15:06 23 February 2013
You've finally taken the plunge. Love struck, you have abandoned your beloved studio flat, packed away the memories of your single life and moved in with your significant other.
And then it begins.
He leaves the top off the toothpaste. You keep your clean clothes on the floor. And the empty loo roll sits in the holder waiting for one of you to replace it. But if you can overlook these annoyances for long term, it could pay dividends - financial ones.
New research from First Direct shows that cohabiting and/or married couples are an average £102 better off than their single counterparts per month.
But is it really that clear cut? Single, married, or 'living in' (and with or without kids) the team at MoneySupermarket HQ put their heads together to establish the financial pros and cons of being part of a pair or gong solo. This is what we found...
Is it better together... ?
Here are our ideas for why life might be cheaper as a pair:
•Couples don't just benefit from having two incomes to rely on for their rent or mortgage, but the burden of energy bills, broadband, home insurance, council tax and other household expenses is almost always shared.
•Even though those living alone receive a 25% reduction in council tax, this hardly makes up for the 50% you would benefit from if there were two of you.
•Couples also have the upper hand when it comes to food. Supermarkets don't tend to be very single-friendly with options to 'bulk-buy' being cheaper and meal deals often being geared towards two.
But it's not only the mundane financial priorities where you lose out if you are single.
•According to First Direct's research, 34% of singletons surveyed said they were unable to treat themselves to things like regular holidays, nights out and gym membership, in comparison to just 23% of cohabiting couples.
•Hotel rooms are a classic example as you will often be charged per room rather than per person. Of course there are 'singleccupancy' exceptions to this, but prices are often still inflated and more than half of what you would pay were you to be one half of a couple.
Or going solo... ?
All that said, it's not always a bed of roses for couples where money is concerned. This is where being on your own can stack up financially:
•Singletons can revel in the fact that they don't have to shell out for pricey gifts in a bid to impress their other halves. Retailers cash in heavily on sentimental occasions be it Valentine's, anniversaries, Christmas or birthdays, waiting for the next loved-up victim to fall prey and dig deep.
•And it's not only presents for your partner that you have to shell out for. Their parents, siblings, auntie Flo and great uncle Jim all suddenly feature on your Christmas list and your once substantial present budget takes a dramatic knock.
The long-term effects on your finances as a result of being in a couple can prove negative too.
•Newlyweds, for example, often start their married life saddled with debt because of the mammoth cost of the wedding.
•If your partner has a bad credit score, you could also be damaging your own by having a financial association with them, such as a joint bank account or mortgage. This puts you at risk of missing out on the most competitive deals loans, credit cards and even mortgages.
•Whereas those who are single only have to worry about their own financial well-being, the same can't be said for couples. Redundancy and job losses are unfortunately not unusual in the current climate, so if one loses their job, the other may suddenly find themselves hit with the burden having to support two people on one salary - a highly unlikely scenario if you are single.
What's our verdict?
As with most things, there are two sides to every story and financial positives and negatives can be found whatever your relationship status. Of course, it is all relative and can depend a lot on lifestyle and mind set.
You may be a couple that loves to go out partying every night of the week or a singleton who enjoys nothing more than staying in with a good book. Your finances would tell very different stories that wouldn't necessarily reflect the single v couple stereotype.
So although, research suggests that you are financially better off in a couple, there are certainly monetary perks to the single life too. But the question remains - is the toothpaste top sitting stubbornly off its tube something you're going to get over?
Please note: Any rates or deals mentioned in this article were available at the time of writing.
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