For some couples, splitting expenses after getting married or moving in together comes easy. Other couples struggle to find a system that works for them. Research your options. Talk to friends to see what worked for them. Read some blogs about it. There are so many ways to share expenses once your married and you will want to find the right one for your marriage. My husband and I tried a few of the following before we found what worked for us.
First, my husband and I tried combining everything. We opened a joint checking account and put both our paychecks into that account. All the bills were deducted from the joint account as well. It worked okay for awhile. The problem was that both my husband and I have hobbies that can be pretty costly. Each hobby has different needs at different times. In order for us to not overdraw our account, or leave it lacking to pay bills, we had to have extraordinary communication. Now my husband and I do communicate well, but this took it to a new level. Too many of our conversations became about money.
This method make work for your marriage even if it didn’t work for hours. If you are both great at budgeting, no one really spends money outside of average expenses, and you have great expense communication, then this method should work fine. It would also benefit you to have only one person doing the main bill paying for easy tracking of the account.
Keep Accounts and Expenses Seperate
My husband and I kept everything seperate when we first moved in together. This was also the style that worked for us the longest. We each kept our own checking accounts that we had from when we were living seperate. Our living expenses were added up and split among the two of us. Individually we were responsible for paying the bills we had assigned to us and balancing our accounts. If we ran into unexpectedly high bills one month we could transfer money between the accounts to even things up.
With this method you can either split the bills equally or do a percentage split. For example, I brought a high number of student loans and a car payment with me. My paycheck is higher than my husbands, but the money left is very small. Where as he didn’t have any loan balances coming into our new home. We chose to split the bills based on what percentage each of us could afford to pay.
This is an easy way to be able to pay what needs to be paid without worrying too much about where your significant other is spending their money. Since my husband and I had been independent for so long, it was also the more comfortable method for both of us. Eventually though we ran into some complications when it came to paying for home improvement projects and other “shareable” expenses. Going out to eat even became a pain. We would always end up debating who was paying. It began to feel like we were still dating.
Have Multiple Accounts for Expenses
This method can be a little trickier to get set-up, but generally it seems to work well for some couples. My husband and I have one checking account that we pay our household bills from. Then, we each have our own seperate checking accounts for personal spending. The majority of our paychecks go to the combined account for bills, groceries, house improvement projects, dinners out, etc. We then use our personal spending accounts for our hobbies and any other personal spending we might want (like my occasional Sephora binge).
To get this method set-up well, I suggest first starting with a budget. Figure out where both of your money is gonna go every month, then assign it to the correct account. Extra money over your budget can go in either the joint account, your personal account, or in some form of joint savings. In our case, we budget a certain amount of the excess to “home improvements” and place it in the combined account, “our future savings” is a set amount that goes to a joint savings, and then we each have a small dollar of extra we put in our personal accounts for “fun”.
Find What Works for You
There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to sharing expenses in marriage. The trick is to find what you and your husband are the most comfortable with and that is going to keep you both on track. Don’t forget, the method you use might change over time. Re-evaluate when you need to and keep a running budget. You will be sure to find success! We did.
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