Many couples consider living together before marriage a good “trial run” for what life will be like after the vows. There is a lot of truth in that concept. If you are living together, then you should be setting goals together as a couple. Are you just going to “see how things go” or are you saving up for a down payment on a house? It is a big next step for a couple and one that should happen by setting some financial ground rules. Here’s a few to consider:
Know Each Other’s Credit Scores
As you are dating, the issue of credit scores probably wasn’t a topic discussed over a romantic dinner. Now that you are commingling, so are your finances. Knowing each other’s credit scores can help with those goals. Perhaps you’ve both got great scores. Keep it up. If one of you has a lower score, then you’ll want to try and work together to come up with a plan to get those numbers up. This is going to help when you want to apply for a car loan or other major purchases.
Set Rules for Splitting Expenses
A simple plan for splitting expenses is right down the middle. You both pay half. However, that might not always be a solution especially if one of you is making more money than the other. This is where resentment can start to foster. You don’t want that. Instead, sit down in the first week after unpacking and do a budget of all that has to be paid each month. You both probably have you own individual bills that have to be factored in, but knowing who will be responsible to for which “joint” bill is vital for harmonious living.
Make a Money Date
Once you’ve established who will be paying for what, it is a good idea to set up a monthly “money date.” This is a time set aside to discuss the finances for both of you. It might be the day all the bills get paid. This type of ongoing “check in” can also help you stay on top of expenses. You might find that you’re spending way too much money dining out and want to cut back to save. There could also be spikes with the utility bills that also have to be rectified.
Being responsible with finances at that stage in your relationship is going to build a solid foundation for a future together.