Moving in together (whether pre-marriage or as part of getting hitched) is a big step in any relationship. Once you’re sharing the same space, it seems like you’re sharing everything – from food to soap and even clothes. But does merging your spaces mean that it’s time to merge your finances? Quite possibly, so we're here to help navigate this situation. Below are our best tips on how to manage money when living together with your boyfriend or girlfriend.
To Manage Money When Living Together, You First Have to Have the Awkward Money Chat
Before you ever move in together, you should first have a discussion about where you are (and where you want to go) financially. This is the time to be completely honest with each other. Do you have student loans? Credit card debt? Tell your partner before you move forward with anything that is going to involve both of your finances!
You shouldn’t wait until your rental application gets denied to have that talk.
This is going to be your foundation going forward. If one of you isn’t prepared to merge finances, don’t feel like you should just because you’re moving in together, but at the same time, it's important you know where your partner is financially since moving in together is, ultimately, a highly-financial endeavor. Here's a post on how to best talk about money with someone you love.
Make a New Budget
New living arrangements means new expenses. For example, you’ll go through all of those things (like toilet paper) that used to last for months in half of the time.
So your first course of action should be to create a new budget. If you’re merging finances, calculate your new spending amounts. Just make sure to track your new expenses and adjust your spending as needed! Even if you’re keeping your finances separate, or calculating up who-owes-what based on a percentage of income model, a new budget is a good idea.
Split Your Costs Fairly
Since you’ll be buying more of everything, it only makes sense to split some costs. This can include splitting the cost of rent, of utilities, and even groceries. You won’t necessarily need two Netflix accounts anymore, so you can save $9 a month. Same goes for any other subscription services you’ve picked up over the years.
Another idea would be to divide up your shiny new budgets. You can volunteer to buy groceries if your partner pays for the cable or vice versa, but the most important part of managing your money while living together is communication.
Moving in and living together can be a chaotic process. Make it easier on yourself (and your partner) by coming up with some sort of system for organizing your finances. This can be as simple as making shopping lists for groceries, to as complicated as spreadsheets or finding a finance app you both like. Then use it! Figure out what works for both of you so that you are both engaged and aware of your finances.
How to Manage Money When Living Together – Communication is Key
Enter my most fabulous pair of couple friends, Kathrine and James. These guys are rock SOLID, both in life and in the way they manage their finances. Every couple should watch this 4-minute video to find out how you should manage your finances when you're living together.
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