Going flatting can be heaps of fun – you make new friends, gain independence and learn loads of new life skills. But leaving home also means you have to pay your own way for pretty much everything. Here are some ideas to help keep your finances in check when you’re flatting.
Before you accept a flat, it’s important to make sure you can afford to cover all your expenses.
Here are just some of the costs of flatting:
Don’t forget your other expenses as well.
If you find your costs are going to be more than your income, then be prepared to cut down on unnecessary expenses – usually entertainment and shopping.
There are lots of bills to pay when you go flatting – from the rent and power to internet and food. It could get confusing as to who has paid what and who owes what.
Having one person in charge of paying the bills on behalf of the flat makes things simple. It saves everyone having to work out their share, and should help ensure the bills get paid on time and in full. It may save arguments along the way too.
If your name’s on a bill, you’re responsible for paying the amount of the bill. So if the bill's overdue, people will chase you for the outstanding money, not your flatmates.
It may be a good idea to put everyone’s names on the bills so everyone has equal responsibility for paying the total amount of them. And this includes the tenancy agreement. It may be a hassle as flatmates come and go, but it could be well worth the effort – especially if you don’t know your flatmates very well.
A flat bank account can keeps things simple and tidy. You and your flatmates can transfer a fixed amount of money each week from your own bank accounts to the flat account, and all shared expenses can be paid from the flat account. This could include everything from the rent to cleaning products and toilet paper.
Our Streamline account works well as a flat account. You won't pay any transaction fees when you use EFTPOS or an ASB ATM machine (other transaction fees apply), or move money around using FastNet Classic online banking or the ASB Mobile app. And if you choose to stop receiving paper statements you’ll pay no monthly base fee either.
Having an ASB account also gives you access to cool features like Save the Change, which could help your flat save towards something special.
You may also like to set up a joint account so everyone has access to the flat account. But before you sign up for one, please read our guide to joint bank accounts so you know exactly what you’re in for.
Flatting can come with its risks too. Even if you don’t have many belongings, with ASB Basic Contents Insurance it doesn’t cost a lot to cover your clothes, furniture and electronic equipment.
This insurance also provides liability cover of up to $1 million in case you accidentally cause damage to someone else's property or possessions, anywhere in New Zealand. So if you knock over a TV in a retail store, or accidentally set fire to a friend's house, you're covered for damage you may have caused up to $1 million.
Remember - contents insurance will only cover your own belongings within the flat. Each flatmate will need to have their own contents insurance policy to cover their personal possessions.
Your power (and gas if you have it) are big suckers of money – and prices can vary, sometimes by a lot. So shop around before deciding which power company to use.
Powerswitch is a great place to start. It helps compare different power companies on both service and price based on how much power you’re likely to use. And it gives you helpful tips on saving energy too, which – of course – saves you money as well.
Also check out what’smynumber.org.nz – it’s got a handy calculator to help you figure out whether you’re getting the best deal for your power.
If you need more information in general or help with a flatting issue, here are some people who may be able to help:
Or if you have any questions about your flat bank account or insurance with us, just get in touch with us. We’re happy to help.
ASB's lending criteria and terms apply. ASB general insurances are underwritten by IAG New Zealand Limited (IAG). For full details, refer to the relevant insurance policy document which is also available on request from any ASB Branch or by calling 0800 200 252. The availability of insurance cover is subject to your application being approved. Exclusions apply. See further information regarding IAG’s Financial Strength Rating. A minimum premium applies for all policies. Even if your policy qualifies for one or more discounts the total of these discounts cannot cause your premium to be less than the required minimum.