7 Tips for Moving In Together … Without Going Broke
Moving in with your significant other is a big step. Here’s how to do it without going broke.
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There comes a time during every serious relationship where each party has to start considering that one, big, all-important question. No, we’re not talking about the “should we get married?” question. In some ways, the one we’re talking about is even bigger: The “should we move in together?” one.
Moving in with your significant other is a huge step in any relationship, and obviously, it’s fraught with all kinds of issues. Will you remember to feed his cat? Will he help do the dishes? Should you keep your couch, or his? Will you be able to share closet space? But the most important issues to keep in mind are undoubtedly financial: Can you move in together without going broke—or killing your relationship—in the process? Here, five bloggers weigh in, offering their best financial tips and pieces of money-related advice.
1. Be up front about debt. You should tell your boyfriend or girlfriend if you have credit card debt or student loans that you’re working to pay off. It’s not fair to start a new chapter of your life with someone and not fill them in on your financial past. By being up front and honest, your partner can encourage you to pay back what you owe, and he/she will be less likely to urge you to splurge on things you can’t afford.
2. Agree on what to spend on. Do you want to live in a chic neighborhood, or does having more space matter to you? Do you want a big couch or is a dining room table more important? Talking through what you’re willing to spend money on and what you’re willing to sacrifice will make the move so much easier for both of you.
–Faye Brennan, Senior Associate Editor, YourTango
3. Talk out your plan for shared expenses long before you make the move. For example, if one of you makes significantly more money than the other, you might want to consider splitting up major expenses like rent or moving costs along a 60-40 divide, while splitting everyday bills like groceries and the internet 50-50. Agreeing to something like that ahead of time will help both partners feel comfortable about their own budgets and avoid either of you from feeling like you’re being taken advantage of or mooching off your partner after the move.
-Annie Scudder, Editor, TresSugar
4. Admit the truth. It’s time to fill your partner in on your finances. Share information on your salary, student loans, and fruit-of-the-month subscription. Once you understand what you both earn and owe on a monthly basis, you’ll be able to budget so that your next move isn’t into the poor house.
5. Share bathroom duties, NOT credit cards. Why risk good credit karma by adding someone else’s name to your credit card? You bust your hump to pay your bill off in a timely fashion. Don’t let your beloved undo your hard work by forgetting a payment or neglecting to tell you about that $500 impulse buy.
–Tiffany Current, Author of How to Move in with Your Boyfriend (and Not Break Up with Him)
6. Plan for the worst (just in case). As much as it might seem like a bummer to think about breaking up in the midst of a really happy moment, it never hurts to plan ahead. Think of it as a prenup for moving in together: both of you should talk about what might happen if the cohabitation doesn’t work out. Will one of you be able to afford the rent alone? Will you both keep the furniture and household items you brought in, or will they become communal? If you have a pet, will you share the pet post-breakup or will one of you keep him/her? It may not be fun to think about these things now, but the only thing worse than coping with a breakup is adding logistical stress to it.
–Lilit Marcus, Editor, Faith Goes Pop
7. Create a workable plan for managing your financial lives. Devise a monthly budget that includes all monthly expenses including rent, utilities, groceries, pet expenses, etc. Add a line in your budget for how much money you will set aside for entertainment purposes like dinners out, movies and weekend getaways. Determine how much money you will put away in savings each month. Put the plan in writing and sign off on it. Clarifying who is responsible for what will help avoid misunderstandings and potentially costly money mistakes in the future. Bottom line: make money plans and decisions when you are happy, in love and thinking clearly. Don’t wait until the sh*t hits the fan.
–Sarah Beston, Editor, Yahoo! Shine
Tell us: What’s your biggest moving-in-together piece of advice?
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