Budgeting with your significant other

calculator-calculation-insurance-finance-53621.jpegDo you share your money with your spouse or significant other? Do you have one joint account or do you just keep separate accounts and split the bills? Maybe you have a different arrangement. According to Money Habitudes, “73% of individuals have money management styles that are different from their partner’s.” I don’t find this surprisings. After all, opposites attract.

My husband and I are just starting to pool our money together. Initially we decided to keep our money separate for many reasons.

  • Were were adults when we met (me 31, him 38) and each had our own finances, student loans, mortgages, car payments, etc…
  • He had a child from his first marriage and there was child support payments involved.
  • We viewed money very differently.
  • Our income levels were (and still) are vastly different.
  • I was scared, self-protective, and not very good at sharing or mixing “my stuff” with “his stuff”.

Fast forward 9 years, five years of marriage and two babies later…frankly it’s just time to team up to achieve our family goals. We started our team building mid summer when I was 6 months pregnant with baby #2; we started talking about our kids, school choices, private school tuition, leaving the small city for space, less noise, not dealing with drunk students on the weekends yelling in the streets at 2 am (the bars here are open until 4 am).

For the past 9 years, I took care of the car (payments, maintenance, insurance) and he took care of the house (it’s his house – I am not on the deed). I paid for child care/tuition, our child’s health insurance, vision and family dental. It worked for a long time, but with baby #2 arriving…we were forced to take a second look. I could no longer get by on a 2 person health insurance plan with my employer (my husband carried an individual plan for himself) so we had to switch to a Family health insurance plan which was better coverage and less expensive through my husband’s employer. We had someone interested in buying our house, so we thought we should start looking…which led to us finding a house way before we expected. Then we had more decisions to make, debt to discuss.

Basically, it was time to get honest about money. And honesty was not  pretty. I make a modest salary, my husband doubles my salary but he also runs a small music based business and since his savings was wiped out paying for his divorce from his first wife, he took on debt. It has grown over the years and is roughly $67K in loans and credit. This does not include student loan debt, his credit card, or the mortgage. My debt consists solely of my student loan (approximately $32K to pay off). We share one car (paid off years ago) and I don’t carry any credit card debt.

The picture was’t looking great to get us into a new house, except that by selling my husbands current home, we could WIPE OUT nearly all his debt ($99K left on his current mortgage and at least the $67K of debt he took on). And since I am the saver, I could take money from my retirement account for a down payment. So our boat was floating again! Which leads to us FINALLY combining our money…sort of.

The arrangement we worked out is this: We each have our own checking and direct deposit. He has a few automated payments we have adjusted to fit our budget (mortgage, credit card, loan debt) and the rest after automation gets transferred to my checking account for budgeting.

We have just started this new joint budget so I will have to see how it progresses, especially once his house has sold.

Do you share money with your spouse or significant other? What kind of arrangement do you have? Feel free to share your wisdom in a comment below. 

6 thoughts on “Budgeting with your significant other

  1. lifetastesbetteronabudget says:

    Yes, we share everything because we are married. We agreed “until death do us part, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad times.” I believe that means in debt and out of debt. His debts are yours (yes even the house with his name on it), and your debts are his (your student loans). Keeping things separate actually can undermine your marriage because you are stronger together. Why wouldn’t you join forces then? Keeping things separate also means risking treating each other as just boyfriend/girlfriend, or worse, roommates despite the reality that you are in fact married. Just because you don’t have identical money management styles doesn’t mean you can’t find common ground. Good for you that you are trying out a budget together. I wish you two the best 🙂 Stay patient with the process though and don’t give up when it gets hard. It gets easier, I promise, you just need to stay patient!

    Liked by 1 person

    • mrsmotherdirt says:

      Thank you for such a thoughtful and encouraging comment. Its been a few weeks and I think we BOTH like how its working. And we are communicating about money more than ever, but not in a hostile way. It feels nice to tackle things together. No one talked to us about money when we were growing up, apart from ‘save your money’ and my mother encouraging me to always have my ‘own’ money. Entering adulthood, I took her advice literally but now I can see that having your own money simply means access to money and that is different than separate bank accounts. I think you are right, stronger together!

      Liked by 2 people

      • lifetastesbetteronabudget says:

        I love it! I am so glad you two are finding success in working together. Yes, it was the same for me growing up and we (my husband and I) are finally learning these things through trial and error. We both have relatively young marriages (I have been married 6 1/2 years) so how fortunate we are to be learning early on! Hooray!

        Liked by 1 person

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