Intertwined Lives, Separate Bank Accounts: How to Cohabitate with a Happy Financial and Emotional Mindset

Time and time again studies have shown that money is the number one instigator of problems between couples. Sidenote: I want to know where exactly “farting” ranks on those lists because it definitely should be close to the top… Okay, okay, back to money: While it seems to be common sense that relationships with our significant others should be prioritized above money, an uncountable number of failed relationships have proven that it’s easier said than done.

San Fran

So I am coming to you equipped with a few years of experience in the area of lovebird cohabitation and zero years of joined bank accounts under my belt to share what has and has not worked for my better half and I when it comes to splitting the tab of life from two separate bank accounts.

STEP ONE: Get on the Same Page—or Get Out Now!

golf pic

We have similar values and interest across many aspects of life, but likeness in monetary values creates a strong foundation for our relationship…just a tad more than mutual okay-ness at golf.

If you are living with your significant other in hopes that you will one day be walking down an aisle together, you better make sure you are on the same page when it comes to money values. It’s okay to have different styles and desires, but if your spending habits are completely opposite of each other (i.e., he saves every penny he earns, and she maxes out credit cards on shoes every month) you either need to find a compromise that keeps both of you satisfied or get the heck out of the relationship before one of you milks the other dry. The hardest part of step one is taking an honest look at the facts, but doing so immediately will save you a lot of heartache and money woes in the future.

STEP TWO: Divide and Conquer the “Easy-To-Split-Stuff”

Taken just as our cohabitation officially began

Keeping the simple stuff simple, has helped us smoothly transition into sharing our lives together.

We treat the payment of our rent and household utilities as if we are roommates (which we are in the sense that we are 2 individuals with 2 separate incomes and 2 separate bank accounts). That means we split rent, gas, electric, and cable straight down the middle each month. There are a few ways to do this with little hassle and near guarantee that everyone is living up to his or her end of the bargain:

OPTION ONE: Put all utilities in one person’s name (this is the time to let the organizer of the relationship showcase those responsibility skillz) and have the second person write the “organizer” a check each month to cover his/her half of the costs.

OPTION TWO: Put roughly one half of the utilities in each person’s name so that each person directly pays about half of the monthly expenses without ever needing to deposit or wait on a check from the other. This option is better for those who are a little more flexible and will not spitefully bring up owed pennies during an argument about what’s for dinner on Tuesday night.

STEP THREE: Create a Strategy to Tie up All Loose Monetary Ends that Leaves Both Parties Financially Satisfied and Comfortable


Money strategy and agreement are key factors to enjoying a nice vacation.

After the big expenses that occur regularly each month are equally distributed, you need to make a plan of action for all other expenses that occur in your shared life. These expenses can be regular—like groceries—or more varied—like vacations. The key is to be sure each person (in the loving relationship that you cherish very very much) knows the plan and is comfortable with the plan. I’ve listed some general strategies and helpful tips that help us avoid money spats on a daily basis, which is excellent because less fighting means more loving :)

Each Little Love Bird Must: 

♥ Know and respect how much money each person wants/needs to spend each month.

♥ Know and respect what each person likes to spend money on each month.

♥ Agree on a plan to tackle groceries.

Grocery style

♥ Be happy with a plan outlying how to pay for dates.

Date Style♥ Be happy with a strategy to pay for vacations and weekend trips.

Vacay Style

♥ Communicate with each other EVERY GOL’ DARN DAY about your money and your feelings about how your money is being spent (or not spent).

anni pic

Remember to keep a level head because at the end of the day, you love that beautiful face you wake up to each morning much more than Benjamin or Andrew…unless of course it is Benjamin or Andrew you are waking up to 😉

What strategies have helped you transition into and successfully conquer being in a serious relationship with molded lives but separate bank accounts?

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