S.J. asks from Gordonsville, VA on March 24, 2008
Combining Finances - How Do You Do It?
I am new to this site so I am hoping that I can get some good advice on what to do. My daughter was born 3 months ago and my husband and I are trying to figure out how to combine our finances. Up to this point we divided household expenses and paid them from our own accounts. I make about $1000 more a month than my husband. We really don't have much debt besides his car payment and my student loan. At this point I am mainly the one who pays for all the baby expenses. Now that we have a baby we are trying to figure out the easiest way to combine our finances (so I don't feel like I am always the one that is paying for everything). I know that a joint account sounds like the easiest solution but we are hesitant to do this since it is one more thing to keep track of. How do we do this so that I don't get stuck keeping up with one more thing? Any advice on how other couples do this would be greatly appreciated.
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A.M. answers from Washington DC on March 25, 2008
This works for me and my husband; because I made more then my husband in the beginning I took on 2 more bills then him. We always maintained separate bank accounts, what I would do, about 2-3 days before his payday, Id tell my husband what his bills came up, [some bills we split down the middle like 1/2-1/2 on mortgage, and one week I pay daycare and the next week he'd pay daycare] about 2-3 days before he got paid Id total up my husbands bills, then on his payday I'd deduct that amount he owes for his portion of the bills and deposit that amount to my bank acct, then I would pay all of the bills from my acct; my portion of the bills and his, that way the money left over in my husbands acct he knew was his spending money to do whatever he wanted to with it.
M.J. answers from Dover on March 25, 2008
The first thing you have to try to change is the attitude about the whole situation. If you feel like you're the one paying for everything instead of like you're sharing everything, it's never going to work. My husband & I have been together for 12 years, married for almost 10 & we've always shared the bank accounts & paying the bills. Over the years we've had different jobs, sometimes I've made more than him by quite a bit & sometimes he's made more than me. That part of it shouldn't matter since you're in this together. If you look at it like that, then it doesn't matter whose car payment or credit card it is, it's all just going into one big pot anyway. I don't think I'm entitled to more spending money than my husband just because I may earn more at the moment, we're a team.
P.J. answers from Richmond on March 25, 2008
Hey S.!!! Thank you for sharing your story!! I understand what you are going through. But God is so good okay!! First, the reason why I believe any couple would have trouble with the fact of combining their finances is a lack of trust where the handling of money is concerned. When you two got married, you guys joined together as one. So there is no two separate finances. Everything became one. When me and my huband put both of our finances together, it was awesome. We learned to be faithful over our tithes and offerings, and God poured out an abundance and we were able to take care of bills, childcare for 4 kids, etc! God is so good!! See, the enemy will try to confuse you into thinking putting together your finances will be hard and that things may not get done. The devil is a liar girl! Watch how God will turn it around for you and hubby and your finances. Now, theres nothing wrong with having a separate account that you strickly pay your bills for. But as far as one making more money than the other, that's just the enemy allowing you to look at it for what it is. You both love one another and don't let something as little as putting finances together, cause you to lose your focus on thanking God and trusting in Him for what he has blessed you both with and you are able to maintain and live girl!! How do I do it??? God and the Lord Jesus alone!!!! He meets all of our need!!! Your God shall supply all of your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus!!!! Yall will be fine girl!!! Take care and be blessed girl!!
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J.K. answers from Washington DC on March 25, 2008
We have separate accounts. we totalled our income and found out who makes what percent of the total income. My husband makes 60% of the income and i make 40% of the income. So he pays 60% of the bills and I pay 40%. For us, this works out in that I pay all the bills and he pays the mortgage. Percentages work well because it is so fair.
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C.H. answers from Washington DC on March 25, 2008
I will preface this with I am Catholic and we believe that marriage is forever - and both sets of our parents and grandparents are still married. If you have a different background, your feelings on this will be different - and certainly valid.
When we were both working, the money all went into a joint account and we both were respectful in our spending. After having children, I now stay home. It's harder to balance our finances, so I now have my own account and I get paid from our joint account. Call it an allowance or whatever, I consider it the money I need outside of the bills to take care of the household - clothes, food, activities, etc. We wrote out a budget and came up with this number. My husband manages the finances (I stink at this) including paying the monthly bills and investments as well as uses this account as "his" account (he's very frugal). I have "my" account to manage the house and I find that now I can also buy him gifts without having the surprise ruined and save for larger things without having to negotiate everything or "ask permission." (although he has never treated me like this, there is a pride element here seeing that I used to have a successful workforce career.) I also just started consulting work and the money I earn will go into the family budget and hopefully help with college savings and maybe even buy us a vacation this year. :)
I guess the point is that once you are married, it's no longer really your money or his money. It's our money. Whether you're at home or in an office, you're both contributing to the success of the family. It's a partnership and everyone has a role. Everyone has the right to spend the money and everyone has the right to veto the spending. You do what is best for the family unit. This takes a lot of trust, open communications and a big leap of faith.
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N.P. answers from Charlottesville on March 25, 2008
My Husband and I are going through this process right now actually so I thought I would share our experince with you. He is on a commisioned based salary so most of the time we make the same amount but sometimes he makes more. My parents went through a nasty divorce especially when it came to finances and my mother always told me that no matter what a woman should always have some of her own money that cannot be touched by anyone else. My husband didn't understand that coming from a two parent household but he respected my request and we have figured out something that works for us. So anyway here's how we are doing it step by step:
1. Write down ALL of your necessary expenses such as Mortgage, car payments, bills, gas, groceries etc.
2. Once you have figured out how much the two of you have to pay out each month figure out how much is left over or how much "extra" money you have.
3. Decide how much of your extra money you want to put into savings and how much you would like to have for "play money" which you can use to go out to dinner or buy a new outfit etc.
4. Put the necessary amount of your paycheck into the "bills or expenses account" this should be your joint account. Put your savings money into a money market account and put your "play" money into your own account this way you don't feel like you have to ask if you want to buy something. If you make more money than him then you can split the play money 60/40 instead of 50/50 or whatever works for you.
Also we have all of our bills paid on-line and they send each of us an e-mail when we recieve a bill so we both have control over the finances and all we have to do is click to pay them.
I hope that helps! Good luck!
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S.M. answers from Washington DC on March 25, 2008
I too agree with the 1 account method. HOWEVER - you both need to keep a financial identity of your own and you need to set up a budget. THEN everything that goes into the pot becomes joint as do the debts and savings. Let the one who's a better saver be the point person on the budget and the one whose the secondary person must stay aware of what's going on. Since I'm home full time now and have a smaller income coming in from some Farmer's Market products, I set up the budget and pay bills. Being unaware of the money when I wasn't making as much put me in a lot of fear. But when I took it over again (I had done many jobs in accounting & payroll)and set the budget and pay bills - my deal with my husband is "You make it and I'll save it!" We are on a pretty tight budget but still manage to save. The BIG thing is both must be aware, talk about it, plan together cos money can be a source of conflict. Managed like other parts of your marriage - it is truly another level of intimacy between you!! I think you can do this!!!
M.C. answers from Washington DC on March 25, 2008
My hubby and I have a similar situation. We each have our own account. We just got a joint account after 9 yrs. Prior to that, hubby would just write me a check for the shared things (mortgage, insurance, etc) I would then deposit the checks into my account and pay the bill.
As far as paying for baby things: daycare, food, etc. We would each pay for two weeks of daycare - rotating so that each paycheck was only needed for one week of daycare - out of our own accts. A daycare provider doesn't care that the money comes from the same acct. all of the time,(unless is auto withdrawl) as long as the check is good. :-) As far as food, diapers, etc. it was whoever happened to be doing the shopping.
Hope this helps.
N.M. answers from Dover on March 25, 2008
First of all - combining finances is a state of mind and you need to change yours. If you really want to combine the finances, the first thing you need to understand is your money does not belong to you. It belongs to your family - everyone within the family. You don't have to have joint bank accounts to combine the finances - just change your attitude.
My husband and I have never had a joint bank account. I supported our family while he finished college and now he supports our family while I stay at home with our four month old. It shouldn't matter who pays for the groceries or buys the diapers.
T.B. answers from Norfolk on March 24, 2008
I don't have any first hand experience with this but I can tell you what my parent do and have done for many years. When pay day comes, my dad goes to the bank and deposits what he needs to pay his personal bills and keeps what he needs for gas and spending money. He gives the rest to my mom who then deposits it into her account to pay the bills. She then takes what she does not need for the week out of her check and puts it into her savings account. My mom hates the idea of having a joint account because of some things that my dad did many years ago. So now she holds the checking account that all of the bills are paid from except his personal bills, like his truck payments and credit cards.
I hope this helps a little.