Our Take on Sharing Expenses with your Partner

By Michelle Dear, Co-Founder of Tandem


We created Tandem by taking all the best parts of traditional expense sharing methods and innovating where they lack. With Tandem, you eliminate the back-and-forth of Venmo without the necessity to get a joint account. Our goal with creating Tandem is to keep it casual and put expense sharing on autopilot. No need for the dreaded “finance” talk...

Traditionally, one person pays for the first date (chivalrous). Second date? Fine. Third date? Tough. What happens when you start to split expenses more frequently, move in together, or get a pet with your partner?

Dealing with money in a relationship, regardless of stage, isn’t always fun, but it’s necessary. How do you split expenses with your partner? Here are some options:


Venmo is great for early couples. One expense here, one expense there. It’s simple, casual, and requires little to no commitment. However, it quickly becomes manual with frequent back-and-forth, difficult to keep track of, and repetitive.

What else is out there?

Taking Turns:

Taking turns sounds great at first. Neither partner wants to keep up with the back-and-forth of Venmo nor the awkwardness of requesting money. Each person feels comfortable enough with one another that it doesn’t seem like a big deal. Eventually, however, one partner gets tired of footing the fancy dinner while the other buys ice cream. One person pays for a grocery shop, while the other buys a round of cocktails. Not sharing everything 50/50 is completely OK, but one person feeling they are sharing expenses evenly while the other feels it is asymmetric is not. Could be grounds for an explosion at some point if both parties are not on the same page.

Sounds risky.

Joint Checking Account:

The use case for a joint checking account is typically for married folks and beyond given the commitment it takes to set one up. Once established, a joint account is simple and functional, but it’s not for everyone. It’s a big step, a conversation, a lift to set up, and everything in between. Not to mention, if you and your partner decide to take a break (gasp), it’s a hassle to dismantle and deal with. 



My fiancé and I moved to Houston for work immediately after graduating from college. Neither of us were familiar with the city (let alone had any friends there). It was just us. Like many, both of our jobs required long hours, leaving little time to be together during the week (if any). Moving in together seemed like the most practical solution. Rent, furniture, décor, groceries, travel, and other expenses immediately came to mind. How would we deal with all of these expenses? We wanted a seamless solution ASAP. 

After searching, we couldn’t find one, so we opted to open a joint checking account (in addition to our existing checking accounts). We would not deposit paychecks into the account, instead, we would each contribute a specified amount each month . In addition, we each got a new credit card that we would designate for shared spending only. These cards would be paid out of our shared account. We had to go to a physical branch to apply for an account AND each apply for an ADDITIONAL credit card.

There had to be a simpler way.


It became apparent there had to be a better way to accomplish what our Hybrid method did and do it better – automate expense sharing using all of our existing accounts, so that you don’t even have to think about it.

Therefore, we created Tandem with the following pillars in mind:

Keep it casual - eliminate the need to have the dreaded “finance talk” about getting a joint account. Let’s create something that automates and replaces the Venmo or manual spreadsheet people are already using, with spending accounts they already have.

Custom to each relationship - not all couples share things 50/50, Tandem has a default split option so you can split all of your expenses at the ratio that makes the most sense for your relationship.

Simple to set up - instead of going through the time consuming process of setting up new accounts, let’s make sure it takes under two minutes from sign-up to expense splitting. Sign up -> pair with your partner -> hook up spending accounts -> start splitting

Eliminate the back-and-forth - Tandem allows you to split expenses with a simple swipe, then the amount owed to your partner adjusts in real-time based on what each partner is splitting (one grand total, not individual transactions you send the same $10 to each other every week for). Pay each other whenever you want from within the app.

Automate - with Tandem you can opt to automate expenses that you always split with your partner (such as rent or Netflix). The app will track when those expenses come through and split them for you (so you don’t even need to worry about it).

Managing money isn’t always fun, but it’s necessary. The question isn’t whether you should deal with it, it’s how you deal with it. Tandem can make the process simple.