I need advice about splitting bills. My long-time boyfriend and I are finally thinking of moving in together. His home is paid for and we both earn a good income, but I earn more.
He gives me a hard time about my student loan debt which is my only debt and I'm trying to pay it down as quickly as I can. He has no debt. I thought we would just share common bills such as I would pay half his property taxes, half utilities, internet, TV, etc. and each pay our own cell phone, car insurance, etc.
He thinks this is taking advantage of him. I guess he was thinking I should pay him "rent" or at least more monies than 1/2 of common bills. I thought he was joking, but now I don't think he's joking.
By the way, I always pay at least 1/2 of vacations, etc. I'm not cheap that way. Do others think I should have to pay him more so as to not take advantage of his being debt-free?
By Lyn from Dallas, TX
I don't understand what his being debt-free has to do with how much you each pay for household expenses. You earn more than he does, but you also have a student loan, so basically, both of your incomes are pretty much equal, and I think paying half is fine. Maybe you could add up the cost of all the bills, divide the total in half, and give him one check a month. (02/28/2010)
By Patty Lynn
Sounds more like a business arrangement than a relationship. You say he has been a long time boyfriend and this has only progressed to this? sigh... (02/28/2010)
Lyn: Moving in with this fellow, bad idea. Don't do it. (02/28/2010)
He sounds controlling and cheap. Ditch him or at the very least, do not move in with him. He will only get worse. (02/28/2010)
Whatever you do, if you move in with him, get everything in writing and signed by both of you, maybe even have a couple people witness the signing. If he has a mortgage on his house, I guess it would only be fair if you paid half of that. Who buys the groceries? I guess the fair way would be to total up all the bills and give him one check a month for your share. (02/28/2010)
Another option is to determine what bills you need to share. Split them up by month. i.e. you pay electric and phone one month and he pays cable and gas. Next month you switch. (02/28/2010)
I felt the need to reply just a little further. I think the reason I'm sighing so heavily is not the moving in together part, nor the 1/2 expenses part, or even the part about him riding you about your student loan debt. I think what bothers me most is that no relationship is ever 50/50. And money usually can't be measured that way either between significant others.
Geez, recon how much I should be paid to pick up that wet towel he left on the floor, or hmmm...should he charge you the gas involved in stopping to pick up your dry cleaning? I would say that you two would need to have an open conversation about his expectations and yours for the future. If you two did have a baby together is he going to pay you to be on maternity leave when your income were to be significantly reduced? Finances are a very big deal in a relationship but it is not everything. There is trust...of which this relationship seems to be lacking. (03/01/2010)
Lyn, all couples squabble about money, but this initial squabble tells me it should be the last one. I wouldn't move in with him in a million years. If you are determined, however, I'd definitely follow redhatterb's advice and make all the financial arrangements up-front, in writing, signed and witnessed. (03/02/2010)
Think it over. Will you share ALL cooking and cleaning? If you have children (you have discussed this?) will he take his fair turn at getting up at night, dirty nappies, time off when they're sick etc? Not easy living with someone who's always afraid he's being short changed.
As notwrong said, sounds more like a business deal. That said, if you love him you'll do it anyway. We're all mad! Best of luck. Marg from England. (03/02/2010)
My thoughts on reading your query was I certainly would not move in with this scrooge! If he is like this now before you live together, what is he going to be like later? Ditch him and find someone who would love to share your life and not your money. Good luck, from Helen. Let us know what decision you came to. (03/02/2010)
I'd ditch him fast and be glad that you got to see what he's like before you moved in with him, or wasted any more time on him. He's cheap. If you are already paying 1/2+ for holidays, then I think you already know you are making a mistake. Please, any man who loves you won't be thinking about who pays more or less, and who is getting more out of the situation.
My mother married someone like this and all it did was cause problems. She ended up leaving him and it cost her, while he ended up the winner! Please, leave now, run as fast as you can and find someone who loves you for who you are, not what you earn! I think he would be using you. He wants to make a profit out of it, after all, it won't be costing him anything for you to live in the house. He would be living there anyway. Run! There are plenty of loving men out there. All the best, Wendy (03/02/2010)
I am with everyone else, I would ditch him very fast! If you think he is cheap now, it definitely won't get any better if you should ever marry. (03/02/2010)
My two cents worth is along the lines with the great advice you have gotten so far. Run the opposite direction from this guy. Wrong is wrong no matter how you look at it and this guy is definitely wrong for every decent woman. (03/02/2010)
Run! Run! Run! That is not love. He is already setting terms and conditions, sounds like the Bank. And don't forget they will change terms and conditions to suit them, at any given time. (03/02/2010)
What a man invests in a woman is how he values her. The women's lib thing has ruined how men love and invest in their women. It's a natural thing to provide, cherish and care for the woman you have chosen to be with exclusively. When that is thwarted by this style of living, it makes men stop growing in love. If you value yourself lightly, so will he.
A man and a woman in love do not act like this in courtship or marriage. I know a young woman who was dating seriously a man who sounds a lot like this boyfriend of yours. She ended the relationship, and is now very happily married to a man who values her, and she values and loves him. Love is giving. Read I Cor 13...it is not self-seeking.
I am not saying to look for a sugar daddy (disgusting and lol) but love is more than a ledger sheet. Please rethink your life before it is years of regrets that are gone forever. Unless he changes, you can only do better. A wise friend said that it is better to be single than in a bad marriage or relationship. (03/02/2010)
Honestly, I wouldn't go through with this either. It sounds like a roommate situation or that you are just renting a room from him, not like you are living with your boyfriend. It sounds like he's just interested in your money. With you two being a couple, he shouldn't do that to you. It doesn't matter that you make more and he makes less. Don't bring up the fact that you make more than him in conversations. It will cause even more problems and he will get jealous of you and your job (my mom's advice).
Me and my husband moved in together before we got married and we split combined bills right down the middle, like apartment rent, utilities, cable, cell phone bill (we were on the same plan), gas for our two vehicles (we carpooled to work every day to save money), groceries, etc. To make it easier, we would put all those bills but rent (needed to be given to them in a check) on a credit card and then payed that off at the end of the month.
Now we have a budget setup and we throw all of our money into the same account and just pay all of our bills with that. We have a set amount for spending money that we use for whatever we want without the other person getting mad and then anything else we want, we need to talk it over. I also made about $300 more a paycheck than him and didn't owe anything on my car and he came into the relationship with a $300/month truck payment. I basically had no debt coming into the relationship, just a little credit card debt. We are both going to school too and paying as we take classes, so we have not acquired any debt with that. I definitely take your side on this one though. Don't do this agreement for your sake. (03/02/2010)
When my husband and I did our own thing and moved in together pre-marriage, he earned almost double what I did, and I was paying down about $15k of credit card debt (which my ex-husband had gifted me with). At first, his suggestion that we split household expenses in the same proportion as our respective incomes -- 2/3 paid by him and 1/3 by me -- hurt my pride and caused me fear that I would be going into the relationship at a disadvantage.
But in the end, love made the difference, and practicality made the arrangement sensible. Because it was very likely that we would end up spending the rest of our lives together, it was in his interest as well as mine that I have more disposable income with which to pay down my debt. Even paying 2/3 of our household upkeep, he still saved a bit from when he had lived alone. I saved a lot. Within two years -- and just a little bit after our first wedding anniversary -- I was debt-free. My husband never once made me feel "less-than" for my smaller contribution to household upkeep.
The arrangement worked so well that, even though I have remained debt-free, we still have separate finances and still pay household bills in the same proportion. After all, now I'm playing catch-up with my savings. When we bought our house, I of course had no money to put toward a down payment, so that all came from my husband. This bothered me a lot more than it did him. But somehow, I managed to endure it.
I think the moral of the story is, it doesn't matter a whole lot how a couple does finances as long as it makes sense for both parties and is in keeping with the kind of loving relationship you want to cultivate for your future together. The question you must ask yourself, Lyn, is whether that's what is happening in your situation. (03/02/2010)
Oh my goodness! Why in the world should you pay more than half and especially since he doesn't even have to pay for a mortgage and you have a student loan debt? Who cares if you make more money? It's your money! He sounds like he just wants a roommate and is that what you want to be? I am in agreement with others here, don't do it! If he really loved you more than sharing living expenses there would be a wedding band on your finger and at this juncture, after seeing how selfish and greedy he truly is, I would think long and hard even about that!
Should you choose to still move in with him, or get married, be sure to do what others said here by drawing up a contract, one for you and one for him, but don't just have them witnessed by two people, also have them notarized and keep yours somewhere that he can't get a hold of (your copy)!
One more thought. If you do move in with him, do not get rid of all your belongings such as anything that might be extra that he already has in his house such as furniture, dishes, etc.! Store them because, if it doesn't work out in a month or a year you will have to start all over again! I wish you the best of luck and I hope you'll update us with what you decide and how everything goes.
Oh, and one more thing; (A test of sorts) If he really loves you and plans to marry you and live the rest of his life with you, then he would place your name on the title of his home. ;-) (03/02/2010)
Run, don't walk, away from this arrangement. Splitting common household expenses is fair, but him expecting a higher proportion from you because your income is higher isn't right.
Also, your student loan is YOUR business, not his. He has no right to dictate to you when and how soon it should be paid off. He really sounds like a control freak on the lookout for some easy cash; please beware. I was married to one like this a long time ago and the control issues only escalate once you're both under the same roof.
You sound as if you can continue to be financially stable on your own. I'd keep it that way if it were me. (03/02/2010)
That would end it for me. Run while you can! (03/02/2010)
Run, girl and don't look back! A man who can't see any further than how much of the bills you should be paying is not worth your time. Where is the love in all this? Being worried about every penny and that he's going to be taken advantage of is NOT a loving attitude. He's far more interested in his bank balance than he is you. You're obviously not looking for a free ride but he's taking it way too far. All he's concerned about is his own financial status. Love is a two way street, he lives on a one-way. If you stay with him, you will regret it.
Where is the future in a relationship like that? What happens if you become ill and can't work? This is NOT a man who will take care of you, it's a man that will boot you to the curb because you can no longer foot "your half" of the bills. Run as fast as you can! (03/02/2010)
This is something that you absolutely need to resolve before you move in with him. I think you are being very fair about the arrangement. I personally feel that the man should pay the bulk of the bills, but some people may think that is too old-fashioned. Whatever you decide, though, I think keeping separate checking accounts would be best for you, especially if you split up. Or perhaps you could have one joint account and then each of you have your own account. However you decide, though, you definitely need to have a plan in place before you move in with him. (03/02/2010)
Put on your runnin' shoes girl! He is more concerned with the money than your happiness. Either get some counseling before you move in to resolve this or you will definitely need it after you move in (and probably out). (03/02/2010)
I agree..Run! Or if you don't want to do that, make sure you know exactly where you stand before you move in. Property taxes? He owns the house, it's his bill. Sorry sweetie, but your man sounds mercenary to me.
I live with someone, not a boyfriend, just an unrelated house share person, and we split the utility bills down the middle, rent, power, gas, water. He pays for his own phone, and I pay for mine. We shop and buy food separately, so each is responsible for their own food bill. I have 2 cats, and as they are mine, I pay for their food, vet bills if necessary. Think carefully before you take the step to live with him, and good luck. (03/02/2010)
Personally, I would not move in with the boyfriend. I would get my own place and learn to handle my own money first. That way you can make certain that the other person whom you think you know but might not know will not take you for granted. Please listen to me and I urge you, I've made my mistake of being with a boyfriend and shacking up, we at least were getting married, but still it's not good. It's better to remain single and be separate, it makes you have wiser appropriate choices in life. Don't make a mistake.
Learn to pay off your debts first, then when married it would be so much more worth it. Trust me. My marriage ended because I found out what he was really like 6 months after the honeymoon. Sometimes some people act nice and then, they turn on you, don't let it happen to you. I dated my boyfriend for 10 years. (03/02/2010)
Btw, if your gut is sensing red flags or stomach cramps around him, flee and mean it. That is your head telling you that you don't need to be near this individual. It's your gut saying warning warning warning! Please listen to all of us. Good luck. (03/02/2010)
Ditto, run! But first show him all the responses above. All of us are women who have been where you are and wouldn't ever do it again. Once you say I do to this boy it will only get worse. Marriage never changes anything for the better. Good Luck to you. (03/02/2010)
As others have said, it's time to move on to a better boyfriend. He doesn't think much of you, if he wants rent. You should have never even had to pay for vacations. He sounds like a real cheap-skate. I am 73 years old, and was single for 13 years after I left my 1st husband, and I dated all the time until I found the right man 27 years ago. Just keep dating until you find a man that will treat you proper and loves you. This boyfriend is a dud! (03/02/2010)
Lots of red flags here. Boyfriend acting like it is a business deal, then sign paperwork in agreement. Or else we will see you on Judge Judy. Seriously.
Is marriage ever going to be? If not, you are a renter and he had perks as the landlord. Write one check to cover rent, utilities (heat/electricity) to him. (In MN, you get rent credit on your taxes!) I presume you will file your taxes independently.
He gets the tax break on the property tax, you don't pay that. He pays house insurance, you take care of your own phones, cars, etc. Who pays your medical bills, medical insurance. Check with your state laws at length of time of living together before Common Law Marriage fits in. You are entering a rental with boyfriend as landlord who expects full benefits. I would say run. (03/02/2010)
Thank you everyone for your comments and feedback, I appreciate it! Very touching, the concern is sweet. I called him to the carpet about charging me "rent" and he started to back-track and said that he didn't mean he would charge me rent but he did repeat something to the effect that since he's providing the house that I probably should pay more than just half of the remaining expenses.
I still think that since I'm his significant other (I've been waiting for him to propose for a long time now!) that he shouldn't ask me to pay for more than half of the remaining expenses (I agree with you all that he's being cheap by asking me to do that). I know that I wouldn't ask him to do the same if our positions were reversed. I think that if both members of the relationship earn money that both should put forth money towards common bills. Thank you everybody! (03/02/2010)
Lyn, I am agreeing with most said here. But, I will say this, unless he puts you on that deed, you don't pay half the taxes on it, he pays it all. He would have to pay it all regardless. Homeowners ins., his responsibility. Also major repairs, like the roof caving in or the garage getting termites; it is his house free and clear, and it is his responsibility. Unless you are also on the title. If you are paying all these things and then it is out you go Lyn, you fixed his house and you have nothing. So think clearly on this.
Good luck and remember if he is a tightwad now, girl I feel sorry for you later on. My sister is divorcing her hubby of 30 years and let me tell you, this guy is so tight his feet squeak, never mind his shoes. (03/02/2010)
You've got enough advice from everyone else. Good luck. I'll say a prayer for you and hope it works out for your best. If not, just take it as a life lesson. We all learn them. (03/03/2010)
If you're determined to give 'living together' a trial run, it would be best to lay the ground rules beforehand.
Your mentioned plan of splitting (50/50) the general 'joint' living expenses such as utilities (bills) and food sound fair to me and is how my husband and I started out when we first shared a home before marriage. We also paid our individual debts ourselves until cleared. Gradually, over a few years the relationship matured to where both incomes became joint and everything was shared regardless of how much each earned and major expenses were discussed.
If the house is in 'his name' only, I would not be paying for anything in relation to that especially since he has no debt in that area and he'd pay taxes regardless of whether you lived there or not. If things work out, perhaps somewhere down the track you could move to a home that you've chosen 'together' so that you'd both be on equal footing.
Otherwise, if he still wants to charge rent for a debt-free home perhaps he'd be better off taking in a lodger as it would appear he wants to earn money from the arrangement. There is a lot to discuss and iron out beforehand, maybe neither of you (sounds like mainly him) are ready for this step. (03/03/2010)
Do not pay anything for his taxes on his home. You should write out what your living costs are now, before you move in with him and see how much this is. He owns the house free and clear and wants rent plus 1/2 bills that is what is renter would pay anyway. Make sure it is something you can afford. Remember to save or set aside money in case this does not work out so you will have money for 1st and last month rent and deposits should you need to move out. Good luck and make sure you are both in agreement how finances will be handled. (03/04/2010)
Actually, I'm all for separate bank accounts at this point. You should pay 1/2 of each utility and separate individual checks for each utility. If you combine all utilities into one monthly check there's no way, later, to prove how much you paid towards each utility. Unfortunately, many relationships break up and get ugly. God forbid, if you guys break up and he takes you to court for bills you, supposedly, didn't pay half of, (even though you may have pd your portion) you have your proof that you paid 1/2 of each monthly utility.
If commingled into a joint account you can no longer prove what you paid either. If you watch Judge Judy and the like you will hear cases where people are taken to court for not paying their share of the rent or utilities. Probably you should watch some of those shows for tips. Not so sure you should pay taxes as this is his house. I do think you guys should pay for your own cars/ins. Once married all this goes out the window. What works for me and my hubby is: we are each responsible for certain bills to ensure all bills are pd monthly. Not popular, but works for us. (03/07/2010)
This man does not sound like a generous man. Maybe a little too focused on money and himself and not enough on love. In my opinion he should love you enough to be HAPPY that you could focus on paying off your student loan and not have to pay rent. In a loving, healthy relationship, the individuals care about the well-being and success of each other, and should help each other whenever possible. I think he's taking advantage of YOU. I think splitting things totally in half is fair if you both earn a good income. (03/09/2010)
Lyn, you don't need this loser. If he's this petty over money now, I don't like to think how he'd be if you moved in together. What loving boyfriend would demand rent from his lady? Sad, sad! He's taking advantage of you, get far away from him!
And *please* don't do the joint account thing! DH and I keep our accounts separate. Although he has free access to my debit card, I track his spending carefully to avoid overdrawing my account. I wouldn't allow him that much leeway (he's a bit of a spendthrift), but since I work from home, I usually can't take time off to handle matters personally.
As for who pays what, we pay bills proportionately. He has more income, so he pays more. He owes a debt that it's more convenient to pay by check, but he has no checking account. I do, so he transfers cash to my account to cover the check. I know, it sounds complicated, but since we trust and genuinely love each other, this arrangement works well for us. If you can't trust and love - and appreciate and support each other, you don't need to be together. This guy isn't supporting you, kiddo! (03/10/2010)
Run for the hills hon! Any man asking or assuming you pick up half of anything is not long term material. You are just another income and nothing more than a "friend with benefits!" (03/11/2010)
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