When you’re moving in with a significant other (or even sharing a home with roommates) it’s important to come to a clear agreement on how you’ll split financial responsibilities. Here are five tips to help you successfully split finances when you’re living together, to make sure everyone feels comfortable and no one’s left stressing over bills.

 1. Open communication is key

Just like everything else in a relationship, it’s all about communication. Start with an honest discussion about money. It’s important to lay it all on the table: income, debts, monthly expenses, and financial goals. This kind of open conversation helps set the stage for understanding each other’s financial situations and expectations. This is the ideal opportunity to discuss how bills will be split, who will be responsible for making which payments, and how you’ll handle other (unplanned) expenses that come up. Regular financial check-ins can also be helpful, so you can talk about any concerns before they become serious problems.

 2. Create a shared budget

Once you understand each other’s finances, the next step is to create a joint budget. Start by listing all of your shared expenses, like rent, utilities, food, and household supplies. Then decide how you’ll divide these costs. Some couples choose to split them 50/50, and others may opt for splitting them based on each person’s income—especially if there’s a big difference in what you each earn. However you split it, make sure it feels fair to everyone involved.

 3. Use technology to make it easier

Sharing expenses doesn’t have to be a headache because… there’s an app for that. A bunch of them, actually. Splitwise or Honeydue are a couple of the more popular ones, and they can keep track of your shared bills and balances, and even send reminders when payments are due. These types of tools are great for helping you keep things organized and transparent.

 4. Set up a joint account

Some couples find that opening a joint bank account can be a helpful way to manage their shared expenses. If you decide to do this, you can both contribute to this account to cover monthly expenses. It’s ideal for predictable costs like rent or mortgage payments, utilities, and grocery bills. Be sure to discuss how much each person will contribute and what the account will be used for, so there isn’t any confusion.

 5. Plan for the unexpected

Life can come with unexpected costs. Setting up a shared emergency fund can help you be prepared for unforeseen expenses like home repairs or emergency vet visits. Decide on an amount you’ll each contribute each month, and treat it like any other expense in your budget. Your emergency fund is a financial cushion that will protect you from having to dip into individual savings or credit to cover unplanned costs.