Combining finances – is this a good method? How do you do it?

posted 2 years ago in Money
  • poll: How do you deal with finances in your relationship?
    Separate finances : (4 votes)
    5 %
    Split all expenses 50-50 : (3 votes)
    4 %
    Proportional-to-income contributions : (8 votes)
    11 %
    Everything joint, and every month we each get a certain amount of $ for personal spending : (20 votes)
    27 %
    Everything joint - all household and personal expenses come out of here directly : (37 votes)
    49 %
    Other : (3 votes)
    4 %
  • Post # 2
    2894 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: August 2017

    View original reply
    ewdl :  are you married?  I’m going to assume so (never combine finances if you are not married!).  I’m wondering the reason to each keep your own credit cards separate? Why not just get a joint credit card?  The only possible reason I could see one wanting a separate card (paid through by a joint account) would be to surprise the other person.  But, say hypothetically he bought you a $2000 piece of jewellery on his “personal” credit card, you’d still end up seeing how much $$ got transferred to pay off the bill.  The other issue that could possibly arise here is if one person doesn’t pay down their balance to $0 every month…. if they just make a payment instead they could in theory have a big debt racked up.

    If you’re doing a joint account, it might be better to just give yourselves each an “allowance” per payday for your own personal fun money – instead of each having a separate credit card.

    Post # 3
    3446 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: June 2017

    View original reply
    ewdl :  We do exactly what you are planning to do, we only have one shared bank account (plus one in another country but they are both completely joint). All of our pay goes into it and all of our bills come out of it. But we have our own separate credit cards. This obviously shows how naive I am.. but I didn’t even realize that you could have a joint credit card. Our bank never offered that to us as an option. I just kept my own personal credit card from when I first got it.. before I met DH.

    I think having a credit rating in your own name (in case of divorce) would in theory be a smart move anyways though. I think I have read stories on here about all of the finances/credit being in the husbands name, and years down the road when they split up the wife had absolutely no credit history and was screwed over.

    Post # 6
    429 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: August 2018

    We have a joint account for household expenses that we each contribute an equal amount to each month but that’s it. We each have our own individual savings and checking accounts. We do not share credit cards. We have done this for years and it works for us. 

    Post # 7
    1883 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: August 2019

    I’m on team join the finances and have a joint CC.

    We did it about 18 months before we were married. 

    Aside from a small personal loan in his name, and a small credit card in mine (which is now paid off and closed), we combined everything.

    Honestly, it does take some of the fun out of birthdays and surprises. But if there’s something one of us really wants to get the other without the other knowing, we still have our personal savings accounts open (there’s just nothing in there). We just transfer money from our every day account into our individual ones, and pay for the purchase from that separate account. 

    I would be hesitant to have 2x separate credit cards open. Because that’s unsecured debt and even though you technically “can” look at eachother’s accounts, you’re still likely to overspend if the money is just always available there. If you want separate accounts for the fun of personal spending, I would 100% recommend having your own everyday accounts, and just transferring money there for personal purchases from a joint account. Too many credit cards open is never a good idea.

    Side note 100% against splitting money in proportion to your earnings. I earn double with DH earns, but I would never restrict his spending because of it. All money should be equal in a relationship, just as both parties should be equal.

    Post # 8
    197 posts
    Blushing bee
    • Wedding: September 2020

    My fiance and I have a joint account for all expenses, household and personal. We also have a joint savings account, and separate savings and credit cards. We set up our joint accounts when we moved in together, since at that point we were already a team. I like having my own credit cards to build up my own credit rating, and I’m not willing to give up my savings just in case everything goes horribly wrong. I love and trust my fiance, but I’ve seen people be left with nothing when their spouse suddenly cleans out all of their accounts and runs off. 

    Post # 9
    2708 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: August 2019

    We started off more or less how you are planning to do it, and are slowly moving towards more and more joint. Our checks are deposited into our own separate accounts. We then pay our own personal bills, leave a small amount of coffee/lunch money in there, and transfer everything else to joint. Household expenses, most personal expenses, dates, travel, etc. come out of joint. We both used up most our personal savings to move/pay off debt, and since marriage have been aggressively saving in our joint account. 

    We set up our joint account before we even got engaged, which was a great way to get on the same page about money. Pre-marriage, we put a small amount in joint savings each month, and only put enough in joint checking to cover groceries and dates. Everything else was split proportionately to our incomes. I never understood why people thought that was risky, since if one of us went nuts and split, we’d have access to a very tiny amount of money and zero access to the other person’s personal account. It made life SO much easier to have a joint account. 

    Post # 10
    2918 posts
    Sugar bee

    We are doing basically exactly what you’re looking to do.

    Once we got married, we combined all of our money into a joint savings and joint checking through the same bank. It’s easy to access and all of our bills are paid through the checking as well as all of our direct deposits. Originally when we got married, my husband also had a credit card through the same bank and I have a Southwest Visa for flight points but my husband lost his wallet and decided to just close the card because he never used it. We don’t do gifts that much so there’s no need for him to hide anything. And I only use my credit card for really large purchases so I get points (things like home renovations and furniture). 

    Overall I love the way we have things set up. We can both easily access everything and there’s no question how much money we have or how much bills cost. However, my husband and I aren’t big spenders. If one or both of us were, it might cause more arguments. Most people I know who spend more money (especially women who spend more on more “feminine” things like hair, makeup, nails, etc) usually have some sort of separate fun money. 

    Post # 11
    1097 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: January 2019

    We have a joint checking, joint savings and joint CC. Then we each have a personal savings/checking that we deposit a small amount into each month. It’s ours to do what we want with no questions asked. I prefer this to your method because I can spend what I want on things like my nails or drinks out with friends without feeling like it impacts our family finances. We also use it for gifts 

    Post # 12
    60 posts
    Worker bee

    We keep separate savings and checking accounts and do not share credit cards for these accounts. We have a joint account set up which we use to pay for household expenses, groceries, bills, our pup, vacation, etc. We contibute an equal amount each month to this account and we each have a credit card to this account. We have been married 5 years and this set-up works well for us. 

    Post # 13
    598 posts
    Busy bee

    My fiancé and I are going to keep our separate Wells Fargo checking accounts and create one joint checking account with a different bank for our direct deposits. We are setting up a set amount to be automatically transferred each month into our personal account for large personal purchases and gifts. We will also have a joint credit card, but I am (and he might too?) keep a personal card.

    I think it is important to be able to keep yourself secure with your own account, even if it’s just holding a little bit of money. However, I don’t think poring over what your partner is spending is healthy either. Have a joint mindset when it comes to money.

    Post # 14
    4793 posts
    Honey bee

    We don’t have any shared accounts, but we think of all the money as ours.  

    There is no right or wrong way when it comes to these things.  Just do what works best for you both.

    Post # 15
    846 posts
    Busy bee

    View original reply
    ewdl :  I really appreciate this question. We had definitely discussed the splitting of our finances as far as bank accounts and spending, but we had not discussed credit cards. Initially he wanted us to put all our money in one pot, but I suggested we each have an allowance for which we do not have to account. He was on board with the idea and we are choosing to go this route. We now have to iron out how to determine our allowance. I will definitely like to have my own spend/savings account. 

    The credit card question is definitely trickier, because I put most of my expenses on credit card. My philosophy is that if I was going to spend the money anyway, I want to be able to get a percentage back. Therefore I use cash-back credit card. In our case, I think the easier thing would be for one of us to add the other as an authorized user on a credit card (is there even a joint filing option)?

    I think the first thing we probably should do is actually look at each person’s spending habits and discuss where we should go from there. Somehow, although I usually buy the bare minimum, he still (claims to) spends less on groceries than I ever did. I am still perplexed.

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