Making the decision to move in together with your partner is a big one, albeit an exciting one, too. You get to see each other more often, save a little rent money, and excitedly tell all your friends and family the big news. The excitement can be contagious, but moving in together might also come with some serious changes in your relationship, and it's best to be prepared for them. Now that you're taking the next step, you might be wondering how to talk about money before moving in together. You're combining your expenses, after all, so who's paying what bills, rent, and groceries are all things you should consider squaring away before calling the U-Haul. It might seem daunting, but worry not. There is a way to bring it up to your partner so that it doesn't become a point of conflict later on down the line.
"Couples should talk about a lot of things before they move in together," Anita Chlipala, licensed marriage and family therapist, tells Elite Daily. For example, you should discuss "money, chores and errands, neatness and organization, what each wants/is like at certain points in the day like when they first wake up, come home after work, and bedtime," Chlipala says.
These conversations might seem intimidating, but having them is important if you want your relationship to thrive when living under the same roof. "Money is a frequent topic that couples fight about, and so it is important to determine where you are both aligned and where you have differences, because moving in together is only going to exacerbate your differences if you haven't discussed them first," Chlipala explains.
But how do you go about having these tough, potentially awkward conversations? "Say you want to know what kind of expectations they have and you want to see where you both have differences because moving in together is a big step," she says. The biggest mistake Chlipala says a couple can make is when they assume that they'll "figure it out later." It might not be easy to talk about money (is it ever, though?), but it can really bring you closer to your partner and make the transition to living together that much smoother.
While discussing money-related topics, Chlipala also suggests talking about your individual spending habits, and if you're comfortable, the details of your financial history. "Discuss expectations if one of you makes significantly more money than the other, if you have debt, and if you lean more toward saving versus spending." I totally understand how intimidating this can be, but don't worry about it too much. A good, partner will be supportive of your situation and should never judge you. Plus, you might find yourself exhaling a little bit as you put all your cards on the table.
"Talk about what money means to you," Chlipala says. It's important that you try to "understand your partner's perspective. I wouldn't skip this step because it will make compromise much more difficult. If you're a saver and your partner is a spender, you may have different values or different upbringings or experiences that contributed to the way that you are with money. These deeper meanings need to be discussed and understood."
Moving in together is fun, but it's also a time when you and your partner need to be honest and open with each other, as Chlipala says. Talk it out, work it out, and agree on the financial strategy that works best for both of you. That way, you can focus more on putting together the love nest of your dreams, and less about the number on your bank statement.