Love and money: How to split expenses when living together?


I was signing a birthday card today and traditionally wished the birthday girl ‘All the health, love and money she can handle’. And it sort of struck me: our health, especially mental health, is often a direct product of love and money…
How we handle finances with our most loved ones is a common topic of arguments, anxieties and insecurities among couples. And if it’s something that you are familiar with, I wanted to make sure you know you are not alone: thouthands of people worldwide are searching “How to split expenses when living together”.

What a better way to explore this topic than through real-life stories of Monshare users? All experiences are unique, of course, but I hope that hearing personal stories of others, help you find a way that works for your relationship so that you don’t have to choose between ‘health, love and money’.

Below are three authentic stories on how some of our most loyal users split expenses when living together. We adjusted the names and some minor details to protect their privacy, since, I am sure, you will agree sharing a personal story like this one is very brave and deserves all the respect and protection.

Love and Money with Anna and Peter

When Anna and Peter started dating 4 years ago, managing finances was not a problem. Peter, as a true gentleman, covered most of their shared bills, since it was culturally appropriate for both of them. However 10 months later when they decided to move in together it was no longer an option: they had to discuss how to split expenses when living together. It was not a comfortable conversation: Anna would have preferred a single shared budget, but their spending habits were too different to allow for a fair split of spending. Since there was no obvious solution, they decided to just pay ad-hoc when needed and leave uncomfortable conversation for the future. After all, love comes first and who cares about money!
Little did they know… Their desire to separate love and money led to lack of visibility in their spending, suppressed suspicion and miscommunication. Both of them thought that they are contributing way too much to their shared budget and that the money is spent totally unreasonably.
A couple of years down the line, they came across Monshare. This is how they use it:

  1. They created a pot for their shared Household
  2. Once a week each of them review their personal transactions and add them to the ‘Household’ pot
  3. Since Peter earns considerably higher salary than Anna, they split all their expenses 40:60 and Monshare does it all automatically for them
  4. Once every couple of months, they would review the balance on who has overpaid, and the party owing the amount will contribute it towards their next vacation.
  5. Now they no longer need to get uncomfortable about mixing ‘love and money’, since whatever is overpaid they get to enjoy together.

Steven and Alex: Married couple with separate bank accounts

Steven and Alex have been living together for over over 5 years now, 3 out of them being married. How to split expenses when living together was not on their mind from the beginning of their relationship. They lived in Steven’s apartment, thus rent was not a problem, Alex paid all the utilities and they would split restaurant bills now and then.
The situation changed when Steven needed to set aside a considerable portion of his income for his business and the two decided to move to a bigger place.
This is where they needed to have the whole ‘love and money’ conversation and decide on the fair split of bills. They first started using Splitwise, so that each of them would log every expense they share together. However it quickly got out of control: the two shared over 700 transactions per year across 20 countries: there was no way they could log every penny or even dollar correctly…
Monshare was of great help. Today they import all their transactions directly from their personal bank accounts and split everything 50:50. While they don’t pay very close attention to the balance, it ends up being close enough to give them a piece of mind that they are respecting each other’s financial preferences. They also have individual savings accounts that they will combine when moving to a bigger place together.

Janette and Michael: Married couple with 2 children

‘How to split expenses when living together’ is not a question that Jannett and Michael ever had to think about. They have been together longer than they remember and it’s very customary in their home country to run a single family budget. They both work and have comparable income, but Jannett is the undoubtful head of the household: she takes care of all the financial planning and budgeting for the family. They have a few joint bank accounts, including savings and credit cards. In addition to that Jannett has a couple of cards with digital banks to get the best exchange rate for the trips she plans for the family (Monzo being her favourite).
She knows Michael is not big into budgeting, so she takes all the planning under her control. These are the budget groups she tracks:

  1. Household costs
  2. Childcare and expenses
  3. Fun budget (including vacation fund. Btw, if travel is a big part of your budget you might like our article on travel during covid times)
  4. Accidentals

She created a pot for each of the groups in Monshare and tracks everything on her own. She occasionally shows reports from Monshare to Michael, which he graciously looks through with loving enthusiasm:-)

I hope these examples help you find the best way to manage your ‘love and money’ situation and you get to enjoy time with each other even more. If you decide to choose  a joint bank account, have a look at the list of things you might want to consider.

Let us know if you like this kind of personal stories at hello@monshare.io.

Thank you for reading.


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