Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Poll: How Do You Split Finances With Your Significant Other?

Much money 07I’ve been getting a lot of letters recently about finances in relationships and how money is handled in general, so I thought it would make a great poll topic. If you’re currently in a relationship, or have been in one in the past, how do/did you deal with everything from the check at the end of a meal to covering living expenses (if you lived together)? Poll below. And in the comments, I’d love to hear whether you are happy with your current arrangement and/or whether you expect/want it to change. Have you had a relationship end over money issues?

[polldaddy poll=”8061937″]

138 comments… add one
  • Addie Pray

    Addie Pray May 20, 2014, 1:04 pm

    oh goodie, more money talk!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i can’t wait. everybody, share!!

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    csp May 20, 2014, 1:09 pm

    So, my husband and I have been married for 7 years. We have joint checking and savings accounts and separate retirement accounts. We have one credit card account. I love this. This works great because my job is largely commission and he is base so we base our bills on his income and our fun stuff on mine. The only downside is that it is impossible for my husband to surprise me. I do promise around Christmas to not check the credit card statement before the holidays so I don’t know where he spent money and guess what my present is. As far as purchases go, we don’t check if it is under $50 but check if it is over $50.

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    • LlamaPajamas

      LlamaPajamas May 20, 2014, 1:17 pm

      We’ve decided to check with each other on purchases over $100.

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        csp May 20, 2014, 1:48 pm

        yea, we both are aware of the budget and are conscious of it.

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  • avatar

    BecBoo84 May 20, 2014, 1:11 pm

    We’ve been married for 7.5 years and have had joint finances with one shared savings and one shared checking account since we got engaged. I can’t imagine doing it any other way and always find it so intriguing how different families do their finances.

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  • LlamaPajamas

    LlamaPajamas May 20, 2014, 1:15 pm

    Llama Guy and I just moved in together last week! We haven’t combined bank accounts yet but we’re planning on doing that in the next few weeks. We make almost the same salary (within $1000/year of each other) and we’ve always taken turns paying for dates. It’s trickier now that we have combined bills, car and rental insurance, etc., so I’m really looking forward to having all our money in one joint account (which is the route we decided to go).

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    • LlamaPajamas

      LlamaPajamas May 20, 2014, 1:23 pm

      Oh, and we’re getting married this fall.

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      • dizziej

        Jennifer May 20, 2014, 2:36 pm

        Yay! Congrat Llama, that is so great!

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    rachel May 20, 2014, 1:16 pm

    I put 50/50, but I think it’s probably somewhere in between 50/50 and it all comes out in the wash. We split rent and utilities 50/50. Usually he’ll just transfer half of it into my checking account when we get paid and I’ll write the checks. I make a bit more, but I’m the one with the car and the pets, so those expenses usually come out of my pocket. For things like groceries and going out…we usually alternate, in a half-assed not keeping track kind of way. It works for us. The only thing that will change once we’re married is we’ll open up a joint savings that we both have access to. Right now only Ross has access to our emergency savings (he’s the one that built it up, because he saves better and b/c he got a bit of insurance money when he got hit by a car), so it’ll make me feel better when I can see the numbers on the computer.

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    • avatar

      Jolene May 21, 2014, 2:16 pm

      We are similar. We have 3 checking accounts. The joint one we put the same amount in and we pay mortgage and utilities out of. Then we each have our own checking and savings for all of our own expenses – cars/insurance, groceries and play money. We don’t really pay attention to who buys groceries or home needs. If they are big, the come out of joint. If not, whichever one of us is in town picks it up. πŸ™‚

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  • avatar

    gwensoul May 20, 2014, 1:17 pm

    Married and have everything joint except for retirement (because that is too messy to try and combine) We share credit cards as well. Don’t worry about who pays for what, just if it fits in our budget. We have been together for 12 years though and we only started this after we got married, before that it was 50/50 on things like rent but otherwise we tried to even out with bill (he paid water and cable, I did groceries and gas, kind of like that)

    We have still fought over money since I like to save more than he does and he has made me see that we can enjoy ourselves. Money is not something we fight much about though once we figured out what our budget and goals were.

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    • Addie Pray

      Addie Pray May 20, 2014, 1:31 pm

      Yea, I can see how if you have different saving preferences, joint finances can be REALLY tricky. Like, if I were hellbent on saving X dollars and was cutting stuff out like Starbucks or cabs or lunches out, etc., and my partner was still doing all that stuff, I’d be like “hey, stop it!”

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  • avatar

    lets_be_honest May 20, 2014, 1:19 pm

    I chose “we live together and split 50/50.”
    When I say 50/50 though, its just the “real” shared bills which are really only property taxes, gas/electric, cable/internet, water, home insurance and we split Lil’s cell phone bill. Those are usually the same amount every month so he just gives me a check every month for the same amount. We have not and don’t plan to merge accounts. Aside from Lil’s phone which was a gift from both of us, only I pay her tuition/uniform bills (well, I used to. Paid the last one last month!). For other expenses, like groceries, eating out, random bills, etc., whoever has cash on them or time to grocery shop pays for it. We don’t keep track of that stuff. Its really worked out fine from the start so we probably won’t change it. We need to firm up estate planning stuff though. As it stands, Lil is the sole beneficiary of each of us.

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    • Addie Pray

      Addie Pray May 20, 2014, 1:28 pm

      I find this all so fascinating. No your “this” but everyone’s “this.” More, more, more!

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest May 20, 2014, 1:42 pm

        Here’s a weird thing for you Addie. Since I’m the shopper in the family, I bought all the furniture for the house. We still need a new bedroom set. Maybe I’ll use his card for that haha. Or maybe I’ll charge him to sit on the couch!

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      • honeybeenicki

        honeybeenicki May 20, 2014, 2:54 pm

        Charge him by the minute to sit on the couch.

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      • LlamaPajamas

        LlamaPajamas May 20, 2014, 2:59 pm

        Yes! And charge extra if he lounges vs. just sits, and even more if he puts his feet up.

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        lets_be_honest May 20, 2014, 3:00 pm

        See, this is what DW is for! I was thinking a weekly charge. What was I thinking?! I’ll install a little tracker on the couch for when I’m at work, just in case he’s trying to get away with not paying.

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    • avatar

      rachel May 20, 2014, 1:29 pm

      The way you guys do it sounds really similar to us. I can’t imagine completely merging accounts.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest May 20, 2014, 1:46 pm

        I guess if something isn’t working, we’ll change it, but we have literally never argued about money so I guess its working haha.

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    • avatar

      Christy May 20, 2014, 1:30 pm

      Does he contribute to your mortgage? (I don’t mean it to sound like a jerky question; I’m just curious.)

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest May 20, 2014, 1:49 pm

        When we rented, we split that down the middle. I had offered to pay 2/3 since Lil and all, but he thought 50/50 was the right way to do it.

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      • Portia

        Portia May 20, 2014, 2:12 pm

        As an example of a possible thing to do when one person owns and the other doesn’t: because he owns our place and I’m not contributing to property without my name on it, instead we decided on an amount that I put into a special account each month and it’s my informal equity in the condo. But our understanding is that it’s going to eventually be part of my contribution to buying the next place. This was our answer to “how to have skin in the game without legally owning part of it” but long-term the goal is for us both to own.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest May 20, 2014, 2:16 pm

        A friend of mine bought a place recently in her name only and her boyfriend was moving in. I suggested that rather than split the mortgage amount, they figure out the going rental rate and he pay 50% of that. It seems more fair I think. Then if they split, she doesn’t owe him anything and he just can view it as rent he would’ve paid elsewhere.

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      • othy

        othy May 20, 2014, 2:22 pm

        That seems like a fair way to do it. We live in an area where you can buy for about the same cost as renting, so I’ve always wondered how couples handle that.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest May 20, 2014, 2:27 pm

        In that situation, I would guess if one person has the downpayment money and the other doesn’t, it would be fair to have that person with the dp $ benefit from home equity? Maybe not. Interesting though! When we were househunting, we went through a million ideas on how to buy, whether to mortgage, use both names, just one name, etc. There were so many options.
        I do find this stuff really interesting -how everyone does it. I said to Addie the other day it makes me uncomfortable, but I meant just when talking about specifics.

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      • othy

        othy May 20, 2014, 2:44 pm

        I think if it were an issue for me (if Othello and I didn’t share finances and the mortgage was in my name only), I’d have him pay half of the interest each month? That way, I’d keep the principal, and the interest is ‘lost’ money.

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      • Nookie

        Nookie May 21, 2014, 8:41 am

        The Cockney owns, I pay him half for bills and mortgage. It’s still a lot less than London rental prices. If we did split, I wouldn’t ask for any of it it back. But we are hoping to get our own place soon enough so that will have both of our names on it, which is good for me as we don’t plan on getting married.

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      • Portia

        Portia May 20, 2014, 2:28 pm

        I like that too.
        .
        For me, it was important for us to treat the place like it was ours, so I also pay half property taxes and condo fees. That plus the monthly putting money away does turn out to about rent in our old place.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest May 20, 2014, 2:30 pm

        I really like your way of doing it also. Really neat! How did you determine the amount for the special account?

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      • Portia

        Portia May 20, 2014, 3:14 pm

        Well, mostly we figured it out by deciding what I could afford after the other expenses and what would be a good “percentage to own” by the end of a year. We threw around a couple numbers but this was the one that was round enough that I didn’t have to keep note of it and I could own at least 1% each year (it seemed like too little to own less than 1% at the end of a year).
        .
        We recently talked about the next place – I want to get it in both of our names next time and he wants each of us to contribute to it equally. So we agreed to not start looking into it until I have enough to put down half of a down payment.

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    • avatar

      lets_be_honest May 20, 2014, 2:22 pm

      Does anyone else have a situation like mine and have figured out their estate planning stuff already?

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  • GatorGirl

    GatorGirl May 20, 2014, 1:20 pm

    We actually do the “yours, mine, and ours” method. For household expenses we’re somewhere between “exactly 50/50” and “it all comes out in the wash”. We make a pretty similar take home pay, well his take home pay and mine minus my student load payments.
    .
    I think having a very clear and regularly monitored budget is pretty key in not having money arguments. That and having some of your own to do what ever you please with.

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    • avatar

      ktfran May 20, 2014, 1:28 pm

      I hope this is closer to what my financial relationship will look like. I’ve been on my own so long now, I can’t imagine not having some of my own money.

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      • GatorGirl

        GatorGirl May 20, 2014, 1:48 pm

        It sounds really complicated, but it’s pretty easy in practice. This is a breakdown
        -Each paycheck we put a fixed amount into our joint account via auto deposit. (This amount covers things like rent, cable, cell phone, all the fixed numbers each month.)
        -Each week GGuy adds up our non-fixed expenses (groceries, travel, entertainment, beers) and inputs them in our budget.
        -We have a running tab on the fridge of what we each “owe” the joint account for our non-fixed expenses. Each week he adds half of that weeks non-fixed expenses to our tab. When we transfer money into the joint account to cover those non-fixed expenses, we subtract it from our running tab. (basically there is a sheet on the fridge where we add/subtract what we owe/spend that we update weekly)
        -We each have a set amount we put into our joint savings per month. If we borrow from the joint savings (like I did to cover my car accident) we’re individually responsible to pay it back.
        -What ever money we each have in our own accounts is ours to do what ever we want with, no questions asked!

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        lets_be_honest May 20, 2014, 1:51 pm

        These things seem difficult with all the math, but I guess after you figure it out the first time, the amounts are usually the same every month. Do you find that to be true?

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      • GatorGirl

        GatorGirl May 20, 2014, 1:59 pm

        For the “fixed expenses” they are usually pretty much the same each month- it’s rent, cable, phone, and electricity. The electricity is the only thing that really varies and that’s just by $20 or so, so we just factored it in on the high side.
        .
        For the “non fixed” expenses, it varies wildly. There are some months where we spend maybe $500 on things like groceries, going out, that stuff, and others where it’s $1200 or $1500 if we’re buying things like flights or gifts for people. So that’s where the “tab” comes in.
        .
        And I don’t mind the system because I don’t have to do the math πŸ™‚ GGuy enjoys it, and it’s his preferred way to do it. I just have to funnel money into the account and subtract it from my tab!

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      • GatorGirl

        GatorGirl May 20, 2014, 2:00 pm

        Edit- I mean when we figure out the fixed amount we’d put into the account via direct deposit, we factored in a high amount for electricity.
        .
        Yeah it’s complicated to explain apparently!

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest May 20, 2014, 1:52 pm

        Also, I would rather live in a bed of snakes that have to ask before buying something.

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      • avatar

        ktfran May 20, 2014, 2:09 pm

        YES! If I want the super cute dress, I don’t want to have to ask to buy it, or feel guilty about buying it.

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      • avatar

        ktfran May 20, 2014, 2:14 pm

        So, I don’t think I would break it down quite like you have it, but I definitely want to do the yours, mine, ours thing. For sure.

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    kerrycontrary May 20, 2014, 1:21 pm

    We’re moving in together this weekend (yay!) and getting married in the fall. He’s always paid when we go out to eat or for events, but I always cook (and purchase groceries/ingredients). He makes more than I do. We’ll split living expenses about 50/50 but he gets a housing stipend. Some of my money will go to student loans instead of our household expenses. They’re “my” loans but it benefits both of us the earlier they get paid off. We are combining checking/savings when we get married.

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  • honeybeenicki

    honeybeenicki May 20, 2014, 1:23 pm

    We have been together for 8 years, married for 5 but we don’t have joint accounts (for many reasons including an unsatisfied bankruptcy on his part before we got married and his child support). We don’t really pay attention to who is paying what percentage. Basically, I use my checks to cover the bills and he gives me a huge chunk of his check each payday (minus the money he needs for gas to get to work, walkin-around-money, and anything extra he needs) and he just lets me know “hey, I need to buy new work boots/my prescriptions/etc this week, so I’ll be giving you less.” If it’s a non-necessity and we absolutely need his money for some reason or another, I let him know. Otherwise, no big deal. I guess if there was a percentage, he’d pay a lot less than I do, but he does the majority of the housework (including laundry and dishes, both of which I hate). I also make more than he does and I don’t have a huge chunk of my check going to child support (although I do have a huge chunk going to student loans). I guess we figure that as long as everything gets paid and we have a little extra to have fun with, it doesn’t matter.

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  • avatar

    ChemE May 20, 2014, 1:26 pm

    We’ve been married almost 10 years and before we lived together and shared expenses he couldn’t pay his car payment or our cell phone bill on time. Since we moved in together I’ve always done our finances and to me it’s all money I need to use to pay the bills. I’ve never even tried to look at who pays more, it really is one big pot of money that we spend. When I was in school I was either working part time or not at all so he supported us, now I make more than he does.
    We’re a really weird couple, we never talked about who pays what, it just came natural. We both know he sucks at keeping track of bills and I’m OCD about it, so it just worked out.

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    • honeybeenicki

      honeybeenicki May 20, 2014, 1:29 pm

      That’s pretty much how ours works including the he sucks at bills and I really want them paid on time, correctly, and in an orderly fashion. I once tried to teach him and the kids how to budget and their eyes glazed right over.

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        lets_be_honest May 20, 2014, 1:37 pm

        I actually like being in charge of that stuff too, so it works out nicely. I love a good budget or spreadsheet and I do that online bank thing where the bills are just automatically taken out which is so easy.

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      • honeybeenicki

        honeybeenicki May 20, 2014, 2:23 pm

        I’m in love with my excel budget. It makes me so happy.

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        lets_be_honest May 20, 2014, 2:28 pm

        I play with mine every morning. Its ridiculous.

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      • honeybeenicki

        honeybeenicki May 20, 2014, 2:56 pm

        When I tried to teach the other members of the household how to budget, I tried to use the spreadsheet first but they glazed over even faster than usual, so I did a “pretend” budget written out and they still didn’t quite get it.

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  • mandalee

    mandalee May 20, 2014, 1:30 pm

    We live together and our married and everything is considered “ours”. We have one joint checking account, and two joint savings account- one long term and one short-term. We have separate retirement accounts and my husband has another checking account that he gets work reimbursements in that is our vacation fund. Right now, my husband makes 3 times what I make (I make decent money he makes a crazy amount haha), and it will get a little more imbalanced when I go back to graduate school and go down to part-time work but will be close to 50-50 once I graduate.
    .
    When we were dating and lived together, we had a similar income difference and he paid for rent and utilities and I paid for groceries/gas/and all our “entertainment” – dates, trips, etc and threw a lot of my money at student loans since I had more. Once we got engaged, we switched over to the married mode and haven’t looked back since. Overall, we’re both happy with our money situation. I make less and work less crazy hours so I do almost all the cleaning, household errands, and budgeting/bill paying. I make less now but we both agree that the sacrifice will be worth it when my earning will go up sustainably once I graduate. So we take the uneven income difference of the present knowing that it will greatly benefit our incomes in the long-term. So, long story short, money is “ours” and not “mine” and “yours”.

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  • avatar

    HmC May 20, 2014, 1:31 pm

    I’ve been married for about 5 months now, we moved in together just before the wedding and combined finances just as we were married. I always thought I liked the idea of “yours, mine, and ours” since I’m kind of anal about money and budgeting and making a good income in my own right. However, for us as a married couple, combining everything just works. He’s not a spender at all and is happy for me to hold the financial reigns, so all that’s really changed is that it’s both of our names on the accounts and credit card and his income appears in our checking every month in addition to mine. It’s really not any extra trouble for me. I don’t know, I do appreciate the idea of having your own stuff while married of course. But, I also think that if you don’t want to combine finances because you don’t *trust* your spouse, why the heck are you married to someone you don’t trust?

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  • avatar

    bethany May 20, 2014, 1:34 pm

    I know I’ve said this before but we split household expenses 50/50. We each put the same amount into our joint checking account each month and use that to pay all household expenses. We have a joint savings account, and we each have a personal checking and savings account. We’ve been doing things this way for about 5 years? However, during that time we each made around the same amount per year. My husband was recently promoted and got a sizable raise, so I’ve been thinking about maybe bringing up changing the plan a bit.

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      bethany May 20, 2014, 1:39 pm

      Oh, also whatever you do with your “personal” money is your business. Although we do generally talk about larger purchases before they happen though. Like Dave told me he was thinking about getting a motorcycle before it actually happened. He doesn’t ask my permission, because he can do whatever he wants, but he just lets me know he’s thinking about it. And I don’t think we’ve ever actually fought about money.

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    • Addie Pray

      Addie Pray May 20, 2014, 1:42 pm

      or keep the plan as is since it works so well but have him split his extra $ he’ll be making each pay period with you? you’ll get to the same spot without messing up your system.

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        bethany May 20, 2014, 1:59 pm

        I know I probably shouldn’t feel icky about that, but I think I would feel really weird essentially taking his money. We talked briefly about him helping me pay off some of my debt, so I might be more comfortable with him making my student loan payment (It’s only $70/mo), instead of just straight up giving me money.

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      • Addie Pray

        Addie Pray May 20, 2014, 2:25 pm

        i see your point, but meh it’s all the same; in percentage-based splits the one who earns more pays more – he’ll have to either give you money or let you keep more of your own. I’d make him pay your student loans. impose a new rule: no motorcycles until bethany’s loans are paid off. Sounds fair to me! πŸ˜‰

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    HmC May 20, 2014, 1:37 pm

    Also I really like the comment on the column today that marriage isn’t about keeping score or 50/50, it’s about 100/100 (sorry I am too lazy to look up and give specific credit!). All due respect to those that split everything down the middle, I understand the sentiment. I was more about splitting stuff in my relationships (though the 50/50 exact thing always seemed exhausting, I did want to feel like we were both contributing fairly equally and I was usually with men who felt the same). But I dunno, being married feels more like everything should be “ours”. I mean, legally, that is exactly what it is. So if you’re married and living in a state that recognizes community property and you think every dime you earn is “yours”, technically you are not even legally correct.

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  • avatar

    Christy May 20, 2014, 1:37 pm

    Gf and I trade off who buys groceries (roughly) and who treats the other to dinner out. We’re putting money 50/50 into a joint checking account now so that when we move in together, joint bills come out of there.

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  • avatar

    iseeshiny May 20, 2014, 1:39 pm

    We’ve been married for two and a half years, forever-train committed for four, living together for six. While we were just living together we split shared expenses 50/50. When we got on the forever train and bought our house we combined everything. We’ve made different amounts over the years, sometimes a significant difference. It’s worked for us so far.

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  • Paki

    Paki May 20, 2014, 1:41 pm

    We live together and have yours, mine, ours. We put an amount into the joint account every month based on our incomes. This account covers all our bills, house, groceries, eating out, etc. Our serparate accounts cover cell phone bills, car payments, car insurance, personal spending. We don’t have an official policy to check with each other bigger items, but usually discuss prior to buying anything over $100 out of any of our accounts. With all that said, it really all comes out in the wash. We both use some of our “fun” money to buy joint things or extra treats (tickets, gifts, etc).

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  • Portia

    Portia May 20, 2014, 1:43 pm

    Well, right now is a weird period, as I don’t have an income so we’ve come up with our own system. But, back when I had money coming in and our salaries were more comparable, it was 50-50 on shared things, including travel for my grad degree (so that I can live with him and still go back) and groceries. It was all taken out of our joint account, which we both funded in regular intervals. And instead of keeping track of specifics, it’s more that he pays for the expensive eating out and I pay for the cheaper nights out (and he pays for most of the groceries and I do most of the cooking). However, in the future, if our incomes are much more disperate, I think I’d want to go on income percentages or something.
    .
    And if we were to get married, I think we’d still do 3 accounts but figure out funding the joint account based on percentages.

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  • avatar

    Anna May 20, 2014, 1:45 pm

    I can’t believe I actually have something to add to this conversation but I have been dating an awesome guy for a couple months and at first he didn’t want me to pay for anything. It actually bothered me and made me feel like a freeloader, especially since I’m doing a little better financially than he is. I told him how I felt (about me feeling like a freeloader not about me making more $ than him) and now we take turns paying for things. I think it’s best that way because I believe relationships should be equal.

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      lets_be_honest May 20, 2014, 1:56 pm

      ANNNAAAAAAAA!

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      rachel May 20, 2014, 1:58 pm

      Anna! Tell us more about this guy!

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    • GatorGirl

      GatorGirl May 20, 2014, 2:05 pm

      Whoop whoop! Aren’t Southern guys the best? GGuy did the same until we had that convo too. Sounds like you’re doing well!!

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    • Addie Pray

      Addie Pray May 20, 2014, 2:06 pm

      ANNA i have missed you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ok, now tell us about this guy.

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        Anna May 20, 2014, 2:50 pm

        I’ve missed you too! My life has been so good I’ve been keeping it private even from Facebook. πŸ˜€ Sometimes I lurk from my phone at work and read a column.

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      iseeshiny May 20, 2014, 2:09 pm

      YES DETAILS!

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        Anna May 20, 2014, 2:48 pm

        Haha, sorry I got distracted eating a lean pocket and texting everyone. I am off today. So yeah actually he’s from Syracuse NY another yankee. He’s 31, very cute and a great cook. He is a cable technician and a drummer in a rock band and he has a big awesome dog. I hope this one pans out because I’m having some strong feelings that are too scary to put into words just yet.

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        Anna May 20, 2014, 2:59 pm

        This was his old band in NY…he is the drummer. πŸ™‚

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5-4mTgX0Ac

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        iseeshiny May 20, 2014, 3:12 pm

        YAY scary exciting feelings! That’s so exciting. I’m so happy for you.

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    Chelle May 20, 2014, 1:49 pm

    We are actually none of these. We live together and are married. All of our money goes into the same account and all of our bills get paid out of that. We are using the Dave Ramsey plan and each get some cash to spend on whatever we want each month. Then all other expenses that are not budgeted (like gas and groceries), we have to agree on before we can purchase. All of our decisions are made together. I send a spreadsheet each week for him to review and mark where we are over/under budget. Our situation works great for us. My momma always said (lol) that managing different finances is just another divide in a marriage and if you are going to be a couple, then you are a couple in every aspect.

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    • Cassie

      Cassie May 20, 2014, 6:21 pm

      I think that each married couple needs to do what works best for them. Different methods of managing finances doesn’t make someone any more or less married.

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    • Addie Pray

      Addie Pray May 20, 2014, 6:29 pm

      Aw I like that. I could get behind this method. How much money do you each get each month for spending on whatever you want? Lately I’ve been spending like $5,000 a month and I’m ready for that to stop. Do you adjust it each year? Is it tied to what you think is an appropriate amount to spend each month or what you actually end up spending each month or is it like a certain fraction of your income (meaning, you don’t expect necessarily to spend it each month) and is it the same amount for you and your husband (e.g., I have a couple of big things I spend my money on each month so I’d need more money than the average Joe, unless my hypothetical average Joe husband had a similar purchase)? Wow, you can NOT answer any of those nosy questions. Or you can…).

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  • avatar

    FossilChick May 20, 2014, 1:52 pm

    We’ve lived together for 3 years. We make very, very little money for our area (combined income is probably around 25K) considering that we both have terminal degrees in our field and we are both employed year-round. Rent we split 50/50. Everything else, whoever has more money that month pays. It ends up being that I have more money from the fall to spring, and he has more money in the summer. I don’t think I’ve paid a single bill in June, July or August since 2010, and similarly, he hasn’t purchased a Christmas gift with his “own” money since then. We’re never totally broke, but there’s never money left over either; we don’t have savings or retirement accounts, so it’s a pretty basic numbers game for us at this point. But next year I’ll be leaving my current job and we’ll be moving to wherever I get a permanent job (which will come with a substantial pay rise), and I’m prepared to fully support both of us with my income alone if he can’t find appropriate work in our new location. So I expect things will change and flip-flop several times before we find a long-term system that works.

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  • avatar

    LilFuzzyBunny May 20, 2014, 1:56 pm

    Before we got married we kept all of our money separate and split EVERYTHING 50/50 – rent, groceries, bills. The only things we didn’t split were things that were for our own stuff such as our car payments or cell phones bills since we weren’t on the same plan, and credit cards.

    Now that we are married we have all joint accounts. We still have separate credit cards, but that’s only because it was too hard to figure out how to combine them (read we were lazy) but they get paid off from our joint accounts.

    Of course all of this was a simple and straight forward decision for us since we’ve both always made roughly the same as each other.

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  • LadyinPurpleNotRed

    LadyinPurpleNotRed May 20, 2014, 1:57 pm

    Right now I’m not working, so things are lopsided. We knew this was coming because I moved here after grad school for him since he has a well paying job and I’m portable. So right now it’s quite uneven, but before this and in the future we are a it’s all a wash/our money type relationship. We’re on the forever train and so we aren’t strict about it. I like cooking and grocery shopping and am appalled by his grocery shopping techniques, so no matter what, that is my area.

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  • avatar

    Liquid Luck May 20, 2014, 1:58 pm

    We lived together and split bills based on income. He makes about 3x what I do. He pays the rent and utilities, and then I put the equivalent amount in our joint savings account, so we pay the same for that. On top of that he covers car payments, dog expenses, groceries, and going out to eat or with friends. He also has student loans (which I don’t), so he pays those every month. We’re each responsible for our own car insurance, gas, and fun money. He has a set salary and I get paid hourly, so if I have a really good month then I usually either put more in to our savings account, pick up the bill when we go out, or throw some money toward other expenses he would usually pay.
    .
    The only joint accounts we have are our savings and one credit card. We each have our own checking and savings accounts and our own credit cards (we don’t carry balances on these, they’re mostly for emergencies or we use them for the rewards and then pay them off immediately). But we do know each other’s information and have no problem using each others cards if we need to, so it’s not a very big deal.
    .
    We both like having our own money, and it works for us. This is how we’ve been doing it since we moved in together, before we got married, and we’re sticking with it for the forseeable future. We did say that if we ever had kids and one of us decided to stay home that we’d just combine everything into joint accounts, but we’re a long way off from that.

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  • redessa

    redessa May 20, 2014, 2:00 pm

    I’m married and a stay-home mom so my husband pays for everything. His paycheck goes into a joint checking account. He generally takes care of bill paying (mortgage, utilities, insurance…) and I do almost all of the household shopping – groceries, clothing, school supplies (for the kids), birthdays etc… We each do spend a little on ourselves here and there but nothing big without discussing it first.

    Basically, neither of us is careless with money and we both know full well what’s available and what bills are due. We have a large family and a child with major medical issues so there’s simply not a lot of wiggle room in our finances to be arguing over. I guess I’m happy enough with it. It would be nice to not feel like finance are so tight, but we have enough to cover our needs and a few wants so I can’t complain too much. I sometimes think about getting a part-time job, which would be nice for several reasons, but it doesn’t work for our family situation right now.

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  • avatar

    _s_ May 20, 2014, 2:04 pm

    I don’t know how helpful this is because I’m married and we each make about the same amount of money, but here’s what we do. Our finances are all joint – all of our paychecks go into one checking account, which we use to pay for everything – bills, food, clothes, day-to-day personal stuff, whatever. We just kind of give each other a heads up if we are making a larger personal purchase. We have separate Roth IRA retirement accounts but put equal amounts of money into them each month from the joint check checking account. We don’t use credit cards, so that’s not an issue – we use debit cards from the joint checking account. We also have a joint savings account that is our 6-month emergency fund. The only things we have separate are 1) I do technically have an active Discover card I don’t use (though it was handy when my debit card got hacked and I was waiting for a replacement), 2) I also have a couple of additional personal retirement accounts I’ve earned from past jobs, and 3) my husband has his own Pay Pay account that he uses for an expensive hobby he has (when he sells hobby-related stuff the $ goes in there, so he can turn around and use it when he buys new hobby-related stuff). I manage/track/pay all of our finances/bills (except his hobby Pay Pal) because my husband is terrible at it and I’m good at it.

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  • avatar

    betsy May 20, 2014, 2:06 pm

    Uh, none of the above? I make a little less than my husband, but we try to live mostly off my salary and bank his. I pay the bills and do the household/grocery shopping; he generally pays for vacations and when we go out for dinner. We buy our own clothes/shoes. We have our own separate checking accounts and credit cards (partially due to laziness to change direct deposits), but a joint savings account. We have a $250 limit before we have to check in with each other.
    We were both in our 30s when we got married and used to a certain amount of financial freedom, so this set up has worked out out well for us. We have a baby on the way, so we’ll see how this set up will have to adapt when the time comes.

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  • avatar

    TheRascal May 20, 2014, 2:10 pm

    Mr. Rascal and I are a blend. 50/50 for fixed expenses (rent, parking, utilities, insurance) and we keep a google spreadsheet to monitor any big shared expenses (furniture purchase, travel).

    We alternate grocery shopping. This week, I bought the groceries. Next week, he will.

    For other shared expenses like dinner or drinks or movie/concert tickets, we don’t keep track — its all a wash in the end for us regarding these.

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  • Fabelle

    Fabelle May 20, 2014, 2:17 pm

    I chose “We don’t live together & we take turns” because that’s basically what we do. He pays more often, but it’s probably like 70/30? And I make sure to notice if it’s been a couple times in a row that he’d paid, & then I whip my card out. OR at the cash bar graduation party we went to last weekend (I WAS SO SURPRISED IT WAS NOT OPEN BAR BTW), I had no cash so he paid for both of our (many) drinks. But then the next day when he filled up his car, I told him to just use my card. So, we don’t keep score per se, but I try to make sure it’s not imbalanced?

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    • honeybeenicki

      honeybeenicki May 20, 2014, 2:54 pm

      We were at a wedding over the weekend with a cash bar. I don’t know why it surprised me… we had a cash bar (for the most part) at our wedding. We had free beer, soda and wine at ours. The one we were at this weekend was free soda and free tap bud lite. Good thing neither of us drinks alcohol πŸ™‚

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    • avatar

      snoopy128 May 21, 2014, 1:02 am

      I’d say we are close to this right now- about a 70/30 split. He mostly pays for dinners out, but I will try and pick up some of the cheaper ones. Since we live together, furniture/house decorating stuff we try to split 50/50 by alternating who buys since we started with no furniture and if we do break up and move out, it is very clear whose stuff is whose. He buys groceries. We split rent. I pay utilities and cable. The rest is separate since our finances aren’t settled. If pays for something for me (like my gym membership) I either pay him back with cheque or return the favour with something else. Whenever we go to ‘settle the bill’ on big things like that, we find we are pretty even. Or it evens out within a few weeks. So basically it all comes out in the wash, and will, until finances are stable for us.

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  • dizziej

    Jennifer May 20, 2014, 2:34 pm

    My SO and I have been married for 5 years and living together for 7. We have joint chequing and savings. I control the finances (as in making sure that our monthly withdrawals are covered between our cheques) but other than that, there is no “his and hers” it’s all “ours”. If it is in the joint account, it is fair game to send, but check with the other one. We even call and let the other one know when we are buying lunch etc. The only off limits money is the stuff in the “bill pays” account because that has already been allotted for another purpose.

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    • avatar

      lets_be_honest May 20, 2014, 2:42 pm

      I want a chequing account!

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    • avatar

      snoopy128 May 21, 2014, 1:04 am

      I’m cheap/stingy, but I could never imagine calling my S.O. to tell him I’m buying lunch that day. Buuuuut I guess my S.O. is also the kind of person who wouldn’t care.

      Interesting. Don’t think I could do that method.

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  • othy

    othy May 20, 2014, 2:37 pm

    We’ve always just had an ‘ours’ account. We have very similar spending habits and financial goals. And we’ve always lived well within our means. So we were both okay with the ‘ours’ option (Othello always thinks it is funny that people on this site do it any other way). Because we were already doing an ‘ours’ approach, it made it much easier for Othello to quit his job and go back to school. It means there isn’t any resentment for either of us that I’m supporting us 100%. Thankfully, neither one of us needs him to be the breadwinner.

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    • GatorGirl

      GatorGirl May 20, 2014, 2:45 pm

      My mom thinks it’s weird we don’t just have ours too. But I’m okay with that πŸ™‚

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    • avatar

      _s_ May 20, 2014, 2:53 pm

      Yeah, all these splitting/tracking-who-pays-what methods sound exhausting. One account, all $$ in & out is just easier. But I can understand why people who are not married in particular would not want to do that – we certainly didn’t have joint accounts before we got married, and frankly I don’t remember how we handled things then.

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    • mandalee

      mandalee May 20, 2014, 2:59 pm

      I agree that having an “ours” account makes it easier when life changes happen (quitting a job, going to school, having a baby, etc). I am quitting my full-time job to go back to school with Othello and it was more of a “how will our budget adjust” not “what will we do without me contributing”, if that makes sense?

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      • mandalee

        mandalee May 20, 2014, 3:00 pm

        to go back to school **like Othello, not with. I really need to proofread on this phone lol

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      • othy

        othy May 20, 2014, 3:53 pm

        I was wondering if you knew him, and decided to go take classes with him. Cause, that would be awesome πŸ™‚ And yep, it totally makes sense.

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  • gigi

    gigi May 20, 2014, 1:49 pm

    My marriage ended legally in 2006 due to money issues. I tried every way I could think of to overcome the problems- read his financial irresponsibility. Tried the one account ay, the mine, yours & ours, tried him handling it all… nothing helped. He loved to spend WAY above our means, with no concern for the repayment. We always had bill collectors calling. I made more than him by far, but it wasn’t enough to support the way he wanted to live. The final straw was the day the Sheriff’s deputy came to the house with an Order of Execution. she explained that this meant they could take all our possessions, his mine & our kids’ & auction them off to satisfy HIS debts. Ones that he made against my wishes. Ones he had not even told me about. I had to divorce myself from that. The stress from that was unbearable, the worry, the sleepless nights. He would even look for my cash stash which I kept for taking my kids on vacation in the summer & took it. He tried to buy a motorcycle in my name, luckily he didn’t know my SS# & the dealership had to call me. Before he left he cleaned out my kids’ saving accounts & took another $1000 from mine. Once he actually left it took a year of scrimping & doing without, eating mac & cheese & ramen noodles, but I pulled myself out of that hole. Now I don’t have to worry about money as much, even tho he pays next to nothing for child support & it feels AWESOME! I will be very wary of ever combining my finances legally with anyone again. My BF & I do not live together now mostly due to wanting to keep our kids in their schools, but also because I am not sure I can ever trust someone again to not take advantage of me financially. I love helping him out when I can, & I pay for a lot of things when we do go out, but money in relationships definitely makes me nervous.

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    • avatar

      HmC May 20, 2014, 1:52 pm

      Yikes, this sounds like AP’s worst nightmare.

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      • Addie Pray

        Addie Pray May 20, 2014, 2:08 pm

        I had a panic attack reading gigi’s comment. Gigi, what a nightmare you experienced!

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      • gigi

        gigi May 20, 2014, 2:11 pm

        It truly was AP. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. I think I had a little anxiety just typing it out too!

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    • avatar

      Tax Geek May 20, 2014, 2:17 pm

      My ex-wife wasn’t that bad, but bad enough. She was (and still is) a SAHM. Her attitude seemed to be if she had checks and the debit card was acepted, things were OK. If they weren’t, it was my fault because I didn’t make enough. We ended up in foreclosure and Chapter 7 in addition to divorce. Even though I pay a bunch in spousal and child support, it won’t be forever. And I am in control of my finances again.

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    • avatar

      iseeshiny May 20, 2014, 2:21 pm

      Ohgod I’m going to go check my credit report right now. That’s so terrifying and horrible.

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      • Portia

        Portia May 20, 2014, 3:17 pm

        Just reading this was giving me so much anxiety that I checked my own credit score, too.

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      • gigi

        gigi May 20, 2014, 2:28 pm

        I don’t use credit cards at all, but whenever I have to finance something, like a new furnace, I have the worst anxiety ever. Because my credit score is still not the best thanks to all of the Ex’s shenanigans. It’s really embarrassing.

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    • othy

      othy May 20, 2014, 2:33 pm

      Wow, that sucks!
      .
      I had a couple of different bosses who had similar problems. Both of their respective husbands were addicted to pain killers, and would rack up tens of thousands of dollars of ‘medical debt’ doctor shopping to supply their habits. When the wives finally divorced them, the debt collectors went after them. Because medical debt is considered communal property in my state, and the wives were holding down steady jobs and could ‘afford’ to pay it back. Separate finances didn’t help either of them.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest May 20, 2014, 2:34 pm

        I know a couple who divorced because of stuff like this, but they still live together as a couple. I assume he wasn’t stealing from her, but just had serious debt issues.

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      • gigi

        gigi May 20, 2014, 2:43 pm

        We stayed together for awhile as a couple also…. I thought being legally separated would fix everything. It didn’t of course. Sometimes I am amazed by my own stupidity about that whole situation…..

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  • avatar

    Elle Marie May 20, 2014, 2:55 pm

    My husband and I each have personal checking/savings accounts, and then joint accounts. We have a few shared credit cards and at least one additional non-shared credit card each. We each place the majority of our income in the joint accounts and discuss any major purchases (usually, expenses related to hobbies, definitely anything over $100). We also have a shared Google Doc spreadsheet showing our average monthly expenses, which we update periodically to keep track of funding for bigger projects (like paying off the car loan, which we did earlier this year).

    I am content with this system because it allows us to be on the same page about the big stuff, but I also have freedom to surprise my husband with a gift (or treat myself to something). It was a bit of a hurdle for me to truly start thinking in terms of “our” money because financial independence has always been really important to me.

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  • Dear Wendy

    Dear Wendy May 20, 2014, 2:57 pm

    Back when I worked full-time and had a decent salary, Drew and I split the rent and I paid for a majority of the groceries while he paid all the bills. When we got married, we retained our own bank accounts but got a joint account as well that is tied to each of our individual accounts. Things changed a lot when I left my full-time job and started this site, and then of course, when we had jackson. These days, drew pays the rent, all the bills and about 75% of the groceries as well as most everything else (clothes, entertainment, takeout, etc.). I pay all of jackson’s daytime childcare and sometimes evening babysitting when drew and i go out. I buy about 25% of the groceries and sometimes I will pay for our takeout or a date. I buy gifts with my own money, and I hope that when Jackson starts preschool in the fall (two mornings a week) I can afford to pay for that too. Basically, as I earn a little more, I contribute a little more. It’s important to me to financially contribute, even if it’s still a small amount right now.

    On the home front, I do 99% of the cooking (drew does prepare some lunches for jackson) and 95% of the cleaning and laundry and all of that.

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    • Dear Wendy

      Dear Wendy May 20, 2014, 2:59 pm

      Oh, and we have a joint credit card account, which is very helpful! Before we had a joint credit card, I had to ask for money (after I went through the money I’d saved from my last full-time job) and that felt really, really weird. I was relieved when drew got me my own card and now i can use that when making purchases like clothes for jackson (or myself), etc.

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    • GatorGirl

      GatorGirl May 20, 2014, 3:01 pm

      Oh I think the “chores” thing can be an important factor! We split costs pretty close to 50/50, but chores probably 65/45 (me doing more). But a- I like doing some things a certain way and b- he does the chores I HATE (toilet cleaning and putting up clean dishes) so I’m totally cool with the arrangement.

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      • avatar

        SpaceySteph May 20, 2014, 3:46 pm

        Before I went back to school (I take 1 class per term, in addition to my full-time job) I think my husband and I were about 65/35 on chores, with me doing more. When I started school, we discussed that this meant I’d have less time for chores and he’d have to pick up the slack. Now I think we’re more 50/50, or maybe 55/45 with him doing a bit more.
        I was actually pretty unhappy with doing the larger percentage of the housework despite working more hours and making (a little bit) more $ than my husband, so I hope this trend keeps up when I eventually graduate.

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  • LlamaPajamas

    LlamaPajamas May 20, 2014, 3:05 pm

    Wendy, I really like these polls! I hope you do more of them in the future – they’re fun and really helpful.

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  • BriarRose

    BriarRose May 20, 2014, 3:05 pm

    My BF and I have talked about moving in at the end of the year, and I’m very curious how it will shake out financially. He makes about 4 times what I do, with very few expenses (work pays for his car and cell phone). I don’t have any loans or debt other than my mortgage/car, but I definitely don’t have extra money at the end of the month. He’s very into budgeting/finances and will probably won’t to be “in charge” of the money which will be tough for me, since I was in charge of the money when I was married.
    .
    Ideally, I’d like to have joint accounts with each of us having a small, separate account for fun/gifts. I definitely don’t want to have to ask permission to buy a new dress.

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    • othy

      othy May 20, 2014, 3:55 pm

      I want work to pay for my car and phone.

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      • BriarRose

        BriarRose May 20, 2014, 4:59 pm

        I know, right? Clearly majoring in history was not my smartest idea.

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  • lemongrass

    lemongrass May 20, 2014, 3:18 pm

    We’ve been married for almost 3 years and my sugar daddy pays for everything.

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    • Addie Pray

      Addie Pray May 20, 2014, 3:22 pm

      you are winning at life!! i fold.

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    • gigi

      gigi May 20, 2014, 3:26 pm

      I need one of those!!!!

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  • avatar

    SpaceySteph May 20, 2014, 3:35 pm

    I put “it comes out in the wash” but the true answer is “we have no method.” We got married 16 months ago, but have been very slow to really have any money strategy at all, which I know is terrible.
    We make almost the same amount (we work for the same large company at the same pay grade– I make a little bit extra because my department demands more overnights/weekends which translates to more overtime). Before we got married, we each owned a home; after we got married, we moved in together put my husband’s house on the market but it took awhile to sell. So I kept paying for all the expenses on “my” home while he still had utilities and mortgage on his home. But after it sold, we really didn’t change anything…
    His paycheck goes to his account, and mine to my account. All the utilities and mortgage are auto-paid from my account; I also do most of the grocery shopping (I actually enjoy it) and pay for that with a credit card I pay for from my account. Most of his paycheck gets saved, since he just pays for his expenses, and dinner when we go out (and other household expenses when he goes to the store or we go together).

    I would say we’re really not 50/50, but since we’re married in a community property state we’re very “what’s mine is yours” and don’t worry about it. I want us to merge finances more, mostly from an “access if the other is injured/dead” reason than any lack of fairness, but we’re lazy/busy and haven’t gotten around to it.

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  • Crochet.Ninja

    Crochet.Ninja May 20, 2014, 2:51 pm

    we’ve been together for about 8 years, and 7 of that we’ve shared 1 checking account. we have our own credit cards, but I do all the bills and budgeting. We don’t keep running totals, we don’t divide things down the middle or by percentages, we’re a team, and we run our house that way. Our spending is usually based on what is best for the whole house. Sometimes I get my own things I want (ie hobby stuff, clothes) and sometimes he does.

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  • mylaray

    mylaray May 20, 2014, 4:27 pm

    We have only joint checking and savings accounts (minus retirement accounts). He “pays” when we go out. I had a lot more savings but we consider it both of our savings now. It seems easier to just take all of our stuff and merge it together and for us, I think it helps us spend less, save more and reach our shared goals. The main reason we do it is because we make vastly different salaries and I don’t want either of us to feel guilty or resentful for not making enough or contributing enough. It wouldn’t really be possible for us to live and split things 50-50. We put the same percentage of our pay checks into savings so it feels equal to us that way. Seeing money issues be a major problem with my parents is a major reason why I prefer everything to be in one pot. Especially once we have a kid.

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    • mylaray

      mylaray May 20, 2014, 4:31 pm

      And also another reason I feel this way is I have a job I love that happens to pay pretty well. I never expected that. He has a job he doesn’t really like to make money and another job he loves but his passion pays less. So that kind of adds into why we don’t do 50-50 as we’ll.

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  • liz

    Liz May 20, 2014, 5:57 pm

    We’ve lived together for 1, dating for about 3- we split the rent and utilities 50/50. We currently do not share accounts but are talking about a joint one strictly for rent come next month (new lease period.) He makes more (about 15%) and pays for the cable and for most of our dinners out. I tend to buy decor-ish stuff for the apartment and some furniture. We also fill separate shopping carts when we go to the grocery store and pay for our own stuff. (I like healthy, him not so much so this is fine by me. πŸ™‚ Speaking of food, we switch cooking pretty much every other day. I’m content with this whole arrangement except for the fact that he does not have a 401k, and I do. It’s been a bit of an argument. Otherwise, the system works pretty well.

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    • avatar

      snoopy128 May 21, 2014, 1:10 am

      Woah. How does groceries work if you live together and buy separate things? Do you just make things from mostly the stuff you got on the days you cook?

      My S.O. east less healthy than I do as well….and I would be tempted to do this if his junk-buying habits got kinda pricey. But, I think for now, having one shopping cart curbs his junk-habits a bit.

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      • liz

        liz May 21, 2014, 6:58 pm

        Haha, I realized this sounds kinda weird after I typed it out. I guess it’s because I tend to buy tons of veggies and fruits to make juices and $8 cheese and whatnot (which he doesn’t really eat or drink) and likewise he buys processed snacks which I try to stay away from. But yeah, we both get what we need to cook dinner for each other and then will occasionally munch on each others’ snacks. I guess it’s just a simple way of both of us paying for what we specifically want. In the end it ends up in the same cupboard.

        Haha, have you attempted to get him to eat healthier? I’m no nag but I do make subtle suggestions lol. I also find that if I offer him an apple he won’t take it, but if I cut it up and put it out I’ll find him munching away.

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    • avatar

      lets_be_honest May 21, 2014, 9:26 am

      401Ks and things like that where its taken out of your check before you see it are the best. I think I would suck at saving for retirement/kid’s college if not for those.

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      • liz

        liz May 21, 2014, 7:04 pm

        Definitely. I only started it recently and try not to look at the balance all that often (not like I’ll see it for 45 years anyway) but when I do it’s like, whoa that’s a nice chunk! At first I was reluctant to have anything taken out, bc I can barely afford NYC rent, but now I don’t notice the difference anymore.

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      • Lyra

        Lyra May 21, 2014, 10:47 pm

        My Roth IRA comes out automatically every month from my bank account. It’s awesome because I factor it in for month’s budget and it comes out the middle of the month. I REALLY wish I could max it out, but alas, you need $$$ for that. I was maxing it out last year.
        .
        Also…with Roth IRAs you will get everything back since you put in money that has already been taxed. With 401ks you are putting in pre tax money so you have to pay taxes when you take it out. I’ve heard recommendations to pay into your 401k until you meet the company match (if there is one), then put the rest in a Roth IRA.

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  • Lyra

    Lyra May 21, 2014, 12:14 am

    I think I’ve mentioned this on here but I want to combine most everything with my spouse. Checking, savings, but NOT retirement accounts. I just think that would make it a lot easier. I don’t think I would have the patience for counting out what all goes from what accounts and all that. I like the “yours, mine, and ours” concept but I don’t think it would work in my own life.
    .
    Navy Guy and I are definitely on the same page with money. We’ve had a few conversations about it, not with numbers but more of the “how do you handle x situation?” or “what are your spending habits?” type conversations. He’s a saver, I’m a saver. I will NEVER AGAIN date a guy who spends way above his means. When I was dating my ex he was doing that and it drove me nuts. Never again.
    .
    My dad is the breadwinner by far in my parents’ marriage, but in the past, they’ve actually used my mom’s (MUCH smaller) hourly wages to live off of and they put all of my dad’s paychecks in savings. They combine all their income into joint accounts and I’m sure that’s a big reason why I want to do the same.

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  • avatar

    snoopy128 May 21, 2014, 1:13 am

    My parents have a “it’s all one pot” philosophy. They each retain separate credit cards and I think at least 1 chequing/savings (not sure which) account NOT attached to each other as a security measure (death/illness/identity theft).

    I’d love to get to that stage at some point. Or some combo of large joint account with separate “extra” accounts. Partially because I like spending on a lot of smaller items and bf likes to spend lots on one or two big items, which gives me spending anxiety.

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    Nadine May 21, 2014, 4:27 am

    I just wanted to comment again for the first time in FOREVER to say that DW has totally helped me have this conversation with my husband! Thanks to that forum thread (Lemongrass started it I think?) We (now) do the joint savings/joint cheque (where our pay is depositied) and our own personal accounts. I also have a credit card but i only ever use it for ‘our stuff’. We give ourselves an allowance out of our joint account, which we can spend on whatever and the other doesnt see it. All rent/bills/dates/groceries come out of the joint. We are saving so much this way, and we have never budgetted properly before.
    Before we got married we were too casual about finances, and just considered everything ‘ours’ but because he earns more I felt I couldnt speak out and say ‘learn to save!’ but now we are more of a team, and saving for team things (babies, house, car) I feel more ok with telling him to save most of our money. He prefers being made to save too, and keeps getting surprised at how far we’ve come.

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    AllegroFox May 21, 2014, 8:04 am

    BF makes about 3 times what I do, so we split it that way. We’ve been together 4 years, living together for a little more than 2. Back when we were renting, I gave him a certain amount each month to cover part of the rent and utilities (everything was paid together at that condo) plus I paid for the internet bill and the majority of the groceries, which were our “extra” bills. When he bought a house earlier this year, we decided that he would cover the mortgage and property tax (since the house is in his name) and I would help by covering other utilities and bills. So water, gas, electricity, internet are in my name and I pay them. I also pay for the car, which is mine (but we both use.) Ostensibly I am responsible for the groceries, but he’ll pick it up if he wants extra expensive things (junk food, special meats for the bbq, so on). When we go out, we split or take turns paying – don’t really keep track of that. It works out to about 70 – 30 with him paying more – that’s what we get for having a very energy efficient house in a relatively expensive area! We worked it out this way because until we’re married I didn’t really want to have equity in the house or anything, because I didn’t feel it would be fair… it was his down payment, partially made up of an inheritance from his grandfather, and he’s the one who’s been saving since he was like, 14 to be able to buy a house so soon. I still wanted to contribute in a significant way though, which is how we ended up with the bills being in my name rather than my just giving him money (it felt like more of a commitment that way.)

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    spark May 21, 2014, 8:07 am

    I find it really interesting that the most traditional option: “Our finances are completely combined; we share all accounts and all bills are paid from our completely pooled finances” is not even on the list! I guess it’s a sign of the times! My husband and I do just that. His salary and mine go into the same bank account, and we use that account to pay all the bills and credit cards.

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    lets_be_honest May 21, 2014, 9:23 am

    I forgot to talk about how scary property taxes are! This was such a cool, interesting thread.

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  • shanshantastic

    shanshantastic May 21, 2014, 9:25 am

    We’ve been married for almost 2, living together/forever train for 3. We started with his/hers/ours and now we have one checking account for our main expenses. We go over the bills for the month and figure out what needs to be paid when, but there’s no percentage going on. Any purchases over $50 have to be discussed (especially Brian’s car stuff). We also have individual PayPal accounts – he uses his to buy and sell car parts, I get paid for my book reviews there. And *then* I also have a separate checking account and a credit card processing account that are for my businesses. What I collect/earn goes in there so I can cover business-related expenses, and I “pay myself” by transferring my commissions to our main account.

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    Lollita May 21, 2014, 1:37 pm

    I just recently moved in with my boyfriend in January of this year. I moved from a condo that I own, and now rent out into his house that he owns. As of now I am paying half of all of the “operating expenses” of the house (utilities, interest on mortgage, and property taxes). We are for now keeping our money completely separate, with me sending him monthly “rent”. Groceries, cleaners and other household items we go to with a “comes out in the wash” attitude. But works out to about 50 50 in the end I would think, but we make comparable income.
    We are also currently responsible for paying for the upkeep of our own individual properties. Like if something breaks at the condo, I am responsible for paying for that or if he buys a new washer and dryer for the house. Its non complicated and it works for both of us as we are both used to keeping track of and having our own financial freedom, and the other doesn’t need to freak out if he say comes home with a new motorcycle (that happened).

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    Jamie May 21, 2014, 2:05 pm

    I had a divorce in my late 20s that left me broke and with bad credit – and our only bank accounts were shared. I just moved in with my boyfriend of almost 5 years. He owns a house and makes a lot more money than I do, but I’m doing much better now. We split the household bills (mortgage, utilities, etc) according to our income (70/30) and groceries 50/50. He pays all the regular bills and I buy the groceries. As we spend about the same every month on groceries, we looked at what my remainder of the bills would still be and I just have an auto-transfer from my account to his every payday. We pay our own car payments, cell phone bills, student loans, etc. We came into the household with those.
    .
    No shared accounts right now. I just can’t bring myself to do it. If we do, it will probably be an account for vacation/major purchase savings. We are just both established in our banks and how we do things – I’m not ready to mix all my money or have someone scrutinize my purchases.

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    jlyfsh May 21, 2014, 7:04 pm

    After we got married we just put it all together. It works for us. We make about the same money so I’m sure it comes out to be about 50/50. When we were dating I paid most of the bills and he wrote me checks. When we want to get each other gifts we take money out. But, I’m the worst secret keeper in the world. Like today I bought him something and then about four hours later sent him the shipping confirmation because I was so excited. We do also have a credit card each that the other isn’t on. So we can buy things on there as well. Which is what I did with the gift that is no longer a secret.

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    Crystal Wilkes June 10, 2014, 1:35 am

    My recent ex had this great for our finances when we got married. We would have 3 accounts: yours, mine, ours. All of our money would go into the joint account to pay all our bills then what was left would be split 50/50 into our separate accounts where we could spend it on whatever we want.

    Problems? I make twice what he makes, because I went to college and worked hard, while he thought best buy (non-management) was a career choice. Second, he has way more CC debt than me, because his income doesn’t meet his expenses. After I did the math, he made $100 a month MORE than if he had his raw income alone. Soon after, I dumped the loser since he said “no other scenario was fair.”

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