Dear B. Scott,
My boyfriend and I moved in together earlier this year after dating for about 2 years. We found a place together with the agreement that we’d go half and half on bills & utilities. He has a job, I have a job, we both make decent money but I’ve noticed that I’ve been paying way more than half of my share.
Sure, whenever we go out he usually pays for dinner and things like that but around the house I’m starting to see less and less of his money. He did manage to spend $400 on a new PlayStation for the living room that he knows I’ll never touch. I would have much rather seen that $400 help pay for the electricity that powers that Playstation or that giant TV he bought a few months ago. I don’t know where his money goes, but when it comes time to pay bills it’s just not here. What do I do?
Dear Love Muffin,
It’s difficult to tell someone else how to spend their hard earned coins. You two came to an agreement and he needs to uphold his end of the deal.
This sounds like Budgeting 101 to me. Start by letting him know that there’s an issue. He might not even realize the err of his ways.
You two should write down a list of everything you’ve spent money on individually throughout the last month. Take it a step further by highlighting everything that pertains to the home (i.e. rent, utilities, household items, etc).
Once you’ve done that, explain what you find unacceptable about his spending habits and try to figure out how to work towards a solution. It’s not really about whether or not he spent money on a PlayStation or a TV -- he has every right to do so. What he doesn’t have a right to do is not pay his agreed half of the bills.
I know there are tons of apps and tools to help you both keep track and prioritize your spending. If you have an iPhone or iPad, Level Money is a simple way to keep track of what goes in and what goes out -- without getting caught up on itemizing each expense.
Often times when two people live together and these issues come up, it has an unhealthy effect on the relationship because one person starts to resent the other. The longer you stay quiet, the worse things will get. Just be sure not to be combative or to attack when you raise your (valid) concerns.
It’s normal for a new couple to have these types of issues when they’re learning to cohabitate. With a little adjustment, everything will be just fine.