We maintained an excel sheet for this purpose, but it has certain disadvantages- sometimes, more than one person pays which makes it more difficult to calculate who owes whom and how much.
What is BillMonk?
BillMonk is a free web service that helps users to keep a track of money owed between friends.
How Useful It Is?
To answer this, I’ll show you a situation.
Let’s assume I went out with 3 other friends- A, B and C, for dinner. I’ll put down the expenses incurred on the way:
The auto fare was Rs.140/-. A paid Rs.100/-, and since he didn’t had change, I paid the remaining Rs.40/-
At dinner, A and B shared a chicken biryani. I decided to try veg biryani, while C, being on diet, went for salad. B also ordered a mocktail. The total bill, including tip and taxes, came out to be Rs. 932/-. B and C settled the bill.
While returning, B had to go to some other place, and he borrowed Rs. 110/- from me for auto fare.
We had a lot of fun, but now is the time for some mental exercise! Who owes who and how much? Solving this problem using pen-paper o excel will probably give headache to anyone!
Let’s now solve this interesting problem using BillMonk.
How Does BillMonk Work?
Setting The Account
- Sign up at www.billmonk.com.
- On the homepage, on the top right corner, click on Account, and then on Settings. Here you’ll see an option to change the default currency. Change it to INR (or whichever is your preferred currency).
- Go to the home page and click on “Add and Invite Friends” to add your friends with whom you want to settle the bill. Add them by providing their e-mail ids.
- Once you have added the friends, go to homepage and click on the individual e-mail id’s to assign them a nickname.
Now that we have setup the account, lets solve our problem of dividing the bills.
- Click on Report Bill on the left. You can record three types of bills as shown below.
- The auto fare was paid by A and me. I go to shared bill to record that.
- During the dinner everyone had a different item. It’ll be unfair on C, who only had salad, to split the bill equally. So, we decide to split the bill depending on who had what. For this I go to itemized bill.(Click image to enlarge)
- While returning, B borrowed Rs 110/- from me. I record this under Loan/Debts.
- Now to see who owes who and what, I go to the home page. Here I can see how much I have to pay to whom and from whom I have to collect. Similarly, my friends can log in to their account to see who owes them. (Click on image to enlarge).
- Once I settle payment with my friends, I go to Report Payment and record it.
Sweet and simple! Isn’t it? The process is transparent, so, whenever someone adds a bill or make some changes to it, an e-mail is sent out to all the stakeholders.
There are two more options that I did not cover. One is Shuffle Debts and the other is Library.
Shuffle Debt: You can shuffle debts to reduce the number of people you have to settle up with.
Library: You can add books, music, movies etc to your personal collection. When you lend it to a friend, you can record it here.
Though anyone can use BillMonk, I think it is particularly useful for students and bachelors who are living with their friends away from their home.
How do you keep a track of the money that is owed between your group of friends? Will you use BillMonk, or do you know of a better method than this? Share your thoughts with us by leaving a comment below.