Joint Finances

Updated on December 29, 2012
K.G. asks from Akron, OH
26 answers

Not really a question, just curious about how other people do things.
My husband and I combined our finances the day after we got back from our honeymoon. I handle all the finances. Early on, we had an issue with him over-spending, and since then he's gotten an "allowance" in a separate account so he can keep track of his own spending and I don't have to nag him about it. He's very supportive of our recent decision for me to stay home with our children, and our money has always been 'ours' regardless of who earned it (even when I was working I made significantly less). We got to talking the other day about how other people handle their finances. I don't think either of us is interested in changing our system, since it's been working fine for us for many years now, but I was just curious about how other people handle managing money.

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answers from Minneapolis on

We have separate accounts because I balance mine to the penny and he never balances his.

He deposits money into my account for household expenses and I pay the family bills. We are both on the others account however, so either access that money in an emergency or time of illness.



answers from Atlanta on

Same thing here. Everything is joint. I stay at home and get a cash allowance every week for non bill related things (groceries, eating out, clothing, entertainment, etc) because I tend to over spend. Works pretty well for us, too.


answers from Erie on

After many years of struggling with my husband's inability to handle money responsibly in any way shape or form, I finally took it over completely. We don't even have a joint account anymore, it's in my name only. His tips at work are his money to spend as he wishes, and he usually spends it on dates with me, or beer. Otherwise, it all goes into one account and I am responsible for how it gets spent. We have tried many systems over the years, and this is the only one that prevents us from fighting about it.

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answers from Columbus on

We have one joint checking, one joint savings. I've noticed all our friends have seperate everything, though. I can't understand how that works for them. I guess it lessens the money arguments for them, but they still fight about it. My husband and I don't fight about money ever. We're both in the same poor boat together! =)

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Eau Claire on

Our system sounds pretty much the same as yours. I handle all the finances, and let him know how much we can spend. Really don't know how he ever paid anything on time before I came along :)

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

We have one checking account. We can both spend what we need, but always check in with each other. I create the budget (not his strong point) and he sticks to it. Nothing complicated. We have never has a disagreement over money, in 7 years of marriage.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

Everything is ours. If we go down, we are both going down! We both like to spend money but it has never been at the same time! Thank goodness. The one who wants to spend will "get talked down" by the other. =) We also "hide" money. We have a couple of bank accounts in Kentucky from when we lived there. Our son is there now in college, so we can deposit funds into his account without incurring fees.

My husband is our CFO. I'm the CEO. It works!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

13+ years...always had a joint checking/savings account. I pay all the bills. We just live, with text and online banking it's really simple to keep track of the money. Never needed to budget either one of us an allowance. Neither of us our 'big spenders' and always discuss and buy together big purchases.

I used to work PT, now I am a SAHM and it's always been 'our money' (even before we were married, he used to just hand me over his 'card of infinite wealth' as he used to call his debit card---although haven't heard that phrase since we had the 3rd kid, LOL) though he does like to joke that 'what's mine is ours and what's yours is yours'...yup, he's a keeper!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Grand Forks on

We do the same as you. I know lots of couples who keep their finances separate, and split up the bills. It drives me crazy when I hear couples argueing about who's turn it is to pay for the diapers or groceries etc.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

Our money is our money.
That said we have separate joint accounts.
Hubs likes to balance to the penny. Me? Not so much! :)
"My" joint account is my direct deposit account from YEARS ago.
I use it for my stuff (gas, lunch, mad money, clothes, etc), household stuff and groceries. My husband covers everything else out of his joint account.
So, for us, "together but separate " works best.
Big purchases are ALWAYS discussed prior to either if us making O..

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

He earns it, I manage it ;-) As the household manager, I am the financial planner too.

Our system works great for us. I don't give him an allowance or anything. He is mindful about what he spends, and when he is spending too much on lunches and things, we have a talk about it, but usually, I just adjust the budget to allow him to spend what he wants. He doesn't buy much, so it's not usually an issue.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

We have two joint checking accounts, two joint savings accounts, and he has his own savings account that I access through the phone and computer. We have reasons for keeping that only in his name.

We both work full-time and have for almost 7 years now...he's older and has been working much longer, but I started in May of 2006 (full-time). Before that I worked several part-time jobs to help with finances while I also stayed home with the kids.

Hubby didn't like me saying he had to eat lunch and breakfast at home, so he maxed out a credit card. We've discussed it and it's being paid down by HIM and extra money he earns on the side...might be him working some overtime or umpiring a softball game. He's a good guy, but since he doesn't see the budget, he doesn't know what's going on with it. It stresses him out to know and it stresses me out to NOT know.

So this is how it works for us and it works well.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Ours sound the same as yours except the separate account. I take care of the bills and work out the budget. We go over it together once a month. We have one checking account and one savings account and he has two credit cards that he uses instead of a bank debit card. We tried giving him a separate account but he doesn't ever write down his transactions so he never knew how much he had left, and he always thought he had more than he did and overdrew himself constantly. Tired of paying multiple $30 overdraft fees per month out of our main account, we closed out his allowance account and replaced it with a credit card and a mental budget along with a stern look that translated to "don't screw this up or you'll be paying for things with a sack of quarters next".

I check the credit statement four times a month (because I pay it off weekly) so I know he sticks to his budget. (The reason he has a second card in his wallet is because of that one time he went to a gas station and the one card he had on him was declined because the bank had put a block on it after I bought something online and they thought it was "suspicious". Now he has a backup, just in case.)



answers from Baton Rouge on

I had one ex who pestered me to combine our finances into one joint account. He would write checks but not record them, then I would go to the grocery store with the debit card and it would be declined. or the account would be overdrawn when checks hit after I bought groceries. When we split up, I swore that I would NEVER share a bank account with anyone ever again. When I remarried, he asked if I wanted to combine our bank accounts and I told him "No way in Hell." We split up the bills - he paid the mortgage and phones, I paid the electricity, water, cable, insurance on both cars, health insurance, and did most of the grocery shopping. What either of us had left after bills were paid, we were not accountable to the other for.
I would not want to live with someone so inept at handling money that I had to give him an allowance as though he were a child, nor would I want to live with someone who thought that he should decide how much discretionary income I should have.

I don't get all these husbands who get freaked out at the idea of managing household finances. Who paid their bills befre they got married? Somehow they managed to keep a roof over their heads. lights and water on, and food in their bellies without a wife to do it for them.



answers from Chicago on

I have been married 18 years in April 2013 and me and my husband have NEVER had an argument or issue about money. We maintain separate accounts, as our spending habits are different. We established our financial responsibilities when we first got married so that we could both share the responsibility, as opposed to one person managing all the money and all the bills. He pays the mortgage, car insurance and daughter's tuition; and I pay all the utilities and groceries. Although, major purchases (furniture, appliances, home repairs) are jointly handled. It's still OUR money. This set up has worked for us.


answers from Dallas on

We have been married for almost 19 years, and everything has been joint since we first got married. I'm a teacher, and my husband is in sales. He makes a ton more money than I do, but I handle all of our money (paying bills, balancing the checkbook, etc.). He has all of our passwords too, though, and always knows how we stand financially. It makes no sense for me to take care of the money. I'm awful at math, and he has a degree in marketing and finance, but somehow this works for us. We never fight about money. We're in this together, and philosophically agree on how things should be done (when to save and when to spend). Keeping things separate wouldn't work for us, but I know it does for some.



answers from Columbia on

We have 2 joint accounts + 1 joint savings account.

C#1 - both our paychecks are auto deposited and as much as possible is auto-debited. I write checks for rent and pay 2 bills that can't be set up as auto-debit to this account.
We each have debit cards for this account, but we don't generally carry them with us.

C#2 - I have "budgeted" how much we will live on for that 2 week period - takes into account anything special coming up during that time (b'days, Christmas etc) and I transfer that amount of money from C#1 into C#2.
We each have debit cards for this account. We spend most of our time together, so we just talk about what we are going to spend. On the rare occasion that we are apart, if he wants to spend money that is outside the budget he will usually text me (like he paid for dinner with his brother once). I've never told him he can't spend money, because his "wants" are totally reasonable.

S#1 - anything left after the bills are paid and the budget is transferred to C#2 is transferred to savings. Sometimes is $25. Sometimes it's $250.

We also have the mindset that "our" money is "our" money and we don't look at who brought what home or who bought what with it. that being said..... I'm MUCH more of a spender than he is.



answers from Cleveland on

My husband and I each have own own checking and savings accounts and then one joint checking and savings. I think in the beginning we combined all our money except for a few thousand which we didn't move to the joint accounts. We have an agreement about what comes out of the joint accounts (utilities, groceries, stuff for the kids) and what comes out of our personal accounts (his gaming subscription, my magazines, clothing, etc.)
I think this is how my parents had theirs set up, so I encouraged this with the two of us, and it has worked out really well. We're both fairly conservative with our money, so agreeing on what to spend on together is rarely an issue. My husband manages the joint accounts, and though we discuss most purchases, I trust him to make the best decision.



answers from Cleveland on

My husband puts his check in my account and I pay all bills. he gets some for himself in his own account but I know if my husband could access my account he would just keep buying stupid things that add up over time.



answers from Boston on

My husband has a serious spending problem. He's grown up a lot and calmed down over the years, but he still can't be trusted to have a lot of money at his disposal. For example, a few years ago I was pregnant with twins and beyond exhausted during the first trimester because we have other children and I was working FT and teaching at night. So for about 10 weeks I wasn't totally on top of the finances and he was in charge of most of the shopping. At the end of that trimester, I realized that he had spent all of our tax return plus his income plus a lot of my bonus - nearly $10K, frittered away.

So for check, minus a few hundred dollars, goes into the joint account out of which the bulk of our bills are set up for automatic payment. He is supposed to deposit a set amount each week into that account but often can't or won't, either from under-earning or being spiteful. We share a debit card for that account and if he starts abusing it, I change the PIN or take it away. I have my own savings account from which I take out cash or use my debit card for groceries, etc. and I transfer money into that from the joint account as needed. I also have an old account at another bank where the money from my second job is direct deposited and I use that for emergencies or to pay for things like hockey and lacrosse. My husband opens up new bank accounts all the time - no joke I think he has 5 or 6 other open accounts. He goes through phases where he thinks I have too much "control" over his spending (because I do "invasive" things like open bank statements and download account histories) so he goes to another bank or opens up more accounts at our current bank but is too lazy to do on-line banking so eventually, statements get mailed and I see what he's spending. It's never much, just childish spending.

This is just one of those areas where I shake my head and wish he wasn't such an adolescent about things at times.


answers from Phoenix on

We have 4 accounts, but we each own a business. So I have a business account and a personal account and so does he. Our income goes into our biz accounts and then we move money to our personal accounts. My child support goes directly into my personal account. I use my personal account for whatever I want plus groceries. I pay all our bills from my husbands personal account since he makes way more than I do. I'm on both his accounts but he has the PIN for both my accounts. We spend money as we wish but discuss "big" purchases before we make them. It works for us. =) P.S. I use a free online accounting system for all 4 of our accounts so we can see what each of us spend. Its called I print off our statements each month and input if money went to food, entertainment, church, car repairs, etc so we can track it. It might help you guys. Good luck!



answers from Cleveland on

My husband and I had very different spending habits and knew that going into our relationship. We did not want it to cause an issue so this is what we did. It worked wonderful for us. We each had our own bank accounts and then one joint account. Each month we both contributed an equal amount of money to the joint account. The house payment, house insurance, real estate taxes and utilities. Out of my checking account, I paid for daycare and kid activity costs. Out of hubby's checking account, he paid for food, household products, landscaping and all entertainment type expenses. Whatever money was left over each of us used as we saw fit. I paid for my own vehicle, student loan, credits, clothing. Hubby paid for his own vehicle, credit card and extra fun things.

I used to work part time so I never had extra money left over. The items paid for from the joint account were always static, but there were times when I needed money to cover daycare or gas money if I did not work as much. We were flexible when it was needed, but we both enjoyed the arrangement so it was never a big issue either.

I would have to say, it really helped hubby calm down on his "extra" spending. Once he saw how much food and general expenses related to a home are, he realized he couldn't just go to the bar and blow $100.

Like I said, it worked wonderfully for us, but then again we both enjoyed the setup. I still handled all of the finances. I just had to keep straight what account was used for what. Not difficult with autobill pay. I love that!



answers from Cleveland on

It has always been our money... although we have joke now and then about "my" money - everything in our lives is ours. And we are trying to teach our kids to feel that way as well!

We have in the past had accounts that were just in my name - mainly because we couldn't get a home loan with his name on it and if I had a checking w/ the bank we got a 1.5% decrease on the home loan intrest rate. Now that we are loosing the house, the account has been closed.

We have been married for over 18 yrs & upto a year ago, I was the bread winner, but health issues changed that and my income is no longer there. We are making it the best we can on what little he makes, which is why we are loosing our home. We are still together thought - that is all that matters! But when we both worked we looked at income & bills - If I made 1000 and he 500 a month (just easy numbers) and our bills were 750 - I would put 500 in the pot & he put 250 in the pot. But all in all, we both pocketed about just under 100 a week spending $ since there was about 750 left after bills. In the end everything was split equally.

Yes, most of the time I have the "final" say on what we do... but then again I know what needs paid & how much is in the accounts - he is lost when it come to the bills & stuff. Which BTW his dad got made about when I was in the hospital for over 3 weeks last year - no one could figure out what was going on bill wise in the house... no one thought to open the file on the computer that says Bills and look for the year & month. Oh well, they were all worried about me :) They all got paid - just about a month late & some of them even waived the late fees... wasn't that sweet of them.

All in all, everything is ours and has been since we got married... well except our cars. He hates my mini-van & I don't like driving his full sized van. So eventhough he has to drive all the time now - he still lets me know how much he hates my van & can't wait till he can sit in the passanger seat again or just let me go by myself again. Oh, how nice it would be to drive agian!!

BTW hope you have a great New Year & year to follow!



answers from San Antonio on

Sounds very similar to yours...all the money is OURS...his job to make it and mine to spend it (just joking just joking!!!).

I do handle all the makes my husband stressed to look at it especially when we have had a huge unexpected bill that takes some figuring out how to handle. Moving money from savings really undoes I just take care of it.

Our books are totally open, he can look at them at any time and I keep them very organized so if something were to happen he could pick up and keep going right where I left off.

We both get allowances but we use the cash method...we get them twice a month and when you are out of cash you have to stop spending. But this is for fun stuff, going out to lunch or starbucks...etc etc...

So sound totally normal to me...but each couple has what works best for them...


answers from Jacksonville on

2 joint accounts.
One is just a "leftover" from when we sold our first house and set up a construction loan with the bank. There was a leftover checking account, that is convenient for when I have small checks to cash/deposit (like rebate checks or redemption of points from our credit card, or the kids are sent checks for birthdays or whatever). Otherwise, husband's pay is direct deposited into our credit union account (which is not convenient to us for those small little deposits as there is no branch office within 50 miles of us).

The majority of our money is managed/transacted through the credit union account.

From the day we were married, he added me onto his credit union account and pretty much I have managed it since then (just celebrated our 16th anniversary). There is an attached savings account, also. Before we were married, and while I was still working (before kids), I had my own account at a different bank also, but I never added him to it. There was no need to. He made significantly more than I did, and he had added me to "his" account, so since I was the one paying all the bills, it didn't matter that he wasn't on "my" account. I basically used it for personal expenses like gas for my car, my car payment, credit card payment and to buy groceries. I think I paid the electric bill out of that account also (it's been a few years, I can't remember exactly). I used the joint account for the mortgage payment, car insurance and his student loan.

Once we got pregnant and decided I would stay home after the birth, we started using just his account for the household, and I used what was in mine (and the income I was still earning in the meantime) towards getting ready for the baby and paying down/off debt (crib/changing dressing/rocking chair/car seat/stroller/etc and paying off my car/credit cards/ and towards his student loan). We became accustomed to living off of just his income.

We discuss our budget periodically, and husband doesn't spend a lot of random money on a day-to-day basis (gas, drive-thru dinner once a week or so, online books/music purchases). Anything else, he usually discusses with me first. Well, actually, he discusses with me and usually I am the one who ends up actually spending the money... whether it is ordering/buying a gift for someone, sending flowers to someone, buying a big ticket item for the house, car repairs, etc.

And I manage the paying of all the bills - mortgage, phones, TV, electricity, water, credit card, HOA, car insurance, etc. Have since we were married.

His money is "our" money and always has been. It works for us. If one of us had a "spending problem" then we would have to make changes to deal with that. But generally, we don't.



answers from Cleveland on

All of our money goes into a joint account, even though he makes more. It has been like this since we got married (& we've been married for over 15 years). So far so good! I offered to handle everything ~ since that's how I grew up, my parents have a joint account & my mom was always in charge of the bills, etc. I thought it was the job of the wife. Since he's an accountant & it bothered him if I was literally 1 or 2 cents off, he does it. The only complaint I have is that if I get him a birthday or Christmas gift somewhere I don't usually shop, he knows ahead of time because he sees the bill. It's not how much I spend because we have a deal on how much we spend on each other for birthday & Christmas gifts.

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