Tame your flatmates: Renting problems and solutions

flatmate angry maskLiving in house and flatshares can bring such joyous times; always having your best mate on hand can be truly epic. BUT at some point your flatmate(s) will lead you to despair, no housemate is truly an angel all the time.

Below are some of the most common shared rental complaints  and problems we see, along with a selection of passive and aggressive solutions. Which you decide to go with, we’ll leave up to you…

Housemate not paying the bills

Passive solution: Keep your cool and get them to pay up when they can / do the communal shopping without kick-back / take you out for a slap up meal on their credit card. Next time bills are due, give them lots of notice and don’t share the real bill due date.

Aggressive solution: Change the wifi password until they pay, by accessing your router settings, usually via this link: http://192.168.1.1/. They’ll soon stress out about lack of internet (no more porn or Netflix), and final cough up what they owe. Failing that, some public shaming via social media should speed up payment in future.

 

Flatmate hits snooze leaving their phone alarm going off

Passive solution: Call their mobile phone, which will interrupt the alarm causing it to stop, giving you more sleepy time. (Although this risks them calling you back / knocking on your door asking why you called)

Aggressive solution: Completely lose it, storm through and turn their alarm off, then change the default alarm time to a lot later. With any luck they won’t check when setting it for the next day, making them late for work – haha, suck on that!

 

Roommate never does the washing up

Passive solution: Wash what you need to use, then get on with it. If things get really bad, keep your own kitchen equipment hidden away in your room. This means you’ll always have clean stuff to use. Alternatively use disposable cutlery and paper plates (not best option if you care about the environment).

Aggressive solution: Don’t get mad, get even! Cooly and calmly take all of the dirty dishes they’re responsible for and dump it on their bed, or in front of their bedroom door if they lock it. Another option is to do the washing up, but do it so badly (leave them barely any cleaner), leaving them to have to do it all themselves.

 

Flatmate having loud sex, keeping you up

Passive solution: Buy yourself some ear-plugs and go back to counting sheep. The next day, ask them if they had a good night and drop subtle hints about them / they’re sex buddy being a screamer. This should hopefully embarrass them enough to keep it down next time.

Aggressive solution: Bang on the wall and shout abuse – although this could backfire leading to an increase in orgasmic volume. Another option is to pretend you have no idea what’s going on and run in like a hero, to see if everything is ok. This should kill the mood for them, bright red faces all round!

 

The last resort

If things get really bad, seriously considering moving out / asking your flatmate to leave. Life’s too short to live in a hell hole with inconsiderate housemates!

Image courtesy of PDPics, licensed under CC0 BY 1.0.

How to have a cracking (adult) Easter egg hunt party

Easter bunny drinkingEveryone loves Easter, what with the four day weekend, masses of chocolate, lots of cute chicks everywhere and all the eggcellent Easter puns (well, maybe not so much those).

Unfortunately, gone are the days of running around the garden searching for bag fulls of chocolate Easter eggs hidden (mostly poorly) about the place. Instead, now that we’re older, we count ourselves lucky to receive a single egg from our parents as a token gesture. I mean COME ON!? We’ll demolish that in seconds…

That’s why here at WDMM we’ve come up with some legendary ideas for your very own grown-up Easter party (we’re not talking about orgies, you filthy scoundrel), which will bring back the good old days of Easter egg hunts, with an adult twist to keep even your most demanding housemates happy:

1. Replace chocolate with booze

Fill shop bought / homemade Easter eggs with alcohol miniatures and hide them around your flat for your guests to find. Include multi-coloured jello shots about the place to make the hunt even more entertaining.

2. Have a game of Russian (egg) roulette

Hard boil almost enough eggs for all, but leave the others runny, then take turns to smash an egg on your forehead – you can guess what’ll happen to the unlucky ones

3. Make Easter themed cocktails

Hollow Easter eggs make for great shot glasses – fill them with some homemade skittle vodka! Alternatively, make some of these yummy Easter cocktails.

4. Play some Easter eating / drinking games

Everyone loves a bit of competition: who can eat the most Creme Eggs in one minute (officially a Guinness World Record)? Or have a game of Easter egg hunt truth or dare (hide plastic / chocolate eggs with various cheeky forfeits hidden inside).

5. Organise an Easter beer hunt (and tasting)

Buy in a wide selection of tasty canned beer, cover up the labels with coloured paper (each one representing a particular brand) and hide. After they’ve all been found, have a tasting competition!

Image courtesy of Anirudh Koul, licensed under CC BY 2.0

Parents coming to visit: How to survive Mothers and Fathers Day invasions

Middle aged couple mothers fathers dayMothers Day / Fathers Day – it’s bad enough how commercial it’s all got, let alone all the hassle it brings. Gone are the childhood days when you could paint them a picture and that was enough. Now they expect flowers, cards and to be taken out for the day. Or even worse – they somehow invite themselves over to visit you in your flat or house share.

Now you could try squirming out of it: “I’ve got plans” or the like, but eventually they’ll catch you off guard and anyway, it’s your mum / dad we’re talking about – THEY KNOW WHEN YOU’RE LYING, ALWAYS! Besides, it’s not all bad, a parental invasion brings with it some benefits:

  • Help from your old man with any DIY tasks that need doing
  • Having your empty fridge and cupboards restocked by your caring mother
  • Being taken out for breakfast / lunch / dinner in return for a nice day out

Although there’s likely to be the usual drawbacks and pitfalls to watch out for:

  • Embarrassing stories from your childhood and teenage years – “remember that time you wet the bed
  • Awkward conversation in front of your flatmates – “your father has started taking viagra
  • Petty arguments – “You don’t visit us enough anymore

But not to worry, WDMM is here with some handy pointers, to help make your parents visit more fun than fail:

The preparation

The accommodation

  • Work out sleeping arrangements (if they’re staying over). Who’s going to sleep where? Do you have enough CLEAN spare bedding?
  • Get tidying – Dirty diggs are only going to get your mum on your back, so don’t give her the opportunity in the first place (if you have enough on your plate – arrange a cleaner)

The visit

  • Sort out refreshments – tea, coffee, milk and their favourite biscuits are guaranteed to go down a treat
  • Have safe conversation ready – Avoid any topics you know you don’t agree on, or are likely to dampen the mood (a read of the latest good news should help)

Image courtesy of Rennett Stowe, licensed under CC BY 2.0

The 50 / 20 / 30 diet (for your pocket)

Calculating bills and spending money renting flatshareIt sounds like 2015’s latest fad, but the 50/20/30 rule is actually a handy way of knowing how much cash you ought to be allocating to different pots each month. I know, rules like this aren’t helpful on those days when you’d prefer to simply live in the dark and spend money on pizza and wine, but trust us on this one.

The rule goes that of your take home salary, 50% should be allocated to fixed expenditure; that’s your rent, bills, food, travel costs and anything else you’d go hungry or homeless without (no, your Netflix account doesn’t count).

The next 20% is where the grown up stuff comes in – it’s money to put aside to secure yourself, financially, over the coming years. That means paying off credit card debt, starting a savings account and paying into a pension.

The final the 30% is the good bit. It’s everything else you want to spend your money on including meals out, beers, cinema tickets and so on. Of course, if you really wanted to be an A* student you don’t have to spend the entire amount on luxuries, but what fun would that be?

If you’ve taken a few minutes to consider how your salary fits into the 50/20/30 principle, you’ve probably just realised that you’re spending too much on rent, not putting anything aside for a rainy day, haven’t even thought about paying into a pension and are spending money faster than it’s coming in the rest of the time. All is not lost – a bit of time spent assessing what you’re spending on bills each month and a few minutes of admin could save you hundreds of pounds a year.

Go comparison site crazy

We know the ads drive you mad, but there’s a reason these sites exist. Gather up recent bills you’ve had from all your energy, insurance and entertainment providers and start switching. Living in a shared house can make this seem like a lot of effort (especially if you’re the ‘lazy freeloader’, not the ‘uptight parent’ of the house) but you’re almost guaranteed to save by taking the time to reassess who you’re paying for utilities.

Sign up to cashback sites

For those occasions when comparison sites don’t offer up the goods, look to cashback websites. Sites like Quidco are free to join and partner with major retailers to bring you discounts or cashback when you shop through them.

Set up Direct Debit payments

Sure it can be a bit more hassle if you’re in a house share (at least shared living means cheaper living costs), but signing up to regular Direct Debit payments for your utility bills can mean discounts. It’s unlikely they’ll be massive, but a saving is a saving and, by paying regularly, you’re less likely to be hit with a big bill at the end of the year.

Check out your company benefits

It’s an easy one to overlook, but depending on the size of your company you may find you could save money on travel expenses (through a season ticket loan or bike loan) or on gym membership (or quit the gym altogether and try these healthy options).

Flatmates who eat together, save together

Cooking a few big meals throughout the week with your housemates rather than cooking separately can save loads on your food bill. If you’re not keen on the idea – start slowly (how about making pancakes – easy and cheap!). Try it once a week and see how you get on. You may find you have more fun, eat better, save cash and get to split the washing up. Who can argue with that?

Image courtesy of Images of money, licensed under CC BY 2.0

5 Welsh bands for your St. David’s Day house party playlist

Happy St. David’s Day! It’s the day (1st March) we pay tribute to all things Welsh. It may not be as widely celebrated as St. Patrick’s Day – or as wholly ignored as St George’s… – but any excuse to have a house party will do, and St. David’s Day is a perfect one for a knees up with your flatmates.

So if you are having a party for your taffy housemates, or if you’re just in the mood for getting in the spirit, here are WDMM’s Favourite Welsh Bands. Stuff an iTunes Playlist with the best of these bands and you’ll be booking camping trips to the Rhonda Bay in no time.

Catfish & the Bottlemen


Catfish have sprung up out of nowhere over the last twelve months. They’ve toured the country relentlessly and, led by the charismatic Van McCann, have taken over almost every mainstream radio station and booked slots at every festival you can think of. They’re Wales’ freshest musical offering and, if two sold-out nights at London’s Brixton Academy is anything to go by, they’re not going anywhere for a while.

Manic Street Preachers


From politics to motorbikes, Manic Street Preachers have been the voice of the Welsh working class for more than twenty years. With lyrics shrouded in personal experience and coloured by the Welsh (and British) political landscape, it’s no surprise they’re one of Wales’ finest audio assets.

Los Campesinos


Perhaps lesser known in the mainstream circles, Los Campesinos have been writing infectious indie-pop songs since the late noughties. Their debut, We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed, is crammed full of delicious musical nuggets. We’ll admit that none of the members are technically Welsh – and merely formed at Cardiff University – but we challenge you to find a band that resonates with Wales more than these guys.

Super Fury Animals


Part nineties Britpop, part psychedelic rock, Super Fury Animals ticked all the boxes. And more than being able to pen a damn good tune (which they could in spades) they were the coolest chaps around too. Lead singer Gruff Rhys has had a healthy solo career post the band’s disintegration, but the magic of tracks like Golden Retriever and God! Show Me Magic inspired a tidal wave of young musicians to push the boundaries of what can be accepted by the masses.

Stereophonics


Yes. Of course we couldn’t forget the Phonics. Hailing from Cwmaman of the Cynon Valley, Kelly Jones and co penned tales of small town life in the Welsh suburbs. Their debut, Word Gets Around, paints a modest picture of life in outer-city Wales in the nineties; where girls playing football becomes high-street gossip, family weddings are awash with heads sunk in portaloos, and everyday tragedies become part of the landscape’s history. Over the years, Stereophonics have grown into one of the UK’s biggest acts.

Image courtesy of Calum Hutchinson, licensed for any purpose in the public domain.

Make pancakes, not war – Housemate bonding on Shrove Tuesday

Pancake day for housemate bondingThat’s right kids – we’re coming up to Pancake Day (Tuesday 17th February 2015), or more correctly: Shrove Tuesday. Pretty much the only day of the year you can justify eating a whole dinner incorporating just desserts and puddings. Being such a cheap and fun to make dish, pancakes also offer the perfect opportunity for you to bond with your fellow housemates.

You may or may not know that Shrove Tuesday started back in, well, no one actually really knows for sure, but is believed to originally be a Pagan holiday. Shrove Tuesday (coming from the word “shrive” meaning to confess) is a moveable date determined by Easter. It coincides with the French festival: Mardi Gras (meaning Fat Tuesday) when everyone eats lots of rich and fatty foods before beginning lent, on Ash Wednesday.

But enough of the history lessons, time to get talking yummy, delicious and oh so tasty pancake batter recipes. Check out our easy peasy and super tasty pancake recipe below:

Ingredients:

  • 100g of plain flour
  • Two eggs
  • 300ml of semi skimmed milk
  • Tablespoon of oil / 50g of butter
  • Extra excitement – add blueberries / coconut / cinnamon / choc chips or other delicious pancake mix ins like bacon, orange zest or even gingerbread

(for approx 4- 5 big pancakes)

Method:

1. Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl
2. Heat the frying pan and add a drop of oil
3. Pour on the mixture until it covers the pan evenly
4. Flip the pancake once air bubbles appear
5. Serve it with your choice of epic topping (see below)

Topping inspirations:

  • You can’t go wrong with the classic lemon and sugar – best to use fresh lemons and fine caster sugar for melt in your mouth heaven
  • Another classic is nutella (with or without healthy fruit: bananas / strawberries) – a chocoholics dream come true
  • Bacon, scrambled eggs and maple syrup – for the American favourite pancake breakfast
  • Blueberries, yogurt and honey – the health freak’s perfect pancake accompaniment
  • Cheese and ham – if you or your flatmates fancy a bit of savoury goodness before tucking into more sweeter topped pancakes
  • Go wild and play around with other ideas – parma ham and asparagus or make pancake burgers!

Pancake competition, fun and games

With tasty pancakes comes the opportunity for some friendly flatmate competitive fun and games:

  • Pancake flipping: height – get your housemates together and see who can flip the pancake the highest without dropping it or getting it stuck on the ceiling (btw the world record for highest pancake flip is 9.47 metres)!
  • Pancake flipping: number – how many full flips of the pancake can each of your housemates get within a minute?
  • Pancake flipping assault course – lay out an assault course around your flat or nearest park and see who / which team can get around the course in the fastest time ensuring flipping happens continuously.
  • Pancake eating competition – how many pancakes can you eat in a set time (WARNING: this could have the unintended consequence of falling out of love with pancakes if you make yourself sick)

Image courtesy of Jamieanne, licensed under CC BY 2.0

Valentines Day – How to free up your house

Valentines day dinner in without the flatmatesValentines Day. It’s a magical day. Sure, restaurants put their prices up, B&Bs sellout, and flights to romantic destinations become increasingly harder to find, but hey – what are you doing to do? It’s Valentines Day. You’re at the mercury of the stars.

Wrong. Because, instead of splitting a disappointing pizza at Jamie’s Italian, you can romance up your flat kitchen, cook something indulgent, share some wine, listen to music that you actually like, and save yourself about £100. A Valentines at home is the best AND the most romantic of all.  If you don’t believe us, check out these great offers:

Just one problem – those pesky flatmates. But fear not! WDMM has got some top tips regarding how to get rid of them and thus freeing up your love shack.

1) Give them £15 to leave

Now, we’re the first to admit that, if you’re staying home on Valentines Day to save cash, this isn’t the best solution. But £15 is roughly enough to buy yourself 3 pints and some chips, so it means your roomies will be gone most of the evening.

2) Drop a lot of hints

Ahhh hint dropping – something we all love to do. Try these. “Yeah the restaurant I wanted to go to is full, I wish we could just stay in and cook here.” “What are you doing for Valentines Day? We’re thinking of staying in…” “Shotgun the house tonight. Get out.” Yes – lovely subtle hints.

3) Force an argument

This could backfire. The repercussions could be far more severe. But, if you’re desperate, just start freaking out at your housemates about never getting any time to yourself and constantly having to watch their shit on telly and they’ll soon get the picture.

4) Tell them you’re sick

We all know that in flatshares, when one person gets sick, everyone gets sick. Tell your flatemates you’re feeling “all bunged up” and they’re soon scatter. For added effectiveness, start coughing and acting as if your sick a few days prior.

5) Just ask them nicely

Most people are pretty reasonable. If they say “ahhh I was thinking on staying in” then leave it to fate with a simple game of heads or tails.

Image courtesy of Andy Rennie, licensed under CC BY 2.0.

New year, new home

New year new home before afterIt’s a common theme – the New Year sets in, we’ve failed miserably at Dry January and we turn our thoughts to some (perhaps more realistic…) goals we’d like to achieve. Unsurprisingly, along with changing jobs, moving into a new place is high up on the list for a lot of us. The reasons vary; we want new flatmates, a new city, go it alone or even just upgrade apartments. It’s easy to get swept up in the excitement of moving to a city penthouse complete with a hot tub on the terrace, but is it always a good idea?

Should I stay?

First up, as always, crunch some numbers. Even if you can afford your new rent don’t forget that moving costs and Estate Agents’ admin fees can really stack up and often make moving prohibitively expensive.

Knowing that you’re eventually going to have to move out means we can sometimes cut our nose to spite our face when it comes to looking after our rented accommodation. But with a little cleaning, TLC and a few quid invested, you could probably make your place a whole lot more homely and get a lot more out of your current flat. Great landlords are out there and, whilst some are strict about how you treat their property, it’s always worth asking whether creative license is granted. It’s amazing what a newly painted room can do and it doesn’t have to cost more than a couple of bribery pizzas for your flatmates! Hanging art and pictures can also be easier than you think thanks to damage-free picture hooks. If you’re lucky enough to have any outside space make the most of it – you can take pots with you if you move and it’ll brighten up those summer BBQs.

Or should I go?

If you’re sure it’s time to get out – do your research. Want to move to a particular part of town but can’t stomach the rent? Look outside the postcode; very often apartments a couple of streets on the other side of a high street can cost less.

Agents’ fees are considerable and advertising rules covering letting agent fees in the UK mean they must be displayed in advance so you should know what you’re expected to pay before you even pick up the phone to the agent. Don’t forget that these fees can be negotiated. Saving money on rent can mean increased costs elsewhere so make sure you factor in any changes in travel costs.

Finally, make sure you meet any potential new housemates before moving in with them. Deciding to move out of your noisy six-person house share can appeal, but moving into a small flat with one other you don’t get along with can be a whole lot worse…

Image courtesy of Hey Paul Studios, licensed under CC BY 2.0.

New year health and fitness resolutions – seeking support from your flatmates

2015 new year resolutions1

Happy new year! As you struggle to remember it’s now 2015 every time you write down the date, comes the annual health-fitness whim(s): joining the gym, eating more healthily or the more temporary but equally dreaded “Dry January”.

Some of us are lucky enough to be renting with health-freak housemates, who live and breath zumba, drink nothing but smoothies and have no shame in sharing every single fitness achievement on Facebook (no matter how small or pathetic). But for others who live with err.. less active flatmates, trying to be healthy can be a constant battle.

Below we’ve come up with some glorious and joyful tips and tricks to help you avoid temptation, and even gain support from your flatmates on your 2015 new year health kick:

1. Brainwash your flatmates

Talk your flatmate into joining you on your health / fitness / non-alcohol mission, as always: a problems shared is a problem halved.

2. Do exercise you actually enjoy

Running can be so boring and the gym is expensive, there are loads of other alternatives, use meetup to find exciting fitness activities for you and your flatmate in your area.

3. When the going gets tough – run / hide

Make yourself scarce when any truly testing times come up: housemate planning a house party or flatmate throwing a burger eating competition? Best make alternative plans / hide in your room.

4. Measure your winnings

Remind yourself (and others in your flatshare) of how much money and calories you’re saving by not indulging in so much alcohol, using Cancer Research UK’s nifty Dryathlon calculator.

5. Become a health food nerd

Get in the know of the hippest food trends of 2015: apparently we’ll be eating lots of freekeh, bone broth and bee pollen (it might even help you and your houseshare in the next pub quiz outing).

6. Drive a car

Be the designated driver: this way the law will be on your side and your housemates will love you more (only works if you can drive / have a car mind).

7. Replace with a lesser evil

Replace unhealthiness with alternative sources of happiness you can share with your flatmates:

8. Turn your flat into the Priory

Get your housemates to hide / lock up your booze or other unhealthy consumables, to rid yourself of any temptation.

9. Make exercise a game

Never take the easy option but turn it into a competition: race your housemates up the stairs while they take the escalator, walk don’t bus etc…

How to defend your flatshare from damp and mould

Rising damp problems flatshare

Damp and mould are the worst things ever. God knows where they come from and good luck getting your landlord to sort it out. It makes your house smell, it looks horrible, it’s slowing destroying your home and it’s the reason that chesty cough of yours just won’t shift. It’s the enemy you’re always battling with. And in these wet winter months you just know it’s winning the fight.

The truth is most inner city houses have damp. It’s annoying but pretty unavoidable. It’s also pretty tricky to sort out. He’s a few things that can help whilst your landlord calls a roofer.

1) Call your landlord, stupid.

We know what you’re thinking, you hate calling your landlord. Yes, we do to. But damp can be quite a serious issue and they’ll be grateful you’ve notified them. It’s their responsibility and, ultimately, their problem. Nag them till they come round.

2) Open your windows

Again, we appreciate that this is fairly obvious. But when you’ve got damp, it needs to be aired.

3) Keep moisture out of the room

Damp naturally feeds off moisture. Don’t feed it. As well as keeping that window open, make sure you’re not drying your washing in the room or leaving saucepans full of water lying around. It all contributes and, whilst stopping these things won’t make your damp go away, it will help stop it getting worse.

4) Get an extractor fan

(or make sure the one you have works)

Your extractor fan is your portal to a damp free house. They’re essential to bathrooms and kitchens and, to be fair, most places already have one installed. If you don’t, get onto your landlord! If you do, make sure it’s actually working.

5) Turn the heat up

Look, we know you’re consciousness of your bills. But you need to turn that heat up (or at least to something reasonable) in order to dry those walls and get the wet out.

6) Clean the damp area and paint over it

This won’t fix your problem, but the anti-mould paint does help cover the stains. All you need to do is clean the wall, let it dry, and apply the paint (which you can buy anywhere). Out of sight, out of mind.

7) Buy a dehumidifier

It’s a bit of an indulgence, but a dehumidifier will take the moisture out and leave you, virtually, damp free.

Image courtesy of Tom Parnell, licensed under CC BY 2.0

5 Secret Santa Tips OR How to make Secret Santa less awkward

Secet santa in a house share

It’s getting to that time of year again when someone in your house says “oh! We should do Secret Santa!” And before you know it, you’re queuing up in a Pound Land to buy 15 jars of salsa because Fajitas is the only thing you’ve seen your housemate eat.

It doesn’t have to be shit. In fact, it can actually be fun. Well, as fun as buying cheap gifts for people you don’t really know can be. Here are our Top 5 Tips!

1) Use A Name Drawing Website

Very simple, very easy. Getting all the members of your house in the same room can be hard work. Getting them to all sit down for long enough to make the draw is even harder. But if you use a lovely naming drawing website, like the cleverly titled DrawNames or SecretSantaElf, then no one even needs to see each other. Just enter the names and when they accept, everyone is sent their secret Santa.

2) Make A Wish List

You don’t want someone buying you 400 earbuds or a rubber duck because you “spend ages in the bathroom.” It’s annoying, and not funny. Make everyone note down one or two reasonable things they’d like. With this, people have the option to get you something you’d actually like.

3) Set a price limit

There’s nothing more awkward than watching your housemate open the jar of pasta sauce you bought them whilst holding that super nice new jumper they just bought you in your hands. This is easily avoidable. Just set a price limit. £10 is a good limit.

4) Avoid Cheap Jokes

Look, we’re not being boring old farts (although the phrase “old fart” doesn’t really support that case), but – honestly – most people don’t find the joke presents funny. In fact, they’re kind of annoying. “Oh thanks! Haha! You bought me a penis shaped lollypop. This is much better than an actual gift…”

5) Quantity is better than quality

If you’re really, REALLY struggling to think of something decent, seriously don’t worry about it. Just buy loads of useful things for the person, at least that way they’ll be like “oh cool, I’d actually ran out of ketchup – thanks for buying me eight bottles.”

Image courtesy of Alexander Baxevanis, licensed under CC BY 2.0

The post-party clean-up

Post party clean up flatshare

As soon as you move into your own place, the first thing you want to do is throw a party. It’s natural. It’s that inner-teenager in you. All those adolescent dreams of “man, when I’m older and I live on my own, I’m going to throw a huge party every weekend” are finally coming true. Although, admittedly, you probably won’t throw one every weekend (you’re not an animal) and the “house-warming” party you’ve told everyone about will probably get postponed by eight or nine months.

BUT, eventually the time will come when the stars align and the party will happen. It’ll either be underwhelming, with most people leaving by 11, or overwhelming, with no one getting there till eleven. Whatever happens, there will be a mess in the morning. A mess that YOU need to sort out before the uptight guy who lives upstairs gets back from his weekend away in Kent. These are some easy steps to get the house spotless faster than you can say hoover.

Get an “on demand” cleaner

Now, this is only for extreme circumstances. If there’s more vomit than carpet in your lounge and more urine than water in your bathroom then just call in the experts. You’re hungover. You don’t need to mess about. This is an expensive solution to your problem, granted, but money doesn’t matter when you’re hanging. Just type in “Same Day Cleaning Service” into Google and you’ll be awash with options – HouseKeep is a good cleaning option in London. You can just sit there and watch Netflix.

Whoever crashed helps

Whoever passed out on your sofa or on your kitchen floor is your own personal cleaner. You were good enough to house them, now make them work for their bed. Find it too awkward to ask? Simply clean around them and keep asking them to pass you things or move. They’ll soon get the message.

Lure your neurotic housemate(s) in

Everyone has a clean-freak housemate. Can’t think who the one in your house is? It’s probably you. But if it’s NOT you, then lure them into the kitchen and just sit there. Soon they’ll snap and just start scrubbing. If they moan? Offer to make them breakfast/lunch/dinner depending on what time you rolled out of bed.

Blackbag EVERYTHING

After particularly brutal parties, everything in your house will be covered in spilt Sambuca and every service will be home to a can of Fosters. Salvage nothing. Get the blackbag, and scoop it all in. There are still some crackers in this box? Bin it. Half of this gin is still good? Bin it. If you want to get things sorted quickly, just blind binning is all you need. (be warned, environmentalist types may not like this ‘everything get’s binned’ attitude, and may prefer to recycle some stuff…)

Mop mop mop

Whatever happens, just mop. The mopping is the most important part. You can probably leave the rest of the mess till you’re feeling better, but that sticky kitchen floor cannot stay. Mop and you’ll feel better.

Image courtesy of Rin Johnson, licensed under CC BY 2.0

Where the fu** do you put a bike in a house share?

Where to put a bike in flatshare - lego

Cycling is absolutely brilliant. It’s good exercise, environmentally friendly and, obviously, loads of fun. But, when you live in a houseshare and space is an issue, a bike can really get in the way. Pop it in the hallway? Blocking your housemate’s door. In the kitchen? Someone’ll moan about hygiene. The lounge? Now nobody can see the TV. We’re exhausted just thinking about it, and that’s without having to lug a bloody bike around.

So at WDMM we’ve decided to get to the bottom of this age-old debate. We’ll rank the common and often used bike spots in a flatshare out of 10, taking practicality and effectiveness into harsh consideration.

Local garage

This is a great idea. Loads of city’s have garage’s you can rent and drop your bike in. http://www.goodgaragescheme.com is a good place to look for them. That is, however, a tad expensive. And excessive. And if a garage isn’t near your home then it’s a bit pointless. 5/10

Locked up outside

Bikes love being outside. Unless you’re on a velodrome they’re almost exclusively outside. They do, however, rust. And if you live deep in a city, leaving a bike locked up outside is just asking to be stolen. If you’ve got a garden, then this blog provides good tips on how to winterise your bike. But if don’t, maybe it’s a bad idea. 6/10

Your bedroom

Now this keeps YOUR bike out of everyone else’s space. But unless you live on the bottom floor, then you’ll have to lug it up a least one flight of stairs. Plus, bikes get muddy. You don’t want that making tracks all over your room. 2/10

Landing/Hallway

Landings and hallways are often where bikes end up. It’s vaguely out of the way and, in your regular houseshares, people don’t really care about the state of them. It can block doors, however, and trip you or your flatmates up when you come stumbling home drunk. 6/10

A shed

Do you even have a shed? If so, this is the obvious place for your bike to go. It’s literally the perfect place. But sometimes sheds can be rammed right at the back of your garden, down some steps, and then you’ll have to drag it through the house if you don’t have a side gate. Okay. Fine. 7/10

Under the stairs

Most houses have small cupboards or spaces under the stairs. This is an excellent place to keep a bike. Out of the way, hidden. Often houseshares will have dryers or freezers here, but it’s better than keeping it next to your bed. 8/10

Local bike lock ups

You can write to your council and get them to build bike lock ups in your street. You can ask, whether or not they’ll take any notice is a different story. You can also try and find a nearby lockup, but often these need permits 5/10

So, shed and under the stairs look like the perfect places. You’re welcome. If these are unavailable to you, a local garage or on your landing. But regardless of where we advise, realistically you’re just going to leave it wherever is easiest if you, so nevermind.

Image courtesy of Loozrboy, licensed under CC BY 2.0

How to write the perfect room advert

Flatmate wantedWhenever a housemate says those immortal words – “sorry, but I’m moving out” –your heart is always filled with dread. Sure, there’s the initial “oh no my buddy is leaving!” feeling. But those feelings are quickly masked with thoughts of “Oh God now we need to fill their room!” And, as is often the way with houseshares, the aforementioned housemate probably won’t give you much notice.

So, you need to fill that room, and quick. What’s the most efficient way? Why, to throw it up on a house sharing website of course. All you need to do is post a quick advert for the room and all your potential new housemates will form an orderly queue at your front door.

It’s never that simple. If you don’t advertise your room, and in turn yourself, properly, then you’ll get a load of nutters turning up and asking if it’s “cool” for their mates to stay and querying whether or not you lock your door at night. Follow these 6 very simple steps, and avoid the lunatics.

1. Keep It Brief

Look, we’re all young professionals. Amongst trying to get a partner, work beers, and recovering from work beers, searching for a house is a real pain in the arse. By the time you’ve scrolled through the hundreds of options that Gumtree spits up and managed to actually find a house a 1) fits your budget, and 2) is in an area that appeals, the last thing you want to do is read a 2000 word essay about the local community and the high quality curtains in the lounge. Get to the point.

2. Have an up-to-date photo

People aren’t stupid. When you’re looking for a flat that costs £200 a month in the city centre, no one is expecting a palace. Don’t try and con your potential new homie with a photo that was taken at the last refurb in 1996. Just take a quick snap on your iphone and attach that. We’re not saying “don’t make the room look nice”, but just be honest, otherwise people won’t take it.

3. Be clear

This is by far the simplest tip on this list and easily the one that most people neglect. You’re not writing your GCSE history essay, no introduction in needed. The first line should state EVERYTHING you’re looking for. An example – Looking for a guy – 25 to 30 – £600 a month – Clapham Common. Easy. Simple.

4. Avoid clichés

If you’ve seen one houseshare advert, you’ve seen them all. “We enjoy spending time together but like our own space.” “We don’t have a cleaning rota but all pull our own weight.” “It’s a nice cosy room.” “There’s a great nightlife near by!” No one, NO ONE, believes any of this rubbish. Just be honest and to the point.

5. Don’t include a photo of yourself

Just don’t. It makes you look like a bunch of weirdos. “Hey look at us all having fun hahaha you can have fun with us too PLEASE TAKE OUR ROOM!” Your new flatmate will know what you look like when they meet you. By attaching a photo you’re just going to attract loners in desperate need of friends or perverts.

6. DON’T LIE

Just don’t.

How to write a killer flatmate profile in reply to a wanted ad

Writing killer flatmate profile ad

Getting accepted into a desirable flatshare has now become more competitive than even snagging your dream job. Speaking from experience, it’s not uncommon these days to be up against 100 + fellow flat hunters when it comes to applying to a flatshare ad. This is why it’s critical that you spend time writing a flatmate profile that makes you stand out from the crowd (in a good way), otherwise you might just end up having to settle for living on the street!

We’re here to hold your hand and get you through to the flatmate interview stage. All you need to do is follow our tips below, when writing your reply to a flatshare ad:

not truthful flatmate truth

1. Tell the truth

There’s little point in filling your profile full of porky pies. It might get you through to the interview round, but when it comes to meeting the other flatmates there’s a high chance of you getting found out. Also just remember, you’ll also be lying to yourself so if you do end up moving in – it may turn out to be a flatshare that really isn’t suited to you.

 

research wanted flatmate ads

2. Do your research

The actual ad may give a lot away about existing flatmates, if you’re willing to put a bit of effort in! Look at photos of the flat, are there any posters up for football teams you support or bands you’re into? If so, perhaps consider dropping in some subtle hints. Also, if an ad goes on and on about the need to be clean and tidy, things which you’re not – maybe consider skipping it…

 

funny flatmate ad

3. Be funny

Everyone appreciates a little light heartedness now and again. Don’t be afraid to let your comical side come through a little in your profile, although don’t overdo it – people will rarely want to live with someone who’s a joker 100% of the time. Use comedy to help make your flatmate profile stand out from the rest.

 

sell yourself in your flatmate profile ad

4. Sell yourself

Remember, this is your chance to shine – make sure to include as much about you as you can possible get in (without making it too long, see point 7). What are your hobbies, what kind of films and music are you into, where have you recently been on holiday? Don’t expect to get far by stating the obvious: “I’m a 20 year old male looking for a nice flat”, you’ll come across as bland and boring.

 

specific details flatmate ad

5. Be specific

When listening your hobbies and interests, include a little detail in what you’re saying. For example stating that you like to cook or bake is good (who doesn’t like yummy homemade food?), but is even better if you add you’re a dab hand at lasagne or ice cream.

 

bad flatmate ad spelling

6. Read it through

Nobody likes to read things full of spelling and grammar mistakes, be it a website, newspaper or reply to a flatmate ad! Mistakes in your response may come across as signs that you put in little effort and are therefore lazy (not a good trait to disclose, nobody wants a flatmate that’ll fail to do his / her share of the chores).

 

concise flatmate ad

7. Keep it concise

It’s very likely that the existing flatmates will have a lot of other responses to sift through, before drawing up a shortlist for interviews and flat viewings. If your reply isn’t short and sweet, it’s likely you’ll lose their attention and any chance of moving in.

 

flatmate ad leave them wanting more

8. Leave them wanting more

It goes without saying, by giving everything away straight off may leave nothing more to add in the interview stage. So see if you can keep some things cryptic / mysterious about yourself – that way they’ll be hard pushed not to invite you in to view the flat and meet with the existing flatmates!

Good luck! Stay tuned for our post about how to handle yourself in the actual flat interview stage, coming soon…

Image courtesy of Zgrredek.

Choosing a new flatmate: Lifestyle and personality considerations

lego flatmate clean personality and lifestyle

In a previous post we covered the important points to consider when choosing a new flatmate, in terms of age, gender what you’re both looking for in a houseshare. It’s also important and probably a given that you’re going to want to have common interests and compatible personalities with your future housemate too.

So make sure to think about the following points during your decision making, to ensure you make the right choice when choosing your new housemate:

Cleanliness

Cleaning is one of the most common causes of house share arguments, so a prospective flatmates view on cleaning and general tidiness is definitely worth considering. It’s a good sign if you’re both in agreement, whether the dishes can be done tomorrow, or that mess must always be dealt with rather than left until later.

Smokers

Whether or not they’re a smoker isn’t a deal breaker, but it’s definitely worth taking into account. If they do like the odd puff, chances are they’ll bring with them the smell of tobacco and may leave the doors / windows open if smoking isn’t allowed inside (almost a definite these days according to landlord rules).

Pets

Again this is usually a rule set initially by your landlord, so make sure you take this into account first! If pets are allowed, then you and your flatmates can decide what kind of animals you’re cool with. Is a pet python ok, or are there any known allergies amongst existing housemates?

Occupation

A person’s occupation may tell you a lot about them, and so should be discussed before choosing your new housemate / roommate, e.g. an oil engineer may not get on with environmentalists. Certain occupations can also be problematic in terms of daily routines e.g. v.early rising / v.late nights introducing noise issues. Also don’t forget that a good job means there wont be any trouble with getting bills on time.  Apparently teachers make  great flatmates

Hobbies

If you’re hoping a new housemate will provide new socialising opportunities (you’re not just looking to fill a room) then their hobbies and other interest could help you with your choice. Similar interests that compliment yours are a bonus e.g. supporting the same football team, or hobbies with benefits e.g. baking!

Attractiveness

Living with somebody you find attractive sounds like a bonus, but this could introduce complications and is usually a bad idea. Think about the consequences of getting together with a housemate, then splitting up and still having to live with them. As they say: ‘don’t sh** on your own doorstep’! So best not even let the temptation arise in the first place… Ask em’ for a drink maybe ;-) but not to move in.

Image courtesy of Pascal.

Choosing a new housemate: Who do you want to live with?

lego choosing housemate gender age

Choosing a new housemate is understandably an important issue. After all all you’re inviting them into your home, trusting them not to break or steal any of your stuff. You’ll want to make sure you make the right choice, based on what you and the rest of your flatmates are looking for:

Friends vs strangers

Initially it can seem like a dream come true: living with your best mates / favourite work colleagues. But think about what the transition from friends to housemates means. Just because grabbing a coffee or beer with them is always a laugh, doesn’t mean you’ll necessarily get on living together as flatmates 24/7.

Inviting random strangers to move in may seem daunting, but if you make the right choice you’ll have the opportunity to make new friend groups.  A compromise could be friends of friends – this way you’re not risking existing friendships, but they’ve been vetted already by people you trust.

Age

Are you looking for somebody of a similar age, younger (to add more energy to the houseshare) or older (to bring more responsibility to the house dynamics)? Often having a mix can work well, although too large an age gap may sometimes lead to differences.

Younger people are usually more forgiving over late night noise and mess compared with older housemates who are often (but not always) more mature.

Gender

Do you want to keep your flatshare an all lads / all girls affair, or live with guys and girls to mix things up? From our experience a balanced house is best, so sticking to an equal number of male and female flatmates / roommates is definitely worth considering. This way you’re more likely to avoid catty arguments or too much male machoness from taking over.

Girls will usually make the flat feel more homely, whilst guys will be there to help with heavy lifting / DIY tasks, this may sound a bit sexist, but it’s often very true.  This also means you’ll be able to avoid specifying a gender in your flat advert, which could be illegal!

What are you / they looking for?

Make sure you’re on the same page when it comes to the type of flatmate you’re looking for / flat they’re searching for. For example: are you / they looking for opportunities to socialise, e.g. a pint at the local pub from time to time, or are you / they simply wanting to keep themselves to themselves, contributing to bills and rent only.

Image courtesy of Neil Crosby.

Top 10 tips to keeping your flatshare warm this winter

flat share heating tips lego

“Who left the !#*@ing heating on”?

Heating is one of the most common topics of house and flat share feuds, especially in the colder months of winter. Forget trying to keep all your flatmates happy, It’s difficult enough getting heating timings to meet a single person’s daily routine, without letting your heating bills rocket out of control.

Below are our top 10 tips to harmonious social living, in the darkest, coldest months of winter:

1. Sort out your heating gadgets

Get your landlord to sort you out a thermostat and timer, these will help you regulate your heating rather than needing to have it either on or off.

2. Bleed your radiators

Is your radiator warm at the bottom but cold at the top? You need to bleed your radiators, getting rid of trapped air to improve efficiency and reduce bills.

3. Discover your lowest ambient temperature

Set your thermostat on a low setting such as 18 degrees, then each day turn it up until all flatmates are happy and warm.

4. Create an all encompassing heating programme

Gather all your housemates routine times e.g. getting up, get home and go to bed, then set the heating to coincide with these.

5. Custom radiator thermostat settings for different rooms

It’s likely that if you cook with gas the kitchen will likely get hot even without the radiator cranked right up, so turn that radiator down.

6. Monitor your downstairs neighbours heating

If you’re lucky enough to have a downstairs neighbour their heating alone may be enough to heat your house share at times!

7. Put more clothes on

If you’re the only housemate in, be a team player and put another jumper on rather than heating the whole house, thus maxing the bills for everyone else.

8. Get your compass out

South facing rooms with windows will warm up a lot more (when the sun is out) compared to North facing rooms, so adjust your radiators accordingly.

9. Open those curtains

If the sun is out and you have decent size (ideally double glazed windows, open those curtains to let the sunshine naturally heat up the room!

10. Inspect your insulation

Without decent insulation you’ll find it hard to keep your house or flat warm, speak to your landlord and have a look in your loft to see if you have any or if it needs replacing.

(Image courtesy of Santiago S.V.)

Top 10 Roommate Christmas Holiday Arguments in House Shares and Tips to Avoid

esolving christmas house share roommate arguments legoChristmas is supposed to be the season of goodwill to all men (and women). Tragically however, with the extra time spent together indoors (often as days are shorter / Christmas parties are organised) arguments occur. See below for a run down of the most common Christmas holiday arguments we’ve experienced along with some simple suggestions to avoid them…

1. Buying a rubbish secret santa gift and making it obvious it was you

For some, the idea of Secret Santa brings excitement, but for others (more frequently guys as opposed to girls) it brings thoughts of dread: “another chore” when our calendars are already jam packed. Despite the tempting option of grabbing a box of Celebrations on the way home at the corner-shop, try to put at least a little effort in, so not to disappoint those that are looking forward to their surprise gift.

Put together a quick housemate profile in your head, to help you work out the most suitable gift:

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Hobbies
  • Pet hates

Based on this, you’ll now be able to find something a little more personal in the shops. Using the information above, these website have a present finder that should help you:

If all this fails and your gift still disappoints, fear not – it’s SECRET Santa after all! Keep cool and don’t give it away by following the tips below to avoid being accused:

  • Share sympathy “Oh that’s a bit rubbish”, but don’t overdo it
  • Make eye contact but again avoid exaggerated hypnotic stares
  • Suggest ways the gift is good / useful “oh you could use it for…”

2. Not paying for your share of the Christmas dinner bill

This is an easy one to do, what with all the other Christmas stuff you’ve got to think about! Fortunately it’s easy to get out of:

  • A simple apology along with swift payment thereafter should keep your flatmates happy
  • If your roommates like to hold a grudge, try rounding up the bill total to the nearest £5 / £10
  • If they still seem a little annoyed, maybe shout them a beer or glass of wine too

3. Getting with another housemate at the Christmas party

If you’re lucky enough to live in a house share with attractive housemates of the opposite sex, all the Christmas parties and free flowing booze can often introduce temptation: a quick snog or more… This is a classic conundrum that often seems like a great idea at the time, but usually becomes a massive headache the next morning (even worse than the one brought on from your hangover).

Obvious methods of avoiding this are to stay t-total (boring) and just being more strict on yourself (easier said than done).  If it’s already too late follow the steps below for damage control:

  • Ask yourself, do I want this to be more than a one off thing?
  • Ask the housemate in question: do you want this to be a one off or more?
  • If others already know about it, be honest, laugh it off, letting it get to you will only drive them on

4. Forgetting a vegetarian / vegan Christmas dinner option

Is one of your flatmates a Vegetarian or a Vegan? If so, this can be a nightmare. It may seem easy to just make them eat more Brussels sprouts, but this is likely to get their backs up. Consider these points to keep everyone happy, including the hipster hippies in your flat:

  • Replace the meat with a suitable replacement: goats cheese tart, or a nut roast perhaps
  • Roast potatoes are often cooked in Goose fat, so replace this with olive / vegetable oil. 
  • Gravy is usually made from chicken / beef stock, so make sure you use vegetable stock

5. Eating the last mince pie / nice tasting chocolate

So you’re sitting on the couch, watching all the annual repeats of the usual Christmas movies – Die Hard, Home Alone etc. It’s all too common for this to go hand in hand with a subconscious feasting of the communal chocolates / mince pies, before realising you’ve finished them all! Aw shucks, it wasn’t intentional, but your roommates are unlikely to believe this. Some solutions to this predicament:

  • Make sure to have a back up supply hidden in your room to replace what you’ve eaten
  • Keep your head down, perhaps the other roomies won’t realise you ate them all
  • Nip down to the shops and grab some more before anyone notices

6. Letting it slip that “Santa isn’t real’ to the younger housemates

This one isn’t likely to ever occur, unless your housemates are either worryingly young or have have had an extremely sheltered upbringing. For whatever reason if you put your foot in it, just back track and come out with one of these little gems:

  • Say that you mean Santa isn’t real (that’s the media’s version) but St Nicholas is totally real
  • Start crying and explain that he is real, you’re just pissed off from receiving nothing the previous year after being a bad boy / girl
  • State that you’re just joking, then quickly go away and write up a fake note to show as proof that you still believe in him

7. Not letting other housemates have a say on the Christmas music

It’s nearly Christmas so you’d think it makes sense to slap on some Christmas tunes, however this isn’t always the case… By December time people are often sick of the sound of Cliff Richard banging on about mistletoe and wine, thanks to the premature playing of these festive classics by work colleagues, pubs and department stores.

Therefore remember it won’t necessarily be a unanimous decision in favour of Christmas music, so instead mix things up a bit with more universal music. If you’re looking for some alternative Christmas themed tunes, check out James Brown’s “Funky Christmas” album and Bob Dylan’s “Christmas in the heart” album.

8. Knocking down the Christmas tree in a drunken stupor

After hours of intense effort (usually by the girls) to spruce up the house / flat / apartment in time for Christmas, it’s not too difficult to understand how coming home late from a work party then falling into the Christmas tree can cause a few housemate tifs.

To avoid, try to stay clear of these delicate decorations when drunk and also make sure to place these well out of the way e.g. in corners of the room.

9. Causing the flat bills to rocket by leaving the heating on

Bills are often the number one topic of arguments within a shared living environment, most notably the larger ones for gas and/or electricity. Avoid these becoming an issue during the cold season (if you’re in the northern hemisphere) by keeping the heating and hot water on an agreed time schedule. DO NOT be tempted to turn on at other times unless consent is given by the majority of others, in case you forget, leave it on and somebody notices…

10. Generally not being full of festive cheer

With the shorter, colder days it’s fairly common for people to suffer from the winter blues. Symptoms include general depression, doom and gloom chat and inability to smile. Try to look out for these amongst your housemates and when diagnosed give them a tickle / hug / glass of wine / pep talk to cheer them up.

So there you have it, a rundown of the likely arguments you’ll come across in your house / flat / apartment this year. Hope you manage to avoid / resolve them – drop a comment below if you’ve come across any others or have any suggested solutions!

(Image courtesy of Brian Neudorff)

Flatmate / Roommate / Housemate – What’s the Difference?

Houseshare flatmate roommate definition lego dictionaryWhilst planning this blog, we came across a variety of different terminology to define people living within shared accommodation. Arrgghh, so which do we use in our blog posts to engage with the most people!?

First we thought it was a fashion thing, and your chosen term defined just how ‘hip’ you are. After checking dictionary definitions and researching further, we’ve now finally come to realise it’s a mixture between cultural / regional differences and the actual setup of the shared accommodation in question.

Check out our findings below, to get your head round it all:

Flatmates living in a flatshare

Use of the term ‘flat’ is predominantly a British thing, as a flat in American English is in fact an ‘apartment’. And before you ask, the terms ‘apprtmentmate’ or ‘apartment share’ are not in the USA vocabulary (although apparently ‘suitemate’ is sometimes used – a bit snobby if you ask me)!

Roommates or roomies

In America, whether a bedroom is shared or simply a residence with separate rooms – the people you share with are referred to as your roommates. The term ‘roomies’ is popular amongst the younger generation and originates from student dorms (student halls for us Brits). In the UK, the term roommate would normally be associated with those you share a bedroom with.

Housemates living in a house share / share house

The term ‘housemate’ is used throughout the world to describe the people you share residence with. Share housing is Australian in origin, whereas ‘house share’ is a widely used term for shared accommodation used throughout America, Canada, Australia and Europe.

So, in summary it seems we’re best to use ‘housemates’ and ’house share’, or perhaps a mixture of all the above in our blog writing…

(Image courtesy of Kyle Tsui)

5 Awesome Reasons to Live in a Flatshare

benefits of house share living with roommates and flatmates legoLiving within shared accommodation could certainly be described as a roller coaster ride. Fair enough there are plenty of nightmare scenarios, but there are also plenty of upsides! Check out some of the benefits below:

1. Cheaper living costs

First is the obvious one – living with others is certainly a hell of a lot cheaper. Not only is rent split multiple ways, but so are all the other bills: gas, electricity, council tax, water, (tv license if in the UK), broadband and even subscription tv if you fancy it. Stuck trying to find the cheapest deal for your bills? Easily compare the major suppliers to find the best deals, using the links below:

2. Making new friends

Living with others is almost guaranteed to improve your social life. Not only will you be able to hang out with those you live with, but their mates and maybe even family will likely make appearances. This means far more social gatherings, party invites and opportunities to add another notch on your bed post… In case your housemates are social fails, check out Meet Up – a website to help you find and meet up with people nearby who share your interests.

3. Fewer lonely times

If you’ve had a crap day at work and you need a bit of cheering up, gone is the need to try and arrange a few drinks with a mate last minute. Instead you can simply head home, knowing the chances are a flatmate or two may well be about to provide you with a shoulder to cry on. Failing that, perhaps getting yourself a voodoo doll of your boss to stick pins in is a good alternative.

4. Opportunities to borrow stuff

Cooking up a storm in the kitchen only to realise you’re missing one vital ingredient? If you live with others, they might have it, removing the need for a less tasty meal / frantic run down to the supermarket. But borrowing can go even further – Thinking of going camping but don’t have a tent? Heading out and your straighteners have packed in? Think of all the opportunities you’ll get to share your stuff with others in return for borrowing theirs – saving even more money! If you lend a housemate something of value, take a photo of them with it so you don’t forget to retrieve it later on. Clever idea huh!? Check out some more awesome life hacks here.

5. Learning new things

Along with meeting new people, you’ll likely find yourself learning loads of new things too (useful and probably not so useful). From simple facts in passing (a goldfish’s attention span is 1 second longer than a human) to the tastiest recipes on earth (easy chocolate cake) or even full on hobbies and sports (extreme ironing). Very useful for later life e.g. the pub quiz or business networking situations…

(Image courtesy of Kate Mccarthy)