Submitted by GunterFanClub t3_127sngt in relationship_advice

Wondering how folks choose to split finances, especially when each partner is in very different financial positions.

For example - my partner (29M) and I (24F) are planning to move in together soon and he makes a little under 6 figures and has been working full time since graduating from college 5 years ago and has a lot of savings and disposable income. I’m a full time graduate student (I also have a part time job but really don’t make a lot of money) and I’ve been using my savings to cover everything so far (my living expenses, dates, birthday gifts, my half for weekend trips, etc). Feeling kinda overwhelmed right now since I still have a little over a year left in my program before I’ll start working (and even then I’ll make half of what he does).

Idk fully what I’m even asking for in this post but if folks could let me know how you have navigated splitting finances that would be great



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mfruitfly t1_jeg7o6c wrote

So I think there are two equally good ways to split finances.

  1. Based on income: The person who makes more pays for more (rent, utilities) based on a percentage of their income, and then you decide on how you split other expense like vacations and dates. It isn't practical to split a dinner bill 60/40 or whatever, so you figure out a system of expectations for dates, and then of course each vacation can be discussed as it comes up. I think based on income is the better option when two people are married or really solid in their relationship, because then it truly is a joint partnership.
  2. 50/50 but the budget is based on the lower earner: You split your expenses equally, but where you live and the other living expenses are based on you, as the lower earner. For example, if I can afford $1000 in rent and my partner can only afford $500, we find a place that fits his lower budget. That way it isn't just an equal split, but fair to the lower earner. I think this is better for couples who aren't ready for "life together" but just starting out living together, or where there is a big disparity on the value of money (one is a saver, one is a spender).

And then either way, you shouldn't be going in to debt for dates, gifts, and vacations. When a weekend trip comes up, it is fine to say "I can't afford that." I pay for most of the vacations with my partner, because he is on a limited income. I want to go on vacation, and I want him there with me, so I have no problem paying. It is totally fine to tell your partner when you can't afford something- a fancy restaurant, a weekend trip- and then they can decide if they want to pay or to pick a more economical activity. If you just say "i can't afford that" then you aren't expecting them to pay, which of course you shouldn't, you are just being honest about your finances.


UsuallyWrite2 t1_jefqebw wrote

I’m a fan of his/hers/ours where we each put in to “ours” to cover shared expenses like rent, utilities, etc based on % of total income then the rest of our earnings goes to our personal accts.

I make a lot more than my partner so I pay more. I also do all of the groceries, cover the vacations, and cover any big house expenses like…new stove or new furniture or whatever.

My partner covers his credit card, stuff for his kiddo, his vehicles, etc. I cover my student loans, credit card, horse/dog expenses, etc.

I don’t think it would be fair in my (44F) situation to have my partner paying 50/50 when I make so much more. And I don’t feel like his money should go to my hobbies and expenses and I don’t want to pay for his if I’m honest.

Everyone is different but this works for us and it makes things so easy! If I want to go buy a horse trailer or he wants a new boat, we don’t even have to discuss it really.


IdaDuck t1_jegiduh wrote

My wife and I are both the same age as you (44). Ever since we got married which was 23 years ago we’ve had completely joint finances. We trust each other and are both frugal by nature so it works. We have no rules per se but out of courtesy we’d generally give the other person a heads up on any bigger discretionary expenses regardless of type. Any major expense like a vacation, home remodel or vehicle would be discussed in advance. In terms of roles we used to both work but since we had our oldest who is 13 now she’s been a stay at home mom and I’ve been the income source.


JealousBed1807 t1_jeg1pfl wrote

This is what I have always done with my wife as well … when we first moved in together I made significantly more than she did so I paid about 75% of our shared expenses as her earnings increased we adjusted the amounts accordingly and we are about 50/50 now


One_Selection7199 t1_jege2j0 wrote

When I was in a situation like this I said: I pay X for renting a room and it's my budget. If you want to rent an apartment together, you have to pay the rest or wait till I'll find a full-time job. The same was with food. He ate twice as much as me, so I couldn't imagine paying 50/50 and sponsoring him food, when I was a poor student.

You shouldn't make your financial situation worse just because your partner probably wants to live in a good apartment.


silver_moon134 t1_jefwb6x wrote

Should split based on income. No good partner should want their partner to struggle financially when they could help IMO.

Consequently don't agree to pay for something you can't afford just to make him happy.


es153 t1_jefyuy2 wrote

Every couple does this differently and there’s no right answer. I would go away separately and think about what you can afford and what you would each consider fair. As the person with the lower income, be very clear about what your budget is. Then sit down and have a conversation together and see if you can find common ground. If there isn’t a situation you’d both be happy with then I’d delay it until you’ve graduated.

My partner and I split everything 50:50 even though I make less. We’re not at a point of contemplating marriage or a similar long term commitment so pooling our money doesn’t make sense to me. But we based searching for a place on what I was able to afford.


hedbryl t1_jegv249 wrote

>there's no right answer

There's a lot of wrong ones, though. If he insists OP pay half of his lifestyle, he's a selfish prick. She should pay what she can afford and not a penny more. Ideally that means he covers the rest, given his income is so much higher, but at minimum it means she's not spending money she doesn't have.


trilliumsummer t1_jeg3koo wrote

Do you have enough savings to cover you the rest of the time in school or will you have to get loans? What are your expenses now? I would say a good starting point is that moving in shouldn't cost you more than you're paying now (until you graduate and get a full time job) - so that means bf either needs to accept your budget and move into a place you can afford OR he needs to pick up anything above and beyond your budget. Unless you guys can agree on a place that would be cheaper for you - which would be great.

So say you currently are sharing an apartment and you pay $500 for rent and $100 that covers the utilities and you spend around $250 on groceries. If your bf is fine with finding a place that's $1000 total that similarly sized so utilities will be around the same and he spends similar on groceries - great! It's reasonable to split it 50/50 if it means your expenses don't go up.

Now if your bf won't agree to any place that's less than $2000 and is twice as big so utilities will be more and he insists on lobster and wagyu once a week - then he needs to pick up the extra above your budget. So you still pay $500 and he'll be paying $1500 for the apartment.

If you're currently living alone and you're looking only at one bedroom then it'd be reasonable to not want to pay as much as you are now to share the space with another human. Harder to come up with an easy number to select from that though. I'd say between 50-75% of what you are paying now as your max would be fair - depending on if that 75% gives you a better/bigger place or not.


NotTrynaMakeWaves t1_jegjhoi wrote

Proportionately by income. If A earns twice as much as B then the split is 67/33. If A earns 3x B then it’s 75/25.


dianaprince76 t1_jefm4vr wrote

I split based on income when I was single but living with a partner but once I got married it all went into the family pot so there was no splitting (tho in theory that is the same as splitting based on income)


1164MorningGloryCl t1_jefp1b7 wrote

Typically you’d split it 50/50 between two people. You’re not married and presume not engaged, so 50/50 is fair. Your ability to pay is irrelevant, meaning if you can’t afford to split, then maybe wait until you can. Just because someone makes more than you doesn’t mean they should pay more. You should sit down and talk to the bf about this.


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ProtopetPhantom t1_jegwkdi wrote

Easy don’t move in together until you come to an agreement or 50/50. I personally love 50/50 but it doesn’t have to be exactly 50/50. For me sometimes I’ll get something sometimes she will get something but it doesn’t have to equal the same amount. Bills should usually just be 50/50

You didn’t give enough context as to why you’re working part time, get a second job or just a full time one. Don’t dive in unless you can come to an agreement just asking for trouble.


IncomeFundManager t1_jefrd33 wrote

Anything other than proportional splitting is financial abuse, unless you both agree you’ll be a SAHM

If you work full time you pay a proportional amount…end of story


es153 t1_jefyb0t wrote

It depends on the relationship. I make significantly less than my partner but thats purely down to the life choices I’ve made. I chose to take a long time out to go travelling whereas they’ve had a stable job and so I’m happy for us to split 50/50. The budget for our place was based on what I could afford not them. If we were at the point of discussing marriage it might be a different conversation but for now it works for us.


owmyfreakingeyes t1_jeg742w wrote

If you don't immediately subsidize the finances of your boyfriend or girlfriend upon moving in together, even if you pick a spot that is affordable to the lower earner, you are abusive.

Peak Reddit relationship advice.