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OT - Handling Finances As A Couple

@jmcnutt5 recently posted about a monthly budget tool here which got me thinking about my personal finances.

I'm recently married (November '14) and so far all my wife and I have done is open a joint checking & savings account between the two of us and deposited wedding gift $ into the joint savings.  As it stands we have the following:

- My checking / saving account / 2 credit cards
- Her checking / saving account / 1 credit card
- Joint checking / saving account
- Her small car loan
- ~30k of her student debt

I just set my paycheck to go into the joint saving account this week and wifey is working on the same.  Through talking to other married couples and doing some internet research, couples handle finances in a bunch of different ways but it seems to boil down to: 

1- Completely Seperate
2- Completely Joined
3- A hybrid of 1 & 2.  

I was originally thinking of going with a hybrid and keeping our personal checking accounts alive for stuff we wanted to spend on but I'm now thinking that everything joined would make it easier to manage.  I guess we would have to decide on some sort of monthly 'allowance' that we were allowed to spend on ourselves.

I realize that I'm drastically oversimplifying a complicated matter but I'm just looking for some insight on what you all do and what has and hasn't worked.  I'm also thinking about trying out either Mint or Everydollar as our current budget is loosely done on Excel. 

Frederick, MD - LBGE and some accessories


  • SkinnyVSkinnyV Posts: 3,404
    edited March 2015
    Wife and I were together since we were young so maybe its different. 
    1 account everything shared. 
    My wife is the breadwinner and has never once said ,my , mine or did you ask me for .
    Few individual cards, some combined.
    I like BBQ and some other toys, she likes clothes. 

    Good luck

    Seattle, WA
  • WolfpackWolfpack Posts: 3,472
    Option 2- everything joined
    Greensboro, NC
  • @DoubleEgger
    That's sound advice.  I'm not going to do anything drastic based solely on the information I garner here, I'm just looking for some discussion.  Overall, I've been good with managing my money to this point in my life but would like to be a little more calculated going forward.
    Frederick, MD - LBGE and some accessories
  • DoubleEggerDoubleEgger Posts: 16,849
    edited March 2015
    That's sound advice.  I'm not going to do anything drastic based solely on the information I garner here, I'm just looking for some discussion.  Overall, I've been good with managing my money to this point in my life but would like to be a little more calculated going forward.
    Fair enough. To answer your question, we've always been separate. We are open about what we do and all of our goals are being met so I don't need to know every dime she spends and vice versa. She thinks the stuff I buy is crap and I think the same about her stuff. A little ignorance is bliss as long the big picture is being taken care of. 
  • SkinnyVSkinnyV Posts: 3,404
    This topic may be like other topics and strike a nerve as we all do things different. Guys in the combined camp versus the seperates.... Tread lightly
    Seattle, WA
  • johnkitchensjohnkitchens Posts: 5,226
    I have been married for almost 24 years. We have a joint savings and checking account. I have a credit card and she has a couple of credit cards. 

    All of the money goes into one pot for paying bills. We talk about splurges etc, like @SkinnyV said he likes BBQ and other toys and his wife likes clothes. 

    That sounds a lot like us. I think the key is communication. Maybe I am old school, but I have never liked the idea of this is "my money" and this is "your money". I may work for some, but not for me.

    Louisville, GA - 2 Large BGE's
  • SkinnyVSkinnyV Posts: 3,404
    edited March 2015
    I've seen the my and your money in play man does it wield a sword over the others head. It may not show itself....but its there in the few couples , one being family I've seen.
    Seattle, WA
  • fence0407fence0407 Posts: 2,215
    Personally, I don't like the "I have mine and you have yours".  I look at marriage as an all in scenario.  
    Yup...celebrating 3 years today and it's been that way for us since the beginning.
    Large - Mini - Blackstone 17", 28"
    Cumming, GA  

  • DoubleEggerDoubleEgger Posts: 16,849
    SkinnyV said:
    This topic may be like other topics and strike a nerve as we all do things different. Guys in the combined camp versus the seperates.... Tread lightly
    Don't worry. This thread will get hijacked before the second page and we'll be talking about March Madness or @Ozzie_Isaac 's well endowed bikini chick. 
  • jonnymackjonnymack Posts: 627
    Maybe I'm a little different but we have joint checking account and then she has a separate checking account that we populate with a set amount. She likes to have some freedom with her money as she gave up her career to be stay at home so it gives her some satisfaction to do so. I'm cool with it, we literally sit down every paycheck to discuss spending and saving. This eliminates big surprises and has worked very well for us. Everyone is different.
    Firing up the BGE in Covington, GA

  • saluki2007saluki2007 Posts: 5,669
    While I handle the finances my wife is the bread winner.  We have been married for 6 years and everything is joint.  I use mint to help with budgeting and viewing everything in one place.  She has access to all of the accounts and she knows it but doesn't care.  We believe that we get to share in both our hard work whether that is buying a new pair of shoes or building a new house.  It's all ours.
    Large and Small BGE
    Central, IL

  • buzd504buzd504 Posts: 3,554
    Joint checking and savings and we each keep personal accounts.  We also have joint credit cards for expenses, but we keep our own credit cards.  Hard to buy gifts for the other when you only have  a joint card.  It works for us.
  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 6,239
    I have to agree that a BBQ forum is not the best place to discuss finance. But since you asked, my wife and I, going on 38 years now have always had just one account. However, your spouse has student debt. I believe that in some states, situations, a joint account is liable for debts incurred before the marriage. You might want to run that by a professional finance counselor. If you folks run into a rough patch, it might be nice to have an account that remains undrained.
  • AcnAcn Posts: 3,793
    I think as long as you talk about where you are with your finances and have clear goals and expectations between the two of you, you'll be fine either way.  If you don't have that, neither system will work effectively.


    Pikesville, MD

  • Ladeback69Ladeback69 Posts: 4,481
    We have joint accounts and we talk about most everything we spend except little things like lunch out.  I am the spender in the family so she keeps me in check, but we still need to get a better handle of our money and go a budget for some things.  Like having dinner at home for date night without the kid instead of spending it at a restaurant.  I do have my own savings account, because I had to do it to get a truck loan through our bank.  Just be open about your finances. 
    XL, WSM, Coleman Road Trip Gas Grill

    Kansas City, Mo.
  • ChickletChicklet Posts: 205
    I think the more important issue is knowing each other's views on money itself and how it is used for your family. if one is a saver and one is a slender that is a bigger issue. I agree w hiring a financial planner and set some mutual goals. 
    My own personal opinion (as the higher earner in my family) is to get a joint account that is used to pay household bills that each partner agrees to contribute to each month. The rest can be for savings and a separate account that you each have access to. 
    Eat, drink and be merry

    Huntsville, AL ~ LBGE noob
  • I'm also recently married and going through the same thing with our finances.  We are switching to joint accounts, we just think it's easier.  Good luck.
  • lkapigianlkapigian Posts: 8,367
    Being Un Married for many years, the best financial advice is that is always better to rent something that depreciates so rapidly.........To be truly married you must share in everything, there is no hers and mine monies...It is not what you make, but what you spend-- Be Debt Free- I am and love it
    Visalia, Ca

    LGBE- Pit's by Klose Trailer -Stumps XL Stretch - Custom Santa Maria-Modified HD Offset Smoker Reverse Flow- FatStack Smoker FS120 coming soon FatStack 500- Blackstone 36 Blackstone 22 - Custom Cold Smoke House and a lonely Brinkman Vertical Smoker
  • MickeyMickey Posts: 19,633
    45 years and one money pot. 
    Salado TX & 30A  FL: Egg Family: 2 Large and a very well used Mini, added a Mini Max when they came out (I'm good for now). Plus a couple Pit Boss Pellet Smokers.   

  • theyolksonyoutheyolksonyou Posts: 18,077
    As a husband to a wife on year 13 of maternity leave, you can guess our camp pretty easily. 
    Jason NW GA- home of carpet and Mexican restaurants
    LBGE, MM, BS (Blackstone and the other kind)
    One sorry Labrador

    My chili did not suck. My wings either. 
  • blastingblasting Posts: 6,262
    edited March 2015
    Ideally everything is joint, and you die of old age together.  Ideally.

    In reality, 1 out of 2 newly married couples will get divorced - despite the fact that both couples felt going in, their marriage would go the distance.

    Personally, I'd spell out your divorce plan on paper (postnup), and then do everything in your power to treat each other well so it never gets used.  Example: Let's say you have joint money and pay off her student loans and car loan.  Then you get divorced in 4 years.  Instead of you having savings, she has a paid for car and no student loan.  Not fair.  These scenarios should be covered off on paper - JUST IN CASE.  Your co mingling funds question would be one part of this overarching conversation.   When you buy a new car, your not planning on crashing it, but you still purchase insurance.

    I don't mean to at all be negative.  Congrats on your marriage, and I hope yours is one of the successful ones.

  • swordsmnswordsmn Posts: 683
    edited March 2015

    We went joint acct   (been married 2x)   Money didn't breakup the marriage to wifey 1  btw...  The first one  sorta went "free range" )  Ah well.....

    I like joint money  IF  IF  you guys will communicate with each other,  agree on big purchases (define that term big)  etc.

    My wife would never care if I spent modest money  x or y  here & there   but since SHE does the bills,  I shouldn't/wouldn't  be dropping several hundred at Ceramic Grill without a chat & a plan.  Else I'd  screw up  her ability to keep da lights on

    Same goes with other hobbies like guns...  I got HER shooting  now she's as bad as I am about  toy purchases   but we DISCUSS em.     It's not a man card issue,  it's a mutual respect/trust issue  IMHO     If you don't  go all "I'm da man" on her  & she doesn't Nag ur backside,   it usually works quite well :-)

    LBGE, AR.  Lives in N.E. ATL
  • DMWDMW Posts: 13,827
    Joint everything here, will be married 14 years in June. We were flat broke when we got married, everything we have we worked at together.

    Just because the checks have my name on doesn't mean she doesn't work her tail off with the kids so I can work odd hours and travel when needed.

    Morgantown, PA

    XL BGE - S BGE - KJ Jr - HB Legacy - BS Pizza Oven - 30" Firepit - King Kooker Fryer -  PR72T - WSJ - BS 17" Griddle - XXL BGE - Akron Jr - BS SS36" Griddle
  • EggertyEggerty Posts: 220
    edited March 2015
    Been married going on 7 yrs and this works well for us.
    All money and deposits go into joint account.  We pay all bills, groceries, entertainment, etc out of that account. We each keep separate accounts as well. Each month we pay each ourselves (for living with each other!) x amount to spend how we wish. I am a hoarder (although with the EGG my stash has come down dramatically) and she always likes to look nice (burns money).  It allows us to use the money as we wish. She doesn't b*tch to me about my spending and I don't say anything to her except "DAYUM you look good".

    also another benefit is that during the holidays we set an amount that we spend on each other and transfer that amount to both of us. Keeps the mystery in the gifts. 

    One thing is to communicate constantly and always stick by the rules set in how money is used or budgeted. If the rules are broken what good are they except to help you go broke. 

    Also my own personal opinion but I would stay away from credit cards. More or less just like another thread on Rich Dad Poor Dad or Dave Ramsey. Credit cards get more people into trouble and such a waste (interest rate) unless you pay off each month. 

    We always feel better running off of straight cash. Staying within our means...
    LBGE - Nov/'14
    A Texan residing in Denver, CO.
  • cazzycazzy Posts: 9,136
    She has too much debt.  Divorce her!  :tongue: 
    Just a hack that makes some $hitty BBQ....
  • swordsmnswordsmn Posts: 683
    edited March 2015
    Boy  I wish  I had never let credit cards  dominate me as they did...  EGGcellent advice Eggerty   (I could be retired in Maui  eggin away  )
    LBGE, AR.  Lives in N.E. ATL
  • McStewMcStew Posts: 965
    bookmarked .... our big day is this Saturday we are going with a modified version of @Eggerty
    Hermosa Beach CA 
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