How To Manage The Costs Of Living In A Share House

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Moving out of home for the first time is an exciting event, amplified only by the fact that you'll most likely be moving in with a few of your best mates. Share house living is the pinnacle of your 20s - but the costs associated with this new independence can be a bit of a shock at first. Let's go over some of the best ways to tackle them.

Lifehacker has teamed up with BPAY to help you stay on top of your bills through four life stages.

The key to living a harmonious shared existence with your second family is open communication and honesty, both of which are just as important as each other.

Here are some of the best ways to approach each cost in a share house situation.

#1 Bond

The first cost you’ll be hit with is the bond, which is generally four weeks’ rent held by your real estate agent to stop you damaging the property. If you or one of your housemates breaks something, the cost of repairs will be deducted from the bond, but if you leave the property how you found it when it comes time to move out, the bond will be refunded to you in full.

The best way to approach the bond is just to split it evenly amongst everyone. If you all have skin in the game, you’re more likely to give a damn about keeping things, you know, not broken.

Your real estate agent may also ask for two weeks rent up front, so be prepared for that one too.

#2 Moving costs

With a heightened enthusiasm and a good mate with a ute, these costs should be pretty minimal. Removalists can be pricey, so if you decide to do it all on your own, you’ll tend to save a bit of money.

#3 Rent

The most obvious way to approach rent is just to split it evenly, but there are exceptions to this rule depending on your rental and who you’re moving in with.

For example, the place may have a room that’s way bigger than the rest, have an ensuite, or some other feature which sets it apart from the rest. You could choose to make the rent on this room a little higher so it’s fairer for everyone, just make sure you all agree on an appropriate compromise.

Ultimately, this is up to all of you, so have a chat about what works best for everyone.

In terms of making the actual payment, you may use BPAY to get the job done, which is a win because it’s easy and within your online banking. You can even set up scheduled payments if you don’t wanna have to do it every time.

#4 Electricity / Gas / Water / Internet

Your utilities will be billed at different intervals, but at the end of the day, they all behave like any other bill: pay it on time and you won’t have any issues.

Electricity bills, for example, will generally roll around quarterly.

You may or may not get gas or water bills depending on the property. Some won’t have gas at all and some unit complexes won’t pass on water costs to the renter. This should all be communicated to you by your property manager before you sign the lease.

Bills are best split equally among the household. On that note, be mindful of your usage. Try not to spend a million years in the shower every morning and turn off lights and appliances when you’re not using them.

In terms of an internet connection, you’ll want to get a connection that can handle a decent amount of peak hour traffic, particularly if there or three, four, or more of you sharing it. If good internet is a priority for you, you’ll wanna check the types of connections available to you before signing a lease.

Again, all of these may be paid using BPAY, so it's worth setting up scheduled payments so you can concentrate on better things.

#5 Food

There are a few ways you can handle food. Some people will prefer doing their own thing, so just give them a section of the fridge and pantry for their own supplies and leave it at that. Easy.

f you decide to go down the communal shopping route, just make sure it’s fair. This approach works best if you all go to the shops together and buy basics you can all work with. The costs should then be split evenly just as the food is.

However you decide to divvy up the costs of living in a share house, never let money become an argument. Work together, communicate clearly, and always spread the load fairly.

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