Going dutch — gasp! It's the phrase some dread to hear and others barely dare to speak. Even in this day and age, going dutch, or paying one's own share, is a touchy subject in many relationships.
Many proponents of going dutch take the common "equality of the sexes" stance, and while I agree wholeheartedly with this, there are also plenty of practical reasons to evenly split costs with your significant other. If you're like me (and probably everyone else in a relationship), money can be a tough topic to broach. I've learned from experience that splitting things can really reduce some of that tension. It promotes a sense of equality and balance between the two of you and eliminates the need to keep track of who owes what.
Some people argue that sharing costs is not as romantic as the good ole days of chivalry, but chivalry is dead! I think splitting things actually shows a level of respect and intimacy that comes with having your lives intertwined both romantically and monetarily. Look at it this way: it's just another way that you two are committing to each other, and neither one of you owes anything separately — you share the cost and the love!
Here are some ways to keep things fair:
1. Split the bill
If both of you are going out to eat together, it makes sense that you should be sharing the cost of the bill. It's easiest to divide the check evenly, especially if you got similar things to eat and drink. Save yourselves (and your waiter) some trouble, and split it down the middle.
2. One pays the bill, one pays the tip
So you're running low this week — we've all been there, including your partner! One way to contribute to the cost of the bill is to let your partner take care of the hefty part, while you top it off with the tip. This is a great gesture, but it still helps you save a bit of cash.
3. Take turns
Another way to share the load is to take turns paying for things. If you paid for the movies last weekend, your partner can get the next one. The "it all evens out in the end" idea is a great one — but be careful that you don't let it become a competition or argument as to who owes what.
4. Get a joint card
Getting a joint checking account that is separate from your own personal account is a good idea particularly for couples who live together or who are staying over at each others' houses often. If both of you contribute a certain amount of your paycheck to a joint account each month, then whenever you go out or purchase something that you both plan on using, you can use the joint card.
5. Pay your way
Another way to pay instead of splitting is to just pay your own part of the bill. This can get a little tricky when it comes down to actual items, like supplies for the house, because questions (and arguments) can arise about who used what and how often. It's best to keep things as easy as possible, so usually dividing evenly is best.
6. Pay using a ratio
In a relationship, the two of you may very well be in different places in your career, and your salaries may differ as a result. In this case, you can approach the situation by paying a ratio of the cost in relation to how much you are making at the time. This is a nice way to pay your part but not spend more than you have. Your partner doesn't want you strapped for cash any more than you do!
Of course, on special occasions, it's always nice to treat your significant other and foot the entire bill.