Shareconomics in a Share House

Julian, Volt Bank, 4th May

Remember when you were a kid, and mum told you not to get in a car with strangers? Then remember last week when you summoned a complete stranger to take you (and your kebab) home after that big Saturday night? How times have changed.

We now live in the sharing economy – and nowhere is this more prevalent than housing. With capital city property prices reaching heights only footballers and oil barons can afford, we’re all living in share houses longer. Share housing can bring out the best and worst in people, so we’ve put together a financial guide to surviving and thriving in a share house (your bank account will thank us later).

Do share:

1. First things first, set up a joint bank account with your roomies. Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean you are all now in a de facto relationship, it just means paying bills will be much easier and you can avoid the awkward conversation following up for cash on the giant 36-pack of toilet paper that you bought everyone.

Set it up so all your communal bills are automatically deducted from the account, and it’s just a matter of everyone topping it up weekly to avoid any overdraws. You can also use this fund to purchase communal items such as tea towels, dishwashing liquid and cleaning products. And agree what is communal, and what isn’t. There’s nothing worse than someone using your $8 almond milk two days before payday.

2. When you first move in, you should all sit down and work out the best deal on the bills you will be paying. It’s important that you are on the same page with preferred companies and deals to avoid bickering or awkwardness down the track. For example, don’t even consider anything but an unlimited internet plan if you are going to be sharing the bill. Otherwise, any big spikes in data use might see you having to explain your download history. And nobody wants that.

3. We get it, Netflix, Spotify and other streaming services can be contentious topics within a shared household. So why don’t you create a family account with both, add the billing details to your joint bank account and everyone is happy (you also save money)? Hot tip: don’t share Apple accounts – Jessica might go crazy one Saturday night on your credit card and you will suddenly be paying for all the Spice Girls albums.

Don’t share (we feel that none of the below needs an explanation):

1. Bath towels

2. Toothbrushes

3. Soap (liquid soap is okay)

4. Apple accounts

5. Underwear

6. Partners