One of the leading causes of conflict in relationships is finances. So, we are going there.
We’re going to dive into how to make your finances work as a couple. We’ll share with you a few options (‘cause let’s keep it real, all couples are different) and then we’ll share with you what we actually practice for our finances.
Before we dive into how to work your finances as a couple, we are going to assume you’re familiar with the basics. Budgeting, saving, taxes, debt, repayment, etc. If you’re cringing or thinking “uh…nope—not familiar!”, then zoom to the bottom of this post; we’ve left some A+ resources there for you.
And FYI those basics are MUSTS. Every relationship should be talking about finances on the regular, be knowledgeable about where you stand, and have plans for the future. The problems around finances happen when we aren’t talking about it. So let’s all put on our adult pants and learn to get comfy talking about moo-lah. (We know, it can be scary, but do it anyway, okay?)
Alright. Here we go.
Let’s start with…Options.
Many folks think that there’s an all or nothing principle when it comes to finances in relationships. You’re either sharing it all or keeping everything separate. Well, yes, those are options, and they may be perfect for you, but here’s some other options for you to consider.
Have a joint accounts and separate accounts. For example, have your own checking and savings accounts, credit card, etc. This is where you get paid and pay for things for yourself. Then you’ll also have a joint checking, savings account and credit card to use for “Family” purchases and savings. (The mortgage, vacations, repairs, cars, etc)
Keep money coming in separate and money coming out joined. For example, all incomes go into separate accounts from which a portion or percentage gets put into a single shared spending account. Then, any bills, expenses or purchases get taken out of the joint account, leaving you with separate savings accounts. This can also work in reverse meaning money coming in is together and money going out is separate. For example all incomes filter into a shared account and an “allowance” is taken out for each person separately to spend with. This option is a little more complicated and is best suited for couples who have extreme ranges of incomes to keep things stable. (Hope that makes sense.)
A combo of the above. Yes, you can mix and match and try things out and change them. Finances are an ongoing conversation that all relationships should be having and changing as life changes and incomes may change. This is the option we do personally.
So now we’re clear on some options, (there are so many more!) here’s what we do personally for our finances.
We have separate finances in general and a portion of shared finances. We have our own incomes that are relatively even and stable that go into our own separate accounts. We’ve divided personal expenses for each of us to pay on our own and have collective payments and expenses come out of a joint account. In this joint account, we put a percentage of our income into every month. (A percentage is more equal for us than an predetermined amount amount). A portion of the percentage is not included the amount of our collective expenses so it also acts as a joint savings account of sorts. Out of that account we have things like our mortgage, repairs, shared bills and vacation expenses. We do not have a shared credit card, but will choose to use either/or for collective purposes (then using the shared account to pay off) and use our individual cards for individual purchases or gifts.
Whew. That’s the basics of it.
Keep in mind: We don’t always stick hard and fast to these rules if life happens or when things change. We have check ins around finances a few times a month to share about purchases, savings, and future plans. We encourage you to do the same.
Let’s get talking about money!
So to start that conversation here are some great resources around having hard conversations, a wonderful budgeting source, and financial advice here:
Tell us, what do you do for your finances? Is it one of the options above or something different? We’d love to know!
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