Lisa and Bryan Are Moving in Together (Great Idea, Swell Idea)

SUBJECT: Billfold Idea? Maybe?

Hi!!! How are you? Staying warm? Dry? Is everyone around you safe? Are you so very happy that you moved before this huge natural disaster and now you’re not holed up in an apt you think has bedbugs (even though you know, logically, there are no bedbugs, but the idea that there could have been bedbugs at some point skeezed you out)???

Anyway. Bryan and I are moving in together next year—despite the stern warnings from my therapist that this will destroy our relationship. (Shut up Terry! You don’t know me!!…. ok, fine, you know me very well. I pay you a lot to know me, but STILL!! Don’t tell my heart what to do.)

Last night we had a conversation about what we’ll need for the new apartment. I mentioned new dishes. He thinks that’s absurd. We have dishes!! The idea of packing and moving them sounds annoying, but I know he’s right. We’ll move our dishes. We’ll move the furniture we have (although most of mine is shared with roommates so I don’t really own it so I guess we’ll move his furniture), and we’ll move the decor and appliances we have. There is really no need to buy new stuff. Hmph.

But it  got me thinking about how this is going to work out. 

Bryan makes more money than me, but only when he’s working (he’s a freelance producer). He has no debt (that I know of?). He regularly valets his car before looking for street parking. He usually pays for my dinner when we go out. He has more shoes than I do (even though they are usually bought at Target ). He pays all his bills by hand!! Like, opens the mail and writes and check and knows how much the gas bill is. I am terrible with money. I have $30,000 in student loans and credit card debt. I buy designer purses and put them on a credit card. I consider trips to India in the middle of a recession. I’ve been paying for Netflix for 5 months without having ever streamed a movie from them. It’s automatically deducted and I don’t see it happening. What money!?

In a few months, we’re going to have to make this work. We’ll have to compromise his non-cable having and my housekeeper-using financials. It’s going to be interesting. Well, at least for me. We were wondering if we could share the journey with your readers.

Also, think of how cathartic it will be when the final contribution is an article about us breaking up and people can throw pity at me via the comments and make me feel better about myself.

Love you!!!!!!!!!!!


SUBJECT: Re: Billfold Idea? Maybe?

Dear Lisa,

I think that documenting your moving together for the website is a terrible idea for you, Bryan, and your relationship, but a great idea for me. Thanks for suggesting it. I expect your next dispatch soon.

Love (ALWAYS), logan x

P.S. That’s not really how comments work. But I’ll throw pity at you, sure.


Hey Logan,

Lisa told me that you are on board with us documenting our move in together.

For me, this is the first time I will be living with someone—and I don’t just mean someone I was in a relationship with. Since I moved out of my parents’ house I have always lived alone and never had roommates, so this will mark my first cohabitation experience. I’m excited, but it also leaves me with a few questions: How are we going to split the bills? How much rent can we each afford to pay?

What Lisa said is true, I am debt free, other than the last $8,000 I owe on my car. I pay off my credit card at the end of every month. I watch my money closely but I’m not stingy. I do go to the valet without checking for street parking (the convenience is worth it to me) and I try to always pay when we go out. I feel like, as a man, if I can afford to pay, I want to. However, I have also always lived in a studio apartment, buy most things on sale, and cut my own hair, so it all seems to even out.

Lisa told me about her debt. Although she seems to think she will be paying it off for the rest of her life, I disagree. $30,000 seems like a huge amount, but I paid almost that much for my car and the payments have been very manageable. So the debt she thinks is a lifetime’s burden I don’t find that daunting. I think she expected me to be a little more scared of her debt.  But I have really tried to adopt the philosophy we are what our past has made us. If it cost $30,000 to make her the person she is today, I think she is worth every penny.

I’m glad that we’re having these discussions now and I’m excited to figure it all out. I just hope Terry doesn’t get too mad.


SUBJECT: um i thought i was the fake therapist here

Dear Bryan,

Tattooing that last line on my chest, brb. Also I can’t believe you’ve never had a roommate. Lucky that Lisa gets to be your first one. logan x


Lisa and Bryan live in LA.


20 Comments / Post A Comment

bgprincipessa (#699)

I’m excited for this! Swell idea.

Quinn A@twitter (#1,008)

Ugh, I do not envy people who are trying to figure out what’s fair when deciding to live with a partner. My girlfriend and I are both uncomfortable with our current arrangements because I pay way more of our bills and she does almost all the housework to compensate, and it’s leaving us both feeling like less-than-equal partners in different ways.

I don’t know if I should read these to see how Bryan and Lisa manage, or skip them because they’re going to stress me out!

(who am I kidding, I read everything on this site)

Points for honesty, Logan.

megsy (#1,565)

All these cohabitation posts further reinforce the fact I never should have moved in with my ex and I feel increasingly stupider (to go along with my significantly poorer)… is stupider even a word?
Best of luck to Bryan and Lisa because it sounds like they understand their financial situations and won’t play games!

kellyography (#250)

I am interested in this, because it terrifies me!

This is something I feel like my boyfriend and I are going through right now, only not as well communicated on either side. I’m an extremely independent person. When I moved in, he was making significantly more than me, and was basically taking care of bills and such. He is not so great with money – has no semblance of a budget, doesn’t know how much is in his bank account at any given time, doesn’t keep track of spending, etc – but keeps his expenses quite low, so it all sort of works out. I, on the other hand, keep a budget down to the penny, am pretty good with money, pay off all my credit cards monthly, and the only debt I have is my car. I work 40+ hours a week, and he works roughly half of that. Suddenly, his pay got cut and now we’re making roughly the same amount. I now pay half the rent, but feel intensely guilty because I can’t afford anything more than that in the way of groceries, etc., and housework is really hard for me since I’m working so much. Discussions about money and such are really awkward and difficult since our philosophies are SO DIFFERENT.

Anyway, point being, I really like and am looking forward to this!

Megano! (#124)

“If it cost $30,000 to make her the person she is today, I think she is worth every penny.”

This might be the cutest sentence in the history of sentences.

swirrlygrrl (#2,398)

@Megano! A bargain at twice the price!

I am too frugal and have been pretty lucky, meaning no one has ever had to love me in spite of my debt. I’ve always been really interested in how couples manage it, though – best and worst practices, as well as just pretending it doesn’t exist, abound!

@Megano! Ugh. I know. This comes moments after I told him, “you’re so weird! But… I guess you can’t help it, so it’s ok”. We both have a way with words.

eagerber (#1,958)

I love the idea of this new “series,” esp since it will give us first hand details from both perspectives in the relationship. I hope it works out for them!

Yarrrgh. Moving in together can be a challenge! We did it really too early, pushed into it by real-life practicalities. At the time he was studying and making 3-4 times what I do. Now I outearn him, not quite double but close sometimes. Look forward to following along.

This will all end in tears.

DON (#706)

But damnit Squirge doesn’t everything?

@Reginal T. Squirge I don’t cry anymore. I just shut down and turn into a huge bitch who yells about how independent she is. Look forward to the “Lisa and Bryan are Both Living In Their Cars Because Both Are Too Proud to Stay In the Apartment After They Broke Up” post.

MissMushkila (#1,044)

I just moved in with my boyfriend in September. Both of us had our own apartments before moving in together, but we had also both lived with other roommates in the past (and he lived with his 6-year ex-girlfriend for awhile as well).

It takes soooooo much talking to figure it out! With roommates, we split everything equally all the time, bought separate groceries, separate booze, etc. We are still figuring out how to split things, but I think one of the great things about living with a boyfriend is we share a lot of those costs and tasks of daily life.

I think it helps for us that we are in similar financial situations. Both of us went to public colleges that we paid for ourselves and have 25,000-30,000 in debt. My boyfriend is in grad school, which pays him a fairly generous living stipend. He makes less than I do as a private high school teacher, but pays less in taxes and only pays interest on his loans as they are deferred until he finishes his program.

We split rent, utilities, groceries, household purchases, and booze equally, but right now we both take turns paying and track these expenses in exel and try to keep it even. We’ve talked about opening a joint checking account where we can divert some of each paycheck and get two cards so we just automatically have those expenses budgeted.

I know the thing with joint accounts is that it takes two people to open one, but only one to close it. But since we have been dating for two years, and I know everyone in his life from his grandparents to the kids he went to kindergarten with, I’m not too concerned.

Has anyone done that before? How do other cohabitators manage your expenses?

One weird thing for me with splitting has been that we definitely don’t use/spend the same amount on some things…

@MissMushkila I am a big, big fan of the 3-account system, where you each have separate checking accounts and then a joint checking account (obviously with savings and stuff we have more accounts than that total, but the basic system only needs three). We drew up an approximate monthly budget of our shared expenses, added some cushion for the unexpected, and then split that total according to what we thought was fair based on our particular circumstances. Now, at the end of each month we transfer our respective share into the joint account, and pay for everything shared out of that. It’s much simpler than tracking totals and figuring out who owes what, especially since we don’t split 50/50. But because we have separate accounts too it also means we’re not getting in each other’s business about individual spending decisions.

It’s easy for us because our priorities for spending when it comes to the shared expenses are similar, and we nearly always go grocery or errand-shopping together, and if not, it’s still based on a list we discussed beforehand. I am the one more concerned with spending, and also generally more proactive about planning and making things happen, which also helps – generally what happens is I make a plan and ask him if he’s ok with it before buying anything, and then I’m happy because the spending is what I’m comfortable with and he’s happy because he doesn’t have to worry about it.

Sometimes I feel guilty if there’s something I’m clearly eating more of than he does, but he’s never complained about it and in fact sometimes scolds me for always asking “would you eat this?” and says if I want something I should just get it. I try to remember that I barely notice if the situation’s reversed and, more importantly, our relationship is not about strict equality, but sharing and intimacy. And also that “fair” does not always mean “the same.” It’s ok if we are not equally sharing everything we buy as long as the difference isn’t adding up to a larger imbalance. There are a few grocery items we do pay for individually, mostly because the one who likes it better feels more comfortable that way – for example he drinks way more fancy tea than I do, and I eat way more dried fruit, both of them are pricier luxuries and also regular purchases, so we just feel better about paying for them individually even though he’s not going to forbid me from drinking tea and I’m not going to hide the fruit from him.

pterodactylish (#2,321)

super excited for this. always wonder how people do this, because it’s confusing! and hard! and especially when there is income differences. excited.

LizF (#1,399)

I moved in with my boyfriend sort of stupidly- meaning he begged me for a few months and I was travelling and between apartments and finally just spent so much time there I was like “FINE I LIVE HERE NOW.”
It worked out really well for us but we are both “creative” and therefore don’t make a ton of money and have student debt and I’m pretty comfortable not having a ton of possessions. (My boyfriend, on the other hand is a decade older than I am and has LOTS of things) I brought over the one piece of furniture that I own and we had a discussion about how we would split the bills and we alternate buying groceries.
Moving in together doesn’t have to be hard, just lay your expectations out up front. Like “This is exactly how much money I make and this is how much debt I have so this is what I can pay for living in an apartment/house/yurt.” Especially do this if you are the sort who wants to split everything 50/50. If the wealthier party wants to live better than the 50/50 split affords, a proportional to income split is a good plan- like 60/40.
I would also suggest coming up with a cleaning plan and putting it into writing. This is something I do will all of my roommates and I didn’t do it with my boyfriend and the end result is that my boyfriend does basically all the cleaning because he is a neat freak. This is not going to be the average outcome and it may lead to fights.
This is the first time either of us have lived with an SO and it has been about a year so if it can work for us with very little planning, if there is thought and open communication beforehand it is going to work out EVEN BETTER!

more or yes (#1,659)

About to cohabit with a significant other for the first time! THIS IS RELEVANT TO MY INTERESTS.

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