In Budgeting, Discussions, Money

How do you and your partner handle the finances?

After reading this article about 10 couples talking about their money sent over by reader Hela, I am extremely glad that I have the kind of money relationship I do.

Some are truly unhappy and it breaks my heart reading things like this:

The main reason we’re together is because of our son, so he can have a stable upbringing.

It’s not the best relationship in the world. I feel as if I’m not a valid partner in the relationship.

As I mentioned before, I was a money idiot in past relationships which has since formed my opinion of how I want the household expenses to be split.

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I pay 50% of everything we have jointly which includes rent, food, cooking equipment, anything for the house that we share and so on.

Anything else of my money, is mine to spend as I see fit.

For me, it’s the only fair way to be in a relationship considering my past.

HOW DO YOU HANDLE MONEY IF YOU ARE IN A COUPLE?

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Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

Am my own Sugar Daddy. Am a millionaire at 36 after getting out of $60K of student debt in 18 months, a little over a decade earlier, using TheBudgetingTool.com. I have worked 50% of my career (taking 1-2 year breaks), and quadrupled my income within 2 years of graduating, going from $65K to $260K with an average lifetime savings rate of 50%. I have 11 side incomes that are on track in 2020 to make me $50K - $75K. I could retire today if I wanted, but love my work-life balance as a freelancing consultant in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). I am all about balance - between time and money, and also enjoying my money. I also post daily on Instagram @saverspender.

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26 Comments

  1. GYM

    My husband and I have joint accounts and we contribute a percentage of our incomes to the ‘pot money’ as we call it (hah people probably are wondering if we are marijuana dealers if they overhear us talking about pot money). We have unequal incomes so we find this the most equitable. But yeah, totally get having our own money because I would feel sheepish asking for an okay for a pedicure or girls night out dinner or something.

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      And uncomfortable.. “hey.. I want to spend money buying this crazy expensive dress….” 🙂

      Reply
  2. C

    we are sometime sharers. we have separate accounts which get our paychecks, and where we save, and a joint account for common expenses (mortgage, household stuff). Mortgage, repairs, condo fees and whatnot is 50/50; everything else (vacations, groceries) is percentage by income (we make about the same so we COULD do everything equally without too much trouble but I like paying more when I’m making more and I also like spreadsheets, so I have a budget spreadsheet for our spending). We have similar philosophies on money so we both tend to save anyway; but I like to shop more and don’t need any crap from him (and when it comes to jewelry, I shop for expensive things). We discuss common money goals (paying down mortgage in 10 years) and big purchases with each other, regardless.

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      As long as you don’t feel beholden to him, is the reason why I am all for our own brand of quality.

      Reply
  3. sammy

    We share everything regardless of how much each of us makes. This is also what both of us wish, so we are on the same page.

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      That’s a great way of doing it.

      Reply
  4. Oliver @ Appreneurinvestor.com

    My suggestion would be to combine your monthly earnings as a couple, then allocate based on these percentages: 75% for necessities (e.g. debts, payables, allowances, groceries), 20% for savings (for investment or to be kept safe in a bank account and used in case of emergencies), 5% for luxuries (e.g. traveling, shopping, fine dining).

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      That’s a good general rule of thumb for folks.

      I’m not a fan of it because I would feel too boxed in..

      Reply
  5. Adriana @MoneyJourney

    We share everything, including finances. There were times when he was the only breadwinner, there were times I had a higher income, but none of it ever mattered. We simply put our incomes together and budget without thinking about who earned more or who did less.

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      We don’t think about what we earn either… but we are responsible for our own financial weight which might also contribute to the reason why my partner contributes so heavily to the household chores that people are so surprised to hear he does.

      Reply
  6. Sarah (Smile & Conquer)

    I feel like we do a little bit of everything. We own a home together so obviously have a lot of shared expenses but we have always kept separate bank accounts. Sometimes I wish we would just go joint as it would make it easier to pay bills but I also like having my own bank account and not have to feel guilty about any of my spending.

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      I love my own account! I don’t want him to know what I’m really spending on CLOTHES 😉

      Reply
  7. SP

    One pot approach philosophically. We make similar amounts and see each other as equal partners. It is the only thing that make sense to me for us.

    Mechanically, I manage all of our money and we still have some accounts that aren’t joint. Retirement accounts can’t be joint (but if we were to split, California would make us split them), and the others (cash flow checking) are not joint because of inertia. Generally, he pays the mortgage from his paycheck and I pay everything else, but that is mostly just mechanics of money flow. Philosophically, all money is our money, all bills are our bills. I realized this distinction between the mechanics and the philosophy is not something all PFers think makes any sense – but it works for us. Legally, California agrees with our philosophy, so we are covered from that perspective. If we disagreed with California, a good pre-nup / post-nup would be needed.

    It sounds similar to what Mary said, actually.

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      Interesting… I think as we are not married all of our money is our own anyway. I do have to say that sometimes I have to give him THE EYE when he wants to buy an expensive sound system and call it a household expense.

      Reply
  8. Mary

    We both make similarly the same and it gets direct deposit into our separate banks but all of our accounts are joint accounts. I have access to all the accounts and he has access to some of the counts. It’s not because I limit his access but he doesn’t care to check on some of the accounts. I’m the finance person and we have a yearly (shows monthly budget) spreadsheet of expenses we look at but we spend freely. We’re both not the type to go out and spend thousands without the others approval but we do spend a couple hundred here and there without having to get the others approval. More so me than him. Overall, our setup works for us since we’re on the same page about finances.

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      As long as you BOTH talk about it and BOTH agree, this is all good news for me.

      Reply
  9. Jamie McGovern

    We split according to our incomes (right now 65% him and 35% me) 50/50 is only really fair if you make roughly the same amount of money. We contribute that amount to bills and anything for our son, the rest is ours to spend, we have separate accounts for spending. Works for us, no arguments about what we’re spending our money on 😉

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      Yes, we make roughly the same which is why I do 50/50.

      Reply
  10. The Luxe Strategist

    Funny, my husband is writing up a post of how we do finances right now. We have a realllllly loose, separate system. We both make a decent amount of money, have similar spending habits, and can see each other’s accounts. I always thought merging money just to merge seemed kind of unnecessary.

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      LOL I’d like to read about this system!

      Reply
  11. liteadventurer (formerly tomatoketchup)

    We each have our own responsibilities: I pay most of the house related bills, and she pays for all our food. Our incomes are asymmetric due the inherent nature of our professions, so I offer to pay most of our expenses. We spend less than 25% of our combined gross income, so we don’t really stress that much about expenses since our savings rate is so high. But it’s important to each of us individually that we contribute something financially.

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      That I would agree with. Both contributing = all good stuff.

      Reply
  12. Church

    Right now we are a one income family, given that my wife has decided to go back to school for a new career. The good thing about our situation is that we only ever known how to live within the money I make. When she starts her new career, the key will be how well we temper lifestyle creep.

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      This my friend, is very hard. I can attest to having more money coming in and feeling yourself relax and finally buy everything on your list. Or is that just me?

      Reply
  13. silvia

    We share everything, and also save together, no matter how much the other makes. So, no percentages here.
    We have been married for more than 10 years and so far this has worked for us, and both of us have been happy with this arrangement. Each is committed to the relationship and does one’s best.

    However, I think no arrangement is perfect all the time. Sometimes, one wants to spend on something that the other doesn’t think it’s necessary or is too expensive. In this case, we talk and make a decision jointly.

    I think the sharing route requires communication about money, trust, openness, and relatively similar attitudes towards money, but it has worked for us.

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      I think I don’t want to discuss with my partner why I want a $300 dress is probably more the issue. He is balking at $300 pants for work, so he won’t understand where I’m coming from.

      Reply

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