Sometimes the hardest part of living in a flatshare is managing money. If you and your flatmates have decided to chip in for an appliance, or even an “indispensable” game console, you should be wary of some dos and don’ts before you decide to commit.
- Be direct about who owes what. If you’re going to make a purchase together, like a washing machine for example, split the cost evenly between the amount of people willing to contribute.
- Set up a kitty (a joint money jar). This is the best way to make sure that you can all afford to buy an essential appliance if your old one decides to give up the ghost. You and your flatmates could contribute an agreed amount every week/month so that you know exactly how much is in there if the going gets tough.
- Go to the shop together. This way, you can all come to an agreement about how much to spend and everyone’s financial situation can be taken into consideration.
- Get it in writing: if you’re splitting the cost of something with your flatmates, always keep a record of your shared bills and purchases. Hopefully it won’t ever come to it but, if things turn sour, you may need this in a small claims court.
- Don’t buy until everyone contributes. If it’s left up to you to purchase the item, make sure you wait until everyone who is contributing has given you the money. Make it clear that you need everyone’s shares in advance.
- Don’t leave debt unpaid. If you’re borrowing money from a flatmate, always agree on a timescale for repayments. The same rules should apply if you lend your flatmate money. The best way is to give at least 72 hours’ notice so that everyone knows exactly where he or she stands.
- Don’t fall out! More often than not, the people we live with at university become lifelong friends. So, don’t let yourselves become enemies over a disagreement related to the cost of a kettle!