what different types of bill splitting Splitwise offers:

Description and amount. Make sure you select the correct group. Add photo of the receipt. Clicking on “equally” will open different options to adjust.

Split equally. You can deselect persons not involved.

Split by exact amounts. You can specify exactly how much each person has to pay.

Split by %

Split by shares. This is very similar to %. In this case Vanja would pay 2 shares (50% in this case) and others 1 share (25%) each.

Split by adjustment. If you add adjustment to somebody, that means that he will pay that amount additionally in comparison to person without any addition. In this example Petreski doesn’t have addition, so Vanja will pay 3 more than 7 and Patron 6 more than 7.

Now we can see who owes how much money to whom, transaction is in the group and details about transaction:

 

Later that day, only Vanja and Petreski went out for a dinner. The bill was $150, Petreski paid and added exact amount split – Vanja $97 and Petreski $53. Patron was not involved:

You will receive notifications for each new activity!

New activity in the list.

Simplified billing in action! You see how Splitwise now smartly recalculated so that only Vanja owes money to Petreski. Patron is not involved anymore from Vanja’s point of view.

New transaction in the list.

Details about new transaction.

It’s time to settle up and clear the debts because trip is coming to the end. Once debts are paid, put them in the app:

Strategy

That was about the app, but the most important thing is to have strategy defined within the group, how to actually use it and how to solve some common problems, so let’s start:

Conclusion

There is some work to be done and principles to apply, but I think it’s simple, very logical and bullet proof. If you don’t want to bother with this, then you would have to settle onsite as soon as bill comes. But that’s always complication – waiter has to wait, we loose time at the place, not that pleasant, etc.

Software Engineer & Digital Nomad

Comments 2
  • Wojtek
    Posted on

    Wojtek Wojtek

    Reply Author

    “Every bill is paid by one person.”
    FYI, Splitwise also lets you specify how much did specific people pay, I’ve used it successfully. Just pick “multiple people” in “Choose payer” option. This app is awesome.


    • Vanja Petreski
      Posted on

      Vanja Petreski Vanja Petreski

      Reply Author

      Awesome, thanks Wojtek 🙂 I put that more for practical purposes rather than limitation of the app – when one person pays, it will be faster, few seconds, without bothering the waiter too much 😀 But, yup, cool that app supports all cases!