When you first set up a new flat, your finances might not be the first thing on your mind. You’ll have looked into whether you can afford your rent but chances are you won’t have set up a flat account yet or sorted contents insurance. Becoming financially independent and managing a flat’s expenses (as well as your own expenses) may seem complicated but we’re here to share our tips and make it easier for you.
Your flat’s finances
Put everyone’s names on the bills
From the tenancy agreement to the power connection and the internet plan there’s a lot of signing involved with setting up a new flat. In order to make everything fair and ensure everyone pays the bills on time it can be a good idea to have everyone’s names on all the bills.
Set up a flat account
Most bills require you to make just one payment – meaning if your rent is $400 per week and you and your three flatmates are paying $100 each your landlord will expect one payment of $400 into their account, not four payments of $100. The easiest way to make this process smoother is to set up a flat account. You and your flatmates can transfer money from your individual accounts to your flat account and then you can pay your bills directly from your flat account. Our Streamline account is well suited for flatting; your whole flat can have control over the shared finances and access to FastNet Classic online banking and an EFTPOS card, plus you can download our mobile banking app so you can make payments wherever you are.
You may have lived with your flatmates at the university hall of residence, you may have known them since primary school or you may have just met them. No matter what your situation is it can be important to set up some guidelines – especially for issues that concern your finances. Some topics you may want to cover are:
- Hosting parties and who covers the cost of any damages.
- Eating each other’s food (half a loaf of your bread being eaten by your flatmate everyday can really take a toll on your student budget).
- Locking the door before leaving the flat (we’ve heard stories of people assuming another flatmate is still home so they don’t lock the door – this can be very risky for your possessions!).
Set up your tertiary account
Now you’re a tertiary student you are eligible for the ASB Tertiary Package. Make sure you’re signed up for this as it has great options, such as free fries every time you use your Tertiary Visa Debit card at McDonald’s®. Also, ask us about an interest-free overdraft (up to $2,500) or a credit card with a $1,000 limit and no account fee for a year. Learn more about the ASB Tertiary Package.
Get contents insurance
While you lived at home your contents were probably covered by your parents’ contents insurance. Now it’s up to you to cover them. Contents insurance is especially important for renters as it not only covers your contents but may also include up to $1m cover for legal liability related to loss or damage to the property you’re renting. If you’re flatting with friends then you each should have your own contents insurance to cover your individual possessions; if you’re living with your spouse or de facto partner then you can take out a joint policy. Learn more about our contents insurance options here.
Budget (and save!)
It’s important to stick to a budget as it will help you pay your bills on time and meet your financial goals. Use the Budget Calculator in FastNet Classic to set out your budget and then use our Track my Spending tool to make sure you’re staying on track. Even if you’re dealing with a limited budget as a student it’s important to try and save as much as you can. ASB Save the Change can help with this. Save the Change is a service that rounds up the amount of your electronic transactions (to a value you choose) and then puts the difference into your ASB savings account.
Ask for help
Managing your own finances is a huge learning curve and you may find that you run into trouble. It’s important to reach out and ask for help if this happens – you can ask someone you trust, reach out to the Citizen’s Advice Bureau or contact your bank. You can also keep up to date with this blog to learn about budgeting and managing your money; our money tips category is a great place to start.
ASB’s product specific terms and conditions, Personal Banking Terms and Conditions, Visa Debit Conditions of Use and Credit Card Conditions of Use apply. Lending and eligibility criteria apply. Service charges, a monthly overdraft fee and overseas transaction charges apply. Other credit card fees may apply. Free small fries with any purchase at McDonald's. Limit one small fries per person per day. Available after 10:30am. Offer subject to change.