Post # 1
I’m getting married in less than 30 days! yay!
But we’ve come to some of the ‘business’ aspects of getting married, and combining our finances is something I’m not quite sure how to handle.
We both want to keep our own accounts and open a joint account so that we can have combined money and our ‘own’ money (which I think is a good idea). Since we’ve been living together we’ve been splitting our rent and power and each paying some of the household bills like cable and internet. FI makes more than I do and it’s important to me that we are equal, that we split our money in a fair way once we are married. He agrees and wants us each to have the same amount of ‘spending money’
But I’m grappling over how to split up the combined expenses and how to figure out what goes into the joint account. As of our last conversation we plan to come up with a total of our combined expenses, each put all of our paychecks into the joint account and after the bills are paid, we’ll each take out an equal amount to spend or put into our separate accounts.
I don’t know what to do with our credit cards (both of us have cards with balances to pay off, luckily we have the money in savings to pay for the wedding in cash)
So I’m basically looking for advice or ideas from you ladies as to how you handle your combined finances and what has worked / not worked for you.
Post # 3
You could figure out a percentage of your paychecks, say something like 10%, that can go into your separate accounts, with the rest going toward your joint account. We’re planning on doing something like this so that we both still have some "no questions asked" money – but the vast majority of our spending will be from our joint account.
Post # 4
My bf and I are living together now and we have had a joint checking account for the last year and a half. We do exactly what emmyleeee suggested; we each put 70% of our paycheck into the joint account, which we use to pay for rent, food, and other household expenses. If you use direct deposit, there is a way to set it up so a certain amount of each paycheck goes into one account and the remainder goes into the other account. I’m also thinking about getting us a joint savings account as well, so we can start saving for a house.
Post # 5
Before the wedding we had our own checking and savings as well as a joint checking. Generally we each contributed equally to the joint (enough to cover rent, groceries, utilities, wedding stuff, etc) and then kept the rest in our personal accounts.
From what I’ve read, it’s best to pool your assets (the more money in the savings account, the more interest it accrues).
So, now that the wedding is over (and we recieved lots of generous monetary wedding gifts) we’ve pooled our assets into one checking and one savings at the bank, and opened one high interest savings account (with ING) that we put all the wedding gifts into. Both our names are on all the accounts.
With it all combined we don’t have to worry about contributing fairly/equally, and we’ve set a spending limit on what we can buy without consulting each other. We did keep our own credit cards so we could but presents and such for each other without the other person being able to see the costs and such.
Post # 6
Our plans are along the same as Rosychicklet. We just don’t see the point of maintaining seperate accounts especially if one of us doesn’t work in the future (going back to school, stay-at-home parent).
I know a lot of couples who do the % into a joint acct and mantain seperate "fun money" accounts though. You should look up Suze Orman, she’s a big proponant of that plan (and she’d probably tell me I’m being a naive fool…oh well!)
We will maintain our own credit cards though but mainly b/c we have built a lot of points with our seperate programs. It won’t matter in the end since the money is coming from the same place
**side note, even though we plan on living from one account we are very careful to buget using about 1.5 of our combined salaries. We live off of mine currently and put most of his away into a joint account.
Post # 7
I agree with most and say that the joint account should weigh more.
Post # 8
My only comment would be that I would be very careful to make sure that each of you pays for YOUR credit cards out of YOUR accounts not the Joint account. Why? Because once you in any way shape or form start to pay his credit card balances or visa versa (so if the money comes from the joint account vs. seperate accounts) then you become in part legally liable for that person’s debts weather your name is on the credit card or no matter if the debt was there before you got married or not. So if he has a car and you arent on the title and if he has credit cards and again your arent on it and arent spending the money do NOT let him take the money from the joint account to pay down those bills because if so and something should happen down the line then the bill collectors can come after you if he defaults on those debts. I say this having watched a friend have this very thing happen to her. This is why it’s always good to have both a joint and seperate accounts so that you can each pay off your own personal debts seperately. Joint accounts should only be used for joint debts, ie food, rent, utilities etc.
Post # 9
My fiance and I have just combined our accounts. All of our money goes into one account. He just uses his AMEX card when he wants to buy something and we pay it off every month. I use money from the account for spending money. This seems to work for us. We didn’t want both of us just using the debit cards and not keeping track and missing something when it came time to balance the checkbook.
Also, he works as a debt collector. Only the person whose name is on the application for the card is responsible for paying it back. He deals with it everyday where someone let their now ex-wife use the card, they got divorced and now she is no longer paying it off. She is in no way responsible for the payment if her name was not on the initial application for the card. So it doesn’t really matter who pays off the card.
Post # 10
We currently have both joint and separate accounts and we’re currently trying to live off of my DH’s income. I am currently working, but will be going back to school next september, so all I the money I earn will go towards savings for school, additional mortgage payments, general savings, etc. So, my pay cheque goes into my separate savings account whereas his pay cheque goes into the joint account. So once I’m back at school, we’ll be used to living off of one income already. I think it’s a pretty good way to save money!
Post # 11
When my Fiance and I got engaged we combined all our debt on one 0% interest card in both our names and began to pay all our debt off together, that way its not "his" or "mine". We also put my name on his checking account and I closed my checking account. We direct deposit both our paychecks to our joint account and put an equal amount of each check into a joint high interest savings account to start our emergency fund. We withdrawl enough cash for each of us to get by for the week, that way we are not constantly debiting out of the account and we stay on budget, any big purchases we discuss before hand.
Post # 12
All of our accounts are together. We have paid off all of our "own" credit cards and now we just have joint ones. Fiance still has one on his own so he can surprise me! I take care of all the finaces, so it otherwise would be hard for him to surprise me with anything!
Our system works for us! Fiance is horrible with money. I wasn’t any better, but have gotten better over time. Figure out what works for you guys! I personally don’t like the idea of separate accounts and splitting bills and such. It sounds more like a roommate than my Fiance. His debt is my debt and vice versa!
Post # 13
We combined everything. We have a joint savings, a joint checking, and same credit card. we also signed a prenup (he owns his own company, and things could get messy with that in a divorce), that spells out that if things don’t work out we split all our assets 50/50, so just makes sense to combine things. We are both fiscally conservative, and go through our expenses once a month to make sure that we are on point with how much we are saving and how much we are spending. He makes a lot more money than me, but together, we simply spend on what we need to – and yes, that includes random things – we call them quality of life expenses. Usually anything that is over 100 we decide together, to make sure we are making the right decision. It has been lovely thus far! Really makes us feel like a family working towards the same goal, no matter who brings in more bacon (damn academia!)
Post # 14
Great question! 🙂 We just got married and will be trying out the following system: we added my husband to my bank acct. (I had the better bank benefits) and will be closing his soon. We have added him to my credit cards which earn points and that I pay off every month (he has credit card debts we are both paying off now, but will close them when they are paid off). I make a lot more money than he does and want us to be debt free together. But we will be setting up a second checking account linked to the joint account so he can have an allowance of $500 a month that will not mess up the joint account. We’ll replenish it so it’s at least $500 at all times and it will be the account where he can make his "surprise" purchases and I will respectfully avert my eyes at the withdrawals. We’re doing this because I watch all of my accounts anally (credit cards, savings, bank acct) on a daily basis. I like to use credit as much as I can, he likes to have cash on hand. This also allows him to run his business without my name anywhere on checks. I got this idea from a much older friend who uses this system with her cash spending husband who always used to "forget" to tell her about his many debit card purchases.
Post # 15
i am struggling with this same issue… right now we have lived together for about a year. we have seperate accts where our paychecks are deposited. we each put money to pay half of our joint expenses (rent, utilities, etc) into a joint acct once or twice a month. but i don’t really see this as having combined money.
we make about the same amount right now, except i have a LOT more debt. we both have car payments and credit cards. i have student loan payments coming due next year (massive thousands of dollars). he doesn’t think that we should be responsible for paying each other’s car payments or my student loans. i try to explain to him that once we are married, it is OUR money and our debt (my student loans which will ultimately benefit us both, since i am getting an MBA currently). so i really don’t know what we should do, does anyone pay all of their "seperate" expenses (cc, loans, cars) out of a joint acct? or do you keep those payments seperate and combine everything else?
in the future, i expect to be the breadwinner, but for now when we are making close to the same amount it is very confusing!!
Post # 16
Even though we aren’t married yet, we’ve had a joint account for over a year but we’ve both kept seperate accounts. It’s worked out really well and since then we’ve never had to ask who owes who for what.
What we did is for a month, we noted down everytime we made a purchase that benefited us both (rent, groceries, eating out, utilities) and after that month we used it to come up with a budget. It made sense for us to add things like meals out and entertainment (movies, Netflix and concerts) because we enjoy most of that stuff together. We also added a budget line every month for gifts that come from both of us and what ever we don’t spend by November turns into money we use for Christmas presents.
Now that we’re engaged, we each contribute $200 extra each month that goes towards the wedding. Once we get married, we’re going to increase/add a line for saving as we hope to build a house in the next year. We’ve both been saving for it individually but now we’re going put are money together. We’re also planning to visit a financial planner as we both contribute to 401K and have some other places we’re saving for retirement. Below are our budget lines. I hope this helps!
Rent, Groceries, Utilities (including internet), cell phones (we’ve just started a joint plan), entertainment, eating out, wedding fund, misc (we found this helpful for when something breaks or we suddenly need new towels), gifts, toiletries (toothpaste, handsoap, Q-tips — stuff like that).
In general waht ever we don’t spend we use for something else but we usually spend everything!