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Real Relationships: The 50/50 Split

It is a big decision. Moving in together, making meals together, paying bills together. Moving in with your significant other might be the best decision you have ever made… or it might break you up.

The single most difficult decision to make when moving in together? How do we split the bills?

Rent, phone bill, cable, groceries and on and on and on. You need new furniture, appliances and a bigger bed. The expenses add up, which is tension enough, but you need a solid plan (before you make this decision) about your finances.

There are a few methods to consider:

1. Combine your funds in one account and pay from there.
Let me be the first to say that I do not recommend this option unless you are getting married. Do you have any idea how hard it is to separate those finances if it doesn’t work out? You might as well be getting a divorce without the attorney. In fact, if this goes south you might need an attorney to figure it out!

2. Tally up a list of all shared expenses and divide them up equally for each person to pay.
In my experience this is the most common method. It is the least amount of personal commitment but has pretty good results as far as equality. If unexpected expenses come up, those are taken on an individual basis. I recommend applying this to other parts of your relationship such as vacations and dinners out. Take turns paying so that no one is left in the financial lurch.

3. Maintain separate bank accounts but open a "common fund" account.
Each person deposits enough money in every month to cover half the bills,and all bills are paid out of that account. If it doesn’t work out, the account is simply closed. There should be additional funds in it because there is only enough in there to cover the bills in the first place.

As you know, I always recommended making decisions like these (or any relational decisions) together. Whatever method you choose is immaterial if you are in agreement about it. If you aren’t sure what is right for your relationship, run down a little list of what each one of these options would look like for you. Forecast the bills that you have and how much they cost each month. Figure out how much each of you owes per month, how difficult it would be to split up the payments or if you are prepared to combine accounts for the long haul.

Everyone is different, and whatever decision you make isn’t wrong if it is agreed upon. Just remember that finances is a touchy subject and can be the cause of major dissension. Talk about it up front and make decisions that you can stick to. That way you set yourself up for success, rather than eminent failure.

Happy spending!

Do you have a method that works for your relationship?


Have a relationship question? Email sacpress@live.com.

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