(Closed) Having a hard time with the "we" of married life.

posted 6 years ago in Married Life
Post # 3
658 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

@AmeliaBedelia:  I am not married yet, but I have lived with my SO and we sat down and had a serious conversation about how the finances should be split up (he makes six figures and I make half that). We used the Suze Orman method. When I explained that he has more saving power, he understood. To compromise, I pay have of groceries, electric, and cable. He like it cool so he pays a little extra in the summer.

For larger bills (mortgage, oil), I pay a percentage.

It has been working out and I have the same saving power as he does.


I did a thread about this a year ago. Many bee were like “go to counseling”, I went practical way of just talking about and showing him information.

Post # 4
1249 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: January 1992

Well, it’s not a secret that Darling Husband and I are having a tough time with the finance stuff (along with other things!).  We have an huge income gap too, as in, Darling Husband is unemployed and I am not.  

What is working for us right now is having one bank account for expenses.  We have a monthly budget for ALL our expenses, and then we each get the same amount of money for extra spending.  Included are each of our student loans, utilities, food, eating out, movies, gas, insurance – everything.  He has more bills in the mix, and I have more “maintenance” things, because, well, I’m a girl!  I have eyebrows to wax!

Hope this helps, and I’m sure you guys can work it out.  🙂

Post # 5
9954 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2012

In my first marriage (circa 1980) when my Ex and I got engaged and moved into together, we made aprox the same amount of money… so splitting things downt the middle 50-50 made perfect sense.

I wanting to be soo much the modern woman, thought it was the right thing to do… in the same way that I thought keeping my maiden name was (very progressive for the times… you should have heard the bashing I took on that one right up to the year 2000)

Anyhow, when it came to money… long story short it didn’t work.  Hubby eventually made TONS more money than I, and we also had children (so I went thru times when I was on Mat Leave – worked Part-time etc)… and still I payed my way … 50%

20+ Years on and we were getting a Divorce.  I left dead broke.  He had a lot of money, and a huge pile in Investments, Savings etc.

In my mind, if we Divorced things would be split 50-50, in that I’d be entitled to half of everything we owned.  This is afterall what the law says.

Unfortunately my Ex had OTHER IDEAS.  He had become very money greedy over the years, and intended to give up NONE OF IT to me.

I hired a Lawyer, and paid out close to $ 50,000 in legal fees… having to liquidate a lot of my Retirement Savings to find that…

My Ex, who had a much greater pile of money, scoffed at the legal system, and was a position where he could “Play the Game” to his advantage… he was using his financial position to make me jump thru hoops.  He would pay me a small amount of whatever he owed me whenever ordered by the Courts… and then go into the arrears for the rest… so that I had to pay more legal fees to pull his butt back into court… to get the next chunk of money… and then he’d pay the exact same stunt again.  And so it went for 5 years.

I couldn’t depend on him for my support / alimony payments, so I ended up cashing out more Savings.  To the point that I was over $ 100,000 in the hole (and much of it in debt) and was virtually homeless and at the food bank.  Not a good scene.  The only thing that got me thru that time, was a great bunch of friends who let me couch surf and some great counsellors that I’d met thru the local Womens Centre.

— — —

I’ve come to realize that a 50-50 split of expenses, or a percentage equation doesn’t work either (he makes 2x as much as you, so he pays 2/3 you pay 1/3).  BECAUSE there is no equality in reality… the bigger earner has too much disposible income, and the lower wage earner none.  IF there is something that comes up to disrupt the flow (ie children or illness) the lower income earner is hurting waay too much

A much better solution was one I saw on a Tv Financial Program.  They said that married couples truly should pool their incomes.  And from the pool, pay out the Expenses (Housing – Utilities – Food – Car etc) then take out equal amounts for Each Other’s Longterm Savings (ie Retirement)… and then another portion that goes into Mutual Savings (for short-term things that one is saving for together as a couple … House, Car, Boat, Vacation etc)… and lastly whatever is left should be equally divided for each spouce to have as their Disposible Income / Spending Money.

In this way, both spouces are treated equally.  And the BIG Stuff gets the priority… Immediate Bills & Lifelong Savings. Everything else is discretionary.

And god-forbid there is ever a break-up down the road, then each spouce has identical monies in their accounts / Retirement plans… so splitting up should be pretty straight forward, and a lot more along the idea of the law 50-50

As for the assets you own BEFORE being married, those can be protected by a Pre-Nup or covered off in your Wills.  In our case, Mr TTR owns the house we live in, and the cars are also in his name.  The Wills will be written after we are married, so that there is a percentage guaranteed to me IF he should pass (and the balance goes to his heirs).  All very fair and something we’ve both agreed on without any problems.

Hope this helps,


Post # 6
2606 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2009

We maintained separate accounts before we got married, (we lived together before marriage).  After we married, we combined finances.

All of our money goes into one account that is on both of our names, (originally my account that Darling Husband was added to after our marriage).  I take care of most of the bills, etc., and if there is any extra, it goes into our savings.  DH has a couple accounts at another bank that he never uses.  We will add me to the account eventually, but since we’re not using it, we haven’t bothered putting me on it, (right now, it’s just sitting there untouched, and we figure if we need it for an emergency or something, it will be there).  

All of our credit cards are in both of our names, as well.  All of our bills are mutual bills.

I would recommend having a sit-down talk with your Darling Husband about what works best for you.  For us, that was combining finances…we’re married, and we feel like what’s mine is his, what’s his is mine.  Others keep separate finances, and if that works for them, there is nothing wrong with that.  If you need extra guidance, find some books on the subject or visit a financial planner.  You just have to find what works for both of you so there is no resentment.

Post # 7
3220 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: February 2012

What if you made a joint account, in which you put a certain percentage of your income?  Say 70%, so that you could use the joint account to pay for everything house related, food-related, etc etc.  Your remaining seperate accounts could be fun money or savings or whatever?  If you based it on percentage, it might be more fair?

Post # 8
14656 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2011

Do you ever find yourself short of cash?  We kept our “own” accounts and sort of split the regular expense to pay out of our account.  My credit card has the best rewards, so basically eveything is charged to it, therefor to even thing out, he pays the mortgage and all utilities.  it wasnt quite even, so ipay the property taxes (ours arent built in the mortgage) .  avg out the year and we’re close enough to keeping the account balanced.  but it doesnt matter since we’d transfer each other money anyways if one of our accounts was low.  We also agree with each others spending habits so we spend freely and did not have to agree on an allowance.  if youre both responsible individually, couldnt you both be just as responsible with a joint?

Post # 9
1686 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: December 2012

We worked it out based on how much we each make.  He makes a little more than me (not a large amount but enough to note) and so he puts a little more into our joint account per pay cheque than I do.  I basically worked like this – mortgage + bills = $xx per month.  Say it’s 60/40 based on what we make, so he puts 60% of the monthly amount in per month and I do 40%.  The rest of the cash we are left with is our own to spend however we want.  If we make a big purchase that we agree on, we split it.  If it’s something only one of us wants, we need to pay for it ourselves. (IE – he’s not paying to have my eyebrows dyed and waxed or buy a new outfit and I’m not paying for him to get ANOTHER watch Wink)

Post # 10
2777 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

When I am employed I make more money than him, right now I am unemployed and we are still splitting things because I make enough unemployed that we can.   

He has pushed several times for combining money I am dead set against it.  One time he asked me specifically how much money I had and he said we can combine all the money and then I can get a portion of it 30 bucks etc for the runs I do.  I thought um hell no.  This is not communist Russia.  You are not going to take all my money and then tell me what I can do with it.  He dropped it and we are happy. Seperate accounts, seperate things.  I bought all the groceries when I was employed though because I am better at it.  I would get 800 bucks worth of groceries for 400 bucks and we would be set for like 2 months.

I used to justify it by saying we’re not married well, I’ll have to find a new excuse.  We do need to probably find another way to manage money soon but I didnt work this hard to make all this money hand it to someone and then let them tell me what I can and cant do with it.  Financial independence is super important to me, thats why I worked this hard.  We have already discussed how to handle our tax refund though.  I want x for myself for an emer fund (this is what I did with my refund before all of it as an emergency fund) and then he can have his x and the rest goes in a vacation fund.  We have talked about combining the shared bills but I have too many accounts and it just wouldn’t work, I get discounts and all kinds of things, so cant change that.

Ive told him several times I don’t mind having an account we both contribute to for fun things like going out to eat and what not but hes rejected this saying we have to combine whole paychecks which I am completly unwilling to do.  We have different strategies for how we want to handle out debt so I feel its best if we keep our own paychecks, pay our own seperate bills and combine some of it or share our money liberally with each other (which we do).

Post # 11
5118 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

@AmeliaBedelia:  Hey there, month twin! 🙂 Sorry that this is causing you stress. We just had this discusison recently as well. Even though we’ve been married for 4 months, we won’t really get onto a ‘financial routine’ until Sept when we’re both working again. When we do, we plan to do like ‘@This Time Round: mentioned, for many of the same reasons.

I’ll make at least 2x+ than my husband…likely for our lifetimes, but the % thing just didn’t seem fair to us. (ex- If I make 100K (I wish) and he made 50K (again, I’m dreaming here), if we each paid in the 75% needed to cover our household bills, I’d be able to save/invest/blow 25K each year where he’d only get to bank an extra 12,500. That would add up quickly and be unfair (in our opinion).)

Instead, all of our paychecks get direct deposited into our joint checking. All bills come out, all retirement/investments/savings are paid into, we each get $XXX deposited into our separate personal accounts we keep (for sushi with the girls, football night with the guys, secret Christmas gifts, etc).  Once the next month’s checks are deposited into the joint checking, the extra from the month before gets tossed back into the joint savings for trips/emergencies/extra savings. Any personal money we didn’t spend we’ll keep in our separate personal accounts (same with birthday $ from mom or grandma, etc, that’s ‘personal’ cash for us). 

Honestly, I’d try to have a sit-down chat with your husband when finances aren’t an issue (i.e. not after a grocery trip grudge match) and just discuss different options for covering bills, savings, etc. Also, see if you have common financial goals (spender/saver/investor/splurges) and work out a compromise. I’m a big fan of Dave Ramsey, but he’s not everyone’s cup of tea. Worth a bit of google-searching, though, to see if that’s something that may help you guys out. Best of luck! Finances can be hairy, but if you both approach it logically rather than emotionally, you’ve basically won the battle from the beginning. 

Post # 12
1406 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 2011

My ex-H and I tried to keep things 50/50 but like a PP said, he eventually started making WAY mroe money than me.  We combined accounts but he was the spender so we never had any money….or at least me to do anything for myself while he regularily bought clothes for himself and even got monthly massages (different story.)  When we divorced, he had 50k more in his retirement acct. and luckily, I got part of it since we always put more in his and it was a community property state.

Darling Husband is pretty much the sole earner in the house.  We’ve been married for 8 months now and it’s taken this long to do all my name change stuff.  OUR plan is to combine everything b/c I honestly get sick of buying groceries, etc. on my own credit card and then having him transfer the money into my checking acct. to pay the bill.  We are overseas so him adding me to anything of his has been a challenge. 

And I used to refer to his stuff as “his” like his car, his bikes, his boat, etc.  He always corrects me and says “it’s ours.”  But I feel like he had that stuff before I met him and it’s really his only. 

Post # 13
1281 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

I feel like I can post here because Fiance and I have talked about keeping our finances the same as they are now after we get married. 

We keep our money entirely separate.  I’m 28 and he’s 37 and we both have jobs so we’ve never seen any reason to join assets.  Plus, we’re both stubborn and fiercely independant, and the last thing I want is someone complaining that I spent $100 at Sephora when it is something that I rightly EARNED for myself.

We split the rent, and since I make 8K a year more than him so when it comes to our bills and household expenses, I “take on” the groceries (since I cook anyway) and one extra bill than he pays. 

We each have our own savings accounts and if we want to make a large purchase together, we let each other know how much we can contribute and we take it from there. 

Don’t feel bad if combining finances & cars feels awkward to you.  I honestly can’t imagine ever referring to my car and his car as “ours” if you know what I mean.  It doesn’t mean we love each other or trust each other any less. 

Post # 14
886 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

I’d have to say I make way more than my spouse. And basically when I married him I decided to take on the responsibility of supporting him. He doesn’t ask for much (far less than my needs). And he pulls his weight with various groceries/utilities and house work. So it’s basically a role reversal with us (I’m the breadwinner) and I’m okay with that. Someday if we have kids, he’ll be a great stay at home dad since I’ve always hated the idea of day care.

Post # 15
1304 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

We have taken a gradual approach to this.  We talk about it all the time and are constantly refining our setup.  It’s a lot of work, but so far we have not had any big fights about money.  Here is a synopsis of how things have evolved:

1. A year after we met, my now-husband moved into my then-apartment.  At the time, I made more money plus he had student loans to pay while I did not.  His previous rent was about 60% of my then-rent.  We decided to open a shared savings account.  He deposited his previous rent into our savings account, and I continued paying the bills on the apartment.  We also got a  credit card together for shared expenses like groceries, and we split that bill each month.  Personal expenses stayed on our separate cards.

2. Four months later, we got engaged.  He paid for my engagement ring himself.  We had to save cash to pay for our wedding, so we agreed to increase our monthly contribution to our shared savings account.  I contributed a higher amount because our income and student loan situations remained the same.

3. Seven months later, we got married.  We paid for the wedding out of a combination of our shared savings plus some of my personal savings.  My personal savings were fully paid back immediately after the wedding from gifts plus money our parents had promised towards the wedding.  Any extra went back to our shared savings account.

4. At some point, my husband paid off his student loans!  We increased his monthly savings contribution to reflect this change in his budget.J

We still split our shared expenses each month.  We use our shared savings to fund major joint purchases.  We both know how much is in our separate accounts.  The downpayment for our upcoming condo purchase will be a combination of shared savings and personal savings, and the allocation will not be equal because one of us has a more substantial amount of cash saved.

Every time our situation changes (e.g., someone gets a raise) we reassess our saving rate to reflect the new scenario.  The approach has really worked well for us, and I think it’s built a sense of teamwork every time we make a big purchase together because we see how much more financial power we have when we pool our resources.

Post # 16
2105 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

We’re going with a joint account. Fiance has most of our bills set up for automatic bill pay, I buy most of the groceries right now because he’s cash poor from the downpayment on our home. Honestly, not having joint accounts right now has been a pain in the butt. 

We always discuss all purchases over $100 (other than groceries) and often give a heads up for a purchase over $50. 

And yes, we have an earnings disparity. 

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