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Recently, I have been fortunate enough to go on two group vacations which brought up the age-old question of who pays for what and how do we keep track of the expenses. Fortunately, someone else has thought of this too and developed an app for phones, iOS and Android. If you haven’t tried one of these apps before, I recommend you give one a try for your next trip.
Splid and Splitwise are apps both designed to split up group expenses and track who paid and for what. Both have their advantages and are easy to set up for a group and use. Knowing who you are traveling with and how you want to split your expenses is an important decision to make before deciding which of the two apps we tried. Both can split expenses equally and by share, only one can do it by dollar amount.
My first experience using an app was tracking a 3-week trip in Italy with three travelers. Each of us downloaded the app, joined the group, and set up our account in the Splid app. Here is a image of the app with the group defines and a running total of balances.
We decided to share all our expenses equally. Meaning if we all ate a meal, or a taxi we shared it by the number of people eating or riding, and only one person paid. We added each expense to the app and indicated who paid and for how many and the app kept track each expense. We may have even been a little competitive about paying for it to see who could get ahead. See the image to the left after we’ve entered a few expenses.
Splid, makes it easy to see each expense, who paid and what your share of the expense was. It works offline, when you have no cellphone/Wi-Fi service and when you connect it updates the group account. Each person in the defined group can add and review expenses as you go. Lastly, at the end of your trip it even suggests who everyone can pay to settle.
It features the ability to download a file that shows the groups running total to review your expenditures as you go or at the end. In our opinion it works best if you split items equally. It has a feature that allows you to split the expense by share, but to us it was confusing. For us, we were happy with splitting evenly, but that might not always work for every group. Which is why for my next trip, we tried a different app.
Splitwise, for my second trip was a breeze to use. Simply download it, invite users to a group and you are ready to start adding expenses. It allows each user to enter expenses, to track them, and updates as each user enters an expense. Splitwise has many of the same features, suggesting repayment, downloading, or texting them and reviewing who paid for what. The big benefit to using this app is it allows you to split items by dollar amount.
For some groups or trips, this feature alone would lend the group to using Splitwise. Life doesn’t always lend itself to splitting evenly and Splitwise takes this into account.
We hope during your next trip you get a chance to try one of the cost tracking/splitting apps.
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