Marriage Advice: How to Split Bills with Your Spouse (Without Causing Any Conflict)
Marriage is a special thing. But all couples know the many challenges you face on a daily basis—and some of it can lead to conflict between spouses.
Money ranks as one of the top reasons couples argue but if you learn more about how to split bills, manage a budget and plan for the future, you can avoid much of it.
Being overwhelmed by work stress, the responsibility of raising kids, and intimacy issues, managing your money only adds to the list of things that could ruin a marriage. The truth is that with good communication, many problems can be overcome. And this tip applies to money management too.
In some cases, the reason for tension is that couples don’t openly discuss finances at the start of their relationship. Perhaps you’ve never sat down and shared your thoughts on how to split bills or how your income should be best applied for long term plans? Over time, frustration increases and a chat about monthly expenses can very quickly turn into a debate or even a full-blown fight.
However, when couples start communicating more about finances and discuss topics like how to split bills and share expenses and responsibilities in a way that feels fair to both parties, there may be less tension regarding this topic. Let’s share a few guidelines that are helpful at the outset of a relationship, but can help you no matter how long you’ve been together.
Money Talk: How Important is it for Couples?
Experts will tell you that money is often a reason why couples start fighting and even end up separating if they can’t agree on money matters. This is no reason to keep on avoiding the topic. Rather, you should practice talking about your budget and use skills like active listening to understand your partner’s point of view. As a result, managing a budget can become a team effort, rather than two people getting frustrated with how the other manages money.
One of the reasons why frustration pops up is because people view money matters differently. For some it’s more important to enjoy money now, while other want to prioritize a retirement fund.
Also, your opinion on how to split bills can be different.
When you’re married to someone with opposing views to yours, it’s bound to spark conflict. But you don’t get past the frustration by ignoring it—you need to talk, share opinions, compromise and find a solution that satisfies both.
Money matters like debt can very easily cause stress, which in turn affects mood and wellbeing. Couples may feel less overwhelmed by such situations if they communicate and face it together, rather than trying to figure out plans by themselves.
So, from having more peace of mind so you can sleep at night, to preventing yet another fight with your spouse, use the tools below to facilitate discussions. By staying open minded you can find solutions that will make money and home management easier from now on.
How to Split Bills: Options to Consider
A common challenge for couples with two incomes is figuring out how to split bills fairly. After all, it’s rare to have two people earning the exact same salaries and you may have different views on how that affects each person’s responsibility in terms of covering expenses.
To be clear, there’s no one way of how to split bills that works for everyone. You need to consider each option and determine if it’s relevant for your household.
|How to Split Bills||Method Explained||Pros, Cons & Who Will it Work for?|
|50/50||Add up your general monthly expenses and divide it in two, so each person takes responsibility for half.
Additional expenses such as restaurant bills or repairs can also be split, with one person paying and the other transferring half the cost to his or her partner’s account. Alternatively, take turns to cover bills like take aways and date nights.
|A 50/50 split is an easy method to follow and could be a starting point at the start of a marriage while you’re still figuring out what exactly your lifestyle will be like.
In the long run it works for couples who earn more or less the same, and it’s easy to manage. However, if one person earns far less, he or she will have less cash for miscellaneous expenses.
|Compare Your Income||Calculate monthly expenses and calculate what percentage each person earns of the household’s total income. Based on those percentages, each person takes responsibility for a percentage of the month’s expenses.||This arrangement results in each person having a similar amount of cash left over for personal expenses. Couples who see marriage as a team effort will usually approve of this approach.|
|Individual Financial Goals as Guideline||Calculate monthly expenses, list both partners’ incomes and also stipulate financial goals, such as paying off debt or saving for future studies.||When working together for your future, you may want to help your partner achieve certain personal goals faster by adjusting the budget accordingly. One partner may cover more of the monthly bills, so the other can pay off student debt accumulated before the marriage. In the long run it will benefit you as a household, since you’ll have better cashflow once the debt is settled.|
|Customize Your Budget||List all expenses and discuss how it impacts each partner’s life. Take responsibility for an expense in relation to how much you benefit from it.||This approach may seem too detailed and time-consuming, but in some cases it’s relevant and helps to create a fair guideline on how to split bills. For example, a remote worker working from home may use Wi-Fi much more than others who are out all day. That individual can take on that expense, while a partner may take on garden expenses if he or she is the only one enjoying gardening.
A major benefit of this approach is that if you’re the main person using and paying for a service, you’ll go the extra mile finding good deals and avoid wastage, since it’s only your own cashflow it will affect.
Tips on Managing Your Budget and Bills
Deciding how to split bills is already a step in the right direction to avoid unnecessary conflict about money. Keep the following in mind as well and you could create a much more peaceful, accommodating atmosphere in your home.
Talk Money BEFORE the Wedding
It’s never too late to start, but if you’re a new couple, discuss money before you say, ‘I do’. Discovering each other’s perspectives beforehand and agreeing on how to spend your money while setting up a home will make the first years of marriage much easier.
Review Your Budget Regularly
Money management isn’t a one-time thing. Salaries change and inflation affects expenses. Keep record of income and expenses continually and have a money-date every few weeks where you review the data.
Communicate and decide together on topics like how much to save, when to cut back on luxuries if the cost of living rises and how to pay for the next family vacation.
Use Tech to Your Benefit
These days technology solves many common problems and couples should make use of it more. Apps can help you manage your budget or simplify tasks like how to split bills. With an app like Enzo you can easily share expense details with each other regarding the house or a night out to a restaurant. With tech you can improve communication even if you’re not in the same room.
Instead of having multiple apps each performing a separate task, look for ones that solve multiple house management challenges in one. For example, Enzo can help you delegate tasks to each other and other family members, while also showing the family calendar and helping to manage bills.
Pick a Banking Setup and Cashflow Management System
You can have a joint bank account but it may not be ideal for all the methods of how to split bills mentioned above. Decide what will work for you and if you do have separate accounts, at least find an effortless way to transfer funds to each other, so managing money doesn’t waste time in your busy schedules.
Also consider automating tasks to save time and increase productivity. For example, one person may pay the landlord and the other will reimburse their partner their share. Set automatic payments so you don’t forget and don’t leave your partner with a negative balance—do whatever you can to prevent conflict.
Try the 50/30/20 Rule
Experts advise the following 50/30/20 guideline for smart money management:
- Spend 50% on your needs
- Allocate 30% for wants
- Put 20% into savings
Newlyweds may find this a helpful guideline to help set them up for financial freedom in the long run.
Last Tip: Always Think Long Term
Money makes the world go round so don’t underestimate its importance in your household, now and in future. Ensure that those later years are as carefree as the ones you’ll have now after learning how to split bills and manage money effectively TOGETHER. For this you need a smart savings and retirement plan.
Talk to our team for more information on how Enzo simplifies home and money management.