Friends-Etiquette

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If you’re in share accommodation then it’s most likely that you won’t know the network of the individual/s you’re sharing with and they won’t know yours.

It’s best if you plan ahead and give your house mate/s plenty of notice that someone will be coming over. If you’re going to have a big weekend and you might end up back at yours, let them know so they can either get out of the house for a little, or be prepared for some drunk stumbling and loud voices that night.

You wouldn’t appreciate coming home to ten people inside your living room that you don’t know and aren’t friends with, so try not to put your house mates through the same thing.

Give them at least two days notice of a big night/sleep over/girlfriend visit/friends gathering and see if there’s anything you can do to make it more bearable. You’ll appreciate it a whole heck of a lot more when they do the same thing to you!

Don’t let your friends leave without giving you a hand to tidy up a little either, especially if you’ve trashed the place. There’s nothing worse than waking up to the equivalent of a bomb shelter and no one in sight that even resembles like they might be doing something to remedy the mess.

When someone goes

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It’ll either be incredibly saddening or a massive celebration, depending on your relationship. There are, unfortunately, a multitude of things you need to do before they go (aside from have a going away party).

  • Make sure no rent is outstanding with your real estate
  • Make sure no damage has occurred in their living space
  • If there is damage caused by the individual make sure to have a discussion with them about taking some of the bond to cover the damages
  • Make sure you have a replacement tenant (if you need/want one)
  • Make sure you’ve separated their stuff and your stuff and are agreed that is exactly what it is
  • Make sure to give the real estate agent two weeks notice
  • Make sure to get into the real estate and sign all appropriate paper work
  • Make sure to party hard prior to them leaving
  • Make sure to get their contact details in case anything should crop up in regards to before they vacated
  • Have any bills in their name signed over to yourself
  • Get prepped for the new house mate
  • Write out an advert to place online/in the paper for the vacancy
  • Make sure you time the new tenant/your increase in rent payments with the departure of the previous one
  • Make sure the previous tenant returns all their keys and any copies
  • If required, do another condition report
  • Get a forwarding number for any callers or visitors to the house
  • Clean!

You should find that this list (while extensive) will not leave you unprepared for a new housemate or life without your old housemate. Also be prepared for a house balance shift and personality adjustment. Different housemates have different tendencies and you might move in with one of the house mate types as discussed in previous posts.

Resourcefulness

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Get used to being resourceful. In fact, work your tiny little butt off at being resourceful all the way through your entire rental future.

This can range from budget shopping, to actually looking around for a better deal instead of taking the first item you see, to haggling when you actually are purchasing something.

Below are a few tips for the utterly resourceful:

  • Budget shop. Check out the Aldi link on the home page, you can find some amazingly cheap items at Aldi that will switch your weekly shopping allocation from 160 dollars down to 90. They’re opening more and more branches in Australia every week. For clothes shopping try DFO (Direct Factory Outlet). You can find some amazingly cheap bargains at these stores.
  • Bulk buy. Try Costco. You pay low, low prices because everything is bought in bulk. Everything. If you have the storage space and/or a large freezer as well as a large initial capital behind you in moving out, head to Costco first.
  • Search around. You think you’ve found an amazing deal at Dick Smith when you find a Dell laptop for 700 dollars, not realising that the computer store around the corner has the same laptop for 550. You don’t help yourself by not calling around searching for the best deal.
  • Wait for EYFS (End year financial sale) This comes around June/July every year with a lot of stores. Be on the look out for any stores.
  • Shop at your local market. We live closest to the Preston and the Camberwell markets and there are some amazing deals on everything from fruits to suits. Don’t be afraid to step out of your shopping comfort zone, often you’ll find a much better deal.
  • Haggle. Haggle like hell. Don’t walk in and pay the price on the sign. Ask how much you can get off, and when you’ve done that, ask for a further 50. Every dollar you save goes back in your pocket.
  • Keep your warranties. There’s nothing worse than taking something home, realising it doesn’t work, trying to take it back and failing because you didn’t keep the warranty.
  • Swap meets. These guys cover anything from computers to lingerie. Normally not in the same market for obvious reasons. You can find some great deals at Swap meets, just remember to take your own things too.
  • Trading Post. It’s online but I rarely see it in shops anymore. Just be aware that unlike a shop, you won’t get a warranty on the item unless it’s explicitly stated.

These are just a few of many. Get used to trying to find the cheapest thing you can. Don’t rely on the “honesty” of shop keepers to get you a good deal. You have to look for it yourself.

Good luck!

Relationships

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Inevitably, unless you intend on being single or becoming a crazy cat lady, you’re going to move in with your partner, you might even develop a relationship with your current house mate.

Relationships should be encouraged in a living environment. There’s no need to be afraid of moving in with a partner (Well…unless you feel your partner may have psychotic tendencies and the next morning you’ll wake up with no skin!). A boyfriend/girfriend/fiancee can provide an extremely supportive and encouraging environment to live in, they provide a sounding board for ideas, gentle pushes when we don’t want to do things that we know we should.

However, certain cautions must be taken around particular issues.

  • Finances
  • Rent
  • Shopping
  • Gender differences
  • Household duties
  • Miscommunication
  • Social Differences

Keep your head. These are things that are always going to come up in a relationship, but due to different genders, different upbringings, different viewpoints, different opinions, conflict is bound to arise. Discuss them calmly and rationally. If things get out of hand, don’t be stupid and think you can keep a calm rational head while you’re seething. Take a minute or two out and have a breather.

I personally am against the leaving the house option. I’m also against going to bed on the tail of an unresolved argument. I prefer to resolve the problem then and there. If we can’t find a resolution for the issue, then we will agree to disagree. I think a lot of people forget this fact, or ignore the ideal altogether. You don’t have to agree on everything. Every conversation does not have to lead to both parties agreeing, arguments are exactly the same. If after three to four minutes of revisiting the topic in the same conversation the other party still doesn’t see your point of view, try agreeing to disagree. Then cuddle.

It is important that a cuddle comes at the end of every argument. It’s closure, it’s comfort, it’s showing that “Yes, we fought- but I still love you.” If you’re too mad for a cuddle, walk away for a minute, breathe deep, remind yourself why you love that person- then head back.

I’ve found money to be the largest cause for concern, unless you’re pulling over 70k a year, and leading an average non-high spending life. Money is a stickler. If you don’t need to buy shopping, you need petrol, if you don’t need petrol, you need to get your car fixed, while your car is broken you’ll need to take public transport. There is so much potential here for arguments it’s not funny.

Discuss. Just try talking about it all as it comes. Explain how you want to deal with it, ask how your partner wants to deal with it. Realise that you’re each there for a support network. Don’t bottle it up until it becomes too much to handle. Get it out, regularly.

Talk. Always always talk. Communication is key.

Transport- Mass or Private?

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Make the choice long before you move out.

Car, Train, Motorbike, Bus or Tram, Bike or Walk?

Of course the answer will change depending on distance from your house to your workplace. It will also change depending on your financial history and your income versus expenditure.

Make the decision in advance as to which method will best suit you. For example, if you hate crowds then Trains, buses and trams are pretty much ruled out for you already. If you’re worried about busy roads then say goodbye to the bike/motorbike idea. Too far to travel to work? There goes walking. No licence- No car.

Once you have narrowed down your available options, factor in the necessary budget items. Petrol and maintenance for the car, a metcard for the train/bus/tram- factor in if you can afford another card if you lose your first, the purchase of a bike etc.

Once you have narrowed it down to what is feasible and what can you afford, work off preference. Do you not mind the daily slog of traffic if it means that you have the freedom to go for a long drive on the weekend? Do you prefer the freedom to avoid traffic while also getting fit? Don’t mind the crowds if it means a saving on money? Then car, bike, Train/Bus/Tram respectively.

Personally I enjoy the freedom of knowing I can hop in my car anytime I’d like and head down the shops, or head off for the weekend. However I have lately contemplated public transport due to the low-cost of a train ticket, as well as the lack of need to pay for maintenance on a vehicle, no registration costs and no inflating petrol prices. So far however the desire not to be on an over congested train where I have to force my way on and beat down old ladies to get a spot. (Totally kidding but you get my drift). I also live too far out to walk, too far out to bike ride and also don’t currently have the funds to purchase a decent road bike.

Take all these factors into consideration before you move out. Account for fluctuating petrol prices, a burst tire, what happens if you move from Zone 1 to Zone 2, if you have the fitness level to ride to work, if you live close enough to sell your car and walk it.

Write down the Pros and Cons and run with the best option added to what your gut tells you. There’s no point buying a car if you later discover that you’re close enough to ride to work with a 15 minute slog. Hello 20,000 dollar debt, goodbye financial freedom.

Budget-Learn the skill

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It’s the most important thing you will learn in your time out of home (Other than “Don’t drink the bottle labelled “Poison””).

Budgeting will make sure you have an eye on your finances, your wallet, and your shopping so that you don’t careen out of control. Budgeting is probably one of the most vital skills you can learn whether you are just moving out of home or are a veteran renter. My Budget is getting off to a booming start for a reason you know.

Budget for weekly shopping, budget for monthly pay, budget for a new car loan. This way you can always ensure that you can afford the purchase you are going to make.

To quote the ever so cliché quote “Those who fail to plan, plan to fail.” With budgeting this cliché quote couldn’t be more full of truth. If you don’t budget specifically (ensuring you get down everything you income and owe) on a piece of paper or excel document in one place, then you are likely to miss at least something.

I can’t count the number of times where I’ve failed to budget and managed to forget the power bill or an item that I needed to put some money towards in the house but didn’t set aside any funds.

Learn to budget an actual and expected budget as well. You take your actual balance not on what you think you’ll get or spend, but on what you’ve spent in actual circumstances in the past. Make it more realistic, under budget this section where possible. If you have extra at the end due to over budgeting that’s a bonus that can go towards your surplus or savings.

It’s important to establish a savings and surplus fund. Savings can be used for anything such as a new TV, an xbox, a new couch etc. Surplus sits and waits in your account for a dreaded unwanted bill such as Car Registration or an accident when you’re not covered by insurance. Creating a surplus really only benefits yourself and those in your household.

If you’re left short one month due to an unexpected bill, the ramifications of this shortfall hit your entire household. If you can’t afford to pay rent, guess who covers it?

That’s right- You’re housemates. They will not be happy.

Always ensure you budget and under budget where possible.

Food Etiquette

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It’s best to discuss etiquette before you begin living with someone so you know what is and what is not acceptable in regards to food. Some houses utilise a complete share system (one person shops one week and the food is free reign- one person shops the next and so on and so forth). Other houses utilise the common items and personal items rule (salt, pepper, milk, butter, bread, flour etc. are shared food- dinner items, fruit, vegetables, pizzas, alcohol are personal). Other houses use the all items are personal rule.

To varying degrees- They all work. Some more effectively than others.

All items are shared– With this method it’s a free for all. Any food you want, you had better eat quick because you can’t claim dibs in a free for all environment. You also run into the problem of selfish housemates. If on your week you go out and really stock the entire place, the next the housemate (instead of throwing you some cash for your massive effort) might just buy a small shopping load and claim that the house didn’t really need that much food. This has the foundations of a massive argument.

Some share, some personal- This is probably the best method in my experience. Milk, pepper, bread, salt, flour, butter etc are all shared as it makes no sense to have three pepper shakers, three open cartons of milk, three containers of butter etc. Not only will you be able to fit minimal items into your fridge/pantry, you’ll find you waste double the amount of food. With this method you still get your personal self bought items such as pizzas or doughnuts, but you’re still contributing to the house.

All personal- Probably best to try to avoid this method. You’ll triple up on anything and everything in the house and wars will break out when a personal item is used. It’s just a scary situation- Avoid at all costs. It’s for selfish uncooperative houses.

It’s definitely best to find out what kind of house you’re moving in too.

In any case, always share so that when you need something you won’t feel bad for asking. Always ask before taking, and always ensure that everyone around you is as happy as you can make them without over stepping your limits. A full bellied house hold is a happy house hold!

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