Tips for managing flat finances?

Earlier this week one of our community members, @Padwa, wanted some guidance on setting up a few bank accounts for his flat.

I was just reflecting on how wrangling a group of individuals with different ideas about financial management can be a bit of a mission! Making sure everyone pays their share and that bill payments go out on time requires a fair bit of coordination, and I’m sure each flat does it differently. 

What are your top tips for managing your finances in a flatting situation? What’s worked for you, and what hasn’t? 

Hi Yvonne, I’ve found flat finances seem to work best in one of two ways:

1.) a CFO/Treasurer/Financier/Accountant/Flat Mum (or Dad) takes the lead and steps up as the receiver of all funds and payer of all bills. One person with all the responsibility and possibily the autonomy!

2.) a ‘we’re all in this together’ approach, where everyone (or a group of flatties) has responsibility - it’s a democracy! A flat account is established (in everyones names) and all funds are paid to and from there.

Either approach can be successful - or a failure - which would work best comes down to several things, who is on the lease, whose name is on utilities/bills etc, whether you are doing flat food or your own thing, whether there is someone willing to put on the CFO hat etc.

I’ve found it best to ensure regardless of which option you use, people have visibility of bills etc so there’s transparency and trust! (Stick the bills to the fridge or stash them in a drawer somewhere!)

It’s also useful to pick good flatmates in the first place - ones who will pay both rent and bills on time!

I’ve been in both situations where it’s been a total failure.  Usually it starts out as Option 2, then normally defaults to me being the CFO in Option 1.  Of course, nobody pays their share.

It’s only worked out for me properly when my flatmate is the landlord!
Thankfully I don’t flatshare anymore!!