Whether you love making budget sheets each month or you’re the kind of person who’d rather stick their head in the sand than have a conversation about debt, money has an impact on just about every area of your life. As frustrating as that may be for people who think they just aren’t ‘good’ with money, the good news is that the number one tool for changing that mentality is totally at your disposal: knowledge.
Some methods of gaining an understanding about money look very boring indeed but there are plenty of educators out there now who understand that reading the financial pages of a fusty broadsheet ain’t gonna cut it for those of us paying 60% of our salary to live in a box room above a fast food place.
Money Medics is headed up by Ashley, her sister-in-law Eve and brother Nicholas. The money management Instagram account, podcast (latest ep: “Being A Bridesmaid Landed Me In Debt.” Sound relatable?), YouTube channel and newsletter are packed full of easy-to-digest info aimed specifically at young people who want to get a grip on their finances.
So when we got the chance to ask Eve and Ashley a few of your money questions, we couldn’t hold back. Read on to find out about the ins and outs of navigating houseshare finances.
I live in a houseshare with two other people and for the most part it’s fine. We’re not best friends but we get on pretty well; we share meals a couple of times a week and watch TV together etc. My problem is, I’m the only one who seems to pay for things we all use! If the loo roll runs out there will just be no loo roll until I buy some more (I used tissue for a week once, idk what they used), same for things like surface cleaner, washing up liquid, batteries and stuff. I don’t want to be that petty housemate keeping loo roll in my room or constantly badgering them for cash if we start a kitty but I don’t really know what else to do. Also, I know it’s not much money but I feel like it’s starting to add up and I’m trying my best to save at the moment. Our landing light bulb blew a few months ago and I decided to test it and see who would cave first and buy a new one but they’ve just got used to using their iPhone torches when it’s dark! How can I sort this situation out?
Money Medics: Discussing finances within the home can be pretty awkward. Regardless, it’s something you have to buckle down and talk about or else you’ll end up forking out on things you shouldn’t be, as well as secretly resenting them for it.
Funnily enough, there’s a possibility they have absolutely no idea this is even an issue!
Having the money talk
Now, the question is, how do you bring up the topic of money while still living in peace and harmony with your housemates?
It would be a good idea to call a house meeting and set the tone so your housemates understand the seriousness of the topic. If it’s just mentioned in passing, it may be forgotten about or not taken seriously.
Then tell them pretty much exactly what you’ve said above.
Options for splitting your finances
There are a few common ways housemates share their household responsibilities. Give them these options and vote to determine what methods work best for the majority of you.
Method 1: Take it in turns
Every month, someone different is responsible for creating a shopping list and buying the required items.
Pro: It keeps everyone accountable and shifts the responsibility evenly between the group.
Con: Some months may be more expensive than others. You may have a month requiring just new loo roll and another month with light bulbs, dishwashing salt and batteries, costing a lot more.
Method 2: Set a nominated shopper
You continue to do the general shop each month but use a banking app such as Monzo or Starling to chase them for their portion of it. That way, you don’t have to.
Pro: You don’t feel like you’re constantly nagging them to pay their portion, the app can nag on your behalf.
Con: They will continue relying on you to sort out all issues within the house. But it depends which annoys you more, having to pay for it or having to go out and shop for it.
Method 3: Open up a joint bank account
This requires a lot of trust in your housemates so think carefully before you try this.
Set up a joint account and everyone sets up a standing order into the account every month. Then set up an online supermarket account. Whoever notices something is soon to run out should use their initiative to add it to the online shopping basket. Then at the end of the month pay for it using your joint card.
Pro: Once everyone has set up their standing order, there should be no chasing people for money.
Con: You’ll all have equal access to, and responsibility for, the account. So someone could withdraw all the money and keep it, or cause debt on the account and everyone would be responsible for paying it back. Speak to your bank for more details on pros and cons before you consider this option.
These are just a few options to consider. Once you’ve had the conversation with them, you’ll be able to discuss options as well as considering alternatives that help create a harmonious household.
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