When you are sharing a home with flat mates or adult siblings, or have adult children living at home, you want to make sure that paying the power bill is not a painful experience each month. (1) The cost of living in Auckland and other New Zealand cities is rising , so keeping your average electricity bills at a reasonable price can take the sting out of your ‘expenses' tail. When you're sharing a home, a good place to start is by making sure everybody is paying their fair share.

It can be hard to split costs – sometimes more so if you know the individuals well. To avoid any awkward end of the month conversations that can arise when it is time to divvy up the utility costs be proactive and have a bill payment plan.

What is your fair share when it comes to pay power bills?

Our research suggests a 2 person household in Auckland spends approximately $200 a month on electricity and gas. How do you make sure that the resident living more economically does not incur the costs of the more extravagant flatmate? For instance, one person may have a smaller room, no window and not watch TV all day. Someone else in the home is constantly doing laundry, running the heat pump and enjoys the spacious master bedroom.

Split your bills using online tools

Take advantage of the smart energy solutions that many websites out there provide. Sites such as Splitwise and Splitabill will take into account the total space, the size and features of personal spaces and other details that will make bill splitting a breeze. 

Get it in writing

The person you are about to flat with may be your best friend. Even so, it's smart to have agreements in place beyond the terms of your lease. Before you sign up for a place together sit down and have a frank discussion about who is willing to pay for what. If your flatmate doesn't feel the need to use the dryer but wants the heater on in their bedroom, then compromise is necessary. Also have a good feel for when each of you gets paid. Bills can possibly be sorted to accommodate pay dates and other circumstances.

Fix your energy payments each month

One way to get more certainty about your Genesis energy payments is to set up Control a Bill (eligibility criteria and terms and conditions apply ). By doing this you will always know what your bill will be each month – which makes it a lot easier to plan your share with the rest of the household.

Online bill payment

If you want to make the process of paying your monthly energy bill a little smoother, consider paying it online or setting up a direct debit. 

Want to go one step further? See if your bank has a free tool like Westpac's Salary Splitter which will automatically separate your bills and expenses from your main account each time you get paid.

Cut down on using a clothes dryer and having baths

Clothes dryers should be used sparingly, According to Energywise.govt.nz a typical Clothes dryer will cost about $1.00 per load. Doesn't sound like a lot? Multiply that across four individuals doing 2 loads per week and the dollars will soon add up.

The same goes for those housemates who like to take a bath rather than shower. Energywise.govt.nz maintains that taking a shower rather than a bath will typically use only half as much energy.

Get on the same page with savings

When you are living with other people, it is important to have a strategy. Whether that is one person in charge of every major bill or splitting it all evenly - nobody should have to shoulder the full burden of responsibility. Communication is key to prevent blow-ups about money.

(1) numbeo.com