Post # 1
I know all of this has been discussed a million times but I hope I’m asking at least a few new questions.
SO and I are discussing merging our finances, mainly our bank accounts. I will be the one in charge of keeping things up to date and making sure all of the bills are paid. As of right now I am in charge of all of the bills anyways but having the ability to be in control of all of our accounts would make my life a lot easier.
First: Give me some of the major things to discuss with my SO before we join accounts. What did you and your SO/FI/DH discuss when you were making this transition and do you think there were things you didn’t dicuss you wish you would have.
Second: How did you know when you or your SO were ready to take this step? I know at this point SO has said he is ready but then he tells me he is nervous about it. I want to make sure he is comfortable with the situation and I don’t want to force him into anything he’s not ready to do.
Third: I am doing a very extensive budget. I want to make sure I include all forms of daily needs so that I have the most accurate budget possible. We don’t really have extra money to be throwing away. Please help to remind me what I should include in the budget. I obviously include all of our bills (consistent and variable), as well as groceries, gas, kitty needs, gifts I know we will be purchasing that month, oil changes, and home goods(toilet paper, paper towels). What am I missing?
If there is anything I forgot or any extra advice you have it would be greatly appreciated!
Post # 3
For us, there wasn’t a defined moment where we realized we were ready to combine finances. We had been living together for six months or so and the whole paying each other half the rent/utlities/groceries was getting really old. We already had a joint account that we called our “date account”. Because I never liked him paying for everything we would each deposit a couple hundred every month. So whenever we went out together, we would use this account. I think having this account already made it really easy to make the transition.
We’ve been sharing accounts for almost 2 years now and things have always been super easy. We both had some debt and so we decided to attack them all together (luckily they were similar amounts). It took a lot of trust, but I’m 100% confident that we made the right decision for us.
We have our budget divided into fixed expenses, variable expenses, savings and yearly expenses. Our fixed expenses are our rent, utilities, cell phones, etc. Variable expenses include groceries, eating out, gas money and other miscellaneous expenses. Yearly expenses are things like renter’s insurance, car registration, etc. Then general savings. The two individual checkings are not really being used except to be “holding areas” for any extra money we get (i.e. tax returns before we decided where they were going to go). In the future, we anticipate these accounts to be our “mad money” accounts, but for now, we’ve both decided to forgo those in order to save more.
We have 5 accounts between the two of us. A joint checking, two individual checkings and two joint savings. Every month, each paycheck gets deposited into the joint checking. We withdraw our money budgeted for variable expenses (working on a cash system right now!). The fixed expenses usually get paid immediately, and we leave a $500 buffer in the account. We also automatically transfer to savings and the yearly expenses account.
It sounds complicated, and I have a complex web of google docs that detail everything. But, because of it, we’ve been able to pay off $40k in debt in a year and a half as well as track how much we’re spending on utilties, groceries, etc. Things have also changed as our goals have changed. Once we paid off our debt, we started saving for the wedding and for the student loan payments that will become due next year.
Post # 4
Thank you! That sounds like a great way to do things. We are talking right now about how we are going to split accounts and I get overwhelmed with the amount of accounts it may take to sort our money out.
Post # 5
Well, ours is a bit interesting but it works for us…
We didn’t have a specific moment that we decided we wanted to share. It was just a trust we had fairly early on.
But, I am unable to have a checking account in my name due to some crap a previous Ex did with a joint account. So, my paycheck goes directly into FI’s checking. I carry the Debit/ATM card with me and he just goes to the bank once a week and pulls cash. That way we are both with money. I also receive child support so I get that money as well 4 times a month ( 2 seperate cases, whole other story) So, I am careful to not use too much from the checking because I have that added income that he doesn’t have.
I do keep careful eye on how much we each deposit so that I know I’m not using way more than I’ve put in…but that’s just my OCD. He couldn’t careless how much I spent and how much I put in. He was the one that said I should take care of the account even though it’s really just his and that He would feel better knowing I was always taken care of.
He even has me carry around his credit card “just in case”. So, yeah, it’s not ideal for me not being able to get on the account right now but it works as well as it can!
Post # 6
This really isn’t an issue for us, because I’m pretty sure that you need money to have budgets and bank accounts.
Post # 7
@Beluga:Yeah after I did my budget I realized at the end we has $0. That is not after but before savings 😉 We are broke as a joke as well. haha
Post # 8
Have the two of you discussed all your loans and debt? That’s a big thing to talk about before combining accounts.
My husband and I have just a joint checking, savings and investing. All other accounts are individual (retirement).
Did you think about the costs for car maintenance, personal care (soap, shampoo, etc)? Also, try to budget in a little fun once and a while, you can’t live on a diet of ramen noodles forever, you know?
Post # 9
@MrsSaltWaterTaffy: We have discussed those things in general but it is turning out that things I think we REALLY discussed he either wasn’t listening or wasn’t really taking seriously. I will really let him know how much true debt I have and talk with him about how much he has. Thanks!
I did try to work those things in. What do you think is an appropriate amount for personal care and car maintenance per month? Do the two of you budget an allowance or just spend freely from your join account for the “fun” money or a new shirt or what not?
Post # 10
@melisandescott: Thanks for your thorough reply. I found it extremely helpful as I would hope for a similar setup, subject to be broached with fiancé in 3, 2, 1… hehe. I like your “date account” — clever, romantic and efficient! 🙂
Post # 11
@MsBrooklynA: Hmm I don’t know how much is really needed in car maintenance a month, I think it’s more about saving for when you need new tire or have something break down. For me, personal care adds up to at least $100 a month, I’m a bit of a junkie! I’m trying to get some of the costs down with my new hobby of couponing though!
We don’t have a specific ‘fun money’ amount right now because we are doing okay staying under our income but if we needed to keep a better eye on it, we would set a specific amount. All the discretionary stuff comes out of that money though (when I need new clothes, going out, etc).
Post # 12
We haven’t combined anything yet so we each have a checking and 2 savings accounts. (I had another checking and savings account but closed those to try to simplify things). If/When we combine, we were discussing just adding his name to my checking account.
1: We just discussed how much our mortgage/bills would be. We make about the same, so we’d split things evenly.
2: We have a house and are getting married, we better be ready! I believe we were ready as soon as we signed those mortgage papers.
3: I have a very detailed sheet for monthly expensese. These are my categories: (If you want pm me and I can send you my excel sheet)
Mortgage or rent
Electricity (statement end month)
Water and sewer
Décor & Misc
Credit card (Lowes)
SAVINGS OR INVESTMENTS
Post # 15
I’ve always had multiple bank accounts individually, so I haven’t given that up (hey, if you have a system that works, keep it!). I am also a banker so I watch everything that goes through like a hawk and make sure that they are balanced.
We finally got our stuff more “combined” last month. Neither of us really wanted to do so before the wedding so we waited. I added him to a credit card of mine before the wedding though to use for any expenses that came up for the wedding as long as we could pay it off.
We now each still have our own checking accounts (well, i have 3–they each have a purpose, I swear lol). We each have an “emergency” savings account tied to our individual account. And now we have a joint checking and joint savings. We set up our direct deposits so that a certain dollar amount from each of us goes into it to pay the mortgage, utilities, groceries, transfer to savings , etc. We kept another portion of our deposits to go our individual accounts so there is some fun money that we don’t have to necessarily report to each other. Not that we wouldn’t tell each other what we spent, but we both just wanted some freedom where I can buy a purse and he can buy good bourbon and cigars and it’s not affecting the big joint account. No judgement from each other that way! We each get the same amount of individual $$$ each month so it’s even stevens 🙂
Post # 16
We actually didn’t have much of a discussion when we joined accounts. He’s always been in charge of the money. I trust him, and I hate dealing with that stuff so it works well for us. Our only rule is to ask first if we’re going to make a large purchase.
We didn’t join accounts until we were married. I quit my job about 6 months before the wedding and we both agreed that I should not get a new one b/c we wanted to get pregnant soon after the wedding and I’d be a Stay-At-Home Mom. At that time, I still had my own money and account, but we shared a credit card which he paid for. If he needed money from my account, he just asked. Right after we got married we joined accounts, which makes it so much easier b/c now he doesn’t have to ask if he needs money. Also, it’s just nice that everything is together, nothing is mine or his anymore.