Australia’s property boom (and the cost of avocados apparently) has made purchasing a home for many young workers, like myself, somewhat out of reach.
While we go about saving a deposit worthy of our first home, the market is driving better conditions for many renters, encouraging us folk to stay in rental properties and share houses for longer.
Living in a share house is a great way to save on costs (and meet new people). Although a great option, things can get a little tricky when it comes to splitting the cost of household bills.
There are a few things that should be taken into consideration.
For example; in most cases, room sizes vary, so does the use of amenities – which begs the question: should the percentage breakdown of rent and bills reflect this?
Enter the couple-living-in-one-bedroom scenario. Things get even more complicated when there’s two sharing a room.
In any case, there are a number of things you can do to save energy in a share house, which could help reduce the cost of your bills (meaning more smashed avo for you) and spare potential conflict.
1. Check if you or your roommates are eligible for concessions
Students, apprentices and low-income earners in your share house may be eligible for a Health Care Card or a Low Income Health Care Card. This card could mean your household is entitled to a concession on your bills. They may also be eligible for a rebate through the Commonwealth and State Government’s Annual Electricity Concession, Heating Allowance, Water and Sewerage Concessions.
2. Be energy efficient
At Origin, we believe that good energy should be affordable. There are some practical, easy ways that your household can save on energy bills year round by targeting the laundry, kitchen, bathroom and bedrooms. Remember that the three most expensive appliances to run are electric hot water units, air conditioners and clothes dryers; so where possible, try to limit their use.
You might also need to prepare yourself for some awkward, but important conversations about energy use throughout the house.
For example, if someone has their partner stay over frequently should they be paying a larger portion of the bill?
You could also consider signing up to Australia’s first fixed price energy plan, Predictable Plan. All you’ll need is 3 months of historical usage to get started. Fixed price energy plans allow you to pay pay the same amount for your electricity or natural gas each month for one year. Our fair use policy applies.
3. Start a household kitty and budget for your bill
There are two main options when it comes to paying for your utilities; start a household kitty for bills and other expenses, or split the bill when it arrives. If you’re going to split each bill as they arrive, make sure you work out in advance who will be in charge of payment. You might want to assign the task to different members of the household for each bill to help divide the responsibility.