By Wendy Hadenham
Executive Manager Human Resources
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.
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:
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.
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:
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.
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:
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.
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:
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.
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:
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.
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:
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.
 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.