Internet, meet Mimi, who goes by @findingmimivlogs online, and her partner (who'd like to remain anonymous). They're a millennial couple in Toronto who recently went viral after sharing why they choose not to split their bills and expenses 50/50.
In a video with nearly one million views, Mimi said: "My partner and I don't split our bills 50/50. Why? Because we practice equity."
For those who don't know, there's a key difference in splitting expenses equally and equitably. When splitting equally, both parties would pay the exact same amount. However, equity considers how two people may have different resources to offer, and therefore both people would find a fair way to split money. In Mimi's case, she and her partner spend the same percentage of their monthly income on expenses, instead of the exact same amount.
Though this is a gross underestimate, consider it this way: Say your partner makes $1,000 a month and you make $500 a month. Your rent is $100. (Wishful thinking, I know). If you split bills equally, you'd both pay $50 toward rent but, if you've ever paid bills, then you know how much more this would hurt your pockets to have $450 remaining a month versus your partner's $950.
When it comes to Mimi and her partner's specific expenses, she brings in about $4,700 a month after taxes through her work as a clinical research assistant and a personal assistant. Her partner makes about 30% more, and each put 20% of their income toward shared expenses.
According to Mimi, this method made sense to the couple for several reasons, including the fact that her partner's parents helped pay for his schooling, which led to him graduating with no debt while she had student loan debt that a portion of her monthly income had to go toward.
He also graduated before Mimi — there's a slight age gap between them — and thus has been in the work field longer, aka earning money longer.
"This method was best for us because it recognized our income difference and personal financial situation, while simultaneously allowing us to stay financially independent and contribute to our shared expenses," Mimi told BuzzFeed.
Explaining more about how the couple navigated what some might see as a tough conversation, Mimi shared: "When my partner and I first moved in together, he wanted to completely support me while I focussed on paying off my student debt. We had been together for almost five years prior to moving in together, so he honestly didn't mind doing that for me. However, I wanted to contribute to our shared bills and expenses because it was our first time living together and I didn't want any sort of feelings of resentment if we realized we weren't compatible after living together, and him feeling like I owe him."
"Moreover, my partner was not willing to live a lifestyle that would allow me to contribute 50% [of my income] toward our shared bills and expenses because that would've involved living in a smaller place and other sacrifices, which he was not willing to do... Therefore, I introduced the idea of splitting our bills equitably."
When asked whether other couples should consider splitting their bills equitably instead of equally, Mimi said "yes," especially when considering the different ways equity can work. "There are SO MANY methods of splitting your expenses equitably," she said. "The method that my partner and I used is just one version of using equity. For instance, a stay-at-home parent does not contribute to bills. On the basis of equity, that's totally fine because the unpaid labor and childcare they do is their way of contributing."
"Equity should be applied to unpaid labour too. If you are splitting your expenses equitably according to your income, you should also be splitting the division of unpaid labour/housework equitably, as well," she concluded.
Now I'm curious — how do you and your partner or roommates split your finances, and how did you come to this decision? If you're comfortable sharing, tell me about it in the comments below.
And if you'd like to learn more about Mimi and her partner's approach to finances, you can follow her on TikTok.