The Deal (or no deal?)

When KJ and I decided to move in together, we made a deal:  One of us pays ¾ rent, the other pays ¼.  The same person that pays ¾ rent also pays utilities and 1/2 groceries, while the person who pays ¼ the rent, cooks, cleans, does laundry and pays the other 1/2 of the groceries.

Here are the questions I pose to you:  Who has the better deal?  Or is it even?  And does it matter? Should there be a deal like this in place at all when moving in together?

What’s the deal between you and your significant other?

(keep in mind, due to financial reasons, all costs cannot be split down the middle 50/50)

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12 Responses to The Deal (or no deal?)

  1. Ricky Ricardo says:

    Why not just one work to pay full rent, full utilities and full groceries and the other work at home cooking, cleaning, laundry-ing, making the sex happen and then eventually raising kids.

  2. Kimi Finley says:

    it sounds fair when you just read it quickly. But then it also sounds unfair because the person who has to cook, clean, and do laundry and grocery shopping is the one with a bigger time commitment. But maybe the person who pays most of the rent works more??

  3. Cousin Jennifer says:

    It sounds pretty even to me. Both time and money are valuable resources and neither should be under-appreciated. The amount of time & effort put in by the 1/4 rent-payer is extremely valuable. I know this extremely well, because no one ever cooks for me, no one ever cleans for me, no one does my laundry. And conversely, you wouldn’t be able to pay the bills and live in a nice place without the $$ from the 3/4 payer. Also, it’s possible that each is putting in what they HAVE. The 3/4 rent-payer may have more money than time. The 1/4 rent-payer may have more time than money. You’re each contributing what you CAN, and that’s perfectly acceptable.

    As to whether or not you should even have a deal like that when moving in together, I’d say it depends on what effect the deal has on your relationship. If it has a positive effect, makes you both feel at peace about finances, creates a feeling of equality, fairness and understanding between the two of you, then I’d give it a thumbs up. If it creates anxiety, stresses out one or both of you, has one or both feeling unequal or underappreciatedl, then I’d suggest you reconsider, and do a lot of thinking and talking.

  4. Gary says:

    The “deal” is neither fair nor foul. It is an agreement between two parties and each is putting in an “acceptable” portion of the finances and the services/upkeep. This is evidenced by the fact that both parties “agreed” to it. If there are any questions as to the living arrangements, then this “apparently verbal arrangement” needs to be documented and signed and dated by both parties. If any questions arise, with regards to the living arrangement, then the documented copy can be used to settle those differences. If a new “agreement” needs to be established then it should be documented and signed and dated. In my opinion, there will always be an inequality of income vs services provided. Since each party would have to do everything for themselves if they did not co-habitat, it may be better to establish the divisions by defining the difference of incomes in the form of a ratio and then applying that ration to all expenses, such as rent/mortgage, utilities, groceries, gasoline, etc. etc. i.e. – if party 1 earns $1000 each month and party 2 earns $500 each month then the ratio is 2 to 1, which would mean that party 1 would put in 2/3 of each expense and party 1 would put in 1/3 of each expense. If each party does their own laundry, dishes, and so forth, then it is likely that no close relationship will develop. If the “unstated expectation” IS for a close relationship to develop, then each “expecting” party will want to do more than their fair share for the other party, otherwise the “expectations” should also be documented/stated.

    As to any “benefits” from living together, those may also need to be itemized. Questioning whether or not this is better for one than the other, suggests that there may already be doubt in someone’s mind. If the intent of moving in together was to ease each others burdens and have a nicer place to come home to, then this “deal” may vary well work. If there was more intent than was define here then this “deal” may fail.

  5. So since you are essentially married, hear is a word from your essential mother-in-law.

    I think when you’re in a relationship both should be doing everything they can to support the relationship. Ideally both should be competing to see who can contribute the most not who can contribute the least. It is not always possible for things to be financially equitable in a relationship. It is more important that your love for each other is equitable. Think in terms of being on a team and work towards the success of the relationship and the partnership. The thing is, both partners need to be committed to doing the most they can. Like Joe says, “if you can’t do for the ones you love, who are you going to do for?”

    It is a good idea to come to an agreement on which party is responsible for what, but it shouldn’t be a source of anxiety or resentment for either party. Keep in mind that you love each other and that you are on the same team.
    I keep thinking of the commercial where two guys in an office are trying to outdo each other with all the nice things they are doing for each other. “I just picked up your dry cleaning” “Well I made reservations for dinner right after I made your favorite pancakes.”

  6. kristin says:

    Everyone left some really good comments, so I will leave you with this.

    I side with KJ, she is my sister and I take her side 😉

  7. jason says:

    here’s the problem though– a relationship isn’t a business deal… so in the end, either you can separate those two facts (good luck), or you can’t… and in the end, it can’t be about money so sounds like the man is going to have to suck it up and concede (like we always end up doing anyway)… sorry, Cam 😦

  8. Rebecca says:

    I’m with the essential mother-in-law. I think you should first and foremost do whatever works for your relationship, so there’s that. If this set-up works for you, awesome, but the fact that your asking for opinions about it on a public blog makes me think perhaps all is not working as planned. My personal opinion: I think a serious relationship is a partnership and if you try too hard to make every little thing balanced and equal, resentment can tend to grow. I think it’s important to always be thinking of the other person. If one can pay more rent than the other, then that is a huge contribution to the relationship. Doesn’t mean that that person should never have to clean up after themselves. Starts to feel like an indentured servant if you’re starting to trade pay for cleaning services. I also feel like agreements like this can lead to holding things over each other’s heads in a “well if you want me to do the dishes then you need to pay more for cable” kind of way. I don’t know, I think of a partnership like taxes. If you make more money, you should pay more in taxes! Uber rich people should be held more fiscally responsible for the welfare of our country. I don’t believe, in turn, that the poor are somehow indebted to the rich for that. We’re all in this together, I say. But now we’re getting political 🙂

  9. Dan says:

    If 1/4 works hard at their job then they shouldn’t be penalized for making less money. So I think cooking and household duties should be split. However, if the 1/4 person was the one who really pushed for the more expensive rental in the first place… then they should be considerate and take on those extra chores. That’s the opinion of a freelancer who sometimes makes more and sometimes less than his spouse.

  10. emily johnson says:

    Wow. This is a hot debate. I speak as a 12 year veteran of marriage and a mother of 2. It is not easy. Sharing your life with someone is a choice that takes constant work. It’s especially hard being in a relationship with creative people where the focus is so inward and the pressures so intense. The good thing is that you are with someone you work well with and can work with to find solutions to the problems and crises that will come up and bite you in the ass. The unique thing is just that- every relationship is different. Your arrangements, deals, situations etc are going to be different from other relationships because you two are the only combination of you two. Make sense?

    That said, there are a few ground rules. Respect always. Support always. Regard always. When you live with someone, its no longer just you. You always have to consider your partner because that is the deal. So dishes or no (and I hate dishes) you have to do what works for you (individually and as a couple).

    My aunt gave me the best advice. Never compromise. You end up in the middle with something nobody really wants. Negotiate instead. Give and take. Personally I do all the laundry, ironing included and Jens does the dishes and takes out the trash. We are each doing the job the other hates the most. I care for the children AND work. I do more, but he brings home more cash. Is it fair? I don’t know. It’s apples and oranges. The questions I ask instead are, do I feel supported? Do I feel respected? Do I feel loved? Do I feel like he does everything he can and more for our family? (You should also turn it around- is this respectful? Am I supporting my partner? What can I be doing?) For me, the answer is a resounding yes and let me tell you, we have been through hell and back and that is what really matters. Don’t take this the wrong way, but you guys might have some growing up to do. The awesome thing is that you have each other to grow up (and grow old) with. That’s my .17 cents. Good luck. Call if you need me.

  11. Michael M says:

    This website is hilarious. I barely know you guys but i love it

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