In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past month, here’s some news for you. I recently moved into a share house with some of my best mates! Wait, hold up, are you saying that the world doesn’t actually revolve around me and you’ve got better things to think about then who the hell I am living with?! Seems pretty fair actually.
Before I moved into my current place, I lived in a whole lot of random places with a lot of random people. I scabbed free accommodation off my parents until I was about nineteen, at which time I decided to venture across the world to share a shitty dorm room with a complete stranger while I studied abroad in the US. I’ve stayed in way too many dire hostels – I’m talking strangers having sex in the bunk bed below mine whilst bed bugs crawled over my face (yes this happened AT THE SAME TIME). I’ve shared a room in grotty staff accommodation at a mountain resort in Colorado with a stranger who would go on to become one of my best mates, moved in with a weird couple, lived alone in a studio apartment, rented an apartment with a previous boyfriend and now I’m living my best life in a share house that is way fancier than any of us really are. So yeah, when it comes to living in shared accommodation, you could probably say I’m a bit of an expert.
So if you’re looking for some golden financial rules to commit to whilst you share a house with others, then look no further because here they are!
1. Set Your Rent Money Aside As Soon As You Get Paid
In case you missed my post on the 3 ways you need to separate your money, you should be separating your rent/bills money as soon as you get paid. This means that you can either pay your rent as soon as you get paid, or you could simply put that rent money aside into a separate account so that you forget that it even exists until rent is due.
Personally, I get paid into an Everyday ANZ Access Advantage account, and the first thing I do when my pay comes in is transfer my rent money into an ANZ Online Saver account. By doing this, I not only take away the stress of worrying about where I’m going to get the rent money from when it’s due, but I can then also focus on figuring out how much of my income I can dedicate to the more important things in life like booze and plane tickets.
2. Pay Your Damn Rent On Time
Speaking of rent, please please please, just pay your bloody rent on time. In fact, why not just pay it early and forget about it? If you are the person that consistently pays your rent late, not only are you going to be the most hated person in the house, but you’re also going to be lucky to find housemates that put up with that shit for very long.
Paying your rent should always be your FIRST priority. Don’t order a bunch of shit online and then beg your housemates to cover your rent until your next pay day. Don’t go out for happy hour drinks and hope that you’ve still got enough money to pay rent after you’ve just shouted your friends their fifth round of tequila shots. Trust me, if you’re consistently blowing your rent money on frivolous things like happy hour drinks, your housemates aren’t going to care how hungover you are the next day when they kick your ass out.
This is why I recommend putting your rent money aside, or just paying your rent, as soon as you get paid.
3. Be Honest About Your Financial Situation
I know that we all dream about living in a four-storey terrace house with water views in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney but we can’t always get what we want. Oh, shit sorry is that just my dream? Well, it doesn’t really matter what your dream accommodation is, sometimes we just have to be honest and admit that it ain’t the right time financially for us to be living like the Kardashians.
If your financial situation changes, or you’re just having a really hard time paying your rent or contributing to the share house, then be honest about this. Be honest with yourself, your housemates and your landlord/real estate agent. This means admitting to yourself that you can’t actually afford to live in a beautiful terrace house in the Eastern Suburbs and, instead, move to a more affordable area. It means negotiating your rent with the landlord if you’ve been struggling to keep on top of your rental payments (it’s the prime time to be doing this thanks to COVID). It also means biting the bullet and asking your housemates for help if you really need it. You’d be surprised at how flexible people can be as soon as you open up and get real about your financial situation. And if they ain’t flexible, then count your losses and move on to the next place because that is not the place for you.
Real Life Example:
When I moved into my new place my roommates and I decided to divide the rent based on room size. I got the master bedroom with the ensuite and balcony, and so my room is obviously the most expensive. After some negotiations over a few beers, I started to panic that the room was going to be too expensive for me. Instead of agreeing to a price that I was uncomfortable paying, I honestly told my new housemates that the price of my room was too much for me to comfortably afford. Instead, I offered to swap rooms or to pay less rent and contribute in other ways like cleaning more often. They thought it over and agreed that I could keep the master bedroom and pay the price that I was comfortable with and they would make up the rest. Honesty… it works every time.
4. Don’t Be Stingy
If The Stingy Bitch is telling you not to be stingy, you better damn believe that it must be true. Nobody, and I mean nobody, likes the stingy roommate. I know it sucks having to pay money for things when you’re really trying to save, but sometimes you’ve just gotta do what you’ve gotta do.
Do not be that roommate that won’t chip in $50 for a washing machine when you’re going to be using it to wash all of your dirty underwear in. Do not be that roommate that asks to pay less for electricity because you “practically never turn your lights on.” Do not be that roommate that uses the last bit of the milk every damn week but refuses to buy any more, and please do not be the roommate that asks everyone to pay them back for the $3 bag of sugar they just paid for at the store.
If you really want to keep track of who is paying for what to make sure that everything is fair, get all of your roomies to download an app like Splitwise. This app allows you to track who is paying for what so that you can split the shared necessary expenses evenly with your housemates.
5. Know Where To Draw The Line
Even though I just told you not to be stingy, it’s actually super important to know where to draw the line at this. The last thing you want is to get financially taken advantage of in a share house and saying NO to some unnecessary financial situations is definitely understandable. If you don’t feel comfortable paying for something because you’re not using it or don’t agree that you have to pay for it, stand up for yourself and refuse.
Examples of things that I refuse to pay for in a share house are:
- Cleaners / gardeners (I can do that shit myself for free)
- Brand new expensive appliances (my K-Mart toaster works just fine and our $200 Facebook Marketplace washing machine is a dream)
- Furniture for other housemates’ rooms (Not kidding – I’ve been asked to contribute to this before)
- Food/items for another housemates’ pet (not my problem – sorry not sorry)
Basically, if your gut is telling you that you shouldn’t have to pay for something, then it’s probably right. Listen to it.
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The Stingy Bitch
Based in Sydney, Australia.
Created in 2020.
This site and all of it’s contents are provided for entertainment purposes only and do not constitute personal financial advice. All products that are mentioned are general product advice only, not personal product advice. Not all options are presented and my opinions are subject to change. All content and posts have been prepared as a general summary only and is not intended to be financial advice with respect to any particular matter. This post should not be relied on with respect to any particular matter. If you have questions about any aspect of the content or this site or otherwise require personal financial advice, you ought to seek financial advice. The author disclaims liability to any person who relies on this post.
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