There are many ways to split expenses with your partner or spouse. Keep in mind that the most important thing is to do so in a way that feels right to both of you.
And that’s really the key: you need to BOTH feel good about it, and be willing to revisit it over time if it’s no longer working or you decide another method might work better for you.
So now let’s jump into how to split expenses with your partner, including the fairest ways!
The Fairest Ways to Split Expenses With Your Partner
If you both have an income, there are two ways to split expenses with your partner that are very fair.
You can split them proportionally (by percentage), or you can use income equalizing. Here’s how each of those work.
Splitting Expenses by Percentage/Proportionally
This means you each contribute to the household expenses based on the percentage of income you bring in.
For example, if you make $50,000 and your partner makes $35,000, that gives a household income of $85,000.
$50,000 is about 59% of the total household income, and $35,000 is about 41% of it. So you would pay 59% of the household bills, and your partner would pay 41% of them.
(To find the percentages, divide each income by the total income. For example, $50,000 divided by $85,000 is about .588 or 58.8%. Round that to the nearest whole percentage and you get 59%.)
Using Income Equalizing
Income equalizing is another fair way to split expenses with your partner, as long as you subscribe to a variation of “what’s yours is mine, and what’s mine is yours”.
As the name implies, it means equalizing the amount of income both partners have available. And after that’s done, you each send enough to a joint account for half of the household expenses.
Again, suppose you make $50,000 and your partner makes $35,000, for a combined total $85,000. With income equalizing, you each send half your check to the other.
This gives you each an equal amount of $42,500 to work with. From there, you send a set amount to the joint account.
This works especially well if one or both of you have an irregular income, because it gets rid of changing percentages.
The fair part of this is that it doesn’t leave one partner with lots of spending money while the other struggles to get by on comparatively little.
Other Ways to Split Expenses With Your Partner
Of course there are many other ways to split expenses with your partner. You can:
- split them 50/50 regardless of income
- each choose certain bills to cover
- put all of the money in one pot and pay all expenses from there
- put most of the money in one pot but send a set amount of spending money to each of you
- divvy things up like roommates would
- or even have one person pay rent & board to the other while keeping other spending separate. (Which probably works best when one of you owns a house that the other moves into.)
What Kinds of Household Expenses Should You Split?
Again, what’s most important is that you both agree. But household bills usually include at least all of the expenses associated with where you live and any kids you have together.
Rather than each paying a certain amount of them, it’s often easiest to create a joint account that you each contribute to. Then the agreed-upon expenses are paid for out of there.
If you have kids from a different partner, you could include the costs associated with them in the household income if you’re also including any child support as part of the household income.
It may also be easier to also split the entertainment budget, depending on what you like to do.
(Want to make sure you aren’t forgetting something? Take a look at this budget categories list.)
When Deciding How to Split Expenses…
Remember that there’s no one right way that should automatically happen when you get married or join your life with someone else.
It’s ok to do things differently than your parents always did, or from what your coworkers or friends do. It’s also ok to do them the “traditional” way — as long as you both feel good about it!