The day has officially arrived. It’s the day when your significant other moves in and the two of you take the next step in your relationship. While picking out furniture and cooking dinner together is exciting, learning how to budget as a couple isn’t.
Chances are one of you makes more than other, has more debt, or likes to shop more. These are all factors that need to be considered when determining a budget and how the two of you are going to split expenses. At the same time, it’s important to remember that you’re two, unmarried individuals with separate incomes and goals. So how do you budget together while keeping things separate?
Budgeting in a Relationship
Determine Your Goals
Now that you’re living together, you need to discuss both short and long-term goals. Do you want to save for a new couch or TV? Are you hoping to get married and buy a house one day? All these things need to be discussed and planned for so you’re financially ready to take the next step.
You should also take some time to discuss personal financial goals. Does one of you want to pay off student loans or a car within the next five years? Or maybe even start a business! Accomplishing these things will require financial sacrifice in other areas of your life.
Know Each Other’s Financial Status
Just as your partner now gets to see you first thing in the morning, they also get to know about your financial health. Discuss credit score, any debt either of you may have, monthly payments, and salary. When the time comes to apply for a different apartment or buy your first home, you don’t want to be caught off guard by unknown information.
Split Expenses Based on a Percentage
If you were living with a roommate, you would probably split all shared expenses 50/50, regardless of who makes with what. With a significant other the situation is different. You’re building a life with them, not fighting over who bought the toilet paper last.
It is highly unlikely that you both make the same amount of money. Instead, decide on a percentage of income you both feel comfortable contributing. You can also decide who is responsible for what bills. One of you pays the Internet while the other pays the energy bill and you both contribute a percentage to the monthly rent.
One thing that’s not recommended is to combine finances or co-sign a line. If things go south, figuring out how to dissolve the joint account could get messy. Apps like Venmo, Facebook Pay, or writing a good, old fashion check make splitting bills easy.
Consider Your Savings
If you do decide to try joining your expenses, start with a savings account you both contribute to. This money can be used for new furniture, a vacation, or even date nights.
If you do decide to save money together, make sure you also save money in an account that is just for you. Building upon your own accounts and assets is important to achieve personal financial goals or to have if the relationship doesn’t go as planned.
Money Problems are not Relationship Problems
The moment you start to nickel and dime each other is the moment problems begin to arise. There is no reason to fight over who bought hand soap last or whose snack is whose if you’re both contributing your fair share to the important stuff.
If your relationship is built on a solid foundation of trust and communication, there is no reason to count pennies. Discuss money regularly so you can avoid fighting about cash flow and who owes who.
Have an Exit Plan
No one wants to think they’re relationship will end, but it is a possibility. Keep bills and accounts in one person’s name only so they’re easier to transfer if necessary. Ensure you have enough saved to pay for an apartment alone if need be. A breakup falls within the category of financial emergency.
Moving in Together
If you and your significant other are ready to move in together, contact us today! Our apartments are perfect for couples. Close to local restaurants, nightlife, parks and more, you’ll be excited to call Stonegate home.