Are you having disagreements with your partner over money? Is one of you a saver while the other is a crazy or rational spender? If you answer yes to either of these questions, then you MUST read this article. If you answered no, go ahead and read it anyways. No knowledge is lost.
Please note, these spending rules vary for every family because our cultures, lifestyles, values, and the way we were raised are different. The best way to know what works for both of you as a couple is to have an open discussion about your money, goals, and managing styles. Here’s what I’ve learned:
Weekly and Monthly Spending Rules
Budgeting: People’s worst enemy. However, once you’ve mastered this skill, it becomes your best friend. To budget, allot an amount for each bill and other weekly or monthly expenditure. You can say, “This month, we’re only spending $250 on groceries.” Or, maybe you agree that, “He gets $10 a week for lunch, and she gets $12 weekly for her latte or morning coffee.” Couples should make the rules together and be honest with each other. Perhaps, you can try the envelope method. The envelope method is where every paycheck, you withdrawal the cash you’ve reserved for your miscellaneous items and other tangible budgeted expenses (such as gas, groceries, clothing, alms, e.t.c. You place them in their labeled envelopes respectively where you both can see it. It helps with accountability because once that cash is gone, that’s it!
Yours, Mine, Ours: One joint account, and two individual accounts. Each partner’s paycheck goes into their individual account; then each person puts money into the joint account, which is the place where the bills get deducted. This may work for couples who like to have control and some sort of in-dependency. Nevertheless, you both have to agree on it without keeping secrets about how much you have in your account.
Joint Only: You close the accounts that you had before you were married. Everything is shared. There may be rules, goals, or budgets associated with this, but everything is shared. All bills, all savings, everything! Personally, my family use this rule because it works for us. Keep on reading to learn more about other rules you can try.
Separate Past, Joint Future: Whatever debt each spouse came to the marriage with is that individual’s responsibility to pay off. But everything else, going forward, is a joint effort. From savings for a down payment, to paying the groceries, it’s all shared. Except the debt. Student loans? Credit cards? Whoever got into debt is going to get themselves out of it.
Shared Savings and Goals: In this scenario, most things stay separate, but both spouses contribute to shared goals. The vacation to Italy, the down payment on the house, the renovation of the kitchen – whatever your shared future goals are, each partner puts in what they can.
Separate Everything: Each spouse has their own accounts, and bills are split fairly. One spouse pays internet/cable/utilities, the other pays the mortgage. One pays for restaurant food, the other pays for groceries. Credit cards are not shared. In fact, nothing is shared. Each spouse even has their own retirement savings.
The Allowance Method: This is used in conjunction with the “joint everything” method. Essentially, one spouse is in charge of all the money, and the other is given a weekly or monthly allowance to spend as they see fit. It sounds a little outdated to me, but looking at that image makes me think I could do okay with an allowance! The idea is to let the other person spend without fighting.
Here are few more tips for managing money with your spouse. No matter which strategy you use, there will be bumps on the road. When this happens:
1. Calm down: Take some deep breaths in and out. When you’re having disagreement about money, try not to talk about it in the heat of the moment. Let some time pass and be prepared to discuss it when you both are calm.
2. Establish guidelines: Even if you decide to use one of the independent money management strategies, you’ll still have to discuss money with your spouse. For example, if you have kids, you’ll need to agree on your plans for spending money on them. Setting up guidelines ahead of time will definitely avoid conflict down the road.
3. Give credit for good things: When you have a disagreement about money, keep your perspective. I have to admit that 11 months out of the year, my husband is exceptional at managing money. We always discuss large purchases and he tries really hard. It’s probably a challenge for him, since personal finance is not an interest. I try to remind myself of this if we ever have a money matter that we don’t agree on.
***I definitely can relate. These tips are very helpful! Most people are not married to spouses who majored in Finances or Accounting. So remember, whoever manages the finances deserves a pat on the back and kudos, especially when they’re managing it very well. Always leave room for accountability and transparency, but most of all, enjoy a healthy marriage.
What tips do you have on how to manage money with a spouse?
Source: Madison (mydollarplan)