Renting the dream: a broke Brit in Van (part 4)


Part four of a six-part series about how one millennial is creatively dealing with Van’s affordability problem (read part one, part two and part three).

Having lived in a few shared houses in my time, I always dreaded when utility bills came around. There would be a lot of math involved – something that definitely isn’t my strong suit – and prying money out of the tight pockets of Vancouver students was always a drag. So when it came to renting this bloody great Shaughnessy mansion, my group of mansionite’s (10 of us in all including a few couples) and I decided on a vastly superior solution to nickel-and-diming each other over toilet paper.

Let’s not get stingy

Imagine having a slush fund for all things house related. Well, that’s exactly what we did at the mansion. It was decided that everyone would pay a little more rent for their respective room than they absolutely needed to, roughly $75 a head, and everything would go into a joint account. Once the landlord had been paid, the balance leftover would be ours. And thus, the house-fund was born with a little under $1,000 a month in it.

“Just house fund it” has since become a commonly used phrase at the mansion. Whilst the grand total of running a home as enormous as ours adds up to a lot, splitting these costs between us all makes everything cheap. After paying our utilities and internet (which generally worked out to be around $500 a month), we realized we would have a lot of money in excess, ensuring that multiple mansion projects were possible. Want to start home brewing copious amounts of beer and cider in the garage? Sure! we’ll just house-fund the equipment and ingredients! In fact, all told, it works out cheaper for everyone living here to home brew rather than to visit the liquor store. The only problem is a mansion covered in the haze of multiple drunken roommates as soon as any brew is available for consumption and folks want to test it.

Living large in Shaughnessy

Another project paid for by the house-fund: our vegetable garden, which is already starting to thrive. Seeds are sprouting, and there’s already been disagreements over the quantity of evil (at least, according to Warren, our resident Philosophic) cilantro. We even went to the extreme luxury of purchasing a brand new wheel barrow and a watering can cause we’re living large in Shaughnessy. The other day we decided we didn’t have enough wine glasses. Well, we just house-funded some from the thrift store. Problem solved. It’s all Hollywood living at the mansion.

Next on the agenda is looking into purchasing a house car for those family trips to Harrison Lake or Tofino. Summer is on the way and we’re all stoked to get out of the city and have adventures together. Living the mansion life isn’t all about sitting around and discussing mahogany wall panelling, you know. It’s about exploring what B.C. has to offer together. In a car (that we house funded.)

Read part five: Cleaning house the fun way (no really)

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