When two become one, two households often merge, too. No matter if you’ve been a couple for years, or months, moving in together is an exciting and romantic occasion, but it can also be a time of adjustment: The way you’ve both run your lives will likely have to change to best meet each other’s needs. Here are a few things you’ll want to consider when it comes to co-habitation.
ALL THE STUFF
You both come with a ton of baggage, literally. Having your own space means having your own stuff; when you move in together there likely won’t be room (or a need) for everything. This means figuring out whose furniture to keep, what coffeemaker is best and how closet space will be divvied up. If it’s in your budget, it’s always nice to start combined living with some new things you’ve purchased as a couple. Big or small, consider adding some new items to your home to feather your shared nest.
BUDGET AND BILLS
Money is the number one issue that divides couples and also the concern that nobody ever wants to address. Get over your discomfort: If your team is going to succeed over the long haul, you need to be transparent and open about money. Regularly check in on your finances and debt, and establish a monthly household budget and who will pay for what. (And consider whether opening a joint bank account would help you streamline budgeting and bill payments.) Don’t forget to do a bit of dreaming, too, so you can save for vacations, cars and other little luxuries.
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Speaking of budgetary matters, you’ll likewise want to be in agreement when it comes to your credit cards. Make a pact to pay off balances at the end of every month and not overextend yourselves. This is where things can easily go sideways; it’s often a point of contention for couples that aren’t honest about their personal debts with one another.
Whether or not you’re married, when you commit to living together you must also commit to the business of life together. Do you have to buy insurance for your new home or update an existing policy? What about life insurance? Do you need to update your beneficiaries? Have you made a will? Are you making plans for retirement savings together? Ensuring you’re on top of these and other bits of paperwork will help guard against any curveballs that life may throw your way.
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You’d think that sharing a space would mean communicating more freely and more often. But the busyness of modern life can get in the way, so it’s important to make a concerted effort to talk and listen to your partner. Take the time to have chill moments at home, cook meals together and schedule regular date nights. Ask any long-time couple the secret to their relationship success and they’re bound to tell you that open communication is the key.
HOW TO SAVE
Personalize your space: Save an extra 5% on furnishings (in-store and online) at Bouclair
Colour coordination: Save 30% on regular-price paint—plus 20% on brushes, rollers, tape and more—at Cloverdale Paint
Smooth moves: Receive up to a $100 rebate on your move with Stallion Van Lines
Energy boost: Earn up to $10 reward dollars per month for natural gas and electricity at Burst Energy
HVAC assistance: Save up to 15% on air conditioner and furnace rentals or earn up to $1,000 rewards dollars on your purchase at Reliance Home Comfort
Alison McGill is the editor-in-chief of Weddingbells magazine and the editorial director of Mariage Québec.