Money, Money, Money

 (source)

April at A. Liz Adventures had an interesting post today about finances as a couple – you can read it here.

Finances as a couple can basically be summed up in three words: yours, mine, ours.

I have a lot of friends who go by a combination of the three. It never really occurred to me that J and I might be in the minority with just “ours”. Call us old-fashioned or traditional, I suppose. One joint account was all I knew so I never considered another option.

When we first moved in together, our landlord would only accept one check for rent. Enter: “sometimes” joint bank account. We used it for rent, bills, groceries, etc. Basically anything “joint.” We were still in school so it made sense.

One year later, we had graduated and moved across state lines. J had a job. I didn’t. Enter: “entirely” joint bank account. Mind you, we weren’t even engaged yet. Such rebels, I know.

I think what really worked for us is the fact we were both on the same page with respect to a lot of things. We both had a large amount of student loan debt (nearly equal amounts) and neither of us had significant assets (like a house). J had some retirement savings and a car. We shared a dog. That was about it.

We also have very similar spending (or lack thereof!) and saving habits. We almost never eat out at work – we bring our lunch every day, don’t buy coffee. We don’t shop a ton. We squirrel our money to one day be able to own a place in Manhattan.

With the exception of one credit card each, everything is shared jointly. We pay our credit cards out of the joint account each month since we don’t carry balances and really only keep separate cards so that birthday/holiday/anniversary gifts are a secret. Our names are jointly on every bank account – checking, savings, CD.

Those of you in relationships (or even if you’re not!), how do you split your finances? Yours, mine or ours?

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8 Comments

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8 responses to “Money, Money, Money

  1. Lia

    we are exactly the same and share everything. so funny!

    • I remember reading an article one that compared separate finances in a marriage to a business relationship. I kinda agree.. The only time I think *maybe* they should be kept partially separate is if each individual comes into the relationship from an entirely different situation (lot of debt vs. none, own property vs. don’t, lots of money/inheritance vs. none). But then again, that’s probably best handled with a pre-nup (there goes the lawyer in me!).

  2. frknrica

    When there was a “we”, we had yours-mine-ours. We came into the relationship with separate accounts and kept them. Once we started having joint expenses (rent/mortgage, insurances, etc) we had a joint account to pay those. I really didn’t care for the arrangement, and think they way you two are going about it is more my style. I guess I’m old school like that too.

    • I didn’t realize it was old school – that’s what my parents and his parents both do. In a way, I never saw any other option. I think as long as both people are open with their own spending, saving, etc. and communicate, it probably doesn’t make much of a difference.

  3. We have mine and ours. I kept my own checking account which is where my paycheck is deposited and I use entirely to pay my student loan debt. I keep about $100 out of each check for things like pedicures, lunches w/ friends etc… He pays out of “our” account (aka his account w. my name on it too) everything else. Not sure what we will do once my loans are paid off, but it works for us.

  4. We handle our finances exactly the same way. The only difference is that we each have a credit card the other doesn’t have. This comes in handy when one of us wants to buy a gift for the other or the unfortunate event of one of us losing our wallet/ccs. It actually happened last week where my wallet was stolen, and the ONLY credit card we had was my husband’s, so that was useful. Also, he runs a pretty tight ship with updating our budget in excel almost every day, so if I wanted to buy him a gift I would have to use my sole credit card so he didn’t see it on our joint account.

    I have a hard time understanding the whole separate accounts thing. To me, it seems like people do it so they can keep the money a secret from their significant other. It just seems so confusing to have to worry about each person chipping in, or figuring out who is going to pay what bill. Especially since, inevitably, one person is going to make more than the other, which means that one person has more “fun” money than the other. It just seems unnecessary.

    • We’re the same way… We each had separate credit cards in the beginning and have kept it that way. Neither of us carry a balance and we pay them in full each month. But yes, it does make it easier to keep certain purchases a secret. I can get away with little things too – candy, coffee, etc. He’d know if I had new clothes though! I’m also overly honest to a fault so if I used it for lunches or something, I’d feel guilty and tell him.

      It also helps when travelling. I have a Discover card – that’s what my parents used so I thought that was the best option. Until I learned it’s not taken everywhere… So we use husband’s card then. Or if we’re out of the country.

      I agree with your last point too… He makes nearly double what I do. If we had separate accounts, I’d barely be paying my loans each money and would either have nothing left over and/or not be able to save. So that would be a total losing situation. To each their own I guess?

  5. I have done a bit of it all! Early in our relationship it was just mine and yours. Once we moved into together we both had separate accounts but also shared a household account and now that we are a old married couple with kids, it is obviously “ours”. Thank goodness, because I am a stay at home mom and without “his” being “ours” I would be broke…haha!!

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