Post # 1
Fiance and I live together and are getting married next year. Our finances are currently separate and we are constantly passing money back and forth. It’s getting ridiculous so we’re going to open a joint account. We will put the cost of joint expenses into this account and the rest of our income will keep our individual accounts.
I only make 25% of what he does so I am pretty conscious of how I spend my money. I do struggle a bit because of my lower income and do a lot of careful budgeting each month to make sure bills are paid, I add to my savings account and I leave myself a bit of fun money. Currently we split every 50/50 except for the rent. He pays 2/3 of the rent. But cable, electric, cell phone, groceries, etc are split right down the middle.
I am just curious if there are any other bees in this situation (a huge difference in income). How do you split joint expenses?
I feel bad making him pay more just because he makes more when I use 50% of the cable, electricity, etc. One on hand it makes me feel like I am not pulling my own weight, but on the other hand he does make a significant amount more than me. Is it fair to ask him to pay a higher percentage of our joint expenses when we open this account?
ETA: And now I have to run to a few meetings at work, but I promise to come back and respond to everyone. Thanks in advance! 😀
Post # 3
This is one of those areas where there is no “right” answer – just what the two of you are most comfortable with. If it were me, and my SO made 4 times as much as me, I would go with percentage-based contribution. We did something a little different – I had a lot of school debt when we moved in together, so my then fiance (now husband) paid ALL the living expenses so that I could snowball the payments for the debt. It worked really well for us because we totally got rid of a lot of debt really quickly – saving a ton on interest and allowing us to start saving for big goals a lot sooner.
Remember that you’re a team – it’ll all be joint after marriage, so strategize for what keeps you both the happiest, and for what makes the most sense with regards to saving for the future.
Post # 4
Don’t feel bad, I’m sure that him paying more doesn’t bother him. He probably feels more like a provider by doing so.
This isn’t what we do, we both decided to just put in the amount of money we feel comfortable with into our joint account to make sure that we can cover the bills. Neither of us are too concerned about the specific percentage as long as the bills are covered. We both trust each other to put enough money into our joint without having to rely on percentages.
Most people I know that are working off percentages just contribute whatever percentage is of the couple’s total income. For example, if you only contribute 25% to the total income of you as a couple, that’s how much you should contribute to total expenses.
Post # 5
- Wedding: September 2011 - Epworth UMC & Ward Pavilion
I actually make twice as much as Mr. Cannon. We only opened a joint checking account a few months ago, and we pay into it as percentages and retained our separate checking accounts. I did a trend analysis for a few months before we openend the account to figure out what our average spending is (and I included any joint expenses, not only rent and bills, but groceries and gas for the car, basically anything we intended to pay from the joint account.) Then I looked at what we usually make (he’s not salary, so it varies a bit, but not much) and came up with the percentage we contribute to our total monthly income on average. Based on that percentage, we contribute to our joint account.
I think that’s more fair, because if we contributed 50/50 Mr. Cannon would have no money to do anything fun. I don’t feel that he isn’t pulling his weight, because he does all kinds of things for me and works hard, he just doesn’t earn as much. Plus, if he didn’t have any fun money, I would just end up taking him out and spending money on him, so it wouldn’t save any money over the long run and would probably just lead to me resenting him for always needing me to pay everything outside of bills.
Post # 6
Each couple is different and whatever works for them is fine with me.
With your situation, I would think the both of you would put the same percentage of your income into the joint account. It doesn’t make sense to me for your future husband to watch his FI/wife struggle to pay half the bills. You two are a couple about to be married, not roommates!
Post # 7
Oh, I feel ya girl! My Fiance makes about 25% more than me and I felt really bad asking him for money before we had a joint account. The thought of a joint account also scared me for some reason. However, like you said, the passing money back and forth thing got rediculous and stressful because we could never remember what was for what. So we merged our accounts and it was the BEST thing we ever did.
How we have done it is, every month, we take out bills first. We’ve budgeted for groceries, savings and the pets as well, and that gets taken out. Then we each get an “allowance” to do whatever we want with. So, I can go spend X amount on my nails and not feel guilty. Then whatever is left we use for misc. things such as dinner out, new things for the house, doctor bills, gas, etc.
My advice is to just keep the lines of communication OPEN! Money is a touchy thing and we’re still working out the kinks in our system. We’ve only done this for a couple of months, so we still ask each other what a certain purchase would be considered (joint account or allowance).
Post # 8
Fiance and I opened a joint account a few months back. We put all our money into the joint account (save for $50/week for play money and $50/week for TFSA and $50 biweekly for RRSP). We also take $40 a pay for “our” fun money. But that;s just cause we are trying to save. We have $40 in cash for the week if we want to see a movie, or go out for dinner ,this is what we use, so we don’t spend all our $$ on the debit card!
All our expenses (cell phone, heat/lights/ internet, hair cuts, groceries, etc) come out of that account. If we want clothes, lunch for work, movies with seperate friends, that comes out of our $50/week play money.
Fiance makes about 1/3 more than me, but we just throw everything into one pot. We have a joint savings account too, so after the wedding, all the extra money goes into our down payment for a house fund.
Post # 9
I currently am in school, not working and living off of savings that I have from a previous job. When we get married I will be preparing for boards and will be job hunting. My Fiance helps me whenever I need it and will be helping me a lot when we first get married. He always jokes with me that I am his biggest expense, but he doesn’t mind helping me when I need it. I’m sure your Fiance doesn’t mind as well.
Once you get married it is a joint effort to save for both of your futures and your debt is his debt, etc.
Once we get married we will have a joint house account, we will each have our own shopping accounts so we don’t have to keep track of each others reciepts and things (both joint just in case) and a joint savings.
Post # 10
We share expenses by percentages, and it works out great. When I changed jobs recently and took a pay cut (to do something better for my career in the long run), we agreed that my contributions would decrease.
If you live in a joint household, you are most likely enjoying similar lifestyles (i.e. dinners out, vacations, entertainment), and it wouldn’t be fair to force him to eat ramen every night because it’s all you can afford. Similarly, it would obviously be detrimental to your relationship for him to go out to a steak dinner every other night without you. And of course you’re not going to only use 20% of the electricity, etc.
Another way to look at it is this: if the person who makes more wants to get a fancy premium cable package, and can afford to do so, is their partner who snuggles on the couch and watches HBO with them obligated to pay for half, even though it is realistically out of their price range and they wouldn’t choose it on their own? You aren’t roommates; you’re two people starting a life together.
Post # 11
We’re in a similar situation – while in grad school I’ve been earning 25% of his salary, but will be nearly identical to him when I start working this fall. I moved in to his apartment, saving the rent money I was otherwise paying. The system we worked out was that I pay him $250 per month to be a (minor!) contribution to rent/utilities/car, and the rest of the money I save from what I previously spent on rent goes into our “wedding fund.” We also divide certain other things by category – he always pays for dinner, but I’ll pay for dessert if we go someplace different after, and I always pay for groceries. It’s definitely not equal, but works well for us.
Post # 12
My husband makes a little more than double my salary and before we were married we split everything 50/50 – it was difficult for me because i made way less money and i found myself not being able to indulge in some things that i did when i was single…like nice shampoo or shopping on my lunch break while also planning and saving for a wedding.
We had agreed to combine everything when we got married – 1 checking account and 1 savings account because, like you, we were passing money back and forth and it was just stupid – so that was the option that worked best for us – I struggled for the first few months, i was nervous to spend anything besides necessities because he was bringing in most of the income but after a couple months i got used to the idea of it being our money, not just his. We have a budget and we stick to it – x is what we bring in x is what we pay in bills and x is what we put in savings the rest is ours to do what we wish – but we also agreed that any big purchases need to be discussed but i dont feel so bad anymore about going to marshalls and picking up a shirt at lunch. its nice to know exactly what we make, what we can save and what we have to spend, its also nice to see where all our money is going and that is much easier to do when looking at one account. That is just what works for us – everyone is different. It def takes some getting used to – i felt insufficient for not bringing in as much and guilty for spending it but you get used to it 🙂
Hope some other ladies have good advice on having a joint account and keeping seperate accounts, not something i can touch on since i have no experience. Good Luck!
Post # 13
You situation is VERY similar to mine, when my husband (then BF/FI) were living together.
To answer your question, we did base everything on a percentage. We agreed that we would both contribute the same % of our respective monthly incomes for all our shared bills. Our bills that were kept seperate (cell, car, car insurance) was paid for 100% by the respective person.
Now, we took each others salaries and it ended up being that he was paying for 70% of all our shared bills and I paid for 30% – based on our incomes. This was determined by the caluclations of each of our incomes. I.E each month the same percentage of our individual income would be put towards shared bills. Since he made so much more then me, it ended with him being 70 and me 30 – but if you looked at 100% of each of our incomes is was the same % taken out monthly and put toward shared bills – does that make sense?
My husband created a templete in excel, that allowed him to enter in all our shared bills (rent, cable, trash, electric, and food) each month. Because of the way he set up the templete it would break down what each of us owed & I would write him 1 check a month with that amount.
Post # 14
@TinyTina: Hey month date! We’re going to be in the same situation. We’re moving in together on Monday! I make more than him, but we are splitting everything right down the middle, except for our personal spending. We’re renting an apartment that is affordable for both of us. I don’t think we’ll have a joint checking account until we’re married though. FH needs to work on paying off his debt, so I want him to focus a majority of money on that. Do what’s best for the both of you. My mom and her husband have a similar set-up to you. She pays the mortgage and he pays the rest of the bill. It works for them!
Post # 15
Thanks for the responses everyone! I’m glad to see I’m not alone and that some of you have found ways to make this situation work! Fiance and I have always been open about our finances so I’m hoping we will have a smooth transition from separate accounts to joint.
@cannon: Plus, if he didn’t have any fun money, I would just end up taking him out and spending money on him, so it wouldn’t save any money over the long run and would probably just lead to me resenting him for always needing me to pay everything outside of bills.
This is kind of how things are now. We split everything 50/50, but he pays for things like when we go out to eat, or order take-out, etc. I do pay for dinners out sometimes, but I would say he pays for things like that about 75% of the time. We also only have 1 car, but I never drive it (yay public transit!)… BUT we do make long drives to visit my parents or go on vacation HE pays for the gas/car insurance, etc. So it’s not completely 50/50.
@2ndtime: You two are a couple about to be married, not roommates!
Hahaha I tell him all the time I feel like we are roommates with the way we “pay” each other for monthly bills! It will be so nice to just pay for these things out of 1 account.
@modernmustard: it wouldn’t be fair to force him to eat ramen every night because it’s all you can afford. Similarly, it would obviously be detrimental to your relationship for him to go out to a steak dinner every other night without you.
OMG yes. About a year ago we were fighting a bit about this because he wanted to spend more on an apartment, but I just couldn’t afford to split the rent 50/50 and I felt like I was holding him back. We talked it out though and that’s how we compromised on the 1/3:2/3 ratio on the rent.
@AnnieAAA: Yes that makes perfect sense! And it is exactly what I want to do. I’m the number cruncher in our relationship so it wasn’t hard for me to look at our expenses and realize that I make 25% of what he does, but pay 45% of joint bills. Hmmm… I think because Fiance has so much more than me he doesn’t always realize how hard it can be.
Post # 16
I make more than my Darling Husband at the moment and I’ve never even thought about what perectage we contribute. Maybe he does? I don’t know. All our bills are paid automatically through our joint account, and I write a check for rent monthly from the same account. We really don’t have enough money at the moment to have a set aside amount of “fun” money. Our fun money is going out to eat on Sunday afternoon, lol, and gifts for birthdays and such.