When I moved in with Conor last October, it was my first time living with a significant other. Now that we’ve been under the same roof and sharing a car for almost 6 months–and since a few of you have asked how we manage our finances living together–I wanted to talk about how we manage our finances. I should note that we have never had a fight about money which I attribute to how open we are about our finances.
We keep our finances completely separate but before moving in together, we had discussed our income, savings, and financial goals. It wasn’t some big, formal conversation. We’d just casually discuss goals, what we spend, and what we save. Conor knows how much money I make, what I have in savings, and even how much I spent on my credit card last year. There are no surprises.
Come up with some ground rules
Will you open a joint account to pay bills or start a joint credit card for purchases? Will you split things 50/50 or adjust based on income? How will bills be paid and who will pay them?
When it comes to purchases for the home or travel, we split (almost) everything 50/50 and talk about any big (and not-so-big) purchases before buying anything. The only real discrepancy in what we pay is that Conor pays a few hundred dollars more than I do toward the mortgage since he owns our place–something that felt fair to us. He also almost always pays for dinner when we’re on a date or out with another couple, but I pick up the tab when we grab brunch or order in to try and even things out.
Don’t keep tabs
Splitwise has taken all the stress out of keeping tabs. We have our recurring expenses plugged in on auto each month. The mortgage is under Conor’s name, but the car, car insurance, and Tuck’s health insurance are paid by me, and each month, the other is notified that they owe half.
Since we’ve agreed on what purchases should be shared, any time something we split comes up (groceries, gas, or even our nespresso pods), the one of us who paid will just plug it in and we settle up at the end of the month. No keeping tabs. No figuring out who paid for what.
If you aren’t on the same page, talk about issues that might come up with dining out, travel, or purchases for your home. Tell your partner if you have any debt and be honest when it’s time to cut back. Figure out what’s in both your budgets and come up with some guidelines that will make you both comfortable.
If one of you makes more than the other, split costs down the middle, divide what you’re paying by percentages, and have guidelines on how you spend your money to prevent arguments.