Finally, you've rented a condominium a few blocks away from the office. Gone are the days of waking up at 4 o'clock just to avoid the morning rush. This new set-up is great because it cuts your travel expenses in half. But considering the cost of condo living, a big chunk of your budget might disappear before you notice it.

Now don't feel discouraged. According to real estate experts, the majority of tenants today are no longer limited to expats; active growth is seen from Filipinos working in the BPO sector. Moreover, this new breed is appreciating the value of working close to home. This means, condo renting in the Philippines is a growing trend. A lot of young professionals like you are leaning towards convenience.

So, what's next? you ask. It's time to tell all your friends you're looking for the right roommate. While you're at it, consider the budget and expenses. You should have an idea how it goes before you officially welcome a new roommate. Fortunately, this nifty guide will show you how to budget expenses effectively.

1. Let the size determine the split

Determine the Split

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If your condo has two rooms and one is larger than other, you can use the total square foot as the basis for how much your roommate pays. Let's say the monthly rent costs Php 10,000 and the size of your condo is 1,000 square feet. The cost per square foot will be Php 10. If one bedroom is 350 square feet and the other 250 square feet, then the cost per bedroom is Php 3,500 and Php 2,500, respectively. The cost for the common areas can be equally divided.

2. Make an agreement

An elephant has no space in your room; get it out quickly. Before your new roommate moves in, set rules for your belongings like "what’s yours is yours, what’s mine is mine." Both of you should mutually agree to these rules; they help avoid heated arguments.

3. Create a monthly chart

Create a monthly chart

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Don't let the condo monthly dues slip your mind. The last thing you want to spend on is a stinging penalty. For DMCI Homes, late payments are charged up to 4%. Solve this with a monthly chart pinned on the fridge. Now you can easily track the next payment period.

4. Think about purchases

Think about purchases

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Things will easily click when one of your friends wants to share the condo. However, don't get too excited and buy new furniture. Remember, your condo set up is not a designer showroom. When your friend eventually leaves, the couch you bought can't be split into two.

5. Pay groceries separately

Pay groceries separately

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When it comes to groceries, the simple trick is to pay for them separately. Moreover, you both should have a personal space inside the fridge. But what if you and your roommate want to cook? In this case, the total cost of the ingredients should be split and the schedule for the "chef of the week" must rotate. As an added tip, check the store for those buy one, get one deals.

6. Value each drop

Value each drop

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The freedom you enjoy living in a condo comes with a responsibility. After talking about the budget with your roommate, go a little deeper and discuss keeping the water expenses at a minimum. Some habits you can form is taking short showers and reusing water for cleaning.

7. Be mindful of appliances

Be mindful of appliances

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A couch potato of a roommate can do more harm than good, especially if one is a TV or gaming addict. Don't get it wrong, watching TV or playing video games is allowed. However, you should draw the line somewhere to prevent excessive energy consumption. Use Meralco's Appliance Calculator found on its website. This free application helps you determine the consumption of appliances and track your bills. Talk to your roommate about energy usage because it's a shared expense.

8. Schedule periodic maintenance

Schedule periodic maintenance

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After finding the right condo roommate, you begin to notice he or she wants everything inside the condo to function properly. Each time the TV, air-con, or faucet acts up, your roommate calls for repair. Sudden expenses like these will hurt your monthly budget. It's better to follow a periodic maintenance, so you can prepare your pockets for the next overhead expense.

9. Save first then spend

Save first then spend

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Nancy Butler, a certified financial planner in the US, said, "Most people spend some money, pay their bills and save what’s left." According to her, it's the type of habit we should avoid. Instead, one should save for financial goals first. In your case, the monthly budget for the condo is a top priority. Pay your condo unit bills first. It's up to you to save or spend the leftover.

10. Keep track of the bills

At first, finding the right way on how to set a budget with your roommate sounds puzzling. But if someone takes the initiative to handle the payments, then there's no reason to worry. Download apps that can help you track expenses for free or use the good old Excel spreadsheet. As for the receipts, organize them in a clear folder and label each segment according to month or type of expense.

11. Find more useful ideas

Find more useful ideas

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Since condo sharing in the Philippines is becoming a trend, more useful information will emerge from renters just like you. Stay informed with tips and tricks that might fit your style. Real-estate developers like DMCI Leasing has started its effort to help young professionals move easily into a new condo and find the most suitable roommate.

These are some of the best ways to split rent with roommates. Why would you carry a burden alone when you can share it with someone, right? But honestly, a condo rental in the Philippines is a serious investment. At the same time, you are saving up for a bigger future. A good roommate holds the key that can make your busy lives more tolerable. On the flipside, a problematic roommate spells a recipe for disaster.

Keep these tips in mind and you can enjoy the perks of living in a condo with a fun roommate. Or better yet, find ways to innovate and make your stay feel like a relaxing breeze.