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Cost of my Relationship

October 28, 2009

Overall, I’m spending way less now that I live with T than when we lived apart.  This is solely due to rent.  I would guess that every other area, spending has increased or held constant.

When we lived apart, the little expenses that occurred due to the relationship really annoyed me sometimes.  I don’t care if it sounds stingy, but it was really annoying to be left with no cereal/snacks/etc. after we spent the weekend at my place (which we almost always did, due mostly to my preference).  It was annoying that I was the only one buying gas (He’s car-free.  To be fair he spent $$ to use public transit to get to my place).  It was annoying if I offered to take us out to eat more, even though I make significantly more at this point in our life.  Even if it might be “fair”, it would bother me. (I was also a little more budget crazy at that point.)

But that has vanished.  Part of it is due to logistics.  All our food lives at one apartment now, and even though we eat slightly different things, we buy everything together and split the cost on the joint card.  Sure, he may eat all the bagels (that I had no interest in anyway), but it just isn’t a big deal.

There’s also a smaller distinction between “mine” and “his” (except when it came to my pillows).  We haven’t combined our accounts, but I think there is already the knowledge that if he spends $1000 on whatever, that is still $1000 less we will have in the future for our goals, even if my accounts and net worth stay the same on paper.  I’m not saying we control each others spending — right now we are comfortable enough that we have some freedom.  So I don’t quibble when he wants to buy a racing bicycle (he’s been super into cycling for months), and he doesn’t bat an eye when I suggest a $200 coat.  (Ok, he batted an eye.  And said it was really expensive.  But I agree — it’s expensive.  But if I bought it tomorrow, he’d respect it.)

I don’t when the shift occurred.  Moving in together, getting engaged, or even just the realization that if I lost my job, T was there for me.  Combined accounts or not, the commitment was there, and with that kind of support, it just seems impossible to get frustrated over the little expenses.

What about you?  Are there little expenses that bother you?

(Credit to SS4BC and Laura for bringing up the topic in the comments of my pillow post.)

12 Comments leave one →
  1. October 28, 2009 7:21 am

    What a great post! I’m glad you’re in such a supportive relationship! Also it is encouraging for me to know that it has been saving you money and annoyance. I also get annoyed when my snacks are gone – but more – I get annoyed when they leave their trash around. I hate walking into my bedroom and seeing Diet Pepsi cans. UGH! However, I don’t bat an eye if there is a Dr Pepper can (what I drink). I have NO IDEA why that is!

  2. October 28, 2009 7:37 am

    Agree, great post! Since I’m in a long-distance relationship, we try to make it fair and equal in the number of times we visit each other, but because of circumstances (I have more money, not in school), I visit him much more than when he visits me. It’s fine and I don’t mind it, but it’s also not unnoticed. 🙂

  3. Bonnie permalink
    October 28, 2009 10:05 am

    I get annoyed about stuff like this with BF all the time. (We don’t live together.) I’m making a bit more than him at this particular time and so more often that not I end up paying for more meals out, etc. On our recent vacation we got into a fight about it even. I know I ended up paying for way more than my half of the expenses on that trip, and I do resent that a little. Also, I make an effort to buy coffee, English muffins, etc. for him after staying over a few nights in a row, but that’s not reciprocated in any way. And, if it’s not too personal a subject…don’t get me started on paying for birth control! 🙂

  4. October 28, 2009 11:35 am

    Great Post!

    My boyfriend and I have lived together for the last year and half or so and I can’t even remember what annoyances there were (if there were any) prior to making the live together plunge.

    Now that we do live together, and have gone through a huge roommate transition, we’re actually getting closer and more on track with our budgets and plans.

    Sure, when he puts his dirty clothes on the floor instead of in the laundry basket it’s annoying, but he also does some really awesome things – like run downstairs (where the laundry machine is) to get me clean pants if I forgot too the night before.

  5. October 28, 2009 1:42 pm

    @Bonnie – I actually broke up with a boyfriend because after 4 and a half years of dating he wouldn’t help pay for my birth control ($35/month!).

    Well, the story is a little bit more complicated than that. I essentially said if he wasn’t going to help pay for it than I was going to stop taking it. So I did. And three months later, without him offering to pitch in for the B/C or buying condoms, we broke up (sexless, of course, the entire time).

    There were, of course, other issues – but that was the last one that broke the camel’s proverbial back. =)

  6. Michele permalink
    October 28, 2009 5:45 pm

    I think I was MORE annoyed by some of my husband’s financial habits after we moved in together, than when we were simply dating and living apart. Even though we didn’t combine finances right away, I still very much thought of us as a unit in terms of money, so when he bought things like video games and crappy, kitschy stuff displaying the logo of his favorite football team, I sometimes wanted to pull my hair out of my head because even though he really was just spending “HIS” money, it FELT like he was spending “OUR” money.

    Once we got married and combined finances, we decided to go the route of having small, personal checking accounts from which we can make those kinds of purchases without the other being annoyed by any perceived frivolity.

    So now, when he spends $45 on the latest game for his X-Box, I just shrug it off because that’s HIS money, not mine or even “ours.”

    One of the best decisions we ever made.

  7. October 29, 2009 6:21 am

    I’m very lucky that Chad is a really frugal guy, so in general I don’t cringe too much at what he spends.

    The only thing that really bothers me is when he goes to the grocery store – he buys all junk food, spends $200, and 1 week later we’re out of food! I can spend $100 and we’ll eat for 3, so I got confused at how he could even manage it. It got so bad that he’s not allowed to go on shopping trips alone anymore.

    Now, my only concern is that he not spend from his personal account too much while he’s not working. I think he still uses his personal card for junk-food-only shopping trips, though!

  8. October 29, 2009 7:25 am

    @ss4bc – don’t get me started on tidiness 🙂 I’ve just accepted if I want a snack to stick around for a week or more, I need to buy it for myself and keep it at work!

    @MPP – I was in LDR for part of it, but it was before I kept much track of every detail. It definitely can be hard to keep things “even”

    @Bonnie – yeah, that is kind of how I was. I loved him and made more $ than him, but it didn’t seem fair that after a weekend at my place together, I’d have to go stock up on basics while he went home to a full fridge!

    I think he helped with BC costs when we were both in college. For some reason, I didn’t really resent paying for that on my own when I had a different health plan. Now it is $15 copay, and I still pay it.

    @michele – I’m glad you found a system that works for you

    @PA – Yeah, t is naturally quite frugal, with the occaisional exception of big ticket things that he wouldn’t buy without my blessing anyway. The bike he just got was super expensive, but when I take into account that he doesn’t have a car and commutes by bike… it makes sense. I guess. 🙂

    And food! If I let him be in charge this would be our diet: spaghetti 4-5 times a week. Cheesey brats (ewww!). Chips and Salsa. Ice cream. Frozen pizza.

  9. October 29, 2009 7:33 am

    Wow! I didn’t realize this was such an issue! I’m currently in an LDR, so it’s a bit different….but things are going well.

    I will admit that during my last relationship (with M, if you read my blog) I did become resentful. He made more money than I did, but he also spent a lot more and had a lot more debt. I cooked dinner for us most nights of the week (usually 5), so I would have to buy all of the groceries. If we went out to eat, we traded on and off who was paying. It was extremely frustrating to have to buy about 4 times the groceries that I would normally buy (males eat a lot) because I had a bf.

  10. El Cheapo permalink
    October 29, 2009 10:01 pm

    SP, speaking as a dude… this post and its accompanying user comments are quite helpful. Maybe from preventing some future fights! 😀

  11. November 1, 2009 7:50 pm

    I’ve been meaning to comment all week, it’s just so busy! My bf and I are getting to that place where you and your fiance are, where I know he will support me whenever needed. Right now… he still likes to do it as a surprise in a way! For example, we put solar panels on my house (I bought the house before I ever knew him). He helped negotiate the deal however getting them cheaper than I would have without them. I have been trying to watch my money and save up to afford them. Then all of a sudden after a couple months of me scrimping and feeling bad that I can’t take him to dinner as much, etc. He informs me that of course he’s going to help pay for them. Punk!

  12. November 17, 2009 8:35 pm

    I loved reading about how things changed when you moved in together. It sounds a lot like my fiance and I as well. A lot of people don’t get that the important part is working together, not how the accounts are managed. My fiance and I keep “separate finances”. We also have a general plan for doing the things we want to do – like getting married, and buying a house and starting businesses. As long as we both know that we’re both on the same page for the important stuff and when and how we want to get there, the little stuff doesn’t matter. I can buy that $200 coat if I want and he might thinks it’s crazy, but he also knows it doesn’t matter, because we’re right on track for our wedding and I can tell you the month that I plan to have saved enough for a down payment on a house. Sure, I could put that money elsewhere, but when you know what your plans are and when you want to get there, you also know when you can afford to let it go. 🙂

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