How to Live Together, Manage Your Money, and Make it Out Alive

My boyfriend and I moved in together two years ago this month, and that fact kind of blows my mind. How did we get so old? Why am I not in college anymore? What is going on? Seriously. When we first moved in together, I was pretty nervous we might kill each other over who takes the garbage out, who leaves their crap on the bedroom floor, and things of that nature. I was pleasantly surprised to find that household duties are easily split up, and we’re both about equal on the slob scale (somewhere between sloppy pig and nuclear bomb). But the thing they don’t tell you about moving in with a significant other is that you’re going to have to talk about money.

I’ve always thought of money as something you should only talk about when absolutely necessarily. Except I’m realizing that living together requires less dancing around the money subject and more discussion about dollars and cents. Living together with someone is a commitment. When you’re making a commitment, you need to know what type of financial situation the other person is working with. You don’t need to request their credit score, but it’s good to have some idea of how that person spends and saves money. Especially since you’ll be relying on that person to help you pay bills.

Chris and I have gotten some of our finances down to a science. For instance, he pays the rent, then I write him a check for my half. Done. But we’re still working the kinks out of some of the financial stuff. I’m the one who does most of the grocery shopping, so I’ll buy the groceries and then he’ll reimburse me. But when you’re going to the store once a week (we like to eat, okay?) those receipts get confusing and that amount of money shuffling can be overwhelming. It was getting to the point where someone always owed someone money. Very Sopranos-esque. Bad news.

To take care of this problem, my mom suggested opening a joint checking account just for expenses we share. Originally when I heard this idea I heard squealing brakes in my head. JOINT CHECKING ACCOUNT!? But that’s for…for…married people! We’re young and fun. We don’t do that. Then I realized it was actually a great idea. Instead of paying for something then waiting for him to give me money (or vice versa), I can just take the money from the joint account. The account will strictly be for groceries. No buying of DVDs or concert tickets with this money. Both parties understand this and we trust each other to use the account for good not evil. It’ll be good because now no one will feel like he/she is taking on all the financial responsibilities of the apartment, and we won’t spend two hours every Sunday trying to figure out who owes what.

As long as we both agree that the account is only for groceries and we put in equal amounts, we will be good to go. We can also have money automatically deducted from our paychecks, so we’re guaranteed a certain amount of money each month to spend on groceries. Good stuff. I’m excited to get started with this solution. I know a joint checking account sounds scary at first, but if you’re trying to balance finances with your significant other it may be a good solution for you too. Have you tried it? How did it work?

2 Comments
  1. I will say that the app Venmo made the issue of money SO much easier for myself and my life-in boyfriend. It takes the hassle out of exchanging cash or writing and depositing a check. It links directly to your bank account and you can either request money from or pay your partner in 2 clicks. Its easy enough to do right at the grocery store or at a restaurant. Total lifesaver.

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