How to Establish a Household Budget When Living with Your Partner
When you’re living with your partner, but you’re not married yet, you need to find a way for both you and your other half to contribute to your budget. Unfortunately, while this sounds quite simple, it can become incredibly complicated when you consider that many couples can end up arguing over things like money and finances during the early stages of their relationship. Both of you will want to make sure that you’re financially secure, but you won’t want to risk damaging the connection you have with your other half.
The good news is that there are a few things you can do to improve your chances of building a good household budget when you’re sharing a house with your partner. Here’s what you need to know to get started.
1. Know Which Expenses You’ll Share
First, you’ll need an idea of the kind of expenses that you’re going to share as a household. Most of the time, it makes sense to split things like rent, utility expenses, and food shopping or groceries. You might also include things like pet care in your shared expenses too. As a couple, it’s crucial to sit down and come to a mutual agreement about what you need to cover individually, and what you should cover as a team.
Once you’ve made a list of the expenses that you think you should share, you can take a look at how much those combined costs come to each month.
2. Consider contributions
Just because you both use an equal share of the food, utilities, and other shared expenses, doesn’t mean that you should both be putting in 50% of the expenses. Usually, this will be the best way to keep everything fair and reduce your risk of arguments. However, if one of you earns a lot more than the other, then it might not make sense to take this route.
Sit down together and think about how much you can both comfortably afford to give towards your shared household expenses. The last thing you want to do is leave one person in the partnership crippled by the cost of living together.
3. Address your Separate Expenses
Once you’ve figured out your joint expenses and how much you can both afford to contribute, it’s worth looking at the separate expenses that you have to deal with too. Knowing how much each of you has to put towards things like loan repayments, and extra bills will also give you an insight into the amount that you might be able to afford to put towards joint savings and other long-term goals together.
If one person has more debts and loans to pay off, then you might take that into consideration when assessing your potential contributions too. These loans will give that person less money left over to put towards bills, which could make it difficult for them to coexist in an environment where they need to pay for everything 50/50. Each person should also have their own emergency budget which they can use when something in their life doesn’t go according to plan.
4. Make Big Decisions Together
There are certain purchases that you’ll need to decide on by yourself when you’re in a couple, like whether you should buy a cup of coffee on the way to work. However, if you’re thinking of getting a loan for a new car, and this will make it harder for you to make your obligations regarding your share of the rent and other expenses, then you’ll need to discuss that with your partner first.
Even if you’re going to be able to pay your share of the bills without a problem after making a big purchase, it might be worth discussing your decision with your partner first. This will help to open a dialogue where you both feel comfortable talking about money. That kind of conversation comes in handy in the long-term.
5. Set Goals for Your Future
Finally, if you’re already living with your partner, then there’s a good chance that you see a future together. With that in mind, think about how you’re going to use your combined budgeting strategy to save towards long-term goals, like going on vacation or putting a deposit on your new house together. These long-term goals will ensure that you’re both on the same page when it comes to saving and spending.
Setting goals together will also help both of you to keep each other motivated as you work towards your long-term financial targets.