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Sharing Finances In Marriage: An Update

Recently I had a really great blog comment that asked about how our "Yours, Mine, Ours" finance philosophy has changed and will change with a baby on the way. If you didn't get to read the original post, you can catch up here. Basically, after we got married, instead of tossing in all of our funds into a single "pot", we decided to keep three main accounts -- one for Ian, one for me, one for us.

In the almost three years since we've been married, we have maintained the separate accounts, but I will say that we are leaning heavier than ever on the joint account. So much of what we do is for us as a couple, for our home, for Drake, for Baby Girl, or for experiences that we have together.

I cultivate money and prosperity in my life daily. Every second, every minute, every hour, my money is working for me, the energy of the universe is working to support my money growing and more money coming to me than leaves me! So mote it be! For me, Money Grows on Trees!

Our joint account covers all of the typical expenses:

  • Mortgage 
  • Utilities (gas, cable, internet, cell phone, water, etc)
  • House projects/repairs 
  • Home decor 
  • Twice-monthly cleaning service 
  • Lawncare service (a new addition)
  • Security system bills
  • Drake expenses ... from rawhides to vet bills 
  • Groceries 
  • Meals we eat together 
  • Vacation expenses 
  • Gas, if we are on a road trip together
In regards to our pregnancy, anything that is associated with our daughter gets put on our joint card -- from clothes to her closet renovation to the bills that are (lawdamercy) already coming in regularly.

Our joint credit card ran a promotion for the first quarter of this year where all gas purchases earn 5 points per dollar (versus the typical 1 point per dollar), so, since January, we've been putting all gas on our joint card, even though Ian drives much more than I do. He also puts in a much larger monthly contribution to our joint savings account, and we use that account to pay the joint credit card bill.

We have tossed around the idea of combining all of our expenses, and we are not totally opposed to that idea, but as for now I'm still content having a small account I keep for myself that I use for little things like haircuts, lunches with girlfriends, payment of my personal credit card (shopping trips, girls vacations, gifts, et cetera).

Financial advice by Dave Ramsey but can be applied in a lot of areas of life

Ian has also urged me during this pregnancy to treat myself as I'd like using the joint card -- within reason, of course. I'm a frugal person by nature, so I truly don't go crazy with this. But, if I have a prenatal massage or pedicure planned, or if I need a small dose of retail therapy, he sometimes tells me to put it on the joint card. It is a nice gesture and an easy way of him thanking me for carrying this bambina of ours. :)

The biggest change within the past year is that we hired a financial advisor through our bank who has really helped us increase our investments. The returns have easily outweighed the small fee we pay him, and I would highly suggest seeing if your bank offers advising services that can help you maximize your dollars. I'm ashamed that I also went about five years at my company without ever starting my 401(k) investing (lazy!), so our advisor really urged me to take advantage of that, and stat. The small amount of matching they offer was free money just waiting to be earned!

So there's the update. While we do maintain separate accounts, the bulk of our spending has been shifted to our joint account, with just the "fluff" items being covered by our own solo accounts. We are extremely transparent with each other about our spending habits and what we have in our personal savings accounts. I think as long as we are both satisfied and content with this set-up, we will keep it. 

What works best for you?

30 comments:

  1. I can totally see your point on keeping three accounts! Although, my husband and I decided to do the one pot deal! We each have one credit card that we use for "gifts" and personal things that are completely paid off each month. Other than that, everything goes in and comes out of one account! It is just so much easier to manage! We don't have to worry about who makes more and who has to pay what. It has worked very well for us. It might be worth a try if you are thinking about it!

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  2. From about 4 months into our engagement my husband & I have had the same accounts for everything. We have 1 savings & 2 checking. 1 checking is our main account & the other is for saving up for trips or house repairs & stuff like that. Neither of us are crazy spenders & we're complete open books with each other so we've never had an issue knowing what we're each spending or anything like that. I think every marriage is so different that you really just have to find what works best for you! Sounds like y'all have a good system though!!

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  3. love this! my husband and i do a similar thing -- he has his account, i have mine and we have a joint account that we both deposit money into each month. we also have a joint budget and personal budgets. for us having everything spelled out and budgeted makes us REALLY comfortable with money and we rarely argue about it. xo jillian - cornflake dreams

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  4. Loved reading this. My husband and I use the same mentality and it really works for us. The financial adviser is definitely something we should consider as one can never really have too much money :)

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  5. Y'all gotta do what works best for you and if 3 accounts works, then it does!

    For Kevin and I, we have always been a one account fam. He knew what I spent up front and I knew the same about him. There were no surprises with either of our spending habits (well except that stupid gun, but I order J.Crew A LOT and whenever I want ha!). At the end of the day, we both want financial success for our family so who really cares what pot it comes out of (this is how we think). But like with everything - to each their own!

    PS - love your honesty my friend! :)

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  6. Love this post. So helpful hearing how other couples manage their funds. This is basically how we do things now, but that will be changing a lot when our baby girl comes around. Thanks for sharing!

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  7. Love this, thanks for sharing!!! Since having our daughter, we definitely have become more of a "one" account fam - with a little side account for me on the side! ;)

    wordsaboutwaverly.blogspot.com

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  8. My husband and I have joint accounts, like many of the people who have already commented. But in our budget, we have an "Ashley fun" and "Russ fun" category, which we can use as we please for whatever we want individually. That's how we deal with the difficulties of one of us spending money on something the other finds a bit ridiculous (like him always needing the newest iPhone and me having a slight obsession with all things crafting)--we just use our alotted "fun money." It's worked great for us! :)

    ashleynicoleholmes.blogspot.com

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  9. We started out with three accounts as well. It worked well while we are transitioning to married life. When we have kids, it just made sense to have one account. Easy management and it always help to have a single view of finances. Everybody is aligned. Love that we also don't have to have too much separate bills to pay for. Everything is ONE!

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  10. We are getting married in November and are going back and forth about this as well...at this point we really have already adapted the "what's mine is yours" attitude but I like your approach of the 3 accounts to start. I think we may head in that route and if things change along the way we'll roll with it.

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  11. My husband and I do the same as your family. We each maintain our own bank account, and each paycheck we contribute a set amount (based on a yearly budget) to our joint account which we use to pay all household expenses. My husband and I both have personal hobbies (him golfing/hockey, and me more personal things like massages and shopping) but we didn't want to be 'keeping tabs' on the costs of our extracurricular activities so this seems to work super well for us.
    Now that we have a little one, the system still seems to be working well. We contribute more each month to our joint account than previous (for daycare, diapers, etc)but I think its a great system!

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  12. We have a VERY different situation b/c of certain financial things we were/are dealing with when it comes to properties. So, we have two accounts. He pays certain things and I pay certain things. It all evens out. :-)

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  13. David and I also have separate accounts as well as separate saving accounts. Since we currently don't have a mortgage - only rent. I simply write him a rent check once a month. I think it's strange we don;t have a joint account only because I hate when I have to admit I am running low on moola. I think it's just more of a pride thing which I really need to let go. I think it's time we start talking about a joint account with this little one on the way!

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  14. I love posts like this because it's so fun to be "nosy" and look into other people's worlds. We are still one big pot with our checking and savings. We started doing cash envelopes back in January for weekly and monthly basic bills though and we both save/spend our fun money as we see fit :)

    However, sounds like we utilize the same cc as you for points! We use those for category specifics for the free moola too! Chase Freedom and Sapphire are awesome and I'm looking forward to 5% on the new categories come April 1! :)

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  15. We have pretty much the exact same set up and I love it. I don't feel guilty when I go a little crazy at Target and we can buy gifts for each other without the other knowing.

    I'm so happy that you talk about this. Since money is so often a problem in a marriage I like that you talk about options.

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  16. We have a very similar system as you and Ian and it works great for us. We each have our own savings and checking accounts, as well as a joint savings account and joint checking account. We also each have our own investment/retirement accounts. Our daughter is 2.5 and this system still works well for us. While we have very similar spending habits and tend to check with each other on bigger purchases, it makes me happy to have money that is mine to do with as I please. And it keeps me from nagging at my husband for doing things I deem frivolous, like eating lunch out every day. :)

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  17. My husband and I have 4 joint accounts together. When we get a paycheck we divide the money into separate accounts:
    Household 50%
    Savings 10%
    Food/Dining out 10%
    Car 10%
    And the last 10% we takeout as cash and divide for spending money.
    By dividing our money, we bought our new home in Matthews in cash and we rent out our previous home, which I call OPM (other peoples money) which we use for investments.

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  18. * I forgot 10% toward vacations!!!

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  19. We have LOADS of accounts. We follow Dave Ramsey pretty closely so the vast majority comes out of our joint account, but we both have individual accounts that are ours to spend as we wish....however, after Elyse arrived we don't really get to pad those accounts like we used to!

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  20. we have a joint account that all of both of our pay checks go into, and we pull from the joint account for savings, bills, anything we need (including articles of clothing that are a need). we also each have our own personal account we call a "discretionary" account. we get the same amount into our discretionary account each month, pulled from our joint account, and it's to use for things we want (like, pedicures for me, golf for him:). a personal finance professor in college suggested this way and it's worked really well for us because we have money each month to do what we want with, and it feels fair because we both get the same amount for it.

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  21. We've always had one joint account. But when I was working we both felt we had more discretionary money to spend and didn't worry to much about those random purchases. Though neither of us make huge purchases without first discussing them. Now that I'm staying at home with our son and we are living on just Chris' income, we have a more set budget that includes less splurges. If I want to make a large purchase for something like clothes, I just let him know. He does the same with me, but honestly he's naturally more frugal than I am so it doesn't come up often.

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  22. I always love hearing how other couples work their money/accounts! Sometime if you ever are hurting for blog content I'd love to get the 411 about expenses that come w/ pregnancy/having a baby!

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  23. It sounds like you have a great balance and prioritize well! I also find it so sweet that Ian has really been spoiling you with the joint account lately!

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  24. Also..be sure to stop by and enter my giveaway!

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  25. This is so great to hear another couple's method!! We used to have three checking accounts (his, mine and ours), but we now have two: spending and bills. We each have our own credit cards that we only use for gifts for each other (or when we make a big purchase and want the points)! Having a spending account keeps us on budget because we put the right amount into the bills account, some into savings and the rest is for spending (gas, groceries and every day purchases). Thanks for sharing!!

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  26. I'm really enjoying reading everyone's thoughts on this! My husband and I decided to put everything into joint accounts when we were engaged, and so far it's working out pretty well for us. It requires us to be open with each other when we're considering bigger purchases, or something that will add up like monthly subscriptions. We go over our current financial situation and determine what we can afford before making any big buys. Sometimes it's tough, but I think it's made us better partners in our marriage!

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  27. We have the yours, mine, ours concept except that everything goes into the joint account and we get an equal"allowance" to our personal accounts each week. That way if I save mine and buy clothes or he blows it on fast food, no questions asked. We also both do freelance and that generally goes into our individual accounts to spend how we wish. This seems to work well for us but I totally get that everybody is different!

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  28. We have been married almost 7 years and have one 4 year old. We have his, hers and ours accounts and we love it. Our main joint account is where most things get paid from. However we both enjoy having our own little slush accounts for lunches out and other extra things.

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  29. We used to have this exact same set up and it worked so well for us. Now that I'm a stay at home mom and don't have any income we only have a joint account and let me tell you it's been a lot harder than I thought! While I LOVE staying home I really do miss having my own little pot of money that I could do anything with. While I don't necessarily have to ask permission to buy things I'm much more concious of what I'm spending our money on and definitely don't splurge as much as a used to. If you keep working after the baby I think you should keep the set up you have now so you still have a little extra for yourself :)

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  30. We have three accounts too, but we do it differently. Our paychecks go into our main checking account and all of our community expenses come out of that account. When we got married, we thought we'd divide the remainder each month and both of us would get some fun money out of that. However, we don't often do that. We do use those other accounts for things like birthday money or if my husband sells something of his. It's nice to have that other account to cover things like gifts for one another or expenses I'd feel guilty about. My husband would never buy himself clothes, even if he needs them, and these days most of our other expenses are related to our kids, but it is nice to have some fun money neither of us has to account for.

    I think what was important to me was that we have equal opportunity. Just because one of us makes more, I don't think that person should have more leverage or more fun. I want my partner to have a career that makes him happy and we are able to do the work we do because we have someone at home who picks up where we slack.

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