Even couples who have been together for years deal with petty fights and huge disagreements. This includes, but is not limited to, where to settle down, who will be in charge of different household chores and, of course, how to split the bills.
It can be less of a problem if both of you work and your incomes aren't that different to each other. However, what happens when one person stays home while the other works? Or, if your incomes are unequal? We understand these are issues you'll eventually face the moment you move in, so in an effort to help you deal with this, we've gathered a number of tips that can help you and your partner to divide the expenses without causing a divide in your relationship.
1. Openness is key
It's crazy how some couples will talk about everything under the sun but are hesitant to be as open when discussing money. It's a mistake you should avoid if you want your relationship to last. Be sure to sit down with your SO and talk about how much each of you make and what your plans are regarding the division of household expenses. Be open, honest and open-minded, and have a we're-in-this-together mindset.
2. Be realistic
Most couples' initial solution to money problems is to divide things 50/50. While this is effective when you earn the same income, it doesn't make sense when you don't. Thus, use it only when it's the smartest thing to do to avoid financial resentments, which can eventually lead to a breakup if not addressed properly.
3. Find time to discuss bills together
Set a day aside each month when you both sit down to see how many bills you have to pay. This should depend on when you get paid, how often you get paid and when your bills are due. Doing this will create awareness for both parties and will even help to strengthen your bond (since you're talking about one of the most important things that can impact your relationship).
4. Determine how much you spend personally and as a couple
It's only fair that you split the bills for things that you both use. For this reason, write down how much goes to your rent, electricity, utilities, credit card (if you have a joint account), etc. This helps both of you stay aware of how much goes to what.
Also, talk about which other expenses you should split and which you should pay individually (grooming, student loans, salon trips, etc.). It wouldn't make sense to have your boyfriend pay for your mani-pedis, trips to the mall and others, but if he offers to pay for them, then why not? A girl should be pampered from time to time, after all.
5. Set a budget
You'll surely have out-of-town trips, dinner and movie dates and other couple things planned. Before you go out, be sure to sit down and discuss about how much you should spend on each trip. When a budget is set, you'll avoid overspending on things you shouldn't prioritize and you'll have enough for the expenses that should be a priority. This way, you'll avoid fights and blame when things go out of hand.
6. Write them down
Keeping a paper trail shouldn't be so hard since most bills get sent to your mailing address unless you opt for paper statements. This way, you have a record of everything and it's easy to refer back to previous expenses when there's a need.
7. Take advantage of technology
If you're not into keeping paper statements of your bills, you'll benefit from using a spreadsheet. Since the spreadsheet is made with your convenience in mind, tracking your personal bills and your expenses as a couple will be easier. There are also apps nowadays like Splitwise or Divvy that can help you to manage the division of expenses easily. Try them out and see what works for you and your SO. The most important thing is that you fin a way to make splitting bills more transparent and convenient to make you and your partner’s financial life better.
8. Keep the lines of communication open
There will be times when both of you will be strapped for cash for whatever reason. When this happens, you should let your SO know and vice versa. This way, you can work together towards getting through the month, even if that means touching your savings or borrowing from family or close friends. It won't be easy, but you'll have to do it anyway. Because if you don't, you have to ask yourself what's stopping you. Maybe it's you or you're with the wrong person. It's your job to find out.
Money is going to be a huge part of your relationship, so the sooner you address it with your partner, the better. Keep these tips in mind and always remember to never fight about money. Because even if it plays an important role in your life as a couple, love is still the most vital player. For where there is love, you'll make things work. Good luck!
Have you ever fought with your partner because of money? How did it turn out for you? Share your thoughts in the comments.