We are engaged in so many different financial relationships in our lives. Roommates, friends, romantic partners, so today, let’s talk about some of the best strategies for navigating those different money moments.
Handling money with your roommate
A roommate should be a financial help not a burden. After all, it’s someone with whom you can split the bills! But it’s important the two of you have a frank discussion about who is in charging of paying, so no bills get missed, and how exactly you’re going to split the finances. Here are two methods I find helpful.
- My old roommate and I split the rent 50/50. She got the bigger room, but I got the big closet in the hallway, so it evened out. We also split utilities down the middle. I paid for the utilities each month and she just reimbursed me. We both write checks directly to our landlord to pay rent.
But what about things like toilet paper, cleaning supplies and condiments?
- It can be helpful to have a financial chore wheel. You can rotate who is in charge of buying household items. Or, each one of you can be in charge of certain financial chores, like always restocking the TP, and you reimburse each other for 50%. Or you just make sure you splitting up the all the financial chores in a way that creates an even split.
Mixing money and friendship
We’ve discussed the awkward nightmare of splitting the bill in previous episodes, but what about other financial moments like going on a group trip? Here are 4 strategies you’ll probably have to employ one day.
- There should be an open discussion of budget expectations before the trip starts. Make sure you’re all in the same range for the overall cost and then you can make decisions about where to stay, things to do, and where to eat.
- Personally, I’m a huge fan of the money diary on a group trip. Have one or two people keep track of how much money got spent during the trip and who paid for what. Spoiler: it’s easier if one or two people do most of the paying. Then there can be a total tally at the end and everyone chips in to pay those folks back.
- You could also do a collective pot of money at the beginning. Everyone puts in the same amount and then that’s the money the group has to spend.
- Another option is to just be reimbursing each other in real time. Rotate who picks up the bill for different meals or just have one point person who pays and you all whip out your phones or wallet to pay that person back at the end of the meal or activity.
Handling money with your partner
Moving in with your honey and wondering how to handle the finances of it all? There are a three methods the two of you should discuss:
- Prorating the bills based on income: You and your partner may earn significantly different incomes, which means if you want to live in a nicer area, but your partner couldn’t afford that rent, then you need to ante up and pay more. Prorating bills based on income usual ensures both of you feel like contributors.
- Determining bills based on debts: Maybe you feel particularly generous about helping your partner pay off his or her debt. If that’s the case, you could handle more of the household bills in order to free up extra income for your partner to put towards paying down the debt. Just make sure you actually discuss this as the action plan. It’d be really frustrating to find out the extra money wasn’t actually going towards debt freedom.
- Splitting 50/50: The easiest way to handle household expenses, regardless of income, is just to split everything 50/50. If the two of you make significantly different incomes, then maybe higher earner picks up more of the date night tabs or underwrites more of your vacations if he or she wants to level up lifestyle more. Or you could just always keep it at 50/50, just be aware that anchors your choices to the lower earner’s salary.
No matter the strategy you pick to handle money with the people in your life, it’s the communication factor that is key to reducing tension!