I am trying to use GnuCash to keep track of the expenses (such as rent and electricity) in a shared apartment. For historical reasons, I pay for all the bills from my personal checking account. At the beginning of every month, my roommates transfer their expected share to this checking account. Ideally, I would like to keep it that way and use my personal GnuCash file to keep track of all these expenses. My first attempt to achieve this goes something like this:
- Checking account
- Claims against roommates
- Person A
- Person B
- Person C
- Clearing of joint expenses
- Period 1 (A + B + me)
- Period 2 (B + C + me)
- Additional personal accounts...
The idea is the following: I use the Claims against roommates to track what every roommates owes me. After a person moves out, this needs to be settled by a transfer from or to my checking account.
I added Clearing of joint expenses accounts to split the joint expenses of all the persons that share the apartment at a given time. When I pay the a bill for the electricity while A and B share the apartment with me, for instance, this would decrease the balance of my checking account and increase the balance of the Period 1 (A + B + me) account.
At regular intervals (such as at the end of the year), I would book 1/3 of the this account's balance to the claims against Person A, 1/3 to the claims against Person B, and 1/3 to my personal expenses (Apartment).
What I like about this setup is that I don't have to go though the effort to split every single apartment-related transaction that appears in my checking account. Instead, I delay and combine a lot of these splits into one. However, this comes at the disadvantage that my personal expenses are tracked in a delayed manner. Until I perform the split, my net worth seems higher that it actually is (since I have already paid for my portion of my electricity bill).
Is there a better way to handle this situation?