If you are reading this, you are most likely the master tenant of your house. You were given the responsibility to manage ALL of the house finances which is a non-trivial task. The constant nagging, the ignored Venmo requests, the empty bank account after fronting the utility bills I will not go on as to not induce any anxiety.
I salute you and I am sorry that you were not offered a better solution at the start to prepare you for your tenancy. However chin up, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I want to share with you a couple of solutions so you can avoid getting owed by your housemates going forward.
I noticed that more often than not I would get paid back if I was just persistent enough to send 3 follow up messages. But I was rarely persistent and realistically who has time to send 12 reminders to my 4 other roommates.
This is a great excuse to automate the reminders you are constantly having to send out. Here is how to do that without spending any money or wasting much time.
There are a multitude of different services that can help you with this however Benchmarkemail is FREE for up to 250 emails a month 😉. You will not need to send more than that unless you have 50 housemates which I would find hard to believe.
Now the fun part. Create your account and head over to contacts. Select manual entry of contacts and call the list "Housemates". Add your housemates as contacts to this list. It will look like this.
You will only have to do this once unless you get or lose a housemate. Now that your housemates have a contacts list it's time to start the automation.
Select Automation Lite from the main pages side panel. The details step will ask for your automation title, I called mine "Housemate bills - January" for the month I am requesting the money for, and description however the key steps in this part are to select the list of contacts you wish the emails to be sent to.
In your case, you must tap the Housemates list you just made in the previous step. Now under trigger selection, tap "Send emails when contact is added to list". See below for guidance.
Ok, 1 more step. Creating the reminder emails. Now create the 3+ emails you wish for BenchmarkEmail to automate, try not to be too passive-aggressive by email 3 but it is really up to you. As this tool is meant for businesses, they provide you with some colorful email templates to use to spice up your reminders. You are not limited to text.
PRO TIP: Use merge tags to grab the first names of your housemates from the contact list when it sends the email. Set a delay with each email you create. In my case, I have 3 emails. 1 sends immediately, one more after 1 day and another after 3.
After the 3 emails are created I tap activate automation and that's it. Reminders are now automated.
The beauty of this is that for every month afterward, you don't have to redo this whole process, simply duplicate the last automation. In my case I would duplicate "Housemate bills - January" and then change the title to "Housemate bills - February" then activate the latest automation. None of your email copy or delays have to change.
This solution is not full proof however, there is still a high probability that they will ignore your emails. Either you experiment with your emails over a couple of months or we go the extra mile and combine this solution with the next.
This method is not for everyone. It is a drastic measure I used to impose on my housemates back at college but it certainly did the trick. Let them all know that you will not pay for the next bill if they have not paid you back. Simple as that.
The mere thought of not having WiFi will cause panic in their minds and those pending Venmo requests will come flooding in. These were desperate times.
Okay, so we had to threaten our housemates, not ideal. It might work but goodbye any chance of having a healthy relationship with your housemates. This leads me onto our last any final solution.
(Shameless plug incoming) Bill payment solutions have evolved since my time at college. In fact, our product, YSplit, solves all the well-known issues we faced as finance managers for our shared houses.
Here is how you prevent these issues from ever happening again in a couple of simple steps:
Pat yourself on the back. Your home is on autopilot. Every month we will charge every roommate their share of the bills. No more I.O.U's. We are now your bill account managers.
You can sit back and not have to remember another due date ever again, what will you do with all that free headspace? The best part is we are completely free, you can check out how we make money on our home page here.
Your home is now as advanced as a highrise in Chelsea New York or Downtown San Francisco without the $3000 per month rent.