You’re good friends so you should be good flat mates too, right?
It can all seem like a brilliant idea. You and a friend tackle rising rents by moving in together. Trouble is, sharing a home also means sharing expenses – plus a whole lot of time together, and it’s a combination that has the potential to test even the strongest of friendships.
Set some ground rules
The solution is to lay some ground rules. Importantly, allocate one person as the rent payer. Yes, this can mean chasing mates for rent however it is far better than having the landlord chase you off the premises with a bill for rent in arrears because no one organised payment.
It can be a smart move to appoint the most organised household member as the designated ‘bill payer’, who collects the cash and pays power, internet and other bills. It can mean avoiding late payment penalties, or worse, having an essential service cut off.
When it comes to groceries try taking turns to shop and pay for weekly purchases or ask everyone to contribute to a pooled kitty. You could adopt a ‘what’s mine is mine’ system that sees each household member only cater for individual needs. Either way there’s a good chance that at some stage your beer/wine/gourmet tofu will go missing. Be prepared to accept this. It goes with the territory of shared living.
Find a release valve for frustrations
With money matters under control the next challenge is maintaining domestic harmony. When mates move in, previously endearing traits like scattering the Sunday papers across the floor…until Wednesday or relaxing to heavy metal tunes at 4am can really stretch the friendship.
One trio of Sydney friends devised a system that works for them. Each month they gather at the local watering hole to air their grievances over a cheap meal. The good natured banter never turns ugly due to some set ground rules, but the ritual keeps the friendship intact and their shared household happy. It could work for you.