When Should You Stop Splitting The Bills?

by Tamila McDonald
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stop splitting the bills

There are many reasons why couples may choose to split their bills. Some make that choice when the amount of income one partner earns far outweighs the other. Thus, allowing them to divide expenses in a way that seems equitable. Others draw lines based on who’s responsible for the expense.  This approach is most common with debt but may apply to property insurance, entertainment costs – like cable, internet, or streaming services – or other expenses that are viewed as optional or controllable. However, regardless of the initial reasoning.  How do you figure out when it’s time to stop splitting the bills? If you’re curious, here’s what you need to know.

When Should You Stop Splitting the Bills?

The decision to split your bills is usually a personal one. Meaning, the choice to stop that activity is personal as well. However, there are some signs that calling a halt to that bill-paying approach could be the better choice.

One factor you should consider is your current relationship status. If you are living with a partner but aren’t married (traditionally or via common law). Keeping your financial lives a bit separate may be wise. It ensures you both retain some autonomy while your lives aren’t legally connected. Which gives you both a degree of protection until you determine that the living arrangement and relationship are both long-term.

But if you’re married, much of your life is already entwined. In that case, keeping your money and financial responsibilities divided might not make as much sense.

The only exception may be handling debts that were brought into the relationship. In some cases, couples feel better treating those separately than joint bills. However, the debt could impact you both regardless of who’s responsible for repayment, so even that may not be enough to continue down that path.

Another big signal that it’s time to rethink your strategy is if splitting the bills is preventing you from feeling and acting like a team. When you keep your finances separate, there’s a sense of division. If that is making it harder to achieve joint goals, combining your financial lives may help you get back on the same page.

Similarly, if splitting the bills is introducing strife and frustration into the relationship, moving to a joint-responsibility arrangement could be your better bet. Money disagreements are a leading cause of divorce, so it could be wise to combine your finances if dividing bills is causing disagreements.

How to Stop Splitting Your Bills

Ending the bill splitting is typically simple. In most cases, you’ll simply want to open a joint bank account and have all of each partner’s income go into it. Then, you’ll use that account to handle all of the household bills.

Now, this doesn’t mean you can’t have your own cash to spend, too. Some couples use an allowance-style approach, giving each partner a specific amount of money every month or payday that they can shift into a personal account or withdraw, allowing them to use it as they see fit. Other couples aren’t as formal. Essentially, as long as every budgeted item is covered – including joint savings – they’re free to tap the rest as needed.

Ultimately, it’s about choosing an approach that works best for you and your partner. That way, everyone is happy with the new arrangement.

Are there any signs that you think mean it’s time to stop splitting the bills? Have you ever had a disagreement with a partner about how to divide or combine bills effectively and want to help others by telling your story? Share your thoughts in the comments below.


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