Through stories from real-life couples, Money in Love aims to start conversations about how money works in relationships.
Whether it’s negotiating each other’s spending habits or sharing costs from loft conversions to loo roll, the financial side of romance can be fraught with challenges.
In fact, according to Money Advice Service, the average couple has 39 arguments about money a year! One in seven married people have a secret stash of cash, and almost a quarter said their other half would be surprised if they knew the real state of their money.
Meet Will & Max
Twenty-somethings Will and Max have spent their first year in London together, dining out on date nights and bonding over their shared love for splurging on self-care. In September, Max – who’s been on a year-long placement – will go back to Portsmouth for his final year of university. So the couple are preparing themselves for more train rides and tighter budgets.
How did you meet?
Why did you choose those three words to describe each other?
Will: Max starts with the intention of planning a month’s budget, but then throughout the month he treats himself to things. He likes a bit of self-care! This has lead to him being notoriously over-budget.
It could be anything from books to massages.
Max: Or haircuts.
Will: He loves a good skin fade. When he gets one of them it helps his mood. It’s a variety of ‘treat yourself’ things, even if it’s just a coffee. And those add up, especially in London!
Max: On the Monzo app, I always put coffee in the health category, because it’s about your mental health and wellbeing.
We’re both the same in the way we like to treat ourselves. Our idea of self care is maybe a bit more extravagant than other people’s. But life is stressful, especially in London. It’s important to have a work-life balance, and in London that can cost a lot of money.
I’ll sometimes hear from Will that he’s been looking at cheap flights to go away somewhere, or he’ll have bought a new gadget like a back massager. In the beginning I was like, “Why would you spend your money on something like this?!” But then I was still living my student lifestyle. When I got a placement, my income went up and now I understand his spending.
How are you both affording to live in London?
Will: I try and set a monthly budget using Pots on Monzo. My income after tax is roughly £1,500. And I usually budget:
£780 for rent
£100 for food, and
£110 for transport
The rest I do what I want with and it depletes over time. I might go for after work drinks once or twice a week, which is £10-15 each time. It adds up quickly. I didn’t realise how much living costs in London would be, as well as rent. That’s why I go over budget.
The only way I’m saving is by using Monzo’s round-ups feature. If it’s getting bad towards the end of the month I dip into that.
What about you, Max?
Max: My take home is around the same, and my rent in West London is £700 a month. I give myself £500 a month to live on and I usually have some left over. I’ve budgeted to give myself a bit of leeway.
My paychecks fluctuate as I’m on a placement, so I try to put any remnants of each paycheck to away into savings.
Because I have so little self control when it comes to spending, budgeting and making sure that my salary goes into different areas has made things much easier.
For instance, because I love my haircuts, I’ve got a Pot just for haircuts for my final year at uni. It’s locked away until September when I go back. Haircuts are a treat and a nice way to pamper yourself. It’s like getting your nails done or your hair dyed! There’s enough money in there for me to get a haircut every two or three weeks while I’m at uni.
How do you manage money together?
Will: We use Shared Tabs in Monzo. So anything we do together, say we go to a restaurant or something, we split in half. We’ve been together a year and a bit now and we’ve spent £1,300 between us on the tab.
Max: We sometimes wish that Monzo didn’t tell us how much we spend together!
Will: It’s nice to look back at what categories we spent it on, like eating out.
Max: When we’re with friends that don’t have Monzo, we’ll split the bill by sending someone a payment link. Or if I need to send my mum money I’ll send her a link.
Have you ever argued about money?
Will: (Laughing) Yes! Because I’ve graduated and have a slightly higher salary, I want to take annual leave and go on holiday. A lot of the time I have the budget to go abroad, but Max doesn’t. So that can cause slight arguments. Do I go away by myself? Or do I pay for it all then he pays me back later?
It’s either holidays that cause an issue, or the self care stuff. Spending £40-50 for a back massage can get us into debt.
We’re going to Edinburgh together in August. When I booked it I couldn’t believe it was so cheap, then I realised we’re going the week after the fringe finishes.
Want to share your story? Email us at email@example.com with a bit about yourselves and your relationship with money. If we interview you, we'll give you £25 each to put towards a date night. And if you’d rather stay anonymous, we can change your names ❤️
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