Post # 1
I’m interested in hearing how bees who earm significantly more or less than their SO split expenses. Fiance and I together earn a very comfortable amount of money, especially considering we don’t have any kids. Fiance makes about 80% of our total household take home pay. I earn enough to pay for most of my personal expenses but that’s about it, and even that I sometimes have trouble with.
Currently Fiance pays for all the household expenses (food, mortgage, utilities etc) and I give him money when I can. It’s sometimes frustrating for me to not be able to contribute more, but at the same time. I get annoyed though sometimes too though because I’ll have a sudden, unexpected expense that I can’t cover (like a car repair or vet bill something) and will have to put it on my credit card or clear out my savings account or something when Fiance just has the money in his account to cover things like that when they come up.
I’m really struggling right now to keep money in my savings account mainly because my car is old and falling apart. Something new seems to happen to it all the time, but I can’t afford a new car, which I’ve been trying to save up for. Fiance is always wanting to travel, and I just can’t afford it. I almost feel like I am holding him back just because I can’t afford to keep up, and don’t want him to have to feel like he has to pay for my travelling.
So like I said, what do other bees do? Do you allow Fiance to cover some ‘big’ things or do you just struggle with your own income? Or if your SO is the low income earner, do you help out your SO when you can?
Post # 3
We will be combining all our money into “ours,” instead of his and mine. But – we aren’t living together a month until in advance of the wedding. So it’s not quite the same. Are you looking for a long-term plan once you get married or just from now until the wedding?
Post # 4
He pays for his stuff, and I pay for mine. Living expenses like house stuff gets split based on percentage of total income, so if I made 52% of household income, I pay 52% of the communal expenses. Personally, I couldn’t be any other way in that I have to pay my share…but that’s just me 🙂
Post # 5
Darling Husband put me on his account either not long before or when we got engaged..we both put all of our money into that checking & savings account. he makes around double what i do. it made things so much easier..i kept my old account & sometimes put money in there to buy things for him like christmas & birthday gifts because i dont want him to ruin the suprise by checking our acct history
Post # 6
Well I stay home with the kids…I bring in less than 20% of income from child tax benefit. So we dont split it up. Even when I worked, we never split it like that. Basically our money is pooled together. It will always be like this.
I understand lots of couples split bills equally, and keep their money seperate, but I never understood that. For example OP, your car is falling apart and you cant afford a new one, but your Fiance makes like 3 times as much money. Will that change when your married? I could not imagine a husband letting his wife go like that, kwim? It just doesnt seem fair… to have one with a whole bunch of money just sitting in their account and the other doesnt have any extra money so they go without things they may want… it wil be interesting to see what others do in this situation.
SIL husband paid for their house in full. So when they got married, she took on responsibility of ALL bills, and half of groceries while his money goes to whatever he wants. Doesnt seem fair at all. He did not work and pay for the house, it is a settlement for a car accident he was in.
Post # 7
I make more than double what my husband does right now, and I likely always will be the primary breadwinner.
It is all our income. Goes into the same pot, and all comes out of the same pot and has been that way since we first moved in together. We don’t nickel and dime who pays for what, and who makes what so has more to spend. Nope, all goes together and we have a shared budget. We have a budget for expenses, savings, “fun money” and so on.
Both of us had previous common law relationships where things were “split” according to percentages and it never really worked well for us and felt pretty divisive. This works much, much better.
I don’t think if you are joining together to live a life together one of you should be struggling to pay the bills, or to be able to buy a new car, when the other has plenty, but that is just me. To me it would be really unfair to tell my husband he, for example, had to suck it up and walk if his truck broke down yet my income we could easily afford a new car.
In my common law relationship I was back at school for a period of time and it was tight. I was working but that did not cover school expenses and I was still having to pay part of the mortgage and groceries in a proportional division thing. It sucked as I was dipping into my loans a lot and when we broke up I had a lot of debt that I otherwise, if we had been more of a team, would not have (but, that we were not a team is one of the reasons we broke up!) I did feel resentful at times because he had said I did not really need to work while I was back in law school but then I did as I still had to pay toward the bills with my loans and such, so I had to work to limit that debt!
Post # 8
My SO makes all the money. He says he likes to pay for everything. Awww. When I find a job, he won’t accept any of my money. We have agreed I’ll save it for the both of us for big purchases like a house or cars etc. He spoils me 🙂
Post # 9
@kjo: The reason we split things up is because I like to know that I have equal say in everything. I can support myself and I refuse to be in a position where I have to feel as though I’m a burden, or to feel guilty for spending money on myself.
In a perfect world, the communal household gets contributed to by both parties in both dollars and effort. Each person gets what they need regardless of whether they contributed time or money. Problem is, the world isn’t perfect and when shit hits the fan, the breadwinner almost always comes out better off.
Post # 10
@anothersmith: Thats true I guess… I suppose my parents have always lived sharing their money, so that must be where that comes from. I still dont think for us it will change though when I go to work when my kids are in school.
Post # 11
Darling Husband and I have a joint account. We earn about the same, but if we include my yearly bonuses etc. I make more than he does.
We are still able to keep gifts from each other because we can’t see each other’s credit card transactions, but we definitely can see when the other has paid off the credit card, which caused Darling Husband to split his CC payments in two when he bought the ring 😛
Post # 12
@kjo: If that worked for your parents, and is the model you believe in, that’s awesome. It’s what I grew up with too but it didn’t work out for me. When my first marriage broke up, I was back in school after being at home full time raising our two kids. He walked away with the lion’s share and I struggled for years to get my career back on track and to be able to do things for myself. Do I regret staying home with my kids? Never. But I do know that I went through financial hell providing them with the stuff that they needed and deserved growing up.
Post # 13
Part of the problem is I feel guilty asking Fiance for money. Last time my car was having issues, he offered to pay for it, but it’s my car, it was bought before he was in the picture so I feel like I should have to deal with it. Same with a trip we went on this fall. It was FI’s thing, we had already planned a trip for November, so I couldn’t afford to go on the trip in September and Fiance paid for it all, and again I felt bad.
I also feel guilty when I buy “fun” things for myself, especially when that leaves me a little short just before pay day and I can’t afford to transfer any money to Fiance. Like last week when I splurged and bought a sexy bra and panties from Victoria’s Secret (they just opened a store here and I also had a breast reduction this summer, so I can shop at stores like that!). I didn’t need to spend $100 on underwear, but I did (and it’s soooo pretty! I wish I could wear it every day!). Fiance had forgotten to transfer money from one account to another and therefore wouldn’t have been able to take out spending money for a business trip (he always likes to have cash for things like tips and what not, plus he was travelling to the US so it’s easier to carry cash than have to pay crazy exchange rates on a credit card if he does any personal shopping). He asked me to take out some US cash from my account (since my bank has a US cash ATM 2 blocks from our house) and I wasn’t able to get him as much as he needed without going into overdraft and I felt really bad about it, because I would have had enough if I had not gone to VS!
It’s never anything he says that makes me feel guilty or anything. I just often feel bad that he’s having to pay for me for things that really at my age I should have a better job and be able to pay for these sorts of things!
Post # 14
@NAvery: We’ve been living together for awhile now (just over 2 years), so it’s both a ‘now’ plan but one that will work long term. My biggest thing is I would feel guilty spending ‘his’ money on ‘fun’ things for myself. Like when my car finally dies, I’ll feel like I have to get a cheap, used car (like a Cobalt or something) when we can afford a nice new car, like a VW, Subaru, big Toyota, or even a luxury car like an Audi/Lexus/Volvo/BMW on his salary alone. Even now I feel guilty for some of the ‘indulgences’ I have, like my horseback riding lessons (FI spends way more on all his ‘extra curriculars’ like his trainer, all the marathons/triathalons etc he does, gym membership, soccer fees, hockey fees, gear for all his stuff etc.) He’s doing something pretty much every night btw and I just have my one activity, and I can only afford to do it for a couple months then I need to take time off. If we combined finances more, we would have more than enough for me to be able to go all year. But at the same time I would feel guilty asking him to pay for my riding lessons…
Post # 15
I think there are a few issues. One is how you currently do things, and another how you plan to do things after you are married.
While some combine finances before marriage, I don’t think it’s that unusual not to do so. You only need read the emotional boards to learn that some engagements end. And of course, not all choose to combine finances even after marriage.
Before marriage: I think you need to agree on a set amount you’ll give Fiance for the household rather than relying on what you can/when you can. This will help your self-esteem as you seem to want to contribute, and help both of your budgets by imposing some structure and constancy. Then you know how much you have for your splurges, and can accommodate accordingly (e.g. wait until February for the semi-annual sale at Victoria’s Secret instead of buying it full price. Or shop the sales.) Regarding vacations, I think you need to relax a little. Your Fiance sounds like he understands if he wants to splurge on a trip with you he needs to pay most of the costs. So, it’s his decision to do so – but you can help by researching inexpensive vacations, and paying for a few things on the trip so you don’t feel like you are entirely relying on him. I’m sure he’d appreciate that. The car is a tougher situation – if you are spending money to fix it constantly it sounds like it’s reached it’s expiration date. This one you might want to talk about together, what makes the most sense – continuing to repair it, buy a lesser used car, lease a car, take out a loan, etc.
After marriage: You’re married now, so I would imagine that you would think about expenses somewhat differently. Couples do things different ways, from equal, to one pot, to proportional. But it would seem to me that particularly for basic expenses (such as transportation) or big decisions you make a decision together and pay for it together. If you end up having kids, you’ll end up blending things more I suspect from kid costs to potentially having one person work part-time/stay home.
Essentially: Communicate. Discuss this so you get on the same page (and don’t feel guilty afterwards).
Post # 16
“I think there are a few issues. One is how you currently do things, and another how you plan to do things after you are married.”
Read what kay01 posted! This really is not about seeing how others made their different incomes work, you have some other issues gonig on with the guilt and fierce independence.
I suggest you and your Fiance talk about how you plan to do the money after you’re married. Then talk about the struggles you’re having now with your finances. Perhaps the two of you can come up with some solutions. Yes, he may have to chip in more of his money, or cover more things, but you’ll also have to learn how to manage this guilt.
I am very curious as to what you guys have planned for after the wedding. Does it have this owing/guilt feeling too?
Some engaged couples divvy up the joint expenses – stuff that each of you both use (house, food, utils, internet) and if you make 20% of the household income, then you cover 20% of the household bills. However, if even this method doesn’t leave you enough to cover your personal bills, then reasses what you’re spending on or talk to your Fiance about what you can/cannot do.
This is the best reading I have read about GUILT so far. It talks about deserved guilt and undeserved guilt and how to get rid of it. I hope you read it. It’s chapter 11 in the book “The Emotional Energy Factor.” I think you can read some of it here. (HINT: you are in the undeserved guilt catetory!)