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A composite image showing three of the housemates from BBC Three show House ShareBBC/Youngest Media

House Share: What we learned living with strangers

What six people in their 20s learned from taking part in new BBC Three show HouseShare

Hannah Price
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Warning: This article contains minor spoilers for BBC Three show HouseShare

Even if you're lucky enough to live with mates rather than strangers who "didn't look too bad" online, shared bank accounts can be fraught and messy. But what about if your house's joint account wasn't just for loo roll? How would you feel about sharing ALL your wages with your housemates?

That's what a group of people agreed to do as part of BBC Three show HouseShare, which sees six people from across the UK move into a house together in London. The deposit has been paid for them but there's a catch – for six weeks they have to share all their finances – the money coming in goes to the collective pot – and the money being spent comes out of it.

Sharing a house is generally a good way of reducing what you spend on rent, especially useful in a big city.

And given that up to a third of millennials are reported to be facing renting their entire lives, perhaps it isn't surprising that these people were willing to give an experimental approach a chance.

From the minute the group move into their new home – food, transport, after-work drinks and expensive designer shoes (yes, this happens) are charged to their joint account. While those who don't already have jobs in London look for work, their employed housemates have to support their living costs.

Unsurprisingly, this communism-style approach leads to rising tensions as the housemates fight over spending and saving.

We spoke to them about their experiences – here's what they learned.

Paul Laverick, 23

Paul is from Sunderland and wants to work in fashionBBC/Youngest Media
Paul is from Sunderland and wants to work in fashion

Did the cost of anything surprise you?
The price of a haircut was obscene. I'm from a little coastal village called Merton where you can get a haircut for £5 – and a decent one as well – but down in London I was looking at £25. I just don't know how people do it.

What did you learn?
I initially only did the show for a bit of craic and so I could move out sooner. I know it sounds clichéd but I actually learnt how to budget. I realised I didn't need to spend money on a bottle of wine after a hard day at work, or be buying clothes I don't need. Now I prefer to save those pennies on things that matter, like experiences.

Top tip for budgeting:
Make sure you've got everything paid off, you've paid your rent, you've paid your bills, so regardless of what happens you're not gonna get kicked out. I know now that as long as I've got something to eat and somewhere to live I'm fine – so I can make sure I have a good work-life balance too.

Muna Gullam, 21

Muna is a recruitment consultant from Chelmsford in Essex
Muna is a recruitment consultant from Chelmsford in Essex

Did the cost of anything surprise you?
My biggest struggle was lunches. When I was living in Essex, it wasn't a big deal if I didn't ever bring my food in. I was spending around £8 (a day) so it was a big shock when I realised that buying lunches was a luxury. Now I've cut that in half, and want to cut it in half again.

What did you learn?
Before, I didn't really ever look at my finances. I hadn't realised how expensive the city was as an adult with rent and bills. Now, as soon as I get paid, I like to sit down and work out all of my outgoings – how much I can save – and then actually stick to it – it's now something I really value.

Top tip for budgeting:
Always have a rainy day fund, if things go wrong and you're all alone in a new city things can become really overwhelming really quickly.

Jess Berrisford, 22

Jess, from Heywood in Greater Manchester, works in sales
Jess, from Heywood in Greater Manchester, works in sales

Did the cost of anything surprise you?
Club entry!

What did you learn?
I'd never really done many interviews – so I was really nervous in the ones I did on the show. From what I learnt I now go into interviews feeling more confident and I found it way easier to get a job.

Top tip for budgeting:
Save money weekly! I don't ever want to put myself in that situation again where I had no money. Oh and even though I will never change, spend less on drinking!

James Cruickshank, 27

James is a carpenter from Shetland
James is a carpenter from Shetland

Did the cost of anything surprise you?
The first time I got a pint I was so shocked. £6 for a pint. In Shetland they are £3.

What did you learn?
I wouldn't have moved this far without the show, but I was hungry a lot and people are way messier than you think. Seriously though, I learnt to budget far better. I've opened a new bank account so I know what I can and can't spend each month – I have a separate budget for food, travel, rent and going out.

Top tip for budgeting:
Prepare yourself to be more sensible – you're not going to have a lot of money.

Rian Morgan, 21

Rian is a recruitment consultant from EssexBBC/Youngest Media
Rian is a recruitment consultant from Essex

Did the cost of anything surprise you?
Not really, but it was nice to not fork out £600 a month on commuting.

What did you learn?
That I do like spending money. I've been working since I was 15 but money wasn't a discussion that comes up – I didn't realise I could survive on a lot less. I have been better with my money since then – I've moved back home, and I'm saving up to get a place of my own. I don't fancy having to share again.

Top tip for budgeting:
You underestimate it a bit at first – money's not as easy to deal with as you think. I'd say just focus on the bigger picture really, if there's something you really want to do.

Olivia Butler-Fagbohun, 20

Olivia is a student from HuddersfieldBBC/Youngest Media
Olivia is a student from Huddersfield

Did the cost of anything surprise you?
I remember paying £1.30 for a pack of chewing gum and being so shocked. And paying for public toilets – that killed me off – how am I paying for a natural function?

What did you learn?
It helped me grow in terms of the physical mastery of life, and being able to distinguish between what I need and what I want. The job hunting pushed me to follow my passions more, so I've signed up to an arts degree.

Top tip for budgeting:
Moving is the best opportunity to start something new and manage your money better. It's not really budgeting advice but remember that when you go to this new city every single person there will see you for the first time.

HouseShare is on BBC iPlayer now.