7 Savvy Financial Tips for Cohabitating with Your Man Without Breaking the Bank or the Relationship

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Cohabitating is a great way for couples to pool resources and save money on household expenses, but sharing the financial responsibilities often results in domestic disputes. Relationship guru and author of, “How to Move in with Your Boyfriend (and Not Break Up with Him),” Tiffany Current, advises women on how to prevent and resolve money issues with their live-in loves.

Money can make or break your live-in relationship. Differing opinions on how to share the bill-paying duties and manage spending habits often result in domestic discord. According to CNBC.com, a recent survey conducted by American Express showed that 61% of consumers argue with their significant others over household budgets. Most couples appear to be dealing with this problem by skipping the “money talk” altogether. As reported by eCreditDaily.com, a separate American Express survey revealed that 91% of those polled find ways to avoid financial discussions with their partners.

Relationship guru and author of How to Move in With Your Boyfriend (and Not Break up with Him), Tiffany Current, almost ended her relationship with her boyfriend after a month of living together because they couldn’t agree on anything. In an effort to keep her man and her sanity, she learned to hone her communication skills. Now happily married to the man who provided fodder for her book, Current promotes open communication and pre-planning as solutions to all relationship issues, especially those pertaining to finances. “Living together isn't just about sharing closet space. It's about sharing expenses. Without a financial game plan, you could miss a bill payment or feel like you're paying more than your fair share. This could potentially cause you to resent your partner. It’s better to split up bills than your relationship,” states Current.

Current offers women the following financial tips on how to successfully fund a harmonious live-in relationship:

*Admit the truth
Combining lives means that you’ll be sharing the responsibility of paying bills. Before you can decide who pays for what (and if you can even afford it), you need to know how much you both have. The first step in accomplishing this is to simply tell your boyfriend how much you really make per year. If the thought of revealing your earnings freaks you out, then work out the anxiety now so that you can tell the truth later. After revealing your income, then the next step is to ask your boyfriend to do the same.

*Discuss your debt and monthly expenses.
Your man needs to know about your student loans, minimum credit card payment and all other monthly bills. You need the lowdown on his car payment, gym membership and fruit-of-the-month-club subscription. Exchange information and make a list of every bill that you have to pay on a monthly basis and how much each bill costs. Once you have an accurate account of what you both earn and owe on a monthly basis, you’ll be able to budget accordingly so that your next move isn’t into the poor house.

*Share your credit scores.
Get the facts before getting in over your head. It’s crucial to find out what kind of credit your boyfriend has been building (or destroying). Whether it’s good, bad or uglier than your neighbor’s baby, his credit score (and yours) will determine your live-in lifestyle. If your credit score is low, then you may not be able to get that great apartment you wanted. If you have bad credit, then you may have to pay a little extra when setting up your utility bill.

*Divide up the expenses.
If you just throw your money in the air and hope for the best, then don’t be surprised when a huge gust of wind blows it out of reach. You can’t be reckless with your money when sharing expenses with another person. Get a firm grasp on where both of you stand financially before figuring out how to split expenses. If you don’t want to take the time to calculate exactly who should pay for what, then add up your shared living expenses and split the total evenly between you and your better half.

*Share bathroom duties, NOT credit cards.
Keep your credit cards separate. Why risk good credit card karma by adding someone else’s name to your credit card? You bust your hump to pay your credit card bills off in a timely fashion. Don’t let your beloved undo your hard work by forgetting to pay a bill or neglecting to tell you about a five hundred dollar Best Buy purchase.

*Don’t merge bank accounts.
Those new to cohabitating usually believe that combining their monies into a joint bank account is a great idea. However, if you’ve not yet walked down the aisle of wedded bliss, then joint banking isn’t a wise decision. Not only is there no legal agreement binding you together, but you want to make sure that your hard-earned cash isn’t being spent on items that you didn’t agree on.

*Say “no” to co-signing.
Think with your head, ladies, not your hormones! Avoid co-signing on your partner’s new car (motorcycle, Segway or his vehicle of choice) no matter how cute he is. If your man’s credit isn’t good enough to get a car on his own, then he shouldn’t be buying one. Don’t let yourself get talked into a co-signer role. If the relationship were to end, then you and your credit would be forever tied to your ex and his 1987 Chevy Impala.

"How to Move in with Your Boyfriend (and Not Break Up with Him)" by Tiffany Current is a girlfriend-to-girlfriend guide to dealing with the highs and lows of shacking up with your man. It contains witty communication tips, quizzes and mock conversations that are designed to help women in their decision to cohabitate or to make the most of their current live-in situation. This “how to” book will be released September 13, 2011 by Hunter House Publishers and is available for pre-order online on Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com and Borders.com.
For more information, visit http://www.moveinyourboyfriend.com/.

Hunter House Publishers is an award-winning independent publishing company of high quality non-fiction with special emphases on women's health and fitness, sexuality and relationships for adults and teens, violence prevention and counseling resources.

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