Living in a shared house can be great for lots of reasons – especially if your housemates are also your friends. It’s a sociable and practical solution for a lot of young people, but understanding how to split household costs and manage your finances can be tricky. Here are a few ideas about how to make sure your finances don’t suffer in a shared house.
First step is to make sure that everyone is aware of all the household costs – so have a meeting and go through everything. Include rent/mortgages, utility bills and any insurances that are applicable. If you’re all just moving in to a shared house you may need to contact your suppliers to get this information or set things up, so make sure you split the responsibility for doing this so one person isn’t managing it all. Once you know exactly how much is coming out every month, you know how much you will all need to contribute to make sure all the key costs are covered.
If everyone is happy to do so, putting a bit of extra money in the house budget every month for household expenses is also a good idea. This is to cover things like toilet roll, cleaning products and even shampoo – things that everyone uses, so no one person should feel they are picking up the cost for these each month. Depending on whether you’re living in furnished or unfurnished accommodation, you might want this to cover unexpected costs too – like the washing machine breaking. Any money left at the end of a few months could be put towards something fun, maybe a takeaway for everyone or a night out.
If all your housemates get along well, you could arrange to cook together and all chip in for food. This would save crossover on basic items like butter, milk or bread, and can also mean the cooking is shared. You could all pick a night to cook and buy the ingredients for that meal, or all put in £20 a week and make a shopping list together. It might not save much but having a joint food budget could mean you can get more for your money, as you often save on offers when buying in bulk.
Make sure you’re getting the right contracts for your house – especially on TV and broadband. The more people you live with, the more people are likely to be streaming and downloading, and the wider the taste in TV is going to be. If you’re frequently going over your broadband limit, or find yourselves buying movies and boxsets, you may be better increasing your contract and in the long run paying less. Plus, you’ll be able to budget for this a lot easier than if you keep accidentally overspending.
So there, you have it, some top tips to help you manage your finances in a shared house. Have we missed anything? Let us know your thoughts.