It's helpful to outline your finances, but you have to be candid about your needs. Zach and I could never split groceries. In fact, it would be a nightmare. Zach eats twice as much as I do, and I don't want to start a domestic dispute over the rising cost of Annie's Mac and Cheese. So, Zach pays for food, and I wash dishes and buy household products. This solution works for both of us right now, but that doesn't mean it will forever.
The triple play—cable, Internet and home phone—is the dreaded decision we have decided to put off, for now. I was raised in a basic-cable house whereas Zach grew up with every movie channel, so our TV priorities are misaligned. If I lived alone I would never pay to watch TV, but I constantly complain about trying to steal our neighbors' wireless. Since the cable guy only comes to install these amenities between 9am and 5pm and we both work full-time, the issue remains at a standstill.
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We've also created the toilet paper experiment—a joint project to figure out how much more you actually spend when you buy the ultra strong and soft rolls. Zach is convinced that even though it's twice the price, you end up paying four times more because it gets used up two times faster. Our ongoing debate is less about money than about finding ways to laugh about our new responsibilities.
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If you map out your own rules as a couple and continue a dialogue about splitting the bills you'll create a solution that keeps your live-in relationship strong and your financial commitments separate from your romance.