You’ve either heard the news or you’ve been feeling the pinch yourself, but living in Australia is getting more and more expensive. For landlords, interest rates are rising, meaning their mortgage repayments are going up. For renters and sharers, your rent may have gone up along with the cost of your groceries, your petrol and your bills. There’s a few reasons as to why this is (which you can check out at the bottom of this article) but to call out the elephant in the room, the war on Ukraine is having major flow on effects to our fuel prices, flights and food supply.
Stats from our latest National Share Accommodation Survey 2022, show that 62 percent of members have created new house rules to bring down the cost of living and like? Kudos queens! Nothing is sexier than financially literate flatmates.
You’re currently in a share house, so you already know how sharing can save you money but below we take you through our hot tips on how to keep costs low during this crazy time.
Why blast the aircon at home and pay the extortionate fees when you can sit at work or in the library and get cool at someone else’s expense?
If you’re one of the lucky ones who has moved to WFH since 2020, you’ve probably noticed an increase to your electricity bill – particularly in winter. To make it fairer on your housemates who don’t work from home, consider working in the office more frequently or studying from your local library. With electricity costs expected to increase by 50% over the next year, you may find it outweighs the cost of the commute in. As one old flatmate put it “why shit at home and waste my money on toilet paper and water bills when there’s an office who pays for that.”
Sharing is caring and cooking in bulk is way cheaper duh! But we get it, cooking for yourself every night can get boring, sad and repetitive. If your share house is full of foodie flatmates, consider organising a cooking roster.
Each person takes it in turns to cook a meal for the rest of the house – it means you can take advantage of cooking in bulk, but avoid eating butter chicken for 10 meals in a row. You’ll also be saving on utilities by only cooking one meal per night – it doesn’t matter how many enchiladas are in the oven, that bad boy costs the same to run! Almost a quarter of our community said they started sharing meals with their share house this year to keep costs low during this spenny time we find ourselves in.
Not trying to bring in an autocratic system to the peaceful democracy of your share house, but have you considered setting rules for when you can turn the heater, aircon or other expensive appliances on?
Almost 1 in four share houses on Flatmates.com.au have implemented such rules. Some share houses have strict “no-heaters-from-November-and-no-aircon-unless-it-gets-over-30” rules, which can make you feel like a pleb in your own home, but could also save you some big bucks.
It’s worth having the convo and finding out how passionate your flatmates feel. Maybe the heater/aircon just goes on an hour before bed to cool down/warm the place up. Or maybe you only turn the heater on when 2 or more flatmates are home.
Either way, chat to your crew. If you can’t figure it out, see above point on working/studying from home.
Your cheap $15 fan from Kmart might seem like a bargain, but those babies wrack up the bills. It might be worth investing in an energy efficient appliance (that will cost more upfront) but will save you on bills in the long run, and will probably last a lot longer too.
There are plenty of government incentives out at the moment to help tenants take control of their energy usage. The Victoria Govt is currently offering free PowerPals to all residents, which is a nifty lil device that hooks up your electricity meter to your phone and shows you in real time how much energy your home is using. Which then helps you make a decision on what you should use sparingly or replace (like that shitty Kmart fan).
If you’ve got a spare room, sitting there empty, you could be making bank off of the place. In case you weren’t aware, we’re in a rental crisis and there currently isn’t enough homes available for everyone who needs a place to live. Renting out your spare room would not only take pressure off the rental market but make you some sweet coin.
So the TL;DR on that is you should easily be able to find someone to fill your room. Check out our Value My Room tool to see the average price for a room in your suburb (read: how much rent you can charge) and the supply vs demand for your area. Fyi! 1 in 9 members on Flatmates picked up a new flatmate this year to help curb the rising cost of living.
So why is everything so damn expensive? Well, there’s a few reasons.
Ukraine and Russia export 35% of the world’s wheat and crude oil supply, but production has slowed down due to the war. This means supply vs demand is off and prices are going up. Wars (obviously) make global markets stress, which increases prices on many commodities, including freight and fuel. So basically, it gets more expensive to send and receive things - which flows on to our petrol supply, our groceries and our cost of living.
Due to the war, the pandemic and life, inflation has gone up to 5.1%. According to the RBA, a nice healthy inflation number sits around 2-3%. Banks increase rates to make everything more expensive, to hopefully reduce people spending and slow down the economy, which will eventually bring down inflation.
So much agriculture stock was lost or damaged during the floods, not to mention the logistical nightmare the floods caused to many Australian freight routes. These factors have shot food costs through the roof, as similarly with the rental market, there is now decreased supply of goods and increased demand.
Ms Rona had her fingers in a lot of pies, that girl kept busy with all of the disruptions she caused - the closing down of businesses, supply delays, lack of staff and so on. All of theses disruptions are still affecting the economy and our cost of living today.
If you need more tips on how to save, check our out guide on how to live your best life on the cheap.