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How Couples and Spouses Should Split Bills to Play Fair and Avoid Resentment 20

Source: Allyou.com

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I’ve recently seen a trend taking place with couples. I’m sure it’s nothing new. It’s probably just new to me.

I’ve noticed that a lot of couples are splitting bills 50/50, even though the man makes a majority of the household income. Ladies… Ladies… Ladies… DO NOT fall victim to this trap.

You can not allow your partner to treat you like a roommate.

What happened to chivalry? You know… The days in which men took pride in taking care of their lady? As a man who loves a woman, I believe a man should feel honored to pay his fair share.

If you’re the man of the house and you make 65% of the income, you should be paying 65% of the bills, while the lady of the house pays the remaining 35%, since she makes 35% of the household income. This basic formula allows both people to pay a fair share of the bills and be left with money after bills are paid.

If bills aren’t separated proportionally, not only will the person making less money have less money left over, they will build resentment.

Just imagine… You’re the primary breadwinner of the house and you split your bills 50/50. You bring home $5,000 net and your partner brings home $3,000 net. If your bills are $4,000/month the primary earner pays $2,000 towards bills and is left with $3,000 while the secondary earner pays $2,000 as well, and is left with only $1,000.

Can you see how this is a problem? The primary breadwinner has so much more discretionary money to spend, and just imagine how the secondary earner would feel coming home seeing that the primary earner went shopping while the secondary earner just sits back in resentment, unable to enjoy the fruits of their labor.

There’s a secondary component to this formula that is vital.

If you do the math, splitting bills based upon the percentage both parties contribute to the household, the primary earner will still have more money left over than the secondary earner. This doesn’t mean that they should get to go out and spend more discretionary money. They should apply the additional money to their savings account/investments. Here’s a complete breakdown of everything I’m talking about as I believe it should be:

Person 1: $5,200 net monthly income (65% of total household income)
Person 2: $2,800 net monthly income (35% of total household income)

Household monthly bills: $4,000

Person 1 pays: $2,600 of bills
Person 2 pays: $1,400 of bills

Person 1 leftover money after bills: $2,600
Person 2 leftover money after bills: $ 1,400

Person 1 discretionary money: $500
Person 2 discretionary money: $500

Person 1 savings/investments: $2,100
Person 2 savings/investments: $900

Notice that in the above scenario, both people have the same discretionary income. However, the savings/investments amounts are different. This is because the savings/investments is what each person has left over after paying bills and spending discretionary money. The additional savings provided for person 1 allows for fairness on their end by giving them more savings/investment money since they have earned it. The goal is to keep the bills and discretionary spending as equal as possible relative to proportions.

Men… If you do this, I assure you… You will have a happy wife and a happy life. Of course… I don’t want to discount the fact that in some households the wife earns more than the husband, but I hope you can see the point I’m trying to express. The breadwinner can be interchangeable. It doesn’t necessarily have to be the man. It’s whatever reality you have in your household that works for you and your family.

One thing I want to make perfectly clear is this… I am not a financial planner. However, this system works well for me and it can work well for you too.

You’ll find yourself less stressed out about bills, and you’ll find less friction between you and your partner.

One last thing I also want to mention is that I in no way am writing this with the intent of “beating up on men.” I don’t think most men who split bills 50/50 realize the damage it will do to their relationship, nor do I believe they realize that it is unfair, primarily because most women don’t speak up and express a problem with it. Society doesn’t teach us this stuff, so there’s nothing wrong with approaching this issue the wrong way, just as long as you eventually get it right.

And ladies, before you take the plunge and move in with a boyfriend, make sure you discuss how you will split the bills before hand. Don’t let him convince you that you’re splitting the bills 50/50 just because you two aren’t married. Dating is practice for marriage. So if he cheats you now, he’ll cheat you later.

Hopefully you will agree that what I’ve put forth here is the right way to do it. If not, find what works for you, and be sure to keep an open line of communication with your partner about money and finances because remember… Half of marriages that end in divorce are over finances.

I hope this helps those who read it. I’d love to get your feedback. Feel free to comment below:

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There are 20 comments for this post

  1. Jeff says:

    I feel like I have to say this. As a man, I disagree with your view on chivalry. In fact, it doesn’t sound like chivalry to me at all; it sounds like misogyny. Now don’t get me wrong, my mother raised me to always treat women with respect. However, I don’t believe that the way to show a woman respect is to automatically assume 1) that she will make less money than I do, and 2) that she is incapable of having a serious discussion about finances. I don’t believe you can just say “Jane makes 1/3 of the income and John makes 2/3, so that’s how they should split the bills.” That’s *far* too simplified. Why can the couple not just have an adult conversation and figure out their own financial situation?

    [Reply]

    Michael Priceless Reply:

    Thanks for commenting Jeff. I respect your position and partially agree with you. However, I believe that our society has become completely broken as a result of women being treated as roommates instead of as partners. Maybe I’m just old fashioned but I believe in taking care of a woman and being the primary breadwinner. Not because I’m on an ego trip, but because I believe in the traditional old school style of families. Look at what our society has come too. As a result of women taking on high level careers, children are running wild, teen pregnancy is at an all time high, children are obese as a result of their fast food diets, and couples no longer share the same level of intimacy that they used to.

    Im not suggesting that women be stripped of their freedom of equal opportunity so don’t misconstrue what I’m trying to say. All I’m saying in essence is… I believe in stay at home moms, the proper raising of families, and a family unit in which everyone has a specific and unique role to play.

    It wasn’t until the 90s when Americans decided that they had to immerse themselves in a bunch of worthless material possessions that the family dynamic downgraded. It was because women went to work to grow their careers. And for what… So the family could drive two Benz’s instead of one??? Even after taking on an extra full time job in the household, the extra income still isn’t enough, so then what… People resorted to credit cards. So now we have… Broken families, broken relationships between spouses, obese children, children being raised by tv instead of by their parents, teen pregnancy is skyrocketing, and substance abuse amongst teens is at an all time high, and why… Because women left their families to go to work.

    Again I say… This is just my opinion and I believe any family is entitled to do what they want.

    Also understand that my position is a diagnosis of the issues at hand within our society from a big picture as well as an explanation as to why I believe the problems exist.

    [Reply]

    Paula Reply:

    @Michael Priceless,
    I love your post and wish my husband would think a little bit just like you, it would save our marriage so much stress, here is why:
    when my husband and i got together he had about 60,000 in debt.(big no no) we now have a house and our own bills but because of his debt i pay for half the mortgage, house bills, food and kids stuff. I’m frustrated, BROKE and do feel a lot of resentment about our financial cituation specially because he makes about 3 times more than me,but refuses to pay a cent more. Oh yeah and knowing how frustrated i am with all this he recently also got a 4,000 loan to put towars his car (rims, intake system, tires etc) but im still broke, please advise…

    [Reply]

  2. Star Magnus says:

    My girlfriend makes more money than I do. In fact in all the relationships I know of they are pretty evenly split between who makes more money. This article could have been written with no mention of gender. Just saying.

    [Reply]

    Michael Priceless Reply:

    Great feedback. I obviously have a certain bias in my perspective of who should be the primary breadwinner. However, I am open to the idea that every relationship is different and I think that’s perfectly ok as long as both people are ok with it.

    [Reply]

  3. Jen says:

    my boyfriend and i split the mortgage and maintenance proportionally according to our income. everything else is split down the middle because if we still had our own apartments we’d be paying the cable/electricity/etc all on our own anyway. by the way, I own the place and I make more. I agree this article should have been written without gender in mind. A man paying more if he makes more isn’t necessarily being chivalrous. it’s just being fair.

    [Reply]

  4. SirPumpkinLongshanks says:

    Alternatively couples could use http://apps.facebook.com/thepayup to avoid resentment. it’s a app rendition of all what’s said in this post

    [Reply]

    Shashwat Kumar Reply:

    @SirPumpkinLongshanks, Gonna check it out. Seems like something which will help me and my girlfriend.

    [Reply]

    Saransh Sinha Reply:

    @SirPumpkinLongshanks, its Been a long time since I’ve actually used a facebook app.

    [Reply]

  5. Brandi says:

    I love this idea!! Thank you for sharing!! My situation is unique in that I used to make more. We got married atb18 baby at 19 he was school full time and I had the best paying job. I quit school bc his degree would make us more money. I paid for most but we split some. He got a better paying job but was in school so we then split 50/50. Now tha he graduated he is making a lot more than me and as a hefty savings saved up and I get down to 0 every month only to start over when I get paid. We’ve recently been trying to find something that works for both of us. I feel like I allowed him to go to school and he should pick up some extra responsibility and give me a little break. Thanks again I think this is perfect!! :)

    [Reply]

  6. Roy says:

    I read the 1st few sentence and i was kinda pissed. Firstly, My gf earns the same income as me and even more. Yet she wants me to foot the bill and be treated like a princess, this tends to lead to major quarrels as she feels as a lady she should be pampered and as a man i should display chivalry.

    Because of “Chivalry”. I have worked 5 months and my bank only has $200 at the end of jan 2013, i don’t drink i don’t smoke my hobbies are just Judo and a little gaming, my expenses are all on her, things that she wants and not needs. Me & my gf aged 27 and 24 are graphic designers. Our salary is not impressive but almost equal and her exes were pretty much older men who splurge on her but left her after that for other women. Its because of women being brought up and pampered by men they tend to believe that in a serious r/ship a man should still pay for almost everything.

    I think your article is biased against men and who says women can’t earn as much as men? Obviously you are pretty materialistic, thinking a women should get a man with higher income. If that’s the case just cut the article short. “Find a guy who is rich, who the hell cares about love, make sure you don’t pay for anything” The end.

    [Reply]

  7. TheRunningNurse says:

    About 3 years into our marriage (13 years ago) we decided to a joint account. My husband and I roughly had the same income. I learned within 6 months that this was not a good idea. My husband was buying USED golf clubs from his buddies at work for $800 and other things his salary couldn’t afford . A couple of years later we bought a home. Somehow it became MY responsibility to pay the entire mortgage, pay for our health insurance, pay our child’s private schoo, tuition (we had to pull him out because I couldn’t afford it anymore), our cell bills, our grocery bills and pay for our family vacation. We both drive cars that are over 10 years old, so there are no car payments and insurance is a minimum. My husband pays the electricity, cable and utilities.
    Yes, I’m fed up and resentful. Anyone want a 52 year old, bald, socially retarded guy who prematurely ejaculates ? I will PAY you to take him off my hands.

    [Reply]

  8. Jacqui says:

    Oh I did laugh at that last post, very funny and I can so relate to it. I work in a High School and every day I am exposed to children who come from homes exactly how Michael described it in his post back in April 2012. It’s not about being ‘old fashioned’, it’s about being realistic here. Kids need their mums and kids that don’t have that ‘luxury’ (which is basically what it is now) are most definitely disadvantaged. It effects every area of their life. Nowadays, it seems more important to have all the trappings and electronic gadgets (electronic babysitters) and the big houses and cars. Yes, I totally believe Michael is spot on with his analysis of current society and you ask any teacher of young people and they will tell you the same. Well rounded, adjusted kids most definitely are coming from families where there is a parent ‘present’ to them when they get home from school and dinner times are spent around the family table ‘together’. Financial worries are one of the most stressful things in a relationship and cause no end of problems. Not nice for kids to grow up in. I am a single parent and work a job which doesn’t pay a lot but I have always been there for my children. We don’t have a great deal, a small house (with a mortgage) and one average car, not many holidays and certainly not many mod cons but we get by. But what we do have is lots of love and time together and I can tell you that my daughter gained DUX of her year at school last year and my son is one beautiful happy young man with great values. One of the most enlightening sayings I once read, and I quote from Jacqueline Onassis “if you bungle raising your children, I don’t think whatever else you do well matters very much.”
    I totally get what you are saying Michael and it was a breath of fresh air to read something like that. Good on you.

    [Reply]

  9. N. Malindi says:

    After i read your post , i got so excited to see a plan that i think will work for us. I got busy drawing up a budget for this month in the hope that when i do show it to him today , that he will agree to this method.
    I agree with you , as a woman this is a very sensitive topic .Both my Husband and i work,he earns more than i do. the company pays for the rent and kids school fees .( im so gratefull for this ) .
    Over the years we have juggled the bills in the hope that we could find something comfortable for both of us.
    He suggested that we should agree on which bills we will take on and stick to that. however i have recently noticed that i am the one spending ALL my pay and he gets to go away with quite a bit of spending money.
    .
    I will try this out and see where it goes from here

    thanks a lot

    [Reply]

    Michael Priceless Reply:

    @N. Malindi, I’m so glad you enjoyed this post and I’m glad it was helpful. Good luck with your discussion with your husband.

    [Reply]

  10. Debbie Kennington says:

    Hello Michael,
    My guy and I have been living together with my 2 kids for 11 years in my mother house because my parents got remarried. Now for the past six years my mother wanted my guy to pay a total of $600.00 a month. $430.00 of the rent money will go to the homes assoc. balance of $170.00 to her for his rent. My mother said nothing about me paying rent I think because I being a single mother rising two children on my own, and working part time and also the home is 1/3 mine. My BF has always had a problem with that. He thinks that he and I should split his rent bill. Now we do split the only other bill the Elec. I buy all food (food stamps) I pay for internet, my phone and kids phones when they had them and I pay for everything for my kids. School stuff, clothes, birthdays, xmas and everything else. When the toilet, hot water heater & Refer. broke I bought the new ones. He buys nothing for the house. His only bill is his rent and ½ of the elec. and He does buy his own beer and very little food for himself like hot dogs, soda and can foods. His dad pays his phone. The first 3 years we lived here when he paid no rent, he would do from time to time some work at my parent’s home. Only a few times in three years did he spend money on the children or me.
    Now is it just me or is my BF a cheep SOB? And how would you split the bills here?

    [Reply]

  11. Monica says:

    Not to mention the fact that the woman is more often than not the only one doing all the house work, laundry and childcare… on top of paying half when earning less that is beyond unfair!

    [Reply]

  12. N.H says:

    Thank you for your article. I agree with your opinion. It doesn’t matter who the one is that is bringing in more money it just needs to be devided equally. Meaning who makes more should also pay more. My husband brings home $4000 ,myself I bring home $3000. How is it that the bills Im paying come out to $2900 which also include food , school expenses for the kids and he pays $2500? I’m always left with just about nothing and feel like I’m always playing catch up with the bills . When he’s got so much extra left.. Mind you Im the one also taking care of the kids, laundry, cooking and cleaning. Yes I feel like I’m being taken advantage of and he doesn’t see anything wrong with it. He believes everything should be split 50/50 he says its not his fault I don’t make as much as him. Our main arguments are mostly about the bills. So I’m not surprised half of the marriges that end up in divorce are because of the finances. I did tell him we need to sit down and figure out the bills . I will propose this method to him and hope for the best. I also agree with you about our society today compared to 20/30 years ago. We need to look at nesessity instead of luxury. Once we do that just about everyone would need only one “breadwinner” in the family . Thank you

    [Reply]

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    [Reply]

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    [Reply]

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