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Love and Debt: Why you need to talk about money

How to Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck

Where to go for mortgage and debt help

What You Should Know About Debt Settlement

Create a plan to deal with medical debt

Options for Higher Education

Will Changes in Credit Reporting Affect You?

What to do if your medical bills are turned over to collections

What to do if your spouse can't pay his or her bills

What to do when a family member ruins your credit

Homeownership is possible

What you need to know about the IRS and collection agencies

Will being turned down for a store credit card hurt my credit?

Beware of credit repair

Debt Management versus Debt Settlement

How to get ahead of late fees

Is There a Service That Helps You Not Pay Bills

Is a Debt Owed

Patience is the key to furnishing a new home

How to split expenses with your partner

Will my boyfriend's bad credit affect me?

What to do if your account is turned over to collections

Personal Credit and Starting a Business

Finding Money to Reduce Your Debt and Improve Your Credit

Simple Keys to Personal Finance

Be vigilant to avoid telephone and internet scams

Debt Settlement

Understanding credit utilization

The pros and cons of skipping a payment

Keep an open line of communication with parents about their finances.

Make a Choice to Get Ahead Financially

What to do when a relative asks you for money

Should You Buy a Home Now or Wait?

The difference between debt settlement and debt management

The negative impact of paying a payment 30 days late

Stressed by Finances

How to navigate two significant financial decisions: starting a family and buying a home

How to advise someone close to you who is coming into a significant amount of money

Make a Conscious Decision on How to Spend Your Money

How do you know if you have a good credit score?

Americans spend more money eating out than on groceries

Having Good Credit Saves You Money

Developing good money habits with your first job

How to save for a home

How to Know if you are Ready for Home Ownership

When is the right time to buy a home?

You can improve your credit to buy a home

Plan a Memorable Vacation Without Incurring Debt

The Hidden Costs of Payday Loans

Be Wary of Credit Repair Services

Use Caution when playing the credit card game

What does it mean to say bankruptcy gives you a clean slate?

How your credit is affected by various debt options

Be wary of predatory small business loans

What to do if you fall behind on mortgage payments

Financing a College Education

Money, Credit and Relationships

Should you be concerned with your date's credit scores?

Best options for a small, short-term loan

How to help a relative who is always borrowing money from you

Skipping a Payment over the Holidays

What to do if you are overwhelmed by medical bills

Make your financial intention a financial goal you can achieve

What to do when a collector calls you

The difference between paying bills and managing your money

My wife and I have gone through some tough financial times, which eventually led us to file for bankruptcy.  Following this experience, I don’t ever want to use credit again, but my wife

What do I need to know to pay ahead on my mortgage?

What to do if you get an unsolicited credit card in the mail

What to do when moving in to share expenses doesn't work out

How to split expenses with your partner

Q. My girlfriend and I read your last article about a couple moving in together. We’ve been considering a shared living situation, too, but we are having trouble coming up with a fair way to divide our expenses.  Do you have any suggestions?

A.Fair is a powerful word that elicits a great deal of emotion – far more than most people realize. When people believe that they have been treated unfairly, they usually become defensive, resentful and even angry.  To ensure your move is as smooth as possible, you’ll need to talk through the particulars of your finances and be willing to make compromises.  You’ll also need to define “fair” for yourself.

People typically think that splitting expenses 50/50 is the most equitable arrangement.  But a down-the-middle split doesn’t always work for couples who move in together.  Let’s say that one of you makes $25,000 a year, while the other brings home $40,000 annually.  If the disparity between your incomes is significant, then is a 50/50 split may not be reasonable.  

The same might apply to your food budget. If one of you eats two-thirds of the food and other eats one-third, then you may not wish to split the food bill in half.  Maybe one of you requires—or prefers—a special diet. If you don’t eat the same foods, does it make sense to split costs 50/50? 
If one of you wants cable and the other does not, should you divide this expense evenly?  If you decide to split all expenses down the middle, and one of you gets a raise, will you adjust how you handle household costs?

And what if one of you carries a heavy debt load and the other one of you does not? Are you willing to help pay for something that you did not buy?

You will have to sort through the answers to these—and other questions—if you want to minimize surprises. As for how you end up splitting expenses, I cannot tell you what is fair for your relationship. The two of you must decide this together by having a thorough and honest conversation about your expectations.

I suggest you sit down together and draft all the expenses you believe you will be sharing, including rent, utilities, cable/internet, food, and household products. Discuss the expenses that you have, but that you will not be sharing.  Once you have a clearer sense of what each of you expects, then you can sketch out how you will split expenses.  You also need to talk about what you will do if one of you cannot or does not pay his or her share of the bills. 

Because this relationship matters to the two of you, take the time to discuss how you will split expenses before you move in together.  If your partner is unwilling to do this, then this spells trouble, both for your relationship and for the future of your shared finances.

Bonnie Spain is the executive director of the American Center for Credit Education and Consumer Credit Counseling Service of the Black Hills. For more information, email

The material in this transmission is provided for personal, non-commercial, educational, and informational purposes only. ACCE makes no representations or warranties with respect to the accuracy or completeness of the contents of this transmission and assumes no responsibility for errors, inaccuracies, omissions, or any inconsistency herein. You should consult a professional where appropriate.