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To Combine, or Not to Combine Finances?

by J. Money on Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Marriage mash-upWe prefer a litte of both! We combine a lot of our money, and we divert a little money ;) Like true rockstars, we like to keep a little independence around here.

In reality though, there are a TON of different ways to do this (merge everything, keep it all separate, etc). It really depends on the personalities and comfort levels of both individuals involved, as well as their spending habits.

Lucky for us, we’re both on the same path – we’re comfortable with money, we like a good bargain, and we enjoy having a little on the side. So it naturally makes sense having a few different accounts set up for this. We have a couple main ones for our “House/together” stuff, and then we keep our own side accounts to maintain a little independence and sanity :)

To be honest, it hasn’t changed all that much since we got married since we were living in sin to begin with (*gasp*). Logistically, it made a lot of sense to combine a few things. And after some trial and error, we eventually came up with a method that worked. It’s changed a bit over the years, but the concept has remained the same – keeping accounts for “us”, and accounts for “me”. Here’s what I mean:

  1. House Account #1 (checking) – This is our main account, and always has the most money in it :) Since we started out renting together, we were already in the habit of contributing to a main “house fund” like this. We keep all mortgage, utilities, taxes, insurance, groceries, and anything else house related in this account. Whenever a big change occurs – like when we got a mortgage, or when we were planning our wedding – we reevaluate and change up our specific contributions. Currently I’m putting in $2,076.48 per month, and the Mrs. is putting in $1,100.
  2. House Account #2 (savings) – We both drop in $100 per month here, and we can use this money for anything our little hearts desire – traveling, new furniture, bed & breakfasts, anything that we do together really. We’ll also take from this account whenever we have any “spend-crazy” months and go over our House Budget (a bit outdated, but has a good breakdown). This usually keeps us on track though since we don’t like pulling money from here!
  3. J. Money’s Accounts (Checking & Savings) – These are my own “do whatever the hell i wanna do ” accounts ;) I can use the money for anything I’d like, no questions asked. Unfortunately there’s not much left over after i make my “house” deposits and then pay my other bills, but it still adds up over time. I also keep a Savings account open so i can save up some $ for separate big-ticket items (like if i ever want more bling, or a nice stereo or something).
  4. Mrs. Budgetsaresexy’s Accounts (Checking & Savings) – These are HER “do whatever” accounts. And i could tell you that i honestly had NO idea how much was in there until that post on where all our money goes last week ;) And even then i got rough answers! haha….

Again, everyone has their own way of doing things. The key is to be OPEN about exactly what you want, and what you don’t want when it comes to managing your finances as a married couple. It’s not always going to be fun (unless you’re a nerd like me), but it’s time well put to use.

I’m not sure how many others do the same, but I’d be willing to bet it’s fairly common. Family upbringing had a lot to do with it for me, especially when it came to my dad. Whenever i asked him why HE could get a new pair of $100+ Nikes and i couldn’t, his answer was always, “I can do whatever I want son, it comes from my side account“! And ever since i’ve dreamt of having my very own…and now i do ;) A guy’s gotta do what he’s gotta do, right?


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