Handling money in a relationship.
February 17, 2005 11:42 PM   Subscribe

How do you handle money within your relationship?

Right now, my boyfriend and I have totally seperate accounts, and we pay our mutual bills on an income-proportional basis (we live together). He makes more, so I let him pay for dinner out most of the time and we usually wait until it's his time to buy groceries before we buy more expensive items.

We're trying to figure out how we'll handle money as our relationship progresses, with the thought that we'll probably get married in a year or two.

I read a financial column recently that adamantly argued that couples should combine all their finances into joint accounts. Other things I've read suggest keeping seperate personal checking accounts, but maybe having a joint checking and savings account.

About us:

I have about $2,500 in car and unsubsidized student loans that I want to pay off before we start becoming fiscally enmeshed. I've got another $10,000 in subsidized student loans too. Because paying off this debt and saving for retirement are very important to me, and I don't make all that much money, I live on a fairly tight budget.

He makes more than me, invests well for his retirement and doesn't have any debt. He's not intentionally frugal, but he's not all that into consumption, so he just seems to naturally save an additional fifth of his income each year after investing.

We're open with each other about how much we have and what our financial goals are, but I think we're both a little nervous about combining accounts.

How do you and your partner manage your finances? Any tips for becoming more comfortable with this topic? Any suggestions for us?
posted by croutonsupafreak to Human Relations (37 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
My wife and I have a shared savings account for all large mutual costs, such as the mortgage, annual car insurance payments, property tax, rhinoplasty for our pugs, etc. We each contribute a salary appropriate amount into that pool and then use that money to pay those bills as they come due. I don't contribute quite as much to the main pot, since I also pay every recurring monthly bill (gas, electric, satellite, etc) as well as the lion's share of dinners out, groceries, etc. Beyond that, we retain our own separate checking accounts, since neither of us want to surrender that level of independence. In general, I think it helps to be easy going about these things.
posted by jonson at 12:01 AM on February 18, 2005

I think we may go to a system like jonson's soon. Right now we split everything equally. We don't have a joint checking account, only because my wife is slightly scatterbrained (her words, not mine) and it gives me much peace of mind to know that automatic drafts are paid from my checking account. So large expenses like mortgage and utilities are paid by me and I bill her monthly. If we do go to yours/mine/ours we'll probably try to do the proportional shares.

It is important to work through your shared goals. We wanted to remodel our house, so we set a timetable. We both saved, then refinanced to get additional money and went for it.

Retiring your debt is good.
posted by fixedgear at 1:26 AM on February 18, 2005

My wife and I have one checking account that we put our paychecks into and one savings account that we put money into on a monthly basis (leaving just enough in the checking account to cover rent + bills).

I don't really understand the "salary appropriate proportional method" for married folk. You don't have salary appropriate portions of the house, do you? Or hey, sorry, you only get to have 43% of that pizza, since you only contributed 43% of the money to pay for it.

What's mine is hers, and what's hers is mine. That's sort of the point of marriage.

Now, if we weren't married, then I'd keep our money very separate, simply because you don't know how long a relationship will last.
The easiest thing to do in that situation is to have "bills account"(rent/electric/cable/etc) in both your names to which you both contribute. I'd say contribute equally like you were roommates, but salary proportional is fine if the richer party doesn't mine "subsidizing". Most important in this scenario is to have the most responsible person be in charge of doing the bills each month.
Then you would both pay your personal bills (student loans/car payments/credit cards) from your own checking accounts.

But when you're married? Combine them. Why would you marry someone you don't trust with your money?
posted by madajb at 2:11 AM on February 18, 2005 [2 favorites]

I have the good news/bad news benefit of being in two different marriages with different financial arrangements. In this marriage, having learned hard lessons from the first is to share household expenses jointly as long as both can afford to do so. I maintain my own checking account, discretionary spending money, etc. I have found that we each value different material items and personal expenditures. I work fulltime and want to always maintain my financial as well as other ways to be independent within a married relationship. Overtime, the unexpected happens and you need to be prepared for that even if the relationship remains happy and intact.
Our common household expenses are shared and others are separate. we tried the checking account together early on. Became awkward. In the event one person ends up in financial difficulty one needs to be prepared to maintain protection for your self. This has worked for us for 12 years.
posted by lag at 2:23 AM on February 18, 2005

My wife and I (married almost 10 years) use a joint credit card and contribute a salary adjusted amount of money to the monthly budget. We each have our own personal credit cards, checking accounts and brokerage accounts. When we first started out, we had very few joint expenses. Over time, we have become more "married" and most of our expenses are joint. That all said, its important to have some chunk of money that you're not accountable to the other person for discretionary spending. Its also important to each have your own credit history and understand how the household bills are paid so that if someone is disabled, the other person can step in. Having some amount of separation in finances isn't a lack of trust, its to guarantee transparency and independence.
posted by jhritz at 8:16 AM on February 18, 2005

I knew a married couple who had seperate checking accounts, but also a joint one. Not sure how that worked, but it's an idea.
posted by angry modem at 8:17 AM on February 18, 2005

Response by poster: Thanks for the stories.

madajb: If we hadn't done the salary-proportional bill sharing when we moved in together, we would have found ourselves in a very difficult situation. He makes about a third more than me. He'd been living alone with premium cable, high speed internet and shopping at a high end grocery story, and still socking away lots of money. I'd been living with a roommate with no cable, free internet at the library and work, and clipping coupons for food. By each paying an income-proportionate share of our mutual expenses, we both have more money in our pockets than we did before we moved in together, but I feel like I'm contributing to things that I couldn't afford if we split the bills 50-50.

In some ways, I like the idea of combining all of our money together once we are married (and after I'm out of debt). For one thing, I think I'd be better at managing and investing his excess income than he is, since I've spent a lot of time educating myself about how money works. On a more selfish note, I'd like the stability the stability and security that comes with sharing in a bigger combined income.

But I also worry about how our different spending habits would work in a joint account. As lab put it, we each value different material items and personal expenditures.

I also worry about how my spending habits might change if I wasn't living paycheck to paycheck anymore.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 8:17 AM on February 18, 2005

Here's an AskMe about the dollar limit people feel comfortable spending without clearing it with their SO.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 8:19 AM on February 18, 2005

This is a harder problem than it appears, because cohabitting couples often do -- and in my opinion always should -- strictly separate all liabilities and assets and pool money only on month by month basis to the extent necessary to finance common expenses.

However, if and when you get married, you really might as well forget about it. Any married person needs to take any "separate accounts" business with a big grain of salt.

In the event of a bankrutpcy, or a divorce, the court is going to set aside pretty much any effort to keep liabilities separate, and will set aside efforts to keep assets separate except (and not always even then) to the extent relating to pre-marital assets and/or spelled out in a written pre-nuptial agreement which was entered into with each spouse having legal advice.

Arrangements of the kind Lag mentions can help people feel good about budgeting and so forth -- but the conclusion that one spouse could be in "financial difficulty" while the other would someone be immune is simply inaccurate. If your husband runs up "his" Visa, you'd better believe the bank can make you pay from "your" assets.
posted by MattD at 8:19 AM on February 18, 2005

This is a question I have been having lately as well. I've been with the same guy for 3 1/2 years and living together for the last 2+ years. We've gone back and forth on the money issue but one of the reasons I'm so comfortable in the relationship is that we don't have money problems, we're good at working with our changing money landscape. I've been in long-term relationships in the past that were always a headache, with one or the other of us feeling that we were paying more than our share and the other person was unwilling to make changes. It's the willingness to retool,, imho, that makes all the difference in how easy money issues are to deal with. We're both very money conscious now though we make slightly different decisions about money.

Right now he's in law school accruing debt and I've got a job that accrues money and a lot of money in the bank because I'm pretty stingy. We're renting a place and I pay more of the rent [60/40 split more or less]. I also own a house that isn't near enough to the law school to live in, but we go there on weekends sometimes. We split maintenance bills associated with the place and I pay for all major repairs since it's my house. I pay the property taxes on the house. We split food and other household expenses more or less down the middle.

He eats way more than I do and has a taste for spendy brand name food and aftershave so sometimes he'll do a separate shopping trip that he pays for. I don't drink much, so he pays for most of the beer. He doesn't smoke so I pay for cigarettes. Everything else we pretty much split. We each have a car that we each maintain separately. We used to keep a running total of who paid for what and then tally up every few months, but we've stopped doing that because I think we both realized that it basically works out evenly most of the time and neither of us feels that the other is getting ahead.

Why would you marry someone you don't trust with your money?

In my world, being married is only moving further along a relationship continuum that we are already on. Even though legally/financially we would be more accountable to eachother, I don't see that we would be more accountable emotionally or anything else, but this has more to do with how I look at marriage than how I look at money. Currently I do all the bills and just tell him what he owes and that works. We're not planning on getting married, but we're not planning on NOT getting married if that makes sense. I work pretty hard to stay out of any and all debt. He's got student loans to pay off that I'm not that interested in assuming. We would like to own a house together someday [NOT my house, a whole new house] and there may be some negotiating about how that is going to work.

I know plenty of married and almost-married people that do the yours/mine/ours accounts thing. MattD is right that this is sort of a fictional situation since in the event of divorce or bankruptcy legally it's all both of yours. Since we have a pretty low-key world with few bills it's easier for us just to do the yours/mine accounts and make sure it balances out. I think a lot of money issues has more to do with your comfort level talking about and negotiating about money things than any presence or absence of actual cash. I never thought I would be with someone who could make me relaxed about money and yet here I am.
posted by jessamyn at 8:27 AM on February 18, 2005

Like lag, I'm now on my second marriage. In the first, my then-wife and I each kept separate accounts and used intuition to try to maintain a rough balance in how much each partner was spending on common expenses.

In my current marriage, my now-wife and I have been doing the same thing, but we're trying to reduce guesswork, so we A) have started tracking all our expenditures in a spreadsheet; and B) are planning on opening a joint checking account. We'll keep our individual accounts, and will pipe enough into the joint account to cover our expected monthly obligations (mortgage, utilities, groceries, taxes) plus a little to cover the unexpected. Once the common expenses are covered, the rest belongs to each of us individually (On preview: barring the possibility of divorce, which I am certainly not planning on, but MattD correctly points that the law will not necessarily agree with the accounting scheme you used in your marriage.)

Since our incomes are not identical, we're still trying to figure out the fairest way to divvy contributions to that pot. Probably a straight percentage basis; one interesting approach mentioned in a previous Ask.Me thread on this was where each partner contributed an amount to the pot such that both had equal amounts left over in their personal accounts (though this only works when there isn't a huge disparity between the partners' incomes). Our situation is somewhat complicated by the fact that she has a predictable salary and I have fluctuating income from contract work.
posted by adamrice at 8:31 AM on February 18, 2005

When my fiancee (girlfriend at the time) and I moved in together, we started a mutual checking account for, well, mutual items. Like the mortgage payment (she bought a house), utilities, dinners, etc. This account pretty much went down to 0 at the end of the month and was refreshed again to accommodate stuff we paid for together, so there wasn't like loads of extra cash in there that might cause a disagreement w/r/t its usage.

This worked really well; we've never had an argument over the money. Now that we're getting married soon, we've started putting more in there and saving together, but for the year and a half we've been living together without being engaged, that mutual account worked great. We were just very clear that the mutual checking account was for household items only (truly mutual) and didn't try to use it for other, leisure sort of stuff.
posted by xmutex at 8:32 AM on February 18, 2005

Oh, we also agreed that we'd each put $X into the account on a monthly basis, and on payday, so we both knew how much was going in and when, so there wasn't like "put some more money in!!" sort of stuff.
posted by xmutex at 8:36 AM on February 18, 2005

I used to spend a fair bit of time on a board that dealt with relationships and money (it's on iVillage, and it's a useful research if you feel like digging for it). The general consensus is that there is no one right answer and few wrong answers when it comes to managing money in relationships. What works for you as a couple, what you've discussed, understood and agreed upon is what matters.

I grew up in a completely combined finances household. I know lots of his/hers/theirs households. I know a few households that one spouse holds all the money and keeps the other on an allowance. Some of the families work, and some of them don't, but the one defining factor on whether they work or not is that both partners agree on them in advance and are willing to renegotiate if it turns out they're not working, that well.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:37 AM on February 18, 2005

Pre-marriage, I had a nest egg which I had been putting together for a house, she similarly. We made choices as to how we would contribute to a house purchase, leaving us both with something to hold onto. Post marriage, nearly everything is a shared expense. We discuss the bigger ones to make sure the other is cool with it and only on rare occaision have I dipped into the post-house nest egg. We pay bills either individually or jointly and try to give each other feedback about where the money is going.
posted by plinth at 8:47 AM on February 18, 2005

We do pretty much the same as xmutex - I get paid every other Thursday, my husband gets paid first and fifteenth, and each of us has a dollar amount that goes into joint based on income and frequency of paydays (it is the same amount every time, so no surprises). I don't think we have any bills left that aren't paid via e-bill-pay or automatic withdrawal, so that account just sits there and takes care of business, and we know how much is there for groceries.

Our individual checking accounts are right there on the online banking page with the joint account, so it's not as if either of us are getting away with anything, but it's nice to have your own money to do what you see fit and not have to answer to anyone. I think that's dependent on managing your personal money responsibly enough that you're not having to ask for handouts from the other, but I care about my husband so I retrained myself pretty darn quick.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:01 AM on February 18, 2005

I am fortunate enough to be in a relationship where we both have a very similar view of money - saving it and spending it. When my now wife moved in with me, I used to pay the rent and she paid the food and the rest seemed to sort itself out. When we decided to get married, we got joint savings and checking accounts and that was that - there was never any question about whether or how to do it. She had no debt, I had some, so I paid it off before we merged.
posted by widdershins at 9:12 AM on February 18, 2005

My wife and I have joint checking and savings accounts that all income is deposited into, regardless of source, unless it's a birthday/christmas gift.

We also have individual checking accounts at the same credit union. We each have a monthly allowance that the bank automatically distributes to each individual account.

Each individual and joint account has it's own debit card and check book associated with it. So when I'm out buying things, I basically decide if it's an individual expense (lunch, bicycle parts) or a joint expense (groceries, diapers) and charge it to the appropriate account.

It works pretty well, which is good, because I'm much more frugal than my wife, and this allows her to buy crap that I find wasteful, and claim it's part of her discretionary funds. For instance, if she had impulse-bought the aquarium and goldfish yesterday out of the joint account, I probably would've flipped. Since it came out of money that she otherwise needs to use to clothe and entertain herself, it's fine with me.
posted by u2604ab at 9:48 AM on February 18, 2005

I recently took over financal stuff in our relationship. My database guy self took over and went all anal on tracking every single penny we spend.

Up until recently she was unemployed and I was paying the bulk of the expenses. This was fine by me as she'd done the same for me in the past (on more than one occasion). In this situation, the unemployed person just pays whatever they can whenever they can.

We implemented it yet, but our plan now that she's working is to get a joint checking account to pay all bills. Everything will be split 51/49 (our salaries are nearly equal). Whenever a bill needs to be paid, we will each transfer our share into that account that joint account and a check from that account will be written. Groceries and stuff like that will be split just the same (one will buy and the other will reimburse their share). This allows both of us to keep our own savings and manage our own debt. I like this plan because it allows me to save up and buy her gifts without her knowing about it. Before, when we pooled our money together, I always knew how much she had and she knew how much I had - I didn't mind the openness, but I couldn't ever surprise her with fun things, which bummed me out.
posted by soplerfo at 9:49 AM on February 18, 2005

When my husband and I started getting, as they say, serious, we opened a joint savings account to which we both contributed on a monthly basis. This was for a particular thing, like a trip, but I forget what. Anyway, that worked out. He showed me he would save, and then we did something fun with our money. Now, we have a joint checking, two joint savings (one long-term, one for specific items we are saving toward), and we each have a checking account. I spend less on "discretionary" things because . . .I just do. So, he gets about 2x as much as me for discretionary stuff. That said, he pays when we eat out, nearly all the time. We don't do that proportional thing. We decided how much we need to pay our joint expenses (utilities, mortgage, etc) and how much we wanted to save, and then we decided how much discretionary money each of us would get based upon our spending habits. We view this as an equitable solution.

Like madajb, I can't figure out why you'd marry someone whom you did not trust regarding money. Money is something like the number one reason people get divorced. I'd say to sort that out before anything else. IMHO, when you're married, you're married. I guess becuase my parents never got divorced, I view this as a lifelong contract. Besides the fact, I couldn't have gotten married at all if I were thinking about "If we got divorced." You marry somone, you marry everything about them. You marry their debt, you marry their habits, you damn near marry the rest of their family. Part of that, unfortunately, means that you or he may end up helping the other pay off some pre-marriage debt. Personally, this isn't a big problem for me. For you, it may be different.
posted by Medieval Maven at 10:04 AM on February 18, 2005

We try to keep things as simple as possible, and we have no problem sharing accounts, so they are all joint.

Each week, we take out a set amount of cash for our allowances for personal stuff (lunches, books, etc.). He doesn't spend as much as I do, so I get a little bit more. Household expenses usually go on the debit card, and so are completely shared. On rare occasions, we use the debit card for something non-household, and we just mention it so we're both in the loop.

Once a month, I do the Your Money Or Your Life thing and categorize where we spent for the month, go over it with Senn, and put up a chart with our income v. expenses, so we both are completely aware of where we stand financially.

Incidentally, we did pay off a small amount of pre-marriage debt together. Because our financial health is now joined, it was in our best interest to be debt-free.
posted by frykitty at 10:22 AM on February 18, 2005

But when you're married? Combine them. Why would you marry someone you don't trust with your money?

What does trusting someone with your money have to do with combining your accounts? Nothing at all. You don't keep them separate because you don't trust them, you keep them separate because it makes things easier.
posted by kindall at 10:26 AM on February 18, 2005

I do not combine my money with my wife's. She'd just spend more, she already has been through one bankrupcy and currently has further accumulated about $20K in CC debt.

My debt is only what she owes, I am not going to enable her to spend more.
posted by DBAPaul at 11:13 AM on February 18, 2005

Best answer: My wife and I — married twelve years, together sixteen — have always had separate finances. We both trust each other with money, but that's not really the point. Separate finances makes everything easier. We have never had a fight about money. We've never even had a disagreement about money. If our finances were combined, though, I can just imagine the (additional) grief I'd receive for playing World of Warcraft.

By keeping our finances separate, we're each to spend as we please. If our money was completely joined, I'd really have an issue that Kris insists on investing in loaded mutal funds. She'd have a problem with the credit card debt I run up from time-to-time.

We divide up the utilities on a roughly equal basis. We split the mortgage. We split the groceries (roughly). I tend to pay for entertainment related expenses, including most meals out. She tends to pay for household stuff. Neither of us is shy about asking the other to help pay for something.

That said, last year we finally opened a joint account. We bought a new house, and after we sold the old one we wanted a place to conveniently pool our money. (Our new house is old, and we need a ready emergency fund for the inevitable problems down the road.) We contribute equally to this account, and it's only used to pay for major expenses. For example, when we remodel the bathroom this summer, the funds will be drawn from the joint account.

This method works for us.

The important thing to note is that there's no one right way to handle shared finances. Each couple has a unique dynamic, and each couple has to decide what system works best. I think it's important to put some thought into, it, though; I see far too many friends who, when married, just throw their money into a joint account and then there's hell to pay for years afterward. I can't believe how they fight about money. (Perhaps one man buys too many cigars and too much wine, maybe a woman in a different relationship cannot pass a shoe store without buying something.) On the other hand, I knew a couple with separate finances that also bickered because they couldn't find a fair way to share financial obligations...
posted by jdroth at 11:19 AM on February 18, 2005

Response by poster: Medieval Maven: Trust has nothing to do with it, at least for me. I trust my fella implicitly, and plan to spend the rest of my life with him whether we are married or not. We both know how much the other makes, and even though we currently keep our finances seperately we still tell each other about major purchases.

I'm asking this question because I don't believe in making major life decisions based on "how it's always been done." I like to consider all my options and find out what's best for me. Best for us, in this case.

My parents, who have been married for nearly 35 years, have a model that works for them but would not work for me: everything my dad earns is theirs, everything my mom earns is hers.

After listening to everyone's suggestions here, I really like the idea having almost everything combined, but keeping smallish seperate personal spending accounts too, based on each of our personal needs.

Now I guess it's time to talk to my boyfriend about all these ideas and see what he thinks.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 11:20 AM on February 18, 2005

Interesting. My wife and I have a joint checking, a joint savings, and a joint investment account. Both of our paychecks go into the joint account, and my wife handles distribution of money into our joint savings -- basically, anything that we don't spend in a given month gets saved. We're both relatively conservative about spending, so this just leads to us having a relatively decent nest egg.

I handle the investing portion, as she doesn't have interest in that part of it -- she just likes saving. Weird how it works out that way, but it works for us..
posted by fet at 12:19 PM on February 18, 2005

My SO and I have separate accounts. Like croutonsupafreak, it isn't a trust issue, at all; we're both extremely independent people, and separate money is a way to define that independence (not implying those with joint back accounts aren't independent). We treat each other often, but we buy separate groceries and often go dutch on restaurants. (We also have wildly different food tastes, so this is a factor.) We trade off on household items and other purchases. We don't have kids or property, so this method might change down the line, but for now, it works great. We never, ever argue about money -- then again, we're both thrifty tightasses, so we complement each other in that sense.

I'm surprised how often people find out about our arrangement and claim it's cold, or that we'll "come to our senses" eventually. We have a wonderful, loving relationship and I think because (for now) money arguments are eliminated, it's the better for it.
posted by Zosia Blue at 12:59 PM on February 18, 2005

Jdroth nails it for me. His financial plan is almost identical to mine and I imagine if my SO and I ever get a joint account, we'll handle it in much the same manner.
posted by Zosia Blue at 1:01 PM on February 18, 2005

Also, (and sorry for the third consecutive comment) -- I disagree that if you marry someone, you marry their debts and financial woes. I'm with my SO because of him. His debts, financial woes, expenditures, etc. are his business, and have nothing to do with me. (Unless, of course, he's in a bind and asks for help, which, in that case, I'd happily aid him.) The money he earns is his and his alone, and what he does with it is none of my business. If he chooses to share his money with me, then that's a different story.
posted by Zosia Blue at 1:06 PM on February 18, 2005

Zosia--from a "personal relationships" standpoint, it's perfectly reasonable to say "I disagree that if you marry someone, you marry their debts". But from a legal standpoint, US law says this is so. If your spouse dies (heaven forbid), you'll be stuck paying off his credit card debt. Divorces are knottier, but I believe you could wind up being stuck with part of the other's debt.
posted by adamrice at 1:17 PM on February 18, 2005

Obviously there are people who have problems with money (Miss Must Have Shoes, for example), and that will naturally dictate a different set up. When I said, "I can't figure out why you'd marry someone whom you did not trust regarding money," I'd like to clarify that was the nebulous, everyone-anyone you, not YOU anyone in particular. For me, if the money wasn't shared, it would be a trust issue. I would be very very uncomfortable not knowing where we were, or where the money was going. Some people, it seems, don't have the same hang up as myself and others do about associating money and trust, so I guess it would be good to establish if you make that association and go from there.

Zosia Blue - I'm with my husband because I love him, but the pragmatic realist in me knows that his credit matters just as much as mine. We are a "we" now; we have the same interests. We file our taxes together. I feel it is simply in my and his best interests that we take care of ourselves and one another by paying off debt, no matter who originally ran it up. That said, we don't have a bankruptcy in either of our pasts, such as DBAPaul pointed out.
posted by Medieval Maven at 1:18 PM on February 18, 2005

True, I was talking from a personal standpoint, not a legal one. I should've clarified. However, the monetary legal implications of marriage are just a few of the reasons I don't plan to marry.
posted by Zosia Blue at 1:33 PM on February 18, 2005

croutonsupafreak - Rather than have actual separate accounts, you might just try cash budgeting.
Basically, you withdraw a certain amount of cash (say $100) from the joint account at the beginning of the month and that's basically your "personal money".
Obviously this method wouldn't work for the WoW that someone else mentioned, but for CD's/shoes/etc, it should work out ok.

kindall - I don't think separate accounts would make things easier for me, at least. I'd spend half my time trying to remember which card to use for groceries, and which card to use for toys. Whereas, with our money combined, I just whip out the debit card and buy it. I couldn't keep it straight doing it your way.

I'm with Medieval Maven on this. If you are not telling your spouse what your monthly credit card bill is or what you spent on shoes last month, then you aren't budgeting as well as you could.

I do agree with what most you said (or implied):
The most important thing to do is to find the system that works for _both_ of you and stick with it. Most of the couples that have money issues have them because they don't talk about money until it's too late.
Joint accounts, different accounts, debt, whatever, just make sure you are both on the same page and it will all go a lot smoother.
posted by madajb at 2:04 PM on February 18, 2005

crouton - My wife and I are joining accounts next month, after we move in to our new house together. I make slightly more than she does, but not by much. Our plan is this:
1. common account for mortgage, bills, and groceries
2. the rest split into 4 sections:
a. retirement - straight to rrsp/investments
b. savings - for big ticket items such as trips, car repairs, new computer, etc. if this gets too big, it rolls over to retirement fund.
c and d. her money, my money.

Right now this works out to about $5-600 of completely disposable income each month. For food, gifts, clothes, beer, etc. If I want to spend all mine on 2 nights out, I'm welcome to, just as she's allowed to buy a $600 pair of boots. This way nobody gets stressed out.

A caveat is that I'm not good with money, and she's really really anal about it, so this is a good compromise for us. It might not work for everyone.
posted by sauril at 2:51 PM on February 18, 2005

My girlfriend and I have a joint account into which half of our pay goes (no matter who's making how much, and it changes). We use this account for bills, household purchases, groceries, joint outings, etc.

If I'm taking my friend to a movie though, I'll use my account. If she's buying lunch at school, she'll use hers.

She takes care of the account and the bills because she's much better at that sort of thing.
posted by ODiV at 6:15 PM on February 18, 2005

How do you handle money within your relationship?

I don't. My wife likes it that way.
posted by Doohickie at 8:22 PM on February 18, 2005

I pay all the bills because I earn more money than he does. I control the checkbook. I am the only one with a credit card. He keeps some of his paycheck and gives the rest to me for bills. He has expensive hobbies that I refuse to use our money to pay for, so he saves money out of his paycheck. He does all the household chores since he works part-time so he can have time off for participating in his expensive hobby (fishing).

Works for us.

We agreed on this arrangement long ago, before we were married. It's important to discuss money issues BEFORE you walk down the aisle.
posted by cass at 8:58 AM on February 19, 2005

« Older Cigars in NYC   |   Methotrexate off the market? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.