Moving in with your partner is one of the most exciting steps you can take in a relationship. It’s also an increasingly common step for unmarried couples and as rent prices have risen, one that’s being taken for reasons that are more economical than romantic. Rents in London have increased 25% over the last 10 years, while the amount of couples cohabiting has more than doubled from 1.5 million in 1996 to 3.3 million in 2017.
Although moving in still marks the beginning of a new chapter in your relationship, it can be difficult at first factoring someone else into your day-to-day financial decisions. You want to get off on the best possible foot and avoid logistics tainting the early stages of your cohabitation. Make the transition as smooth as possible with our tips on budgeting for couples living together.
Cost of living
Whether you’ve moved in together for financial reasons or because you want to make a more long-term commitment to one another, this new arrangement can make managing the cost of living in your town or city much easier. Before you can decide how you want to divide everything up, you’ll need to take stock of your various expenses. This may include:
- Utility bills
- TV Licence
- Subscriptions (Netflix, Spotify…)
- Pet care
- Household maintenance
Some of these costs will vary depending on where you live. For example, your rent will be much more expensive if you live in the capital, while water bills also vary depending on your regional supplier.
Difference in income
This can be a huge sticking point for couples. Just because you’re compatible as people doesn’t mean you’ll necessarily be earning the same amount. One of you may be working part-time while the other is in a lucrative industry, for example. Money is the number one thing couples argue about, and it’s usually because one person has more of it than their partner.
The key to managing the disparity between your respective incomes is to address it early on. Talking about money can be uncomfortable, but coming to an agreement about how you divide up the costs of living together that you’re both happy with can save you a lot of trouble down the line.
Every couple handles this in their own way. If the two incomes are drastically different, it might be fair to suggest that the highest earning person pays a bigger percentage of rent and utilities or takes charge of the costlier household expenses. Alternatively, you might decide to budget around the lowest earner’s income to ensure you can both afford everything.
Of course, living together isn’t all about finances. You also have to have an idea of what you want your life together to look like. Beyond simply paying the bills in your new home, what do you want to do with the money that’s left over?
Factoring things like date nights, holidays and potential trips to see one another’s parents into your new joint budget can avoid arguments further down the line about how you never do anything or why one of you hasn’t paid for dinner in weeks. Consider setting aside some disposable income to spend on yourself and some to spend on each other.
Like anything that’s worth doing to move forward in a relationship, moving in with your significant other is hugely exciting but not without its obstacles. Don’t let finances spoil the fun of this pivotal moment. There are plenty of tools out there to help you split your costs fairly, including bill-splitting apps designed for couples and house sharers. Ultimately, budgeting for cohabitation with your partner is about honesty and compromise.
acasa is a bill splitting app and home management platform designed for anyone sharing a house, from students to young professionals to couples. With acasa, you can avoid unnecessary conflict around splitting utility bills with our direct billing and balance tracking systems. Download acasa on iOS or Android, get a free quote for your property and enjoy a more stress-free approach to managing your shared costs as a cohabitating couple.