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Understand the cost of living together

Not sure how to split the bills or do a budget?

Written by SpunOut | View this authors Twitter page and posted in life

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If you are moving in with your partner you may be feeling excited in general, yet worried about money issues. Money can be a source of frustration, worry and even arguments amongst people, so it’s natural to worry about it sometimes.

Like with all problems though, there is usually a way to get a handle on the issue. So chatting about how much money you and the other person earn, as well as how you will divide expenses like rent, food and bills is a good start. It’s important to discuss these things before you move in together.

Moving in with your partner


Get to know your own spending habits; then your other half's. Do you own a car? Does your significant other own one? If either of you do, you could be hard-pressed for cash at times so make sure you consider what you have, need and want. Check out Juliana's tips for making a budget and sticking to it.

Figure out how you'll both pay for day-to-day expenses. When you're living with someone and you run out milk, who's going to buy the next carton? Yes, it's no big deal if we're talking milk, but what about the weekly shop or household items you both use?


You could open a joint account – a bank account where you both have access – but make sure to discuss how much to take out and when to use it.

Spending money is important; but saving is too. While talking about how much money to spend, take time with your partner to discuss how much money to save for a rainy day. 


If you're renting you may want to consider contents insurance. This an insurance for all your property inside rented digs and will protect you if your things are stolen or damaged.

If things don't work out, think about what you'll do in a situation where you and your partner don't want to live together anymore. If you're worried about rights and entitlements, visit for more information about free legal advice.

Will moving in with someone affect my social welfare payments?

If you are moving in with a partner who is unemployed or you’re unemployed and moving in with someone in employment, this may affect your social welfare payments. It might mean payments increase or decrease, or that you’re entitled to a different type of payment.

  • You can find out more about changes that can affect your social welfare payment here.
  • For some payments, you may be means tested as a couple who are cohabiting so it’s important to update your Social Welfare Office on any changes to your personal circumstances.

MABs has some useful tools for helping to make up a budget and manage your income or debt. Check out these tools here. If you and your partner need to work out how to meal plan or need some inspiration for cooking, SafeFood have a super hand pdf with 101 square meals that are simple and pocket friendly.

Need more information?

We are here to answer your questions and talk through your options. Our online chat service is for 16 to 25 year olds and is available Monday to Friday, 4pm to 8pm. Chat to us now about your situation.

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Published Jan­u­ary 8th2013
Last updated May 21st2018
Tags moving house savings money
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