Can Two Live As Cheaply As One?

From my experience I would have to say no. Moving in with my fiancee isn’t going to save me any money. My half of the rent is only $25 less than what I was paying before and utilities will likely be quite a bit higher and erase that savings. I don’t think there will be any savings in any other areas but maybe there are some that haven’t come to mind. My monthly expenses will remain about the same.

The primary reason I won’t save any money is that our two bedroom apartment is about twice the cost of my studio apartment. The new apartment is a lot nicer but I’m not sure if it is really worth the extra money. I suppose this could be considered lifestyle inflation and I would guess lifestyle inflation is a major reason why many couples don’t realize much or any savings from combining their expenses. In our case we didn’t have a lot of time to find a new place so we couldn’t review all the lower cost options. Next time we will be able to get a better deal. I am not complaining, there are a lot of benefits from our combining our households but saving money isn’t one of them.

15 thoughts on “Can Two Live As Cheaply As One?”

  1. I don’t understand what makes you think you will pay more for the utilities. Living separately means two cable bills, two internet bills – so you will already save here once you move in together. And talking about the electricity bill – you are likely to be in the kitchen together, so the light will be on for both of you. And there’s just one fridge. You will also save on gas because you will be cooking one meal for both of you. I’m sure you will save more than you think.

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    • I didn’t have a cable bill before and my internet was only $15 a month. Both are included “free” at our apartment now but that isn’t much of a savings for me. My last electric bill at my previous apartment was $17.31. I will be shocked if the electric bill for this two-bedroom apartment isn’t more than double that. I didn’t have gas at my previous apartment and we don’t have it at the new one either so no savings there. My fiancee will be saving money compared to what here expenses were before. I guess if you look at our finances together, which is probably an idea I should get used to, we will be saving a little money compared to before.

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  2. Joel – I didn’t mention anything about “extra” expenses in this post. The step-children won’t really be much of an expense for me though. I suppose they will increase the amount I have to contribute toward food and utilities but not by too much. Increased expenses from having step-children isn’t something I am worried about.

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  3. I’m really surprised you said that. I was thinking eventually, two-income household would be better and you can invest in a house in the future…And get a tax-break after marriage as well. Not sure if the health reform will change things, but just in case one spouse loses benefits/jobs then they can rely on the other’s income/benefits/job. Let us know how the tax break works out for you guys!

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  4. Andy, I hate to inform you the step children will end up being a big expense once you get to “know them” a little more. I mean no offense to that, but usually they get treated as your own, and trust me if you’re not careful, they can drain you especially as they get older and have more needs. I am a mom of 3 girls, yes they are older now, 24, 22 and 15 but still they were and still are costly!

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  5. Yeah i have to agree with Marilyn, feeding four mouths is a LOT more expensive than feeding one. Food costs for a family can be a huge drain on finances and can easily end up being the largest bill of the house.

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    • One of the children only lives here part-time. The other works and being a typical teenager doesn’t want to spend too much time at home so she eats out a lot. The food expense will be more but it won’t be that much more.

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  6. Two can live cheaper than one. But it takes the right two. Good luck with four.

    Communal living tends to inspire consumption, not conservation.
    Cooperative living inspires giving and generosity, not frugality.

    A man can actually live in a van down by the river.
    99% of women would not join such a man.

    A man can live without a car, without concern.
    Most women, at the very least, want the sense of personal security that a car conveys.

    A man alone, can survive on Top Ramen, bananas, tomatoes, Post-Toasties, Oatmeal, etc.
    Most women would not entertain this.

    A man alone can stretch his laundry in ways I won’t detail.

    A man, alone, can exist in a philosophical state of zen that doesn’t require a television or phone.

    A man can go to a mall and not buy anything. He can go to Costco and not take a cart.

    But in a group setting, especially where you’ve contracted for life, you can’t apply the same standards without risking major alienation, and so, frugality gives way to over-consumption, consideration yields generosity, compromise means saying “Ye$ Dear$” a lot, and the $150 utility bill, the $150 cable bill, and the $400+ grocery bill become second-nature.

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    • Here, here Rob. I found my utilities didn’t go up, she moved in so my rent stayed the same but my lifestyle creeped, cute little morning teas, pretty things etc. My stark utilitarian hovel was ruined

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