Many Americans changed their living situations to cut costs during the pandemic — including those who found themselves isolating with their significant others and decided to make the leap into living together full-time.
The old saying that "two can live more cheaply than one" holds true almost everywhere, but in some cities, cohabitating can really make a big difference in your finances. Researchers at Homes.com set out to find the cities where couples will save the most by living together, analyzing rent, utility, Wi-Fi, and grocery cost data from the U.S. Census Bureau and U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The study assumes that each half of the couple is moving from a one-bedroom apartment, where they pay the bills alone, to a two-bedroom unit that costs more but where living expenses are split down the middle.
Here are the 10 U.S. cities where couples can save the most money by moving in together.
Monthly savings per person: $1,169.86
Monthly savings per person: $1,059.76
Monthly savings per person: $804.10
Monthly savings per person: $801.83
Video by David Fang
Monthly savings per person: $707.25
Monthly savings per person: $689.59
Monthly savings per person: $654.91
Monthly savings per person: $618.44
Monthly savings per person: $618.15
Monthly savings per person: $550.28
It makes sense that the most expensive places in the U.S., like California, become more affordable when you split the costs with another person. A one-bedroom in San Francisco runs $2,923, compared to $3,553 for a two-bedroom, according to Homes.com, so two people formerly living solo would see a lot of savings.
By contrast, an affordable city like Cincinnati doesn't offer much in the way of savings for cohabitating. Homes.com says the average one-bedroom there rents for $698, versus $916 for a two-bedroom. In all, the average savings for a Cincinnati renter moving in with someone else would be just $275 per person.
Rent isn't the only factor to consider, though. Orlando rents are less than half of San Francisco's, at $1,140 for a one-bedroom and $1,321 for a two-bedroom. But it still made the top 10 for cost savings due to the high price of utilities: $224 a month. In other words, splitting the air-conditioning bill can really pay off.
As most young people know, getting a roommate can "dramatically reduce monthly housing costs. Especially for Gen Z and millennials a few years out of college," says Kenny Senour, a certified financial planner at Millennial Wealth Management. "If you are single and living on a tight budget, having roommates can be a huge relief for your monthly cash flow."
But living with a partner is an entirely different situation. While splitting the bills can benefit your bottom line, dealing with money together can also cause strain to the relationship, experts warn.
Video by Ian Wolsten
"Financially, this could be a good idea, but emotionally, only you can answer that question," says Brian Walsh, a certified financial planner at SoFi. "Moving in with someone might allow you to save on rent, utilities, [and] maintenance. On the flip side, living with someone, even those you love, can be extremely challenging. I just encourage people to think through all the pros and cons before making this decision."
If you do decide to seal the deal, be open and have candid conversations about money.
"If there is open communication and transparency, financial issues should not be as challenging to discuss," Cynthia Borges-O'Dell, a licensed marriage and family therapist from Modesto, California, previously told Grow. "Couples need to work on shifting their mindset from 'single' to 'couple,' and if they are truly committed to a healthy relationship, open communication is key."
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