Living in a share house is a great way to save on costs and meet new people. However, second only to cleaning, the costs of household bills are the biggest cause of potential conflict in a share house.
As part of a survey by housemate match site EasyRoomate.com1 on conflict for share houses, cleaning responsibilities came out as the top ‘deal breaker’ with almost 76% of respondents in shared homes.
The cost of household bills followed in second place (66%), with rules about house parties (58%), house guests (57%) and sleepover arrangements for partners (49%) rounding out the top five.
The good news is, there’s no need to split hairs when it comes to splitting bills. There are several ways to save energy in a share house and potentially reduce the cost of your bills.
“Cleaning responsibilities came out as the top ‘deal breaker’ in shared homes.”
3 tips to living in a happy share house
1. Check if anyone’s 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 and have the conversation
There are some practical, easy ways that your household can save on energy bills year round by targeting the laundry, kitchen, bathroom and bedrooms. It’s good to 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.
It’s good to be prepared to have some awkward 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? Or if you’re living with an avid gamer, who has every console under the sun, is it fair that you pay the same amount?
Of course, a few dollars here and there isn’t worth a friendship, so if the energy usage is fairly similar between all housemates think about splitting the bills evenly to avoid conflict.
You could also consider signing up to Australia’s first fixed price energy plan, Predictable Plan which is now available to new and existing Origin customers. All you’ll need is 3 months of historical usage to get started. Choosing Predictable Plan means you pay pay a fixed amount for your electricity or natural gas each month for one year, and can avoid those awkward energy conversations with your housemates.
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.
And don’t forget to ensure each new house member is aware of bill arrangements, and you’ll be well on your way to avoiding conflict in your shared household.
Find out how you can get a fixed energy plan. Call us on 13 24 61 or request a call back.
- PRwire, Aussie Flatmates Pick Their Battles. Australians Reveal the Top Sources of Conflict in Shared Homes, October 2010.