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Hi friends! Hope you’ve been enjoying life. This month I wanted to dedicate a blog post to dating and relationships. I always found broaching the topic of personal finance in relationships to be awkward but necessary. Here’s what I’ve done.
Openly discuss goals and finance
Look at the theme of this blog; does this surprise you? I’m a firm believer in talking about earnings and savings goals upfront; maybe not on the first date, but not soon after. I like to share my goals about FIRE and my belief in remaining debt-free. I’ve even shared my financial tracker with dates before. If there’s a fundamental incompatibility here, I want to know right away.
Learn about their financial situation
If someone is carrying a debt burden, I want to know about it sooner rather than later.
Having financial separation
My philosophy differs depending on the situation:
Casually dating/ not exclusive
When I was a penny-pinching student, I kept a monthly Dating fund to budget how much money I could spend. Now that I have a bit more breathing room financially speaking, I use a general Spending fund. Whenever I pay for a date or part of a date, I get the money from that fund.
In a relationship
When spending lots of time together, I find it’s no longer expedient to send e-transfers or have to remember the dance of you-paid-this-much-last-time-so-I’ll-pick-up-the-bill. That’s why I love the app Splitwise, so you can just log expenses you’ve paid for, split it however you want, and keep a running total. I’ve had partners call me Type-A for this, but frankly I don’t care, because this gives me so much peace of mind in being assured I’m not being taken advantage of or accidentally taking advantage of someone.
To clarify, it’s practical items like groceries, nights out, or rent that go on Splitwise, not gifts just to make the other person smile – I’m not that much of a grouch. In fact, I asked my current partner to be exclusive by asking him if he wanted to start a Splitwise account together. He asked me if I meant did he want to be my boyfriend. A perfect example of how money talk can be romantic!
I’ve never reached this step before, but I’d imagine if I ever got married I’d want to keep mostly separate accounts, just so I wouldn’t have to feel guilty about spending a bucket of money on shoes and he wouldn’t feel guilty spending on whatever his vices are.
Ultimately, finances in relationships are complicated and I can’t sit here and pretend like I’ve got it all figured out. But the inner romantic in me likes to think that as long as you set a base set of standards for yourself while keeping an open line of communication, you can figure anything out. I’d love to hear how you deal with managing personal finances while dating or being in a relationship – leave a comment below and let me know.