advice on communicating with partner about bills increase

PCAP21
PCAP21 Posts: 3 Newbie
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edited 13 September 2022 at 9:53AM in Marriage, relationships & families
I am really struggling to communicate with my partner about all the price hikes & the need for him to contribute more towards the bills. He has been living in my house for nearly 2 years now and my initial lodging costs were calculated way before everything went up. We are very different when it comes to finances and as he's self-employed (wfh) he has this belief that I am in a much better position than him and all his money earnt is somehow more precious as I get paid by a company, add that to the fact I own the property etc. I have always been very frugal when it comes to energy and other utilities such as water, but our usage has gone up fourfold (!!) since he moved in as he enjoys long showers twice a day and works at night when I normally don't use much electricity and heating at all, moans about how cold the house is without putting extra layers on and sneakily blasts an electric heater when I'm not about. On multiple occasions I have tried to approach this conversation but it's so stressful and I cannot get him to see where i am coming from. I have also been waiting on my new utilities company to sort some complications out with my meter (since my old one was shut down by ofcom) so havent been able to get any readings since March. I am so stressed out & it's really impacting on my health & my own finances. I recently ask him to go halves with me on firewood and he suggested that I buy the firewood and he will go foraging for his own wood - how can he see this is just a crazy way to cohabit?!!!!! I'm at my wits end & would really appreciate some advice on talking to a partner who is irrationally tight with their financial contributions.
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Comments

  • GingerTim
    GingerTim Posts: 2,023 Forumite
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    I hope this doesn't sound like fobbing you off, but you might get better advice on the relationships board for this one. Hope you get things resolved.

    https://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/categories/marriage-relationships-families
  • fergie_
    fergie_ Posts: 170 Forumite
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    Do you have anything in writing? A separate issue may be if he has any claim to the house (or part of its value).

    Away from that, when did you last compare take home incomes (after taxes) and living costs? Ideally everything should be set out and decide on a fair way to divide. For example if someone earns more, it might be fairer to pay more, likewise if someone uses more?

    Fortunately (or unfortunately) the world would be a boring place if we all had the same thoughts about money and finances - its not always easy to reach a fair compromise.
  • Thank you - all very good points & definitely some red flags /relationship issues that im working on..
    I had started to draft an updated bills budget but as I can't get a reading for the last 5 months it's really hard to estimate how much we should now be paying.. I have shown him the average increase estimates but just looks at me blankly!! As I can't get anywhere with my new utility company it's just all guess work until they fix the meter..
  • michaels
    michaels Posts: 27,984 Forumite
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    You have to decide to be taken for a mug, no one can force you to be. (I should know, this is how my relationship works)
    I think....
  • PCAP21 said:
    .... but as I can't get a reading for the last 5 months it's really hard to estimate how much we should now be paying.. I have shown him the average increase estimates but just looks at me blankly!! ...
    You could start with a smart plug maybe and use it on the heater that's being used?  But surely your regular 'meter' (consumer unit) at the fusebox can show you your usage? or is that what's broken (not the smart meter) - if so how do the utility company even know what you're using? 
    The split should be proportionate - so if he earns, for example, 30% less than you  - you pay 30% more of the bills. 
    If you have an electric shower - do you know the wattage? It's a simple thing to look up what a 9kw shower uses for 10 mins. 
    No point beating around the bush with this - get your facts together and have the conversation - and don't be put off by bluster and impractical/ fanciful suggestions like 'foraging' for wood. Pay up or move out - thats the conversation I've had with my family too. Its not always pleasant but keeping quiet and getting increasingly resentful is no more comfortable than tackling it head-on. 
  • Robin9
    Robin9 Posts: 12,088 Forumite
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    PCAP21 said:
    Thank you - all very good points & definitely some red flags /relationship issues that im working on..
    I had started to draft an updated bills budget but as I can't get a reading for the last 5 months it's really hard to estimate how much we should now be paying.. I have shown him the average increase estimates but just looks at me blankly!! As I can't get anywhere with my new utility company it's just all guess work until they fix the meter..
    Why - don't you have access to the meter ? 
    Never pay on an estimated bill
  • Petriix
    Petriix Posts: 2,038 Forumite
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    Even if your energy company aren't getting automatic readings, you still should be regularly readin your own meter. We can help you with that if you post a picture (of the meter itself, not the IHD).

    Foraging for firewood is actually a great money saving concept. Seasoned logs cost something like 20-40p per kWh of useable heat. However, scavenged wood needs to be properly stored and seasoned before you burn it.

    When you talk about 'lodging costs' does that mean you're charging him 'rent' to live with you, or is it just a bills contribution?

    Remember that a reasonable portion of his bills should be tax deductible if he's self employed so it's entirely fair that his business should be paying whatever extra it's costing (out of his pre-tax earnings). Otherwise a 50-50 split of the bills is a good starting point, but if he is obviously using more than half he should be paying more than half.

    If he's unable to have a reasonable conversation about it then you have other issues, but there are always two sides to the story. Remember that you have greatly more security in owning the house, which is going up in value all the time. Your employment comes with pension contributions, paid holiday, paid bank holidays, stable and predictable pay dates etc. Being self employed means none of these things exist for him so you can't just compare his pre-tax earnings with your salary. Maybe you need to look at the bigger picture.
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