Corinne and I have lived together since July and we share a majority of the bills including internet, water, gas, and car insurance. A problem a lot of couples run into when they’re trying to figure out their bills is who should pay for what?
It’s easiest to split the costs 50/50, but if each person has a different income amount this can cause some dreaded relationship tension. One person will have to pay a larger percentage of their paycheck, while the other person will then be able to pocket more cash every month.
After a little research, we realized that paying a percentage of the bills based on our income amounts worked best for our situation.
Here’s an example of the formula we use to split our bills so that no one’s feelings get hurt and every one’s paychecks are treated fairly.
Meet Ron & Alicia
For the example, we have Ron who makes $3,000 per month and Alicia who makes $2,500 per month.
Their monthly bills that they split cost $1,000.
To figure out who should pay for what, take each person’s income and divide it by the combined monthly income.
Here’s how Alicia and Ron’s percentages would look:
[Alicia’s Monthly Income] / [Combined monthly income] = % of bills Alicia pays
$2,500 / $5,500 = 45%
[Ron’s Monthly Income] / [Combined monthly income] = % of bills Ron pays
$3,000 / $5,500 = 55%
Now, every month Alicia will pay $450 of the bills, and Ron will pay the remaining $550.
Do What Works For You & Your Partner
This formula works well for us because we both have a similar job – English teacher – that requires a similar amount of work and hours. The difference in our paychecks doesn’t reflect any increase in workload or skill, so we both feel comfortable using the percentage formula.
On the flip side, if I was only working 5 hours a week, I would feel like I wasn’t holding my own. I’d expect Corinne to speak up about having to pay a larger percentage of the bills, while also doing a lot more work.
This formula also works well for us because we’re dating, maintain separate bank accounts, and don’t share our money. If you’re married, engaged, or extremely committed then splitting bills 50/50 may work well for your relationship.
This formula may not work for your family situation, but if you consistently find yourself frustrated at a confusing bill situation, then the percentage formula may just work for you.
Have you tried this method in your relationship? How do you and your partner handle bills?
Photo: karpov the wrecked train