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How we manage our money: five couples share their stories

Moving in with your other half is a major life step, and figuring out exactly how you will manage your cash as a team is super-important. Whether you decide to pool your resources, go Dutch on everything, or keep your independence and those separate bank and credit card accounts, it’s a good idea to work out how you’ll deal with the financial side of things before you shack up together. To help you get an idea of how other couples organise their money, we asked five people who live with their partners how they go about it.

If you decide to pool your finances, sign up for the 30-day trial of Experian CreditExpert1 to make sure your credit history is as it should be before you make the commitment.

Anna, 24, from Watford, moved in with her boyfriend Paul, 27, two years ago
“I can say, with hand on heart, that my boyfriend was absolutely terrible with money when we first started dating. He always splurged when he took me out and always refused when I offered to go halves. But when the relationship got more serious and I moved into his flat, I discovered his credit card bills and decided to have a serious talk with him. I am the money manager in the relationship, although these days he would probably disagree! Now, instead of going out to eat every weekend or ordering takeaway, we stay in and cook together. This is something I have always loved to do and he has grown to enjoy. So in addition to saving on rent, he has saved a fortune on food and socialising, too!”

Chloe, 33, lives with her girlfriend Michelle, 32, in south London
“My girlfriend and I have been together for nearly six years now. She doesn’t like spending money on things that don’t last, unfortunately. Me on the other hand, I think life is too short and love a bit of retail therapy or a night out in the West End. We split all the bills every month: rent, gas, internet, the works. This has caused arguments, especially in winter. I hate the cold, which makes our heating bills really high, but she can deal with a chilly flat. To be fair, she has helped me to be better with money. It was her idea for us to set up a monthly direct debit into a joint savings account, so we have something to fall back on when the boiler or washing machine decides to pack up – something I’d never do if I was living on my own.”

Christine, 39, has been married to Mike, 46, for five years; they live with their young son just outside Birmingham
“My husband deals with the big expenses. Our mortgage, utility bills, holidays abroad, that sort of thing. I contribute to our son’s childcare costs and the food bill when I can. We’ve always had separate bank accounts, not that we’ve gone out of our way to, it’s just always been like that and it works for us. I suppose you could say that our set-up is quite traditional in some ways. My husband covers most of our living expenses, but it’s only because he earns a lot more than I do.”

Aaron, 23, and Phil, 29, have recently bought a flat together in Manchester
“I’ve only been with Phil for just over a year, not a long time to commit to buying together but we both knew it was the right thing to do. Neither of us wanted to waste any more money renting, and both of us were lucky enough to have the cash for the deposit in savings. I did make a point of organising a joint account for us, but that’s just for the mortgage and main household bills. Other stuff – clothes, holidays, luxuries – we buy or save for individually.”

Julian, 35, and Nita, 36, have been married for three years; they rent a flat together in Hove
“I freelance whereas Nita has a permanent job, so she tends to help me out with cashflow. My work is very up and down. One month I may be busy, the next very quiet. It doesn’t help that I’m rubbish with money. Luckily for me, Nita is really good with money. Opposites clearly do attract. We split everything down the middle, our salaries are pretty similar, but there are more times than I like when I owe my wife money. It always works out fine in the end I’m pleased to say.”

Whether you decide to pool your finances or not, you can rest assured that moving in with your partner should cost less all round than living alone, and once you get the financial nitty-gritty out of the way, you’ll be free to enjoy the more fun aspects of living together. Good luck!

Discover more useful tips and guides to spending your money and using your credit score with Use It – a partnership between MSN Money and Experian.

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