Moving in with others
Although it can take some getting used to, moving in with the right people can be both fun and budget-friendly – that’s because you’ll only pay for your share of the rent and split the bills that come in such as power and gas. If you do the sums, the chances are splitting the rent on a three bedroom house with two others combined with splitting the household bills is likely to be much cheaper than living by yourself in a one-bedroom apartment and being responsible for all the bills.
Sharing is a great way to make your money go further, but it’s important to set the ground rules with your housemates from the beginning. That means:
- Deciding who will have the bills in their name (it’s a good idea not to have everything in just one person’s name)
- How bills will be split and how they’ll be paid (e.g. into one person’s account that has a direct debit going out to cover expenses)
- What happens if someone decides to move out (who will be responsible for finding someone new and how will this affect the lease)
- How food expenses will be covered.
It’s important you have these conversations upfront to avoid any later conflict.
Budgeting for upfront costs
It’s worthwhile giving some thought to the up-front costs you’ll need to move quite some time before you decide to do it. These expenses may include:
- Rental bond
- Removalist fees
- New furniture and furnishings
- Kitchenware, towels and linen etc
- Connection fees for internet, electricity and gas.
Your bond might be one of the larger expenses you’ll need to pay upfront – this is a deposit you pay to your landlord (to lodge with the relevant Board) to act as security, so that if you owe rent when you move out or have damaged the property your bond can be used to cover it. Depending on what state or territory you live in, your bond could be up to the equivalent of four weeks rent.
Make a list of all the upfront expenses you’ll have to cover, then consider setting up a savings plan to get there sooner. It’s also worthwhile considering a savings account that could reward you for regular saving. For example, a Westpac Life account offers both a competitive base rate as well as bonus interest when the account balance has grown by the end of the month.
Budgeting for ongoing costs
Having to stump up money to move is just the beginning – the reality of moving out of home is being responsible for covering ongoing bills. These can include:
- Monthly bills (electricity, gas, Internet etc)
Knowing exactly what your ongoing expenses are going to be could make a difference in maintaining your financial independence and not falling behind. You can use our online budget tool1 to help work out your expenses. You can also check out our handy guide to setting up a budget.
Top flatting tips
- Shop around utility companies such as power and gas for the best deal
- Set up your rent and utilities as automatic payments
- Set up an emergency fund