• Bill Sharing & the Joy Of Making Lists

  • Posted on June 23, 2015
  • The joy of making lists

    A few days ago,  my son flew off to Croatia for a few weeks with the intention of travelling around with friends and, for part of the time, travelling on his own. This was to be achieved with the assistance of a European Inter-Rail ticket which is a fixed cost way to see quite a lot of euorope without breaking the bank.
    Before he set off we stressed to him about the importance of making lists and being organising in order to ensure that nothing important was left behind. Predictably, he maintained that he didn’t need a list as he knew exactly what he needed to take and that it was all under control. How wrong he was.
    What was happening, of course, is that in his own sweet way, he was gently asking us not to interfere – he genuinely thoight that could sort it all out and that he wouldn't forget anything. 
    Despite this, I couldn’t resist the temptation to make a list for him anyway, a list containing all the usual suspects – passports – money – phone – charger and, of course, tickets. Surprisingly he seemed fine with all of that  and maintained that everything was packed and he was ready to go. 
    It came as no surprise then when, on thge short walk from the house to the car, he realised that he had forgotten his phone charger and ran back home to fetch it – and then, all packed and ready to go, he was off at last, heading for the sun and freedom.
    Or, Rather He Wasn't!
    The next day we received a text, teasingly entitled, “guess what I forgot?” Can you guess? the answer came quickly -  “my Inter-Rail ticket!”. Of all the things to forget this, along with money and a passport, was crucial to the whole enterprise. There followed a very tense few hours, (quite a few), trying to get the all-important ticket sent to the British Embassy in Montenegro and liaising with them to arrange for him to collect it - not an easy thing to do but eventually we managed it - we think. Hours of work, (for us), hassle and expense (also for us), and all because he felt that he didn’t need to make a simple list!
    Rewind A Few Months In Our Intrepid Traveller's Life - Shared Accommodation Complications
    When our son, (the same one), started his degree last October he was eager to move into a shared house along with four other 19 year old boys.  It was like something out of the TV comedy show “The Young Ones” complete with an unmown front lawn littered with pizza boxes and, of course, the loud music driving the long suffering neighbours mad.
    In no time at all the squabbles started – who ate the last piece of cheese that I in the fridge – who never took a share in the washing up – could the music occasionally, just once in a while, be turned off or at least turned down – whose turn was it to pay gas and electricity? 
    The shared utility bills were organised by a vague sort of rota which relied on each of the housemates to take turns putting £20 onto the gas & electricity pre-pay cards. On one occasion, the person whose turn it was to do this had taken off and disappeared, susoected of going to a three day party and as a result the house was left without heat or light.
    The other housemates were left freezing and without the means to boil a kettle or take a shower. To make matters worse they didn’t even know where the pre pay cards were so they couldn’t even swap turns to make the payment.  Three days later the errant house mate returned from the monster party along with a nonchalant and somewhat insincere “oh sorry guys”.

    There Is An Alternative - The Glide alternative – making sharing bills simpler
    His student loan having long-since been spent, my son moved back home for the third term and we diligently held our tongues and made a real effort not to try to seem older or wiser.
    Once we get his Inter-Rail pass safely to him and when he has returned home from his travels he wants to move out again of course and find somewhere else to live for his second year at College. What's gping to be so different? WE don't know - and we suspect he doesn't either. As always we try not to give advice or interfere, we know the value of leting people learn from thier own mistakes. 
    I may, accidently of course, leave the Glide website open in my browser when he wants to use my laptop so that hecan think that he has discovered an alternative way to organise bills and utilities for students in shared accommodation. 
    If that plan works, he might come to realise that Glide Utilities offers an interesting, viable and practical alternative bill sharing option to help housemates stay friends and live together peacefully, fairly and relatively easily. Its true that Glide might not be able to find the missing cheese but they can make it much easier to ensure that the fridge is not suffering from  a lack of power.
    We just need to try and diplomatically steer our son in the direction of Glide Utilities without him thinking we're interfering with his life, again.

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