Who Should Pay The Bill?

by Kristina on April 5, 2011 · 3 comments

All DINKS have two things in common, we all earn an income and we are all in a relationship.  What we don’t all share is how we spend our earned income.  Should our boyfriend or husband pay for the bill just because he is the man in the relationship?  If the practice of splitting the bill and going Dutch is old school, and chivalry is dead, who should pay the bill?

I have a friend who has never paid for anything in her relationship, not even coffee. She feels that as the female in the relationship she doesn’t have to pay for anything. After 3 years, her boyfriend recently sat her down and told her that he wasn’t an unlimited ATM.  She would have to start paying for things if she wanted to continue being his girlfriend. She has recently started paying for their dates, but only the cheap ones.

She claims to have expensive taste, but only when it is someone else’s money that is paying the bill.  She has never really learned the value of a dollar because she has always been taken care of.  She currently lives in a condo that is paid for by her parents.  Although she does work, she would never spend her own money on the finer things in life.  “That’s why I have a boyfriend” She says.  This is a prime example of how installing good money values in our children is so important; because a spoiled child grows up to be a high maintenance gold digger.

I have a male co-worker who feels that he should pay for everything in his new (1 year) relationship because he is the man.  He definitely doesn’t want to pay for everything such as weekly groceries, nightly couples outings, and their vacations.  They split their monthly rent and they split their monthly bills, but all other expenses are at his cost…because he is the man.  My co-worker feels that his new girlfriend will break up with him if he doesn’t pay for their extra couples expenses.  My co-worker doesn’t shower his girlfriend with gifts the same way that my friend demands them from her boyfriend, but he does always offer to pay the bill.

I told my co-worker that the first few dates set the standard for the rest of the relationship. If you spoil your girlfriend on the first few dates, she will always expect to have everything handed to her when she becomes your wife.  My friend told me that she would never go on a second date with a guy who made her pay the bill on the first date.  I am not saying that we, as women, should pay for the first date; I am simply saying that we shouldn’t expect to be showered with expensive gifts.

I explained to both my friend and my co-worker that my boyfriend Nick and I have a different financial mentality. Since we have been together a long time and according to Nick chivalry is dead, we split our monthly expenses right down the middle.  However, our extra spending and personal entertainment is split differently.  If we go out for dinner for my friend’s birthday then I will pay the bill for Nick and I to eat.  If we are going out to see a movie that he wants to see (such as the upcoming Captain America, Green Lantern, or Thor) he will buy my movie ticket.

(Photo by David Thibault)

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Wade April 5, 2011 at 11:23 am

My wife and I have been together for 12 years (married for 3.5 years). During the first few months that we were dating, I did pay for most dinners, dances, and movies. After those first few months, we decided to take turns paying the bills. It was the fair thing to do for two young kids that did not have much income. Up until we got married this was our arrangement, but now we combine our money and our bills are paid from one place.

Personally, I’m amazed that your friend got away without paying any of the bills for so long. In a dual-income relationship it is only fair to foot the bill once in a while.

2 Kristina April 6, 2011 at 8:36 pm

I think it’s nice for the man to pay, especially if he asked her out first. However if it becomes a routine, it may be hard to break old habits.

Wade…how did you introduce your girlfriend/wife into the rotation to start paying the bill?

3 Eric April 19, 2011 at 1:54 pm

Kristina, thanks for the article. I think that the nature of how this decision is made can depend on the life stage of each person in the relationship. When I got my first job out of college, my girlfriend was still in college and I felt comfortable paying for a large majority of our dates and get-togethers. Nowadays, with both of us working and making a decent income, we have a credit card that we share to pay bills, utilities and all activities we do together. That being said, I do think it’s important for me to pay for special occasions (anniversaries, birthdays, etc.) and to give her the occasional gift outside of our planned activities–this makes splitting the bill/payments much easier.

@Kristina I think that the way I started rotating my girlfriend into the bills was working on an agreement to also save for something together. By introducing the idea of saving for a vacation or something larger you could share together made the idea of paying for things together much easier.

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