When you’re young, studying or at the start of a career, living on your own is usually not an option. Often you’ll be living on a shoe string, especially when pays aren’t rising as quickly as rents. So where does that leave you? Well, if living with family just a little longer isn’t an option, then share housing is usually your next best bet.
Sure, share housing has its reputation – it can be fun, crazy and frustrating – but despite all the housemate horror stories you hear, it’s really not all bad! To help you make the transition as easy as possible, here are the top three tips I’ve picked up along the way.
1. Splitting expenses is easier with apps
Budgeting for household expenses like cleaning supplies, communal food, bills etc. can be tedious – but thankfully, there are apps out there that make things easier! To easily keep track of things, my housemates and I use an app called Splitwise. When expenses come up we just enter it into the app and divvy it up accordingly. For example if I go out to buy cleaning supplies, I take a photo of the receipt and put the total in the house group. People can then pay when they have the chance, and we know exactly who owes what and to whom. It’s great for keeping those ‘forgetful’ housemates accountable.
2. Don’t forget to budget for bills and rent
It sounds simple – but if you don’t budget, it’s really easy to find yourself short when the bills are due. If you get paid on a weekly or fortnightly basis, it may seem like you have more spare cash than you actually have. One rookie mistake I made early on was not setting aside money for my bills or rent. It only took one week of eating beans and rice to realise maybe I should put some more thought into were my money goes.
A simple way to make sure bills and rent don’t creep up on you is to create a budget and stick to it. In an ideal world, you should know where you money goes and know when not buy so much beer. To help manage my slightly irresponsible spending habits I keep a second bank account open for all my bills. Each pay, I put a set amount into my billing account before I do anything else. At the end of the month I then have more than enough to pay my rent and when a bill comes up I don’t even have to think about it, everything I need is in my billing account. This leaves me free to do whatever I want with the rest of my money; good or bad.
While this system works well for me at the moment, it’s also great to know that when I’m ready to get a little more serious about understanding my spending habits, things like The Hopkins Group Money Master program exist. Money Master gives you the power of the Xero Cashbook platform, linking with your bank accounts and budgets to shine a spotlight on what you’re spending and where you might need to cut back. You can learn more about Money Master here.
3. Communication is key
Having open lines of communication with your housemates is the make or break of any good share house. How this is achieved varies from place to place; some have house meetings, others have notice boards, but my place has a group chat set up on our phones.
We all live busy lives, so when we need to sort things out the group chat helps immensely. From finding out who will be home for Border Security night, to discussing the need for a new vacuum cleaner and uncovering why the electricity bill so high this month, the group chat keeps us all on the same page and helps negotiate the larger house expenses.
If you’ve never lived in a share house before, it can be an equally exciting and scary idea to get your head around – and while I can’t help you figure out who keeps eating your food, I do hope these tips will help you start your first foray into the life of renting on the right foot! And who knows – once you’ve mastered budgeting in a share house, you might soon be ready to move out into a new place of your own! When that time comes, The Hopkins Group is here to help with a number of great properties available for lease across Melbourne. Check out our current availability today!
Get the latest news and insights from The Hopkins Group, as it happens.