Combining finances

As soon as Chad and I moved in together 4 years ago, I insisted we open a joint account to handle joint bills.  We paid for rent, groceries/eating out, utilities, and other miscellaneous house spending out of this account, and Chad and I just put a set amount into the account each month.  This way, our other accounts were totally separate. If we had broken up, it wouldn’t have been too difficult to disentangle ourselves financially.

That was a perfect solution at the time.  There was no judgement on how the other person spent his/her money.  I didn’t even know how much Chad had in his savings!

Now that we’re married, keeping things separate doesn’t make much sense.  We theoretically will want to buy a house in a few years, so it makes sense to save together for that.  Most of our expenses are joint, so it makes sense to pay for tem together.  And of course, now that we’re on one income, I think it’s important not to delineate any money as “mine” and “his.”

And although it makes sense to combine most of our finances, I also want to preserve that feeling that our spending is our own.  I don’t want to track Chad’s spending (“You spent HOW MUCH on a baseball glove?”), and I don’t want him to be checking mine (“You already spent your October clothing budget, why are you on eBay again?”).

We’re holding off on making a decision for now, until I get my name changed (theoretically, that should happen soon), but that means we’re leaving savings in limbo until we make a decision.

Anyone have any advice?

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8 Responses

  1. How about switching it up and putting most of your money in a joint account but each having an ‘allowance’ in your personal accounts to spend as you want?

  2. Since I’m single, I have no experience with this topic. But I think Suze Orman suggests that married couples have a ours, mine and his account. The big bulk of the money will go into the “our account,” but having a small mine and his account will help you avoid the problem you’re anticipating. I guess an alternative is to have a monthly “allowance” for both of you. Let us know what you decide!

  3. J & I are not yet married although we practically are – we’ve been living together for almost 4 years. We don’t have a joint account (yet) but we are aware of each others finances ie. how much each one earns, spends, etc. down to the very last cent. Our Excel budgets are on our desktop and easily accessible to each other. We know how much each other has on their savings and debts, etc.

    At the moment, our rent is being paid by J’s account and I put money directly in his account as soon as I get paid. Groceries are being paid by cash or whoever has money available at the time (budgeted) and we don’t really have much bills. This is working for us perfectly right now. Even our savings which is for our home deposit are on separate accounts but we’re well aware of how much is in each of them and we’ll just combine it when necessary.

    I don’t know what our arrangement will be once we get married but since we’re very transparent with cash right now, I don’t think we’re going to make any drastic changes. You should go with whatever you’re comfortable with, there’s no right or wrong to it. 🙂

  4. I have no suggestions. Adult allowances seem popular and like a good idea. In the short term I don’t think there is anything wrong with keeping things separate — if you are buying a house, you could either set up a joint savings account or just pool your money. But in the lang term, it really does seem to make sense to combine things.

    Let us know what you figure out!

  5. We do all expenses joint (gas, food, clothing etc) and fun money separate. If it’s a need (toothpaste, a haircut etc) it’s considered an expense and taken out of joint money. If it’s not necessary and just a want, it better come out of that personal spending money! The rule is, I can’t complain or judge purchases made out of his spending money, hence I don’t care if he spent $100 on some silly part for an RC car. Of course now that he has this special separate account, he won’t spend it! Suddenly it’s become sacred and he wants to save for something big, before he would blow money faster than he earned us. This approach allows us to reach our joint goals (retirement, a new house) while still allow for freedom from judgement on spending. I think when saving is left up to each individual, resentment is sure to follow. What if you save more than he does, or vice versa?

  6. All of our money goes into the same account and we both get an amount each month into our own accounts to spend as we wish!!

  7. I think the yours, mine, and ours account makes sense. Since Chad doesn’t have a job right now, you guys can just have money as an allowance for both of you, and it’s money that can be blown with no questions asked. I think the key is to have the same amounts for your allowance, otherwise it might get a little weird (but I obviously don’t know how your money dynamics are).

  8. My husband and I do not have any separate accounts. This is for complete visibility and accountability. We feel if there are separate accounts then it causes trust issues. BUT we do get “blow money” or an allowance that is not tracked. This money is based on a percentage of what we bring in each month….so if one of us gets a bonus, then we both benefit…etc. Also, birthday money goes in that person’s respective “blow money” budget. It’s a rollover category so each person can save it or spend it as they desire. It works out pretty well, and when one of us gets a raise, then we both get more “blow money.” It really worked out well recently because my husband wanted Windows 7, but I didn’t want it so it wasn’t fair to pay for it out of our joint budget, so he paid for it out of his “blow money.”

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