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  1. #1
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    How to Split Costs...

    Long story short, my girlfriend needs a car for work and school. I might use it once every two weeks for a trip to the grocery store or out to the suburbs. Since her car is dying, we're purchasing a new one together, since I don't want to feel like a total mooch for the few times a month it might be useful to me.

    At the same time, I don't think it's fair that I should have to foot 50% of the bill when I might only use it 10% of the time.

    I'm sure that there are other people who have been in similar situations...how do you work this out? It seems a little overly intensive to log hours/miles in the car and split up lease/gas/insurance that way, but I can't think of a more reasonable way to do it.

    Thanks in advance for your help!

    (P.S. Yeah, I know what you're going to say: "Buying a car with a girlfriend is risky business -- put something in writing." We've got that covered -- we'll have an agreement notorized, etc, plus we've been together for over three years now so it's not exactly a fleeting romance!)

  2. #2
    Senior Member kf5nd's Avatar
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    It's also not fair that women have to give birth to our kids.

  3. #3
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    I think you should pay 50 % since you'll have the car available to you all the time, even if you rarely use it. (I pay rent all the time, even if I leave town for the month of August.) You should pay less for gas and oil changes, but half of the insurance premiums and other fixed expenses.

    The other choice is to pay for nothing, and then never use the car. And never eat any groceries that she brings home with the car.

    Sorry, but you asked and that's what I think.


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  4. #4
    gwd
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    Yeah Roody is right, the man has to pay. Don't you notice that in multi-car households the wife gets the nicest cars?

  5. #5
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    So because it is CONCEIVABLY POSSIBLE that I will use the car at some point, I am obligated to pay half. Even if in reality, I use it once every two weeks (in comparison to her once or twice a day). I wouldn't even be purchasing a car to begin with if not for the fact that she needs one.

    It might just be because I'm a cheapskate, but that doesn't seem right.

  6. #6
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    If you don't want a car, which it sounds like you don't, then I suggest you don't buy a car. If she wants a car, which is sounds like she does, then she can go ahead and buy one. She doesn't need your help or approval for that. Once she buys a car it is up to her whether or not she wants to let you borrow it on occasion.

  7. #7
    put our Heads Together cerewa's Avatar
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    stidle,

    If I were in your situation, (and I am in a somewhat similar situation) I would try to add up the costs to use flexcar/zipcar/rental car instead of sharing the car expenses.

    If it would be cheaper for you to avoid using her car and use the alternatives available compared to paying half the car's expenses, then I can't see how it's fair for you to pay half the car's expenses. You could just "rent" it from her at market prices if you use it rarely enough. Otherwise you might suggest that you pay a third of its monthly expenses during any month where you use it no more than half as much as her, and 50% of its expenses for the month if the use is near-equal.

    In my situation, my girlfriend and I don't closely keep track of who owes what to whom, but this month I'm paying the rent even though it's her "turn". Considering the amount that I have used her car lately, that's probably entirely fair.
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  8. #8
    Pedaled too far. Artkansas's Avatar
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    My ex and I had a similar situation.

    For our first car, I paid for it cash, I paid half the insurance and quite a few of the repairs that I couldn't do myself.

    Our second car was a lease. I paid the down payment, the insurance for it and for any gas I used. I also tended to be a little generous on the gas, filling the tank when I had only used a little.

    I had a couple of cars during the marriage. I paid for everything on them. Only one survived the marriage and she got to keep what she got when she sold it as I was out of the state by then.

  9. #9
    Pedaled too far. Artkansas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gwd View Post
    Don't you notice that in multi-car households the wife gets the nicest cars?
    Not necessarily. My Mom had a wagon. My Dad had two MGAs. She was hoping to get an Alfa, but the next car was a Rambler wagon. Maybe that was why her third wagon, a Cutlass, had all the power options so it was effectively a 442 with a tailgate. The Cutlass was a great car to learn to drive in.
    Last edited by Artkansas; 12-03-07 at 03:08 PM.

  10. #10
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    This flow chart requires complete and total honesty and not a little bit of guessing, as in anything YMMV:

    1. If you are in it for the long haul and can be flexible: pay half of fixed expenses, consider it buying her safety/comfort whatever. This entitles you to a few things: use of the car, a say in what car is being bought, and being present during the shopping experience (ugh).

    2. If you are in it for the long haul and want to stick to your guns: commit to put what you would be saving in a savings fund (max out an IRA or save for a house down payment). In this case you surrender your rights to: use, and any say in the type of car bought and the price paid.

    3. If this isn't going to last: Don't pay anything.

    Be forewarned (experience talking here) she will hold your refusal to pay (options 2 and 3) against you. In 25 years if you decide it would be nice to take a hunting/golf trip with your buddies don't be suprised if she refuses to let you use your joint savings to pay for it.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Smallwheels's Avatar
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    Don't do it. DO NOT BUY A CAR TOGETHER!. My parents bought a car together. They were told when they opted for the insurance that if either one of them died the car would be paid for by the insurance company. That was a lie. When my father died the company would not pay. She had to sue them and still didn't get the full value of the remaining payments.

    You will be legally tied to that car and anything that happens to it even if it isn't your fault.

    Let her buy it and you contribute for the amount you use it. Get receipts or keep a log of your use. When (if) she ever leaves, you can bet that she will demand the car even if you have paid half or even most of its expenses. Judges like to give things to women and they mostly do so. You will lose.

    Marry her and take the responsibility that goes with it or keep your money and possessions legally separate. If you don't you will be on the losing end.

    If she complains or resents you for it, you need to ask her why she feels she needs a man to take care of her and provide for her. Any woman who can take care of herself shouldn't even consider making you pay for her lifestyle choices. Make her realize that and she should be fine with it. If she isn't fine with it then you need to realize right then and there that she intends to use you for your money for the entirety of your relationship. She may really love you, but she is still intending to use you for your money too.
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  12. #12
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    do what I do. pay for 100% of the car(get it in your name) so if she ever pisses you off you can tell her to walk. oh by the way if you have to get married get a prenup.

  13. #13
    tired donnamb's Avatar
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    My parents owned everything jointly except their cars.
    "Real wars of words are harder to win. They require thought, insight, precision, articulation, knowledge, and experience. They require the humility to admit when you are wrong. They recognize that the dialectic is not about making us look at you, but about us all looking together for the truth."

  14. #14
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    My parents also own everything jointly except their cars. Due to some silliness, for most of my childhood *all* the cars were in Mom's name. I think by now they're back to at least one car title in Dad's name.

  15. #15
    Spelling Snob Hobartlemagne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stidle View Post
    Long story short, my girlfriend needs a car for work and school. I might use it once every two weeks for a trip to the grocery store or out to the suburbs. Since her car is dying, we're purchasing a new one together, since I don't want to feel like a total mooch for the few times a month it might be useful to me.

    At the same time, I don't think it's fair that I should have to foot 50% of the bill when I might only use it 10% of the time.

    I'm sure that there are other people who have been in similar situations...how do you work this out? It seems a little overly intensive to log hours/miles in the car and split up lease/gas/insurance that way, but I can't think of a more reasonable way to do it.

    Thanks in advance for your help!

    (P.S. Yeah, I know what you're going to say: "Buying a car with a girlfriend is risky business -- put something in writing." We've got that covered -- we'll have an agreement notorized, etc, plus we've been together for over three years now so it's not exactly a fleeting romance!)
    Split it up according to mileage- its the one measurable factor of car use that you can constantly see in measurable amounts.

    The first rule of flats is You don't talk about flats!

  16. #16
    Keeping A Low Profile
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    Speaking from experience, my significant other and I just celebrated 32 years of cohabitating. No marriage . . . we both went thru that with others. We had 4 kids between us [from the previous marriages]. We do not co-mingle finances . . . never have. We maintain separate banking accounts and separate credit cards. But we split all daily expenses roughly 50:50. No record keeping, no 'comparing receipts'. Our two cars are registered in both of our names with "or" between the names. California is not a common law state. We own our own home. I paid for the home . . . then when I felt our relationship was firmly in place [20 years ago when the last child left home] I gifted her a percentage of it.

    You say you are in a relationship. If you are not willing to equally split expenses, you sound more like you are 'roommates' rather than a 'relationship'. If you continue with your current line of thought your relationship is doomed.

    DON
    The older I get the less future there is to worry about!

  17. #17
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    You need a new girlfriend.

    If you live together and you're not sharing the costs equally and even without thinking about it, you're not in it for the long haul.

    (This doesn't apply to EVERYbody, but for the most part, the relationship will end soon anyways.)

  18. #18
    Live Deliberately. davidmcowan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dwood View Post
    If you continue with your current line of thought your relationship is doomed.
    I couldn't agree more. I'm a pretty frugal fella and went through similar things with my wife. If you intend on being with this woman for the long haul, suck it up and pay your part. I agree with Roody that in terms of gas, oil, etc. You should pay for that based on usage. The fallout from the decision to not pay or split hairs trying to figure out who should pay will not be pretty nor will it set a good precedent for future financial decisions.

    My personal suggestion would to be buy used so you don't incur the initial cost of riding that damn thing off the lot and losing several thousand dollars in the process. My wife and I bought a car jointly 3 years ago when we were still in a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship. We bought a chevy prizm for 2500 bucks. 30,000 miles later with a little oil and a brake job she is running beautifully. I drive it ever so infrequently but happily pay the money to have a car available and to have my wife happy and safe. Those last couple words are probably the most important ones in my post.

    -Dave

  19. #19
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    This sounds like a BAD idea.

    My wife and I share a car. All of the car's expenses come out of our joint account, which we use for paying all shared expenses (groceries, car, rent, eating out, etc.) We still have separate accounts for personal use and savings.

    If you two can't agree on how to share living expenses, either figure something out soon or part ways.

  20. #20
    Spelling Snob Hobartlemagne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by niknak View Post
    This sounds like a BAD idea.

    My wife and I share a car. All of the car's expenses come out of our joint account, which we use for paying all shared expenses (groceries, car, rent, eating out, etc.) We still have separate accounts for personal use and savings.
    My ex and I did it that way. It was really easy when we got divorced.

    The first rule of flats is You don't talk about flats!

  21. #21
    Rider
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    My suggestion? Don't buy the car, but offer to fill the tank whenever you use it.

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