It’s official, you’re moving in with bae ?
You haven’t quite said yes to the ring, but you have said yes to the KEY. The key to a shared apartment or condo with your partner. It’s an exciting time that can either make or break a relationship. You know you can tolerate the snoring and blanket-hogging (maybe), but can you tolerate intense discussions on how to spend and save?
Here’s our guide to navigating your finances together before you shack up!
Know what you can afford ?
Moving in together usually means you’ll split costs and spend a little less money on rent and monthly expenses. It’s important to have an honest conversation with your partner about what you can afford. One person may be able to spend more on rent due to a higher salary, and that’s okay (if you both agree beforehand). Set expectations and be transparent with your partner.
Quick tip #1: You should never spend more than 30% of your gross monthly salary on rent. Now that you’re moving in with your better half, take the opportunity to spend less on rent and save more toward your goals.
Document moving expenses ?
Usually, apartment complexes require first and last month’s rent along with a security deposit upon moving in. Sharing these expenses with another person can get sticky. Be sure to document exactly who paid for what (you won’t remember a year or two down the line). Having a paper trail is one way to avoid an argument in the future. In the words of the late, great Whitney Houston, “I wanna see the receipts.”
Quick tip #2: Speaking of documentation, do yourself a favor and put both names on the lease. That way, you’ll both be held financially responsible until the lease is up should things go sour (not saying they will).
Sign a prenup ?
Prenuptial agreements are often made between two individuals prior to marriage, but the same concept can be used for couples living together. Write a contract that documents which household items belong to whom, and how you plan to split monthly expenses. This helps set clear expectations between you and your partner.
Quick tip #3: Print a customizable roommate contract from online. They’re free and already have most of the work done for you.
Take inventory before the big move ?
Before you and your sweetheart become cohabitants, review what household items you currently have. Take the time to discuss what your new space needs, so you don’t overspend by purchasing duplicates. If you decide to sell furniture to save space, you can use the funds toward decorating the new digs.
Quick tip #4: Decorate together. It’s a fun activity to do as a couple so neither person’s personal style dominates.
Communication is key ?
Avoid arguments by having open communication. Don’t let the small things turn into big issues. If you enjoy a steamy hour-long shower, and your partner lives a ==waste-free lifestyle==, you may wanna have that discussion. Consistent communication about the small stuff leads to clear communication about the big stuff.
Quick tip #5: Don’t discuss anything while being upset. Instead, wait 24 hours to talk through issues with your partner.
Do the budget together ?
A couple who budgets together, stays together (no guarantees). Now that you’re living in a two-income household, it’s important to rethink your budget. The amount you spend on food and utilities will likely change. Think through your monthly budget as a couple. You’ll learn a lot about one another through your spending and saving habits.
Quick tip #6: Use our customizable ==budget template== to easily organize your joint-spending or try a money management app for couples, like Honeydue.
Money is the leading cause of stress in relationships. Follow this financial guide to encourage responsible money habits between you and your partner. Congrats on your shiny new key!