Making the decision to move in together is a big milestone in a relationship. Not only are you going to have more time together as a couple, but you’ll also save money on rent and other bills.
As exciting as combining two households can be, it can also be stressful if you’re not prepared. Below are a few tips to help make moving in together easier and a little less stressful for both you and your partner.
1: Knowing Your Living Styles
Understanding your partner’s day-to-day habits and routines will help you prepare before you live in the same space, eliminating any surprises. Late-night TV watching or midnight snacking in bed are examples of habits to bring up prior to moving in.
2: Make A Money Plan
Money is one of the biggest reasons for conflict with couples. Talking through each other’s financial situations is a first step to better understanding spending habits, income, debt, and credit history.
Below are a few other items to review together:
How will the bills be split? This is an important question, especially if one person makes significantly more money than the other. Is it a 50/50 split? Does one person pay the mortgage or rent and the other the utilities?
What is our monthly budget? Setting up a monthly budget will eliminate any uncertainty about where money is going or how it’s being spent. Rent, utilities, food, and transport are all items you’ll plan for, but be sure to also budget for entertainment and other spending and agree to not make large purchases without checking with each other.
What are our savings priorities? Now that you’re saving a little extra because there’s only one place to pay for, you can save some money for other priorities. Is a new car or a vacation needed in the future? Start that planning now.
Don’t wait to get to your new home to sort through your stuff. You’ll not only be moving items you won’t need, but you’ll have a harder time letting go of personal items once you get them to your new space.
3: Decide Where To Live
Ideally, find a new place the two of you can move into together. Having a clean slate allows each partner to visualize how the new home will feel, and both people can share opinions on how much space is needed and how to decorate.
If you decide to live in one partner’s already-established home, which can be a great option for saving money, prepare plenty of space in the closet and bathroom, and plan to redecorate as if it’s a new home—we’ll have more on this later.
4. Sort Through Your Stuff
Once you have a good idea about the size of place you’re going to be sharing, it’s time to take inventory of each other’s personal items. There are probably items you each have that you won’t need two of in your new home, such as couches, cooking utensils, and beds, so determine what to keep, what to sell or donate, and what to toss.
Don’t wait to get to your new home to sort through your stuff. You’ll not only be moving items you won’t need, but you’ll have a harder time letting go of personal items once you get them to your new space. Look at this move as a new beginning for you and your partner, and let go of the things you don’t need.
Spending time alone with friends builds your external support circles and helps you maintain your individuality.
5: Establish Rules for Chores and House Keeping
Discussing household chores or how bills will be paid isn’t a glamorous part of a relationship, but setting a few clear household rules will help avoid conflict later. Once those guidelines are in place, each partner will understand what’s expected. Do you like the bed made every day? Compromise by determining that the last person out of the bed every morning makes the bed. Don’t like taking out the trash? Offer to clean the bathroom weekly if the other person will dump the garbage.
6: Decorate Your Place Together
Both partners want to feel welcome and invested in their new place. This is especially true if one person is moving into the other’s home. Your new space should be a statement of who the two of you are together rather than one person’s décor with a few things from the other person sprinkled in. Compromise so each of you can feel at home.
This is a great opportunity for purchasing a few upgrades that make your lives easier or more comfortable. If you have the means, invest in a couple of new furniture pieces to complement your shared space. Smart devices such as TVs, coffee makers, and smart home hubs can help make everyday tasks more convenient for both of you without breaking the bank. Painting a few accent walls is another low-budget way to make your house feel more like a home.
7: Have Your Own Space
Sharing a bedroom and other common areas in the home is one great advantage to moving in together. But you should also carve out private spaces in your new place that are just for you. That can be a private room or a small corner in the bedroom for reading or downtime.
Having your own space also means enjoying your lives outside of your home as well. And just because you’ve decided to live together, that doesn’t mean you can’t still experience other things on your own just as you did before you joined households. Spending time alone with friends builds your external support circles and helps you maintain your individuality.
Following these tips will help make this next step in your relationship a successful one. Do you have any tips for moving in together? Leave us a comment below.
Not too many years ago, my advice to political candidates would have been pretty simple: "Don't do or say anything stupid." But the last few elections have rendered that advice outdated.
When Barack Obama referred to his grandmother as a "typical white woman" during the 2008 campaign, for example, many people thought it would cost him the election -- and once upon a time, it probably would have. But his supporters were focused on the values and positions he professed, and they weren't going to let one unwise comment distract them. Candidate Obama didn't even get much pushback for saying, "We're five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America." That statement should have given even his most ardent supporters pause, but it didn't. It was in line with everything Obama had previously said, and it was what his supporters wanted to hear.
2016: What rules?
Fast forward to 2016, and Donald Trump didn't just ignore traditional norms, he almost seemed to relish violating them. Who would have ever dreamed we'd elect a man who talked openly about grabbing women by the **** and who was constantly blasting out crazy-sounding Tweets? But Trump did get elected. Why? Some people believe it was because Americans finally felt like they had permission to show their bigotry. Others think Obama had pushed things so far to the left that right-wing voters were more interested in dragging public policy back toward the middle than in what Trump was Tweeting.
Another theory is that Trump's lewd, crude, and socially unacceptable behavior was deliberately designed to make Democrats feel comfortable campaigning on policies that were far further to the left than they ever would have attempted before. Why? Because they were sure America would never elect someone who acted like Trump. If that theory is right, and Democrats took the bait, Trump's "digital policies" served him well.
And although Trump's brash style drew the most handlines, he wasn't the only one who seemed to have forgotten the, "Don't do or say anything stupid," rule. Hillary Clinton also made news when she made a "basket of deplorables" comment at a private fundraiser, but it leaked out, and it dogged her for the rest of the election cycle.
And that's where we need to start our discussion. Now that all the old rules about candidate behavior have been blown away, do presidential candidates even need digital policies?
Yes, they do. More than ever, in my opinion. Let me tell you why.
Digital policies for 2020 and beyond
While the 2016 election tossed traditional rules about political campaigns to the trash heap, that doesn't mean you can do anything you want. Even if it's just for the sake of consistency, candidates need digital policies for their own campaigns, regardless of what anybody else is doing. Here are some important things to consider.
Align your digital policies with your campaign strategy
Aside from all the accompanying bells and whistles, why do you want to be president? What ideological beliefs are driving you? If you were to become president, what would you want your legacy to be? Once you've answered those questions honestly, you can develop your campaign strategy. Only then can you develop digital policies that are in alignment with the overall purpose -- the "Why?" -- of your campaign:
- If part of your campaign strategy, for example, is to position yourself as someone who's above the fray of the nastiness of modern politics, then one of your digital policies should be that your campaign will never post or share anything that attacks another candidate on a personal level. Attacks will be targeted only at the policy level.
- While it's not something I would recommend, if your campaign strategy is to depict the other side as "deplorables," then one of your digital policies should be to post and share every post, meme, image, etc. that supports your claim.
- If a central piece of your platform is that detaining would-be refugees at the border is inhumane, then your digital policies should state that you will never say, post, or share anything that contradicts that belief, even if Trump plans to relocate some of them to your own city. Complaining that such a move would put too big a strain on local resources -- even if true -- would be making an argument for the other side. Don't do it.
- Don't be too quick to share posts or Tweets from supporters. If it's a text post, read all of it to make sure there's not something in there that would reflect negatively on you. And examine images closely to make sure there's not a small detail that someone may notice.
- Decide what your campaign's voice and tone will be. When you send out emails asking for donations, will you address the recipient as "friend" and stress the urgency of donating so you can continue to fight for them? Or will you personalize each email and use a more low-key, collaborative approach?
Those are just a few examples. The takeaway is that your online behavior should always support your campaign strategy. While you could probably get away with posting or sharing something that seems mean or "unpresidential," posting something that contradicts who you say you are could be deadly to your campaign. Trust me on this -- if there are inconsistencies, Twitter will find them and broadcast them to the world. And you'll have to waste valuable time, resources, and public trust to explain those inconsistencies away.
Remember that the most common-sense digital policies still apply
The 2016 election didn't abolish all of the rules. Some still apply and should definitely be included in your digital policies:
- Claim every domain you can think of that a supporter might type into a search engine. Jeb Bush not claiming www.jebbush.com (the official campaign domain was www.jeb2016.com) was a rookie mistake, and he deserved to have his supporters redirected to Trump's site.
- Choose your campaign's Twitter handle wisely. It should be obvious, not clever or cutesy. In addition, consider creating accounts with possible variations of the Twitter handle you chose so that no one else can use them.
- Give the same care to selecting hashtags. When considering a hashtag, conduct a search to understand its current use -- it might not be what you think! When making up new hashtags, try to avoid anything that could be hijacked for a different purpose -- one that might end up embarrassing you.
- Make sure that anyone authorized to Tweet, post, etc., on your behalf has a copy of your digital policies and understands the reasons behind them. (People are more likely to follow a rule if they understand why it's important.)
- Decide what you'll do if you make an online faux pas that starts a firestorm. What's your emergency plan?
- Consider sending an email to supporters who sign up on your website, thanking them for their support and suggesting ways (based on digital policies) they can help your messaging efforts. If you let them know how they can best help you, most should be happy to comply. It's a small ask that could prevent you from having to publicly disavow an ardent supporter.
- Make sure you're compliant with all applicable regulations: campaign finance, accessibility, privacy, etc. Adopt a double opt-in policy, so that users who sign up for your newsletter or email list through your website have to confirm by clicking on a link in an email. (And make sure your email template provides an easy way for people to unsubscribe.)
- Few people thought 2016 would end the way it did. And there's no way to predict quite yet what forces will shape the 2020 election. Careful tracking of your messaging (likes, shares, comments, etc.) will tell you if you're on track or if public opinion has shifted yet again. If so, your messaging needs to shift with it. Ideally, one person should be responsible for monitoring reaction to the campaign's messaging and for raising a red flag if reactions aren't what was expected.
Thankfully, the world hasn't completely lost its marbles
Whatever the outcome of the election may be, candidates now face a situation where long-standing rules of behavior no longer apply. You now have to make your own rules -- your own digital policies. You can't make assumptions about what the voting public will or won't accept. You can't assume that "They'll never vote for someone who acts like that"; neither can you assume, "Oh, I can get away with that, too." So do it right from the beginning. Because in this election, I predict that sound digital policies combined with authenticity will be your best friend.