Wendy Hadenham

  By Wendy Hadenham
   Executive Manager Human Resources

How to reduce stress when it comes to shared expenses

Disclaimer: this content includes references to financial abuse.

Combining expenses with someone can be exciting, but it can also be stressful. It’s a move that may make sense when a relationship is progressing well – for example, when couples move in together. You may also want to share living costs with siblings or trusted roommates.

As Qudos Bank’s Executive Manager in Human Resources, I wanted to use this blog to provide some ways to ease the stress of sharing expenses with someone else. Sharing finances with someone/a group of people can introduce tension into otherwise thriving relationships, both platonic and romantic.

Understand the common challenges of shared expenses

It’s important to understand the financial situation of the person/s you’re choosing to share expenses with. No two people are going to have the exact same financial situation, nor are you all going to have the same level of financial literacy. It’s important to understand where you all sit in terms of finances, so consider asking questions like:

  • What existing assets/debts does everyone have?
  • What do your spending habits look like?
  • Do you have an existing budget? If so, what does it look like? If not, are you open to creating one?
  • What regular/recurring expenses exist in your lives?
  • Are you making any big financial decisions in the short/medium/long-term future?

These questions won’t always be relevant to every situation where you might share expenses with someone, but they can help you all better understand the common challenges that may pop up when sharing the financial load with someone else.

Maintain productive financial discussions

You can help foster a successful relationship where you share expenses by eliminating any communication gaps that may exist. While financial discussions may be initially scary, they’re important conversations that can ensure that the experience of sharing expenses is a smooth one.

Ways you can have productive financial discussions include:

  • Ensure open and honest communication among all parties
  • Don’t place blame on anyone if they are in a different financial situation to others
  • Open space for people to ask questions, no matter how “basic” they may seem
  • Don’t wait for issues to occur – get on the front foot

Having productive financial discussions once you start sharing expenses with someone can lay the foundations for a successful experience. Things don’t have to turn sour before you start talking about finances. Start the relationship off with a shared understanding of everyone’s expectations.

Set realistic budgets to ensure fairness and mutual understanding

Regular budget check-ins can help everyone sharing expenses better understand where their money’s going in the relationship and  it’s important that there is clarity and communication around this.

It’s worth setting a realistic budget up so everyone knows who’s paying for what shared expenses. This may include tracking things like:

  • Costs for groceries
  • Costs for utilities (gas, electricity, water etc.)
  • Leisure/recreation expenses (if applicable)
  • Car repayments/debt repayments (if applicable)

Setting up a realistic budget now can help you and everyone else around you that’s involved in the sharing of expenses, save, as well as plan for your futures.

Suggest strategies to avoid financial stress and disputes

No-one wants to find themselves in the middle of a financial dispute. Sharing expenses is meant to lessen the financial burden on those involved, not increase it. To ensure that everyone who’s involved in sharing finances understands where things stand, you may want to consider using things like:

  • Expense-splitting apps like
  • Maintaining shared spreadsheets that track income and expenses
  • Using our budget planner calculator to understand where savings can be made week-to-week
  • Tracking expenses using our Mobile App
  • Setting up Binding Financial Agreements, such as a prenup

Remember: if you can solve financial (or any other) disputes early, then it is much more likely that sharing expenses with someone else will be a pleasant and rewarding experience.

Address common conflicts that can arise from shared expenses

Sometimes disputes can evolve into conflicts, especially if there is a perception that there is an uneven distribution of labour in the household. In a relationship, for example, someone may be the one solely responsible for the maintenance and cleaning of the house, which can lead to unresolved tension. There may be other issues like overspending and people having different financial priorities.

While proper communication can often lessen or resolve the extent of these conflicts, that’s not always the case. It’s important to recognise the signs if things continue to escalate. If you are in a situation where you’re sharing expenses with someone, and it has become toxic, you may be the victim of financial abuse. Financial abuse is a form of family violence, and, according to WIRE1, can include things like:

  • The perpetrator withholding or hiding money
  • The perpetrator controlling the household’s income/expenses
  • The perpetrator making unilateral financial decisions to the victim’s detriment

If you find yourself in a financial abuse situation, there are things you can do. There are a range of organisations that can provide support, including Safe Steps in Victoria and 1800RESPECT, who can provide you with resources and information to help you get yourself out of the situation. If possible, it is important to talk to trusted people in your community, as they may be able to provide emotional/other forms of support.

Engage with self-care and stress reduction techniques

Self-care strategies can help reduce the mental burden of sharing costs with other people, especially if conflicts do arise.

If you are finding yourself stressed over shared finances, it may be worth trying things like:

  • Practicing mindfulness/meditation
  • Maintaining a healthy work-life balance
  • Seeking support from friends and/or professionals

Sharing expenses with someone can be an extremely rewarding experience, and it can bring everyone involved closer together. However, if things do get hard, you don’t have to navigate the situation alone. There are always people you can turn to for support, both inside and outside your personal network.

If you need any support from Qudos Bank, you can reach out to our Financial Assistance team.

You can learn more about how they can help here. If you are experiencing financial abuse, you can get in contact with Lifeline by calling 13 11 14, and you can get in contact with 1800RESPECT by calling 1800 737 732.


[1] What is Financial Abuse | WIRE (https://www.wire.org.au/financial-abuse/)     


As the information on this page is of a general nature and has been prepared without considering your objectives, financial situation or needs, before acting on the information, consider its appropriateness to your circumstances.

More MyQ July

How can we help?