Moving in with a significant other is a huge step in the relationship that comes with a lot of adjustments. You have to get used to seeing each other every day, and more importantly, sharing everything. Your space, food, belongings and even finances will become a shared commodity.
Finances can be a stressful subject for anyone, and figuring out how to split living costs with a significant other might make it even more nerve wracking. In a recent Rent.com survey of 1,000 U.S. renters, how to go about dividing the finances was the #1 thing they wish they had discussed before moving in with their significant other, and 16% said splitting finances was the biggest hurdle they faced.
Here are some tips for combining finances in a way that leads to cohabitation harmony:
Be Open and Honest
Everyone wants to seem like they make more money than they do, but when you’re financially depending on someone to pay their share of rent and bills, it is absolutely necessary to be upfront and honest about finances.
Share with each other the amount of debt you have, your monthly payments, income and other expenses in order to determine what you can both comfortably afford. And be honest if something costs too much for you to handle. Aim for a balance where you can pay your bills comfortably, save a little, and have some extra for dates.
Know Their Relationship With Money
You and your significant other may or may not have the same views on money. For example, he be may a saver and you might be a spender.
The way you deal with money should be compatible with your future roommate’s financial habits. Remember in this situation that one person’s financial irresponsibility becomes the problem of both people and establish rules to protect each other from those sorts of financial mishaps.
Share Your Goals
While you’re being open and learning about each other’s spending and saving habits, talk about your financial goals. Do you want to own a house someday? How much money do you want to have in your savings account? How much of your paycheck do you devote to savings? You and your partner should respect each other’s goals and find ways to make them work with your budget.
Every couple combines their finances differently, and what works for some may not work for you. Discuss how you want to pay for things, such as splitting costs down the middle or doing so based on income.
Some couples choose to split up the bills by each choosing a utility to put under their name. Other couples even get a joint account (but be super cautious with this, as it’s a huge commitment!).
The manner in which you split your finances should make you both happy. No one person should feel they are supporting the other, but at the same time no one likes to feel like they are reporting to the other. Make a budget together that you both find to be fair, and re-evaluate it often to make sure that both parties are still okay with what they are paying.
Pick a time when the two of you can discuss and refocus your finances. For example, the beginning of the month could be a good time, when rent is typically due.
When you meet, evaluate your budget. Are you on budget? Are you both comfortable with how much you spend? Are you working toward your financial goals? What things need to change? Answer these questions together to keep your finances in check.