Shacking Up, Living in Sin & Other Cliches

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In my last post, I not-so-subtlety alluded to some upcoming changes in my life. I didn’t say exactly what these changes are for fear of jinxing myself, but now that it’s official I can share my big news. In case you haven’t already figured it out by title of this post: The boyfriend and I will be moving in together in February!

To be honest, I’m not really sure how this happened so quickly! The boyfriend’s current roommate has been talking about moving out for a while now, so we casually entertained the idea of me moving in when he did move out (especially since I’m there all the time anyways). But, after a little more thought, we dismissed this idea because the building is currently for sale (again), and it could really use some TLC. We considered moving into my place, but honestly, with a landlord that never cashes my rent checks and being able to clearly hear my upstairs neighbours using the bathroom, I have no desire to stay.

Before I knew it, we were looking online every day to see what rentals were available.

Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for the local news to run stories about the ridiculously low vacancy rate and possibly illegal high rental prices/increases (ironically enough, they were talking about it on the radio this morning!), but I had no idea just how bad the rental market had become. For example, several one-bedroom places that I looked at back when I first moved here in 2009 have jumped from $650/month to $1000/month – without any upgrades or renovations and without any major economic changes to the city.

Admittedly, I went into this thinking that $1000/month was enough to rent a whole house, so I became very hung up on the price tag instead of the practicality. I wanted to find a place for as cheap as possible without considering what it would actually be like to live in that space… with another person… and two cats. Thankfully the boyfriend talked some sense into me. We crunched all the numbers, came up with a maximum price-point that we can both comfortably live with (which will still end up being less than I’m paying for my own place now), and made a short-but-sweet wish-list:

  • 2 bedrooms
  • Outdoor access
  • Downtown North location
  • Pet friendly
  • Off-street parking
  • Within our price range

When we found a listing for a place that checked all these boxes, talking about moving in together one day suddenly became talking about moving in together now.

I called up the landlord and arranged to go see the place, but sadly, another reality of the rental market here is that most of the time landlord = slumlord. (I really should pitch that as a reality tv series to TLC or A&E!) Anyways, the place turned out to be crap. It didn’t face the lake as advertised, there was an iron-mark burned into the carpet, the landlord was so condescending towards me, and in our researching we discovered that there was a bedbug outbreak in the building this past summer. No thanks!

On a bit of a whim, I went and looked at another place on my own that was nice, but I don’t think it’s fair to list a place as one-bedroom if there are no walls between the bed and the kitchen. Again, pass.

Thankfully, the other cliché of “third times the charm” holds true! The third place I looked at (with the boyfriend this time) is where we’ll be calling home in just over 6 weeks.

So how does our soon-to-be new place stack up against our wish list?

   ✓ 2 bedrooms (It’s a 3 bedroom townhouse!)

   ✓ Outdoor access (An end unit with a backyard, direct access to a recreation trail, and a park half a block away!)

   X Downtown North location (But still a nice area, and actually a shorter commute to work.)

    Pet friendly (We could get a dog!)

   Off-street parking (My own assigned space and free street parking.)

   Within our price range (Under budget, especially if we keep our utilities in check.)

new-place

We honestly didn’t think we were going to get this place because it’s professionally managed and the application process was intense! We both had to go to our banks and get them to sign a form saying we’re in good standing. They called our current employers (which was a concern because he’s a seasonal worker and I’m only a short contract). They called my current landlord (who then freaked out at me, accusing me of not paying this month’s rent). And I’m pretty sure they ran a credit check on us (and I’m in a wee bit of debt). But in the end, I got the call saying we’ve been approved and can move in on February 1st! I can’t wait!

 

What advice do you have for a couple moving in together for the first time? What was that experience like for you?

Or do you have any decorating on a budget tips to share?

 

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Amanda

More about Amanda

Amanda is the owner and creator of My Life, I Guess... a personal finance and lifestyle blog that started back in 2013. She strives to keep the "person" in personal finance by writing about money, mistakes and making the most of it.

29 thoughts on “Shacking Up, Living in Sin & Other Cliches

  1. Avatar
    Newlyweds on a Budget

    my husband and I didn’t live together before marriage, but either way I think moving in with someone is an adjustment. we would scour craigslist for furniture and figuring out the cleaning routine took a while. we finally solved a lot of those issues when we got a cleaning lady. best investment ever!

    Reply

    1. Amanda
      Amanda

      Cleaning lady, huh? Might need to find some room in the budget for that :)

      Reply

  2. Avatar
    Erin @ My Alternate Life

    We moved in together without discussing it much. I had recently gotten my own place (without a roommate) and he spent all his time there anyways. And then we decided to get married so he just moved in. It didn’t take a lot of adjusting for either of us (even though neither of us had lived with a S.O. before), so I don’t really have any advice. It was pretty easy to adjust!

    Good luck!

    Reply

    1. Amanda
      Amanda

      Good to know! And thank you :)

      Reply

  3. Avatar
    Andrea

    Jealous! That is a nice place!

    It didn’t take too much adjusting to move in with a boy, but I’d never really lived on my own without a roommate so it might be a bit different for you. The hardest thing I’ve found this time around was that we both had a lot of furniture/decor already and agreeing on which things to keep/where to put things was sometimes a bit of a battle. It’s all about compromises though.

    Reply

    1. Amanda
      Amanda

      Furniture won’t be a problem, but decor might be. Good thing we each have our “own rooms”!

      Reply

  4. Avatar
    anna

    Congrats, the place looks great! I think figuring who handles which chores or errands is practical, and Craigslist is a great source for furniture if you don’t mind pre-owned. Good luck with the transition! :)

    Reply

    1. Amanda
      Amanda

      Thanks Anna! We’ve been keeping an eye on Kijij for deals but no luck so far.

      Reply

  5. Avatar
    Alaina

    Congrats on the new place. It looks really nice.
    Let’s see…. Advice… Honestly, if you both respect each other, you’ll be fine. There’ll be bumps along the way, but nothing that a little talking it through can’t fix.

    If you want to start somewhere, I’d suggest talking about the household things you hate: What chores do you despise? What habits can’t you take (i.e., clip your nails in the bathroom)? Start with the “deal breakers” first, for fair warning, and the rest will come out in the wash.

    And on the moving thing, I’d say hold off buying anything too big until you’ve had a chance to get a good feel for the place first (unless absolutely necessary). It’ll save you from spending money in the excitement of the moment, and you’ll end up getting things you actually need. Oh, and hire movers ;)

    Reply

    1. Amanda
      Amanda

      … we accidentally bought a new living room set already. Haha.

      Reply

  6. Avatar
    DC @ Young Adult Money

    Congrats on the new place! It’s amazing how sometimes simply moving out of your target location can hit all the check marks on your wish list.

    I don’t have much advice for you besides give each other some space as needed : )

    Reply

    1. Amanda
      Amanda

      Thank you! I’m glad we went with a bigger place so that we CAN give each other space as needed :)

      Reply

  7. Avatar
    Sara Hamil @ They Call it Gumption

    Having never lived with a partner I don’t really have any advice. Sheesh, I didn’t even realize you were seeing someone! (I really must be behind!) Congrats though! The place looks really nice! Very happy for you :)

    Reply

    1. Amanda
      Amanda

      Haha, don’t worry about that Sara. People I know in real life still don’t know! Things moved quickly with this one ;)

      Reply

  8. Avatar
    Dear Debt

    That’s an awesome place! It was an adjustment moving in with my partner. It can become more about practicality than romance, i.e. paying bills, cleaning, sharing duties. I’d be really clear up front about who’s doing what, who’s paying for what so you can avoid some conversations later, and keep the romance going. It can be a lot of fun to move in with someone!

    Reply

    1. Amanda
      Amanda

      Great advice! We’ve talked about most of these things, but I know we’re going to fight about doing the dishes. Hahah.

      Reply

  9. Avatar
    CeCe @Pink Sunshine

    Glad you found a nice place. The rental market there sounds like a nightmare. There will be all kinds of annoyances as you learn each others habits. It’s only natural. Just pick your battles, don’t keep score and remember why you fell in love with the guy in the first place and you should be fine. Decide who’s paying what and how. Living together is really wonderful! I totally believe it’s okay to take a test drive before you buy the car!!!

    Reply

    1. Amanda
      Amanda

      Thanks CeCe! I’ll keep these things in mind for sure :)

      Reply

  10. Avatar
    Janine

    That place sounds lovely! Bf and I are looking at eventually moving into a bigger place, I have lots of exciting announcements for 2014, so I hope everything goes well for you in terms of the move and the lovely beau!

    Reply

    1. Amanda
      Amanda

      Like…. engagement announcements?!?!?! :)

      Reply

  11. Avatar
    Tara @ Streets Ahead Living

    Congrats on the new place and the big step! Husband and I moved in together after only dating for 7 months but we were already spending all the time together so it made sense.

    With a two bedroom place, you all should be set. My big advice is to be willing to split rent and bills based on income, not just 50/50. When we first moved in together, I was making significantly less than my not-yet-husband and so he paid his income ratio to mine more in rent. We still split bills 50/50 but if I was really cash strapped, he would have been willing to split the bills the same way too.

    Reply

    1. Amanda
      Amanda

      Thanks Tara! That’s a really neat approach. Right now we are doing 50/50, but maybe that will change once we get settled in. We have already talked about a few side hustles that we could do together :)

      Reply

  12. Avatar
    iou

    My boyfriend and I moved in together after only a few months of dating and we haven’t looked back since. It’s been a year and everything has gone really well. There are some things that he does that annoy me (leaves lights on), and some things I do that annoy him (throws clothes on floor), but with open communication those can be dealt with quite easily.

    I agree with Tara in the comment above regarding splitting bills and rent based on income not 50/50. My boyfriend makes almost double I do and so we have adjusted based on that. This has helped me tremendously in terms of my other financial obligations (debt) which makes life together a little less stressful in general.

    Good luck and congrats!

    Reply

    1. Amanda
      Amanda

      Thanks for commenting and for giving me advice. I’m excited to hear that other couples that moved maybe a little quicker than others are working out :)

      Reply

  13. Avatar
    Michelle @fitisthenewpoor

    I actually just did a guest post on Canadian Budget Binder about moving in with partners! You should check it out.

    Congrats on getting a rad apartment!

    Reply

    1. Amanda
      Amanda

      Yah I saw (and bookmarked) that! Pretty perfect timing :)

      Reply

  14. Avatar
    Jenny N

    Oh my! Congrats on your new place. It looks amazing! Loving the hardwood floors. I’ve never moved in any of my boyfriends before either (and probably won’t be anytime soon) … but I would love for you to give tips and advice to keep up my sleeve when the time does come!

    Reply

  15. Avatar
    Tara Gauthier

    My husband and I moved in together back when we were just out of high school. We had lots of donated furniture in the beginning from friends/family. It did not take us long to get used to living together but we were both so happy to be away from our family situations that it was great to be able to be on our own together. We had numerous people rent with us over the years to save money here and there and honestly hated sharing the space. We got married about 11 years together and just bought a house this past summer which we all love!

    Reply

  16. Avatar
    ms.

    Living together for the first time is not easy but the best way to go about it is to start segregating household tasks — if you like to clean dishes or cook, he enjoys ironing and laundry.. go with that instead of forcing each other to do things they hate.

    Reply

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