There are many ways to manage finances in a relationship, but rest assured there's no 100 percent right or wrong way, you just have to do what's right for your relationship. Whether you're in the early stages of your relationship, you're wondering whether you or your partner need to contribute more to your joint excursions, or you're in a long-term relationship and you share the bills, there are an array of different ways that couples handle their finances.
In an article for The Guardian, writer Olivia Gordon highlighted how ten different couples arrange their finances. There is a couple who have a joint account for everything, another couple that has no system at all and the bills are paid on a casual basis, and one gentleman who pays for everything he and his partner do because his boyfriend is studying for a Ph.D. It really is down to your personal circumstances and preferences.
One thing's for sure, finances are something you need to discuss with your partner so that you both know where you stand and you don't end up making mistakes or unnecessary problems. Business Insider told readers of the worst money mistakes couples make, which include not deciding who is responsible for what and not taking credit-card debt seriously.
To make sure you're on the same page, take a look at these tips together on ways you can stay on top of your finances as a couple.
1. Keep It Fair
When you go on dates, do you always split the bill or does one of you usually end up forking out for it alone? If you earn a similar income, it's only fair to split the bills if that suits both of you. On the other hand, if one of you earns way more than the other, perhaps it would be a good idea to have an honest conversation on what makes the most sense, in terms of the bills.
If you're living together, you can either split everything in half if you earn similar amounts or have a conversation about the higher earner possibly chipping in more because it's all relative. It wouldn't be fair for one of you to be living the high life while watching your partner financially struggle. Another method would be pooling all of your money together to pay for your joint living costs and fairly distributing leisure money.
2. Stay Simple
Work out whatever is the simplest yet most effective financial solution for your relationship. You may find that directly halving a range of shared bills gives you both a headache, and it could be easier to each put the same amount of money into a joint account where the bills come out of, which then covers the bills and then some. In this way, you are each contributing equally and you could be saving a little money too. Don't over complicate things because this will probably lead to arguments, and fights over finances are the worst.
3. Ensure That Both Of You Budget
If you guys share bills, it's important to remember that you are a team. It's not cool if one of you is letting the side down by not knowing how to budget properly. Whether it's you or your partner who keeps blowing your budget and having to borrow money each month to meet expenses and/or living costs, have a positive conversation about it. Sit down together and discuss ways to cut costs and methods that you will both use to maintain your joint or individual budgets, because there's not much worse than being totally broke and feeling that your relationship is financially unfair.
4. Allocate An Allowance If Sharing Money
IMO it's a great idea to allocate an allowance if you share your finances, and in fact this is a method which my partner and I use. We pool together all of our wages into an account that the bills come out of, and then give ourselves a weekly allowance to spend on whatever our hearts desire. It may sound silly to say that you get an allowance as an adult, however it definitely saves arguments about who is spending more or less. You probably have a totally different idea of what makes a great purchase or what you both classify as a "necessity."
5. Don’t Forget To Save For A Rainy Day
As a millennial who may not yet be at the height of their career, you may think me insane to suggest that you save what little money you have. However, with relationships come joint responsibilities, which more often than not can cost you money. You may have a joint car that decides to break down, a puppy who needs immediate veterinary care, or plane tickets to buy to attend a family wedding. All of these things cost money, and there are so many things that you might need to save for in a relationship. So use a money saving app to keep you both on the right track just in case you have an unexpected joint expenditure.
6. Be Mindful Of Eating Out
Eating out is a fun way to spend time with your partner and your friends, and takeout food for lunch is a lifesaver when you wake up late during the week. However, with Americans spending nearly $1,000 annually eating out for lunch, it may be time to consider taking packed lunches to work. Between you and your partner, you could be spending almost $2,000 a year on eating out for lunch, which IMO is just insane. So get to brown bagging your lunches pronto and put the money you save to something awesome.
7. Set Money Aside For Dates
It doesn't matter if you've been dating a month or ten years, dates are important to your relationship, so it's great to set a little money aside to enjoy fun things with your partner. Obviously you should spend your money on your hobbies and things you want to buy, but don't let your date nights become boring and suffer because you're both broke and couldn't set aside $20 each week.
Hopefully these tips will help you and your partner to find a financial balance while still enjoying your relationship and your hard earned cash.