Last June, I moved in with my boyfriend of four years. We met in college and connected from day one. Actually, even before day one, I had a huge crush on him (as in, middle school passing notes-type crush). I was ecstatic when we finally met and hit it off right away. What started as flirty texts evolved into nervous dates, which eventually became “I love you’s” and so on. After years together, we discovered nothing could tear us apart, even semesters abroad, crazy exes, or drunken jealousy. Those issues didn’t cause anything more than small arguments that we both knew we could get through. At the end of the day, we knew what we found was forever. So, a year after graduating, we decided to move in together. We were spending all of our time together anyway and, as two recent grads, the timing was perfect. We couldn’t wait any longer to be considered “adults,” and for our families to take our relationship as seriously as we did. On top of all this, there was one more enticing reason to move in with my significant other: to save money.
To clarify, money wasn’t the main reason I moved in with my boyfriend, but it was a factor. I’ve heard tons of people say moving in with their significant other saved them money, so it seemed like one more reason to take the leap. Now that we’ve been living together for six months, I’ve learned that moving in with my boyfriend actually costs me more than living with two roommates. Here are four things that cost me more money now that I live with my boyfriend:
1. Renting an apartment that is big enough to give us each “personal space.”
Like most people moving in with their significant others, I was scared. We originally decided to rent a one-bedroom apartment. Yet, after many, many apartment tours, we were nervous about not having any “me time” or space of our own, so we decided on a two-bedroom apartment with two levels. (This sounds fancy, but is still very affordable in Milwaukee.) The place is perfect for when I host wine night or his friends come over to play video games. But it’s not perfect for my budget. I now pay $100 more in rent than when I lived with my girlfriends. At the time, I was so excited about our new life together that I didn’t realize the impact this would have on my already-limited income. Not to mention, it turns out we rarely ever indulge in “me time” because we have so many mutual friends.
2. Splitting the grocery bill.
I am all for paying my fair share of the bills, but hear me out on this: men tend to eat more. My new grocery bill is much higher than what I spent on feeding just myself. We collectively spend about $100 on groceries every week, a significant increase from what I spent on myself. This is partially because my boyfriend has a humongous appetite, and partially because we treat most weeknights as “date nights” and cook fancy meals together. It is definitely an expense I wish I’d considered beforehand so that my boyfriend and I could’ve discussed how to deal with this before moving in together.
3. Creating a home together.
Moving in with my S.O. marked a very exciting step in my life. To celebrate, we worked very hard to make our apartment a home. After living in places where I’d (literally) fallen through the stairs, I was ecstatic to finally have a space I felt proud of. We bought a new sectional, trendy decorations and tons of furniture right away. The first month we lived together, between rent, a security deposit and a $400 trip to IKEA, I found myself with a credit card bill that was too high for my comfort level. If I had to do it again, I would’ve made sure I was saving for months leading up to our move, and I would’ve made sure we spaced out our big furniture purchases over time.
4. Keeping up with a lifestyle that’s not the one I’m used to.
There is a significant difference in salary between my PR job and my boyfriend’s engineering job. On top of that, he is very lucky not to have certain bills (like health insurance) that I have to deal with. Do I blame him? No. I consider myself very privileged as well. Does his financial situation give me an inflated sense of what I can spend? YES. I find myself saying “yes” to dinners, apartment upgrades, and weekend trips more than when I lived with my girlfriends and we all made similar amounts of money. My girlfriends and I still managed to have fun — in the way that people on sitcoms make being broke look cool. But now, I’ve found myself trying to keep up with my S.O’s spending habits to make it “our lifestyle.” Of course, we’ve started having open conversations about this so that I can feel more comfortable with the amount I’m spending, but it would definitely have been helpful to realize that we might run into this issue earlier on.
After six months of living together, I absolutely don’t regret living with my boyfriend, nor do I blame him for any of my financial woes. This has been a wonderful learning experience for me, and not just in the ways that I expected. Like I said, to help resolve these issues, we’ve started having more honest conversations about our financial situations, which is another exciting relationship step. I’ll report back on how these conversations go.
Bridget is a PR professional living in Milwaukee and is a firm believer in eating breakfast for every meal.
Image via Unsplash