Money is one of the most disputed topics between husbands and wives, but it doesn’t start when you get hitched. Often our insecurities about money begin long before we find ourselves having to share it.
From that very first pay cheque from your very first job, you now know what you have to do to make your own money and with your hard work comes independence, which feels pretty darn good.
So what happens when you get a flat mate or move in with your boyfriend or get married? Are you ready to share and if so, how do you keep the equality in your relationships?
Every couple or situation is different, but no matter what it is, you need to determine with your friend, flat mate or loved one, how you want to contribute to the household.
The flat mate
Moving in with a friend or flat mate should be fairly straightforward, as you are likely to keep your cash to yourself and just pay half of the bills and rent. (Or so you should!)
It can get tricky with grocery shopping, so to avoid any unwanted hair pulling, work out a system that suits everyone. For example, buy your own groceries and label what is yours. If your Tim Tams are still going missing, you need to be brave and have a friendly chat with your Tim Tam stealing mate. Or you could just hide them under your bed like normal people do.
The best rule to follow is: Don’t lend money to your friends. It’s safer for your hip pocket and your friendship. So just make an excuse or tell a white lie. You’ll both be better off.
Of course, shouting your mate a few beers or a meal once in a while shouldn’t be an issue and being a tight arse is not a good look. So when it’s your round, cough up!
Nothing is romantic about a dinner for two when you spend the whole night tapping away on your calculator and frothing at the mouth about whose turn it is to pay.
This is where things get delicate. Usually in romantic relationships, money isn’t an issue until things start to move into a more serious zone. You need to take a lot of deep breaths and try not to let the money get in between why you fell for each other in the first place.
Fairness and compromise is key! Not everything has a dollar value. If you’re the one working the daily grind, what is your partner doing? There’s the house hold chores, all those annoying phone calls to the bank, insurance company or disputing your last phone bill.
There’s the food shopping, the bill paying, the gutter cleaning and the list goes on. If all you have to do is go to work from nine to five, think yourself lucky you have someone to pick up the rest of the load, because I guarantee you it’s just as heavy.
Unless you’re dating plan is to ask people how much money they make before you risk saying the big L word to them, you will be hard pressed to fall in love with someone who earns exactly the same wage as you.
If you are one of these slightly precious people who like to keep all their money to themselves and have some serious stingy qualities, then making a plan with your partner is essential, unless you want to go mortal combat on their arse.
A good way to do this is by having your own separate accounts and one joint account. Each of you needs to pay equal amounts into your joint account for this to work.
This money can be used for paying the rent and bills and boring living expenses. You can do whatever you please with what’s left in your own account. (Secret gambling addiction… no worries.)
Trust is essential with a capital T! Make sure you both have access to your joint account. Therefore, you can log on anytime to make sure each person is doing their bit.
Move on or move out!
Yes, you’ve worked hard for you cash and yes it should be shared or used fairly in all relationships, so if you find yourself being the bread winner and still the loser, something’s gotta give.
Speak up! Make a change fast and if all the screaming and foot stamping continues, perhaps you have more than money worries to worry about.
Yes, there is a BUT… Money is just money. It only buys or pays for the material things in life. Yes, it’s easy to say that, but it’s also very true.
Money comes and goes and then hopefully comes again, but friends and the ones we fall head over heels for are meant for life, or at least a good part of it.
So make a plan fast and if that fails, make another one until you get it right. If you love and respect each other enough, you’ll find a cure.