Couples Moving in For the First Time: What You Need to Know

Photo d'un couple emménageant ensemble pour la première fois.

You and your significant other have finally decided to take the leap and move in together for the first time. Perhaps you’re newlyweds, or you’ve chosen to take your relationship to the next level. It’s also possible that you both want to save money on rent or a mortgage. Whatever the reason, there’s much to consider before booking the moving truck.

What Should I Discuss with My Partner Prior to Moving In?


Shot of a young couple planning their budget together at home 

Before moving in together, couples should sit down and outline their current expenses and debt and discuss whether they will share the payments equally. They should also discuss their rent or mortgage in their new place and outline all costs, including utilities, gas, car payments, groceries, repairs, etc. Knowing how these expenses will be divided between the two of you is critical. Will it be a 50/50 split, or will one partner pay for more of the expenses? It’s also essential to talk about the “what ifs” – if someone is laid off from their job, for example, who will pay for all the expenses during this difficult time?

Set Up a Household Budget

Cropped high angle shot of a couple going over their finances together at home

Setting a budget is extremely necessary when moving in with a spouse or partner for the first time. You’re now living together, which means paying for bills, groceries, and buying more significant ticket items like furniture and appliances. This shouldn’t be done without carefully considering what you can afford and what you need. While you may want to upgrade your flatscreen TV, chances are (unless it’s broken) your money is better spent on your needs.

A tip is to set a budget for each item you need. Take an overall look at your combined expenses and reprioritize items if you need to (maybe you can forfeit the trip to Las Vegas or live with the same living room furniture for another few years).


A young husband and wife folding their laundry happily 

Not many couples like to spend their free time tackling chores, but it’s an inevitable part of living together. Before you move in, list chores and divvy them up based on your preferences and strengths. If your partner prefers to clean the washrooms, and you prefer to tackle the kitchen – that’s great. After a while, you can consider trading some chores now and again to keep the chores from giving you the “bores.”

Married or Common Law?

Close-up of a gay's hand placing the ring on his friends hand during their gay wedding ceremony

If you’re married before you move in, it makes things a little easier in terms of the law regarding your finances and how they will be split if something happens to your marriage. In Canada, for federal tax purposes, you are considered to be living common law if you’re in a conjugal relationship with a person who is 18 years old or older and you’ve lived with your partner for at least 12 consecutive months. This applies to couples of the same or different genders.

Each province may have definitions for common law, so check with your province to ensure you understand how many years automatically make you a common law couple. Partners should make legal arrangements when it comes to their relationship. If they break up as a common law couple, depending on which province they live in, a partner may not have any claim to their ex’s property even if they were paying for rent or mortgage, utilities and other expenses. This also makes it very important to consider creating a will or a joint ownership arrangement.

Have a contingency plan

Shot of a young lesbian couple doing paperwork while using a digital tablet at home

We know it’s not something you want to think about right now (or ever) but creating a contingency plan in case you break up will give you peace of mind as you move in together. That way, there’s less pressure if things don’t work out, and you will each be clear in terms of what happens to your finances and investments. Various plans can work for you as a couple. For example, you can keep separate personal bank accounts and open one joint account to handle shared bills and utilities. It’s best to consult with a financial advisor and/or estate planner.

Declutter and reorganize

Couple decluttering their home

When you’ve chosen that perfect home with the white picket fence or the two-bedroom condo in the downtown core, one thing is sure: you’ll need to think about how realistic it is to combine each partner’s personal belongings into one home.

Bringing everything but the kitchen sink with you is probably not a good idea. It’s better to spend time decluttering and going through this exercise to donate what you don’t use anymore. Also, it’s essential to look at how much space you have in your new place to make it easier to decide what to keep, toss, sell or donate. In terms of more oversized items like furniture and appliances, measure them to ensure they fit in your new space if you want to keep them.

Combine households, combine insurance for savings

Happy diverse couple shaking hands with insurance agent in the office.

When you get married or combine households, you may also want to consider merging your auto and/or home insurance and learn more about combining car insurance policies to help you save money. If you both have vehicles and good driving records, you might be able to save when combining policies rather than keeping them separate. The more vehicles you have, the more you might save.

Combining auto policies isn’t the only way to save. Consider bundling your auto and home insurance for a multi-policy discount. Other policies you might be able to bundle with car insurance — and each other — include motorcycle, renters and life insurance.

Contact your agent to learn more about how moving in together can help you save.

Lower your carbon footprint

Couple Riding Bicycles Around Suburban Neighborhood

When moving in together for the first time, many couples are interested in lowering their carbon footprint, or the total amount of greenhouse gas emissions – including carbon dioxide and methane – generated by our actions. If that includes you, but you don’t know where to start, some of the simplest ways to lower our carbon footprint begin at home. Read more.


Young couple moving house

Moving can certainly be an overwhelming experience. Researching credible moving companies or even relying on good referrals is essential. Once you’ve chosen your moving company, start packing well ahead; don’t leave anything to the last minute. Take an inventory of everything you will be moving and label the room where each box will be moved. For other tips on how to move stress-free, check out these tips.

It can be an exciting time in your relationship if you’re considering moving in with your spouse or partner. Living with your significant other can be a great experience in many ways. So, take your time and enjoy the journey!

Disclaimer: This information and the websites referenced are provided for your convenience only and should not be construed as providing legal or insurance advice. Allstate does not control or guarantee the accuracy of any content on any third-party site. Allstate is not responsible for the privacy practices of any third-party site.