Combining Finances

First, let me preface this post by saying I don’t necessarily believe that combining finances is the right step for every couple. I’m not nearly obnoxious enough to suggest such a thing that *my* answer is also *your* answer. As I’ve previously stated, we’re certainly no financial experts, we’re just trying to get our act together. Obviously, each couple needs to assess their own situation and do what is right for them, which may be maintaining separate finances, combining them, or some sort of combination of the two. We each have to do what feels best for us. This just happens to be what we decided.

* * * * *

As Todd andย I discussed our current financial situation and goals in all of this, we began to formulate our plan for proceeding. Part of that plan, for us, included combining our finances. Prior to this point, we each maintained our own separate finances — Todd worried about his bills and payments, I worried about my own, and never the two met. It started, of course because for four years we maintained a long distance relationship, with him in Moncton, me in Halifax. Everything we did financially was separate. When he moved here it just naturally continued on that way, despite us making noises about “eventually” combining our finances. We just never got around to making it happen.

Combing our finances made sense for us. Although Todd makes more money than I do, he has greater expenses (like child support for two children, car payments, etc.). We had a loose financial arrangement worked out — he paid car-related expenses, I paid household-related expenses, and we split the rent. The only problem with this system was that I generally had more money left over at the end of the month, leaving me with a nice little savings account and him with none. Which made little sense anyhow, because then that savings would be used for things like family vacations in the summer and Christmas gifts.

Didn’t really seem right.

We could have worked out a more equitable (and undoubtedly complicated) system of bill payments and household contributions, I suppose, but for us, our laziness really made that option unappealing. Our solution is to put everything into a single pot, and use that one account for paying everything. We will each get our own personal “allowance” each month, and all savings will be joint. We will each be able to see each other’s financial transactions as a way to keep us both from “dipping into the pot” when temptation strikes. Sure, there may be a great pair of shoes on sale, but unless I’ve saved my own allowance for it, then I will just have to pass them by.

*gulp*

Accountability and joint finances is a good thing for us. Or at least, it sure seems to be at the moment. Of course, we are also open to the possibility that this whole thing will blow up in our faces and we’ll have to come up with a whole new plan. Could get exciting around these parts, folks, who knows.

What about you, dear readers? How do you handle your finances with your spouse? Are you a combined household, or do you split things? I would love to hear how others do this.

Until next time,

~Kelly

Advertisements

12 thoughts on “Combining Finances

  1. I’m the keeper of the finances in our house. My partner has always been terrible with money although he is coming around and getting much better. I’ve been too leery to combine our finances but maybe that day will come.

    Our situation is relatively simple in that we have a house together, he has a car payment, and student loan payment and I have debt that I pay down.

    So we keep things separate.

    I calculated everything we pay on jointly (house, Eastlink bundle, etc) and we split that 50/50. He sends that to me via Interac transfer each pay and I take care of the bills. He pays for his car and debt, and I pay for my debt (which is substantially larger than his) and we maintain our own separate savings accounts.

    Like

  2. My husband will readily admit that he’s not great with money. This is definitely going to be a learning process for us, and we’re open to the idea of abandoning this plan if it doesn’t work. Things are going to be trial-and-error for a while, I think.

    Thanks for sharing how you do things at your house. It’s always interesting to see how others manage their finances.

    Like

  3. I have a huge issue with sharing finances.
    Don’t judge.
    But first, I am the one with the three kids. My partner – no kids.
    We split rent. He gives money towards bills. And then contributes to the household stuff too… (sometimes not as much as I would like… so maybe a joint account would be good?)
    He has debt. I have debt. We both want to pay off our own debt.
    Also, I like to spend my money how I see fit. (Selfish?) I was single for five years after separating and my kids and I were a unit. I just don’t want someone else combing through my finances. Ugh. This whole post is starting to sound like crap.
    Anyway – not sharing finances. I feel like I contribute more but I also would like to keep my money as mine. My ex-husband controlled the money and I had no access so perhaps I feel like I need to hold this one piece of me close?

    Like

    • Oh goodness…absolutely NO judgment here whatsoever! Like I said, every couple needs to do what’s best for them. I can totally understand why you would want to keep your financial independence. I definitely felt like that for a long time after my ex and I split up as well. There’s nothing wrong with keeping your finances separate! This is just what Todd and I have decided to try, though we’re totally open to the idea that it might not work. If that ends up being the case, then we’ll re-evaluate and try something else. There’s no rules in life, right? It’s all just trial and error. If your system is working for you, then by all means, continue on with it! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Like

  4. My husband and I combined finances once we got engaged. We had the financial talk at about 6 months dating, laying out debt, financial goals for the future and spending habits. We are both good with money, although I took on the responsibility of paying monthly bills, setting up our automatic transfer into savings and monitoring the money in and out. Once we were committed to getting married we agreed that all income and debt were to be shared equally. I make more money but had more student loan debt. Before we bought our house we used a large portion of my tax refund to pay off his student loan debt and borrowed against his RRSP’s to do some renovations. Combining finances had worked very well for us over the past 4 years, good luck on your journey ๐Ÿ™‚

    Like

    • Awesome! Sounds like you have a system that works great for you. I’m not sure yet which one of us will take on the responsibility for bill payments and such. I guess that’s a conversation that dear old hubby and I still need to have… ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Like

  5. When I was married, we combined our accounts. I was good with money, him not so much. I felt an immense burden looking after the money. We were together for 15 years. If I were to do it again, I wouldn’t combine accounts. It’s complicated. I work in Financial Services and have seen every way of doing things. You are correct in saying couples have to do what works for them! And be willing to change if necessary ๐Ÿ™‚

    Like

    • Thanks for weighing in, Sharon. We’re going forward with everything on a “trial” basis, basically, and if something doesn’t work, then we’ll ditch it and try something else. I’m hoping that the key for us will be that we’re both going to take responsibility for looking after the money, rather than leaving that burden with just one person. It can be a big weight to carry, I agree. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Like

  6. When my partner and I first moved in together, I was super concerned about maintaining my freedom to spend on what I wanted, save for what I wanted, and didn’t want to intertwine our debts on the chance that things wouldn’t work out. We calculated all our shared expenses (rent, bills, groceries, etc.), the dollar amount for 50% of the total, and opened a joint account. We arranged to each have a portion of our paycheques go directly into the joint account so that we would each make up our 50%. Whatever was left on my cheque after the set amount covered bills, I was able to use for my own, independent spending. It worked out really, really well for us.

    After a couple of years though – after moving to a new city, my partner going back to school, getting married – we ended up combining all our financial assets. Now it’s all in shared pots – for better or for worse!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I totally hear where you’re coming from. I certainly enjoyed having my own financial independence in the beginning of our relationship, too. But the more we talked about it, the more it seemed like the right thing for us to combine everything at this point. We’ll each still have our own independent “spending money” so hopefully that will help us maintain a bit of independence as well. Fingers crossed that it all works out!

      Like

  7. Pingback: The Financial Long Game | Finally Acting Our Wage

  8. Pingback: The Beauty of Budgeting | Finally Acting Our Wage

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s