Dinner-math is hard enough when everyone is paying for themselves. It gets much harder when couples want to pay as a unit, and is near impossible when some people expect to pay an exact amount and other people want to pay as two people.

Shares make it all better. When you edit a shared bill, you can set someone’s participation amount as 1, 2, or more shares. One share is an even-split as today; two shares is an even-split for two peoples’ amount, and so on.

For example, suppose Homer, Marge, and Flanders spend $45 on dinner. They decide to split the bill evenly, but Homer pays for himself and Marge.

We considered also exposing percentages and ratios. However, we were concerned that these would require a more clunky and complex interface which would force you to set a percentage amount for everyone, not just for yourself. If people do need this advanced level of control, we can add it, but for now we’re taking the more elegant approach of shares.


7 Responses to “Shares”

  1. Peter Steneteg Says:

    Great feature…
    But the feature I miss the most in this area is perhaps to be able to split some thing evenly but add a cost on top of that to someone…

    lets say I and my 4 friends by some food for a dinner or so and we want to split it evenly but one of us also bought some extra serial or something for him self. Then I would lite to be able to specify the he should pay as much as us plus the extra serial…

  2. Carl Hamlin Says:

    You can totally do that. Just specify that the person who bought extra should pay an exact amount, and BillMonk will even out the rest amongst the remaining participants. All you have to do is calculate the cost of the items the abberant participant should be paying for, his/her portion of the tip (if applicable) and his/her portion of the tax (also if applicable) and BillMonk takes care of the rest.

  3. billmonk Says:

    Howdy Peter! Thanks for the neat idea. Having an even-split, with a fixed-amount added to it makes the kind of use-case you're pointing out simpler.

    As Carl mentions, you can achieve the same result today by using the 'fixed-split'. Thank you Carl for stepping in with this suggestion! As he points out, we do calculate the even split for you and let you adjust it when you switch the split type to 'fixed'.

    In general, our aim with regards to bill splitting is to cover the widest set of use-cases with the simplest possible interface. This keeps splitting intuitive yet powerful. However, we are open to adding new splitting methods if the use-case is prominent. In fact, that was the motivation for adding even-shares, since the couples use-case is quite common. 

    I hope this meets your needs. If not, do let us know and we'll do our best to make it better.

  4. Carl Hamlin Says:

    The most intuitive way I can see institutionalizing a split such as Peter suggested as a ‘split method’ would be to have separate fields in the bill for tip and tax, and have each of them subject to the share functionality as well.

    However, as you say, you lot are aiming for simplicity of interface, and that just seems needlessly complex – especially if your target user is a relative neophyte. I don’t think being able to avoid a little extra math is worth clogging up the interface with optional dialogues.

    However, with 5000 users and climbing, one fellow’s opinion shouldn’t steer the whole boat.

  5. Dusty Jewett Says:

    Hey guys, I absolutely love Peter’s suggestion, and I think it’d be VERY easy to implement… here’s what I suggest:

    Add another bullet to “Split as”, called * Even, Plus_____

    Then, the “Plus” gets subtracted first, and the rest of the bill gets split evenly… That way, if I bought a round of shots for $20, I could put that in, and we could split the rest of the bill

    This differs from “exact”, in that the split portion is still dynamically made, rather than set…

    i.e. if I was the first person of 3, the bill was $100… if it was fixed, I’d see the bill, think “I bought a round of beers too, so I’ll add on $20”, I’d be paying $53…

    however, if one of the other guys bought a round of beers, he’d go on the site, do the same thing, add $20 to the bill, and he’d end up paying (let me check my calculator)… $43.50… This leaves the third guy with $3.50… This is obviously not correct…
    Each person should have payed $20 for the meal (i.e. the split), and two should have claimed rounds @ 20 each…

    anyways, as a former college student and math minor, I always had to figure these things out for my friends, and I’ll admit, I used the same faulty math in my favor a couple times…

  6. billmonk Says:

    Hi Dusty,

    Thanks for expanding on Peter’s use-case. It’s clear that this is something that can make life easier. We’re going to add it to our feature-request list with the suggestions you guys have given us.

    As for testing how well it works afterwards, we know of a little bar around the corner where we can take turns buying rounds of beer… 🙂

  7. Dusty Says:

    Thats pretty cool, guys… and if you’re talking about The Stumbling Monk, google maps says I can be there in 12 minutes 😉 (just noticed you guys hail from Seattle also!)

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