How Do You Manage Money in Your Household?

Updated on September 04, 2012
K.B. asks from Chicago, IL
15 answers

Managing money within a household is sometimes a magical fete for couples. Not everyone is skilled at managing money and some want nothing to do with this responsibility. You have to find what works for you. Is it separate accounts? Do you split everything 50/50? Do you have specific bills you pay? One account? It is said that money is a major cause of divorce. Is this true? We operate with two separate accounts, fully aware of each others incomes, expenses, and no secret accounts. This works for us. My hubby pays mortgage, daughter's tuition, insurance and his personal bills. I cover utilities, groceries, kids stuff and personal bills. We jointly cover other expenses. Whomever has the funds to cover the expense does. We discuss all expenses. This has worked for 17 years. We have never had a money issue or argument over money. I'm thankful for that, as well as the fact that we both make every effort to be responsible with our funds -both on the same page. That helps.

What works in your household? What issues have prompted you to change how you manage money?

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answers from St. Louis on

I think the money fights come when there isn't enough money to pay for everything you really want. Then it comes down to my needs should be met first because I earn more, but we couldn't make it without mine, you spend more, no you blah blah blah, divorce!

We just earn more money that we need, makes it simple. :)

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Chicago on

Hubby makes it, I manage it. We are joint account holders on everything. This has worked for us for years, with little conflict or tension. I do consult with him a few times a year on our financial plan, but typically he could careless. As long as he sees that we are saving a lot of money, and that there is money for when he wants to splurge, he isn't all that interested in the details. I, otoh, love the details, and am always trying to figure out the best things to do with our money.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

i do believe that money issues are the main cause of divorce - mostly because it causes SO much stress to be strained financially.

my hubby and i (after several years of him having some major employment difficulties) took the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University and it has helped so much.

no, we're not millionaires, nor do we plan to be.

but we learned HOW to manage our money rather than letting it just disappear in a puff of smoke with no clue where it went.

both of our checks are directly deposited into one account.

I made a spreadsheet that i keep all of our bills on, and each month i list each paycheck we expect to get, and assign each bill to a specific paycheck, based on amount and due date. i plan out the whole month that way. then as things come up, i reassess and rearrange as needed. it has been SO helpful.

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answers from Los Angeles on

At one time, my wife thought I was too controlling when it came to money. We never had a my money and your money. It was always OUR money. We were partners. Full partners, not majority and minority partners. When she told me she felt I was too controlling with the money, I walked over and picked up the checkbook and gave it to her and said you know how to balance a checkbook. Its now yours. Give you and me the same amount of money to spend on personal items.

30 some years later she still handles the money. Mom handled the money in my house. My FIL handled the money when my wife was growing up and apparently either she or her mom had a problem with that. I don't even bother to see how much she makes or how much is in the checking account. If I want to spend money on a big ticket item, I tell my wife what I want to do, we discuss it if necessary and then I spend the money or not as common sense dictates and we agree.

Me, I simply don't care as long as the bills are paid on time and I have spare change to be able to buy my wife a present when I want to.

IMO, who is the most skilled in handling the money should handle the money. If I was married to a lawyer, I certainly wouldn't handle the family's legal affairs.

Good luck to you and yours.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Savannah on

Even when I was working 2 jobs for a total of 60 hrs a week (7 days/week, the first 10 months of marriage, but he worked 1 job 6 days/week for 70 hrs/week...we had a specific goal, not to do that forever but to prepare for our first child, get out of debt, save for our first house): we always had THE SAME account. Now we have several accounts for different things, but they are all joint accounts, a couple credit cards that are sitting in a file box (in both our names) and the one card we actually use all the time is in both our names.

My husband is a professional planner so he handles the long term stuff (and has me sit down and "learn" it all----which is a lot, and boring, but it's important). I am now a mostly-sahm and am the "home manager" which includes the day to day money management. With our longterm goals in mind, I make the budget and make sure it equals out every month. He works a lot and I do the chores and stuff (including shopping) while he's at work so it stands to reason that I'm more in control of the day to day stuff. Every Sunday I take some time alone and track what's been spent for the week, on what, where, to make sure it doesn't get too far off track. (It's not the same EVERY week, but it will balance at the end of the month). The last Sunday of every month I have him sit down and go over things with him so that he can understand what we're doing. It takes about 10 minutes, because I've already done my part every week prior to make it easy to read/understand. This way we both always know what is coming in, what is going out, etc.

I see how much money is being earned and where it goes: our money market, 401(k), roth and traditional IRAs for both of us, the charitable gift fund, the 529 and college accounts, our "real" bank account (for normal life) and our "taxes and maintenance for our rental property" account (we "pay" our projected taxes: state, federal, properties, etc a year ahead to this account because it has a really good interest rate but is a small branch out of draws interest all year long, and then we pay taxes when it's due but have earned income from the interest and do it again every year....the "real" account is a major bank that is local, and more for every day use). I work part time and it goes in the same pot, though I have opened accounts in the past where you do direct deposit and get $100 for banking with part time pay went to specific projects like Jeremy's surprise 50th birthday party, or a vacation for the 2 of us, etc. Jer knew about the account and what was in it, but understood it was a project account for us even if he didn't know what the project was. He trusts me and my decisions. Those accounts worked because we don't go into debt and it was going to take awhile to set aside money for a specific thing.

We do have "spending money" budgeted in, but if we spend $100 or more on anything (out of the ordinary: not counting groceries or bills, but some unusual purchase), we tell each other AHEAD of time. Nobody is being "the boss" or whatever, but the accountability is good for us. My husband had a relationship where they had separate everything and there was jealousy and fighting over what's "fair" (percentage-wise), and he had a previous marriage where they had a joint account but did their own thing with no plan and were TOTALLY broke and in debt even though their combined income was very very good. So, he really appreciates joint everything but my attitude of looking at the family expenses as a business that needs to be managed and run correctly, and jointly. This is my first marriage but I saw lots of issues with money in my parents' marriage and divorce. It was one of their main reasons to divorce. I saw mom's side, and I saw dad's side. I think just taking emotion and entitlement out of the equation and looking at it like a business is the best way to "grow the business" of the household budget. That's what works for us.

My husband and I have only had ONE problem with money ever, in a decade, and that was this summer, where some of the charitable gift fund went without discussing it with me and I was freaked out (not that I'm a control freak but that it was the first thing that has ever been behind my back and I felt scared---I didn't like "behind my back".....and when he told me the story, the story "felt" wrong. We had a huge argument, and he changed the passwords (not access to the accounts, but just the passwords to SEE them, for 2 days but changed them back without me asking him too.....just his way of saying "f-you" since he was mad at that moment). We went to counseling over it, and that helped so much, so quickly----we didn't fight or let it fester, we just couldn't see eye to eye so we sought help quickly. That helped set some things straight, and that same week he found out he'd been fooled by that sob story that just wasn't true (the one that just felt wrong). He does respect my gut instinct, and I do respect his desire to help, but we are a team and feel that we need each other to do what's best. So, crisis was averted, situation was fixed. I am very very glad we went to counseling (only 3 sessions, but they really got us back on track). I think money can be very contentious because it's more than just numbers on can symbolize the work and time people put in, their lifestyle, their hopes and dreams, their respect or trust for each other, a FEELING of security, all kinds of things. Teamwork is the only way I can see it working for a marriage. What that teamwork looks like though is for each couple to figure out (separate accounts and sharing responsibilities works for you, same accounts but sharing goals works for us).

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answers from San Francisco on

I do my husband works but i manage the money, We have two accounts one for bills one for (trips and such) i handle all the bills and give him $100 a week and if he needs more he just tells me how much he is taking out so Ikeep track. It works best becasue I am the one who gives the kids lunch money, pay for preschool, ETC.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

Hubby is horrible at managing money, so that's my duty, but he sees the bills and he sees the bank statements. We have one account. It's all looked at as it's our money.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

We are both numbers people. We have joint accounts for personal, we have business accounts, and our daughter has her accounts set up for her.

I do all of the day to day with personal and the business. My hubby is very financially intuned and he works alongside our financial planner and tax counsel for all of the investments, etc. I am on those accounts jointly, we also have 2 separate accounts se up for each of us and we have daughter's account set up as well.

We are on the same page when it comes to financials meaning live beliw your means and no debt. I am very particular with my books and keep them very organized and up to date. I am online banking daily to reconcile and check balances. We have huge swings with our company and it is vital to stay on top of it to be successful.

We buy things when we need it, we don't really budget but we don't all out blow the money either. When opportunity presents itself, as far as investment opportunities, real estate, etc... we analyze it and decide if we want to act on it or not.

I believe a lot of what works for us is that we think alike. Pay yourself first, keep a stash of accessible cash for emergencies and be debt free.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

We have one account. I budget everything. Anything over $30, we just check in with the other. (Mostly him checking in with me, since I keep the budget.) He is not good at managing money, so I completely manage out money. We do talk about it all the time, so we're on the same page. We both know how much money is there for "fun" stuff. When the fun budget is gone, we always check in about frivolous things. We've never so much had a heated discussion about money. Our system works for us. We both can see where the money is, where it's going, etc. I have a spreadsheet with all our expenses and everything, and he does look at that sometimes...just so he knows what's up.

We've not had to change anything. We've operated like this from day one. He knows he can't manage money, and I know I can.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Augusta on

At our house we have separate accounts, and a emergency account. I pay for utilities also and my husband pays bills. We dont have secret accounts either. Its all about trust, and we have each other's passwords too to everything. This has worked so far and I hope it will work forever :)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Topeka on

We have one account. He is the only one working... for now... since I am in college. We make a budget every month. We go by that budget. We use the envelope system for things like allowances, gas, groceries, fun money. Anything like utilities, we keep in the checking account and mail it off or do it over the internet. We do not use the debit card for fast purchases since it only messes up what we budgeted for. It has worked for us.

If we EVER fight over anything at all, it is money. I can see where money can cause divorces, and in the same breath I will also say that I think fighting over money is a stupid reason to get a divorce. It is something you can work through. Why get a divorce and then have to pay for seperate houses? You would still be broke...

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answers from Bloomington on

I don't bring in any income to the household, we have one account( I could see us having 2, if I worked) , plus savings account & savings accounts for all the kids. I handle all the finances. My husband has handled the money in the past & it has caused huge problems. He's not good with money. I used to think , it was because we were broke & barely making ends meet. I was wrong, he is making a pretty good income now & he still sucked. I still consult with him & let him know what's going on & act like I'm needing some direction( I feel like tht cuts down on the arguments, everyone feels involved, at some level). We have a 50$ rule, no purchases over that, without " consulting" with the other person. We've been married over 10 years & I think , just over the past year , we have stopped arguing about money because of those changes. Basically, through desperation, we had to sit down and agree to a plan & rules , regarding finances .

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answers from Chicago on

when we first started living together we kept things separate. We split the rent down the middle, the bills kinda even (he had electric and I had gas for instance) and we each put in $50 for groceries for the week.
Then when we got married I took over it all. We had been living together for 3 1/2 yrs at that point so we had a good system. All the money went into a single bank account and we both had credit cards and spending money to use as we wanted. I'm better at the day to day money stuff and he is better at the bigger purchase stuff so that stuff is split that way. Big stuff is a joint decision mostly.

When hubby lost his job 2 yrs ago and started making 1/3 less of what he was before we had to adjust our spending but we did that easily just because we both knew how to do so - no more going out to the movies, dinner, etc. no more allowance or music lessons for our kids, no more going on vacations... until we caught back up money wise.


answers from Phoenix on

We both own businesses so we both have a business account and a personal account.i pay all of the house bills from his account and all the groceries and clothing from mine. We pay CASH for everything and have NO debt except for back taxes, which is both a significant amount. We both spend what we wish and, but are reasonable. We both have access to all accounts. I have a spreadsheet and call in all our bills so I keep track of it that way, it had really helped.



answers from Phoenix on


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