If there is one subject which can cause awkwardness and trouble in a relationship, it’s money and successfully sharing expenses in a relationship.
Nobody likes to talk about dollars with someone they care about. It’s one of those subjects which makes you squirm on the spot. However, if you want to embark upon a successful and equal relationship, establish some guidelines and learn about sharing expenses in a relationship.
This will help you to work together, know where you are financially, and look towards your future goals. Despite that, it’s still an awkward subject, right?
[Read: How to stop fighting over money in a relationship]
Rules to follow when sharing expenses in a relationship
To help you deal with this pitfall-ridden subject, let’s check out a few rules to put into place when sharing expenses in a relationship.
#1 Be honest about your finances. It’s easy to want to try and make out that you’re a little richer than you really are, but if you want your relationship to be financially trouble-free, be open and honest about your current situation. If your partner loves you, they’re not going to care if you’re broke and they’re not going to care if you’re rich. It’s not about the money, it’s about the connection.
With this in mind, when talking about sharing expenses in a relationship, be honest. Don’t be tempted to inflate your financial capacity. It will only come back to bite you firmly on the ass later. [Read: What to do if your partner makes more money than you]
#2 Set some financial boundaries. Sitting down and talking about money is awkward. But it means you should be honest about what you’re willing and unwilling to do. Set some boundaries that you’re both happy with. For instance, if you always save a certain amount every month, make sure that your partner knows this is your savings amount. It’s non-negotiable. Because it’s important to you.
You both must respect the other person’s views on money and what you’re willing to compromise on. Remember, you’re sharing expenses in a relationship, not giving your entire salary to your partner!
#3 Don’t avoid talking about finances because it’s an awkward subject. It’s easy to brush this conversation under the carpet, because it’s not something most people like to talk about. However, not being honest and not having a solid conversation about it can lead to problems in the future.
The idea of sharing expenses in a relationship is that you can work together to reach your future aims. Maybe you want to own a house together in the future, go traveling together, or buy a car. Sit down and talk about your financial capacity. What you both want, what you both need, and how you’re going to share finances.
Ideally, this should be an equal sharing, but it might be that sometimes one partner has to pick up the slack, because the other one is having a bad month financially. Again, don’t be afraid to have the conversation if you’re struggling. If you can’t talk about money with your partner, you can’t hand on heart say that your relationship is that strong. [Read: What to do if your partner makes less money than you]
#4 Make sure any money conversations are positive. Never blame your partner for spending too much or not contributing enough. If you need to have a conversation because something isn’t quite right, make sure you use positive language and a non-blame method.
The best way to approach money conversations is by focusing on what you both want to achieve and talking about how sharing expenses in a relationship is going to help you get there. That starts everything off on a positive footing and avoids the blame game. [Read: 17 brilliant yet simple ways to save money as a couple]
#5 Ensure your sharing system is fair. It’s quite unlikely that you both earn the same amount, so you can’t expect the person who is earning less to put in the same amount as the person who is earning more. Having said that, you also can’t penalize the person who is earning more simply because they’re on a better salary.
Make sure that the system you come up with is agreeable to both of you. Are you both comfortable? Is it fair and equal at all times?
#6 Have a degree of flexibility. While everything should be equal, there might be times when one partner simply can’t contribute as much. This could be for a number of reasons. Perhaps, they need to help out a family member, maybe their salary that month has been lower for some reason, or maybe they had to pay for car repairs. It’s left them a little short. In this case, maintain a certain amount of flexibility built into your plan.
You’re a team. It’s unlikely that one partner is going to take advantage of the other financially, however, ensure that it doesn’t fall on one partner to pick up the slack for the other one all the time.
#7 Have occasional catch ups. If you have a future goal, whatever it may be, check in on progress towards that goal every so often. It’s not all about sharing expenses in a relationship on a day to day basis, e.g. groceries. It’s also about putting money aside for your future.
Has your future vision changed at all? Is this the right time to make a move? How do you feel you’re doing on your future goals? Have a catch up about this subject occasionally. However, the key word there is “occasionally. This isn’t something you must check in on a regular basis! [Read: 25 things couples in happy relationships always talk about]
Should you maintain control of your own money?
Ah, a key question.
I was always told by my mother that I should retain control of my money to a certain degree. This meant that if something came up, e.g. the relationship went wrong, I would be able to look after myself and walk away.
That might sound like a pretty negative way to look at a relationship, but you should be realistic too. In this case, a joint bank account with a central amount of money is a good idea. But keep hold of your individual bank account, which your salary is paid into. Then transfer money into the joint account every month, which would be used for bills, groceries, social life, and whatever else you’re saving up for together.
Sharing expenses in a relationship doesn’t have to be an earth-shattering conversation. It does need to be something you’re open and honest about to avoid problems. Money has the power to destroy when used in the wrong way, and when expectations aren’t realistic. Provided you’re clear and open about everything, you shouldn’t run into problems.
Of course, this relies upon both parties being equally as invested emotionally in the relationship. When that is the case, money conversations need not be awkward or something to worry about. You’re both aiming for the same things. It only becomes a problem when one person is dishonest, or doesn’t aim towards being equal.
[Read: How to live your best love life with these healthy relationship boundaries]
Sharing expenses in a relationship requires you both to sit down and talk about how much you can and can’t afford. If you’re in a committed relationship, honesty is a vital point on all subjects.
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