Tips for Managing Your Household Bills as a Student
Everyone knows students are pressed for cash. Between tuition payments, books, late night study snacks and Wednesday night drinks at the university pub, there is not a lot left to spare. This is especially true when it comes to managing your household expenses. It is common practice to share a house (sometimes even a room) with your fellow students to help save money.
When sharing a home, especially as a student, it is important to have a strong system in place for managing your household bills. Here are a few tips to help your student housing experience so that your student home can be free of financial arguments.
Communicate & Set Expectations at the Beginning!
Strong communication with your housemates from the very beginning is critical for keeping track of your household bills. Make sure you know what items are communal and which are personal.
This is especially important to set expectations as a student as most people are used to living in their parents home where everything in the fridge is up for grabs. This is generally NOT the case in a student house share as people have different eating habits.
Generally, pans, cups/plates etc, cleaning supplies, toilet paper, oils, spices are all communal items.
Fresh fruit / veggies or meats tend to be personal.
Also make sure you determine what bills you need to pay on top of rent and how you are going to pay them. If your flat is not bills included then plan to spend £100 per person per month on costs like: electricity / water bills and internet. Remember that students do not need to pay Council Tax.
Create a System for tracking bills.
Know who is responsible for paying each bill. You don’t want to get stuck with late fees! Generally it is best to divide responsibility between members of your house share so that no one person feels like they are doing all the work. That means share who is managing utility bills, internet bills or paying the rent.
The easiest way to keep track of who is paying what is to utilise a bill splitting app. One example of this is Splittable App. Splittable App is a free iOS, Android and web application that allows you to track and split your shared expenses with the people you live with. You can split anything from rent payments, utility bills to small costs like toilet paper or sponges.
Other options for tracking expenses between flatmates include:
- Creating a shared Google sheets between housemates
- Recording payments on a piece of paper and keeping it in a central location
- Having a house kitty in the kitchen that everyone contributes to each month for shared items.
Discuss problems as soon as they come up.
If a problem comes up, and they often do, talk about it early. The worst thing you can do is let the problem boil up and become a huge deal. If you are frustrated because one of your flatmates is regularly late on their rent payments, let them know that this is a big issue for you! Similarly, if your flatmate is eating your groceries - let them know this needs to stop or create a system to have them help you pay for your more expensive groceries.
These tips can help improve your life in student accommodation and help with financial disputes between flatmates.
A Bit About Our Contributor: Acasa
At Acasa we know that living with other people sucks sometimes. But it doesn't have to. We want it to be brilliant. We hate awkward conversations about money and the stress it causes flatmates. Home isn’t just about the house - it’s about the people. We want Splittable to foster happiness in the home, making you a smarter, more effective and less stressed housemate. Our own house sharing experiences have shaped how we approach things, and we try to operate with the same values that we think make for happier houses.
Acasa is the easiest way to track and split expenses with the people you live with.
Written by Julianne Sloane at Acasa