Combining Money.... EEEEKKKKKK

So as we get closer to the wedding the topic of shared money is coming up quite a bit. I was wondering if I could get some feed back.

I know most married couples do share money and have joint accounts and I understand why it makes sense, but my question is how does it work "smoothly".

Right now FI & I split everything 50/50. He pays the rent and hydro and gas bill and I pay the rogers bill. Now I say that meaning we literally pay the bill however we split it 50/50. I take his half of the rogers bill off what I send him for Rent and the other stuff.

When it comes to groceries, we are one of those couples (annoying or not) who split the bill at the cash. If its a $90 grocery, he pays 45, and I pay 45.

I realize doing it this was it a little crazy and complicated but it's worked for us for the last 2 years.

On the positive side, his money is his money and my money is my money. Therefore if he wants to go blow a huge chunk of cash on something that I think well... is stupid, that is fine, its his money. I feel like I will become "controlling" if we start combining our money. Like "NO you DO NOT need that $700 DJ mixer thing! Even though your audience of zero might really appreciate it." OR "No we don't need a foosball table."

Side Note: Why is it that men require such ridiculous EXPENSIVE crap??

Fi is a big spender on most things, when we go shopping he will blow a couple hundred even before I think to pull out my debit card. He likes to shop, where I don't necessarily do. How far does shared money go? Does clothing come out of the joint account? or does it come out of our personal accounts we have for our "allowance"?

Anyway, I was wondering how other people do this and make it work? I know eventually I will give in and we will begin sharing money, so I'm just looking for tips on how to make it work!
 25 Sep 2012 1:58 PM
 2 Jan 2010
 Edmonton, AB
Jay Merryfield
My wife and I butted heads a bit about combining our money. She had a nice nest egg built up, and while I didnt have any significant debt, I didnt come in with anything aside from an ongoing paycheque. We finally agreed to combine our paycheques but she could keep her nest egg for as long as she wanted (it ended up paying for our landscaping and garage on the house we built together).

How it worked/works for us: all money goes into a joint account. Everything gets paid for out of that account. No more thinking of your money and my money. You are working together towards a similar goal, and work to support one another should either of you lose a job, go on maternity leave, etc. That goes for groceries, dinner, concert tickets, clothes, charity, everything.

Its best to discuss up front how much cash savings you want to have on hand, how much you want to put into RRSPs annually, etc. It might be worth talking to a financial planner to go over where youre at now and what you need to do to retire comfortably.

How we continue to work: we just spend what we want to spend, for the most part. We dont discuss expenditures under $100 very often, but things over that we talk about and rationalize how we can afford it, is it really necessary, etc. It causes stress sometimes, but we do our best to be open-minded about what the other spends and dont be too tight with the money once we have met our short and long term savings goals. We have friends who operate on an Allowance. They each have, lets say, $300 per month to do whatever they like on their own. Golfing, eating lunch out every day, video games, electronics, whatever. They have made the parameters themselves. My friend (husband) plays it pretty frugal and saves his allowance and then gets a bigger thing with it. Since theyve decided this is how they want to spread their fun money, it is generally low stress and without argument (though his wife does ask why he needs ANOTHER tool or something sometimes).

Its a tricky thing, balancing money & finances, PARTICULARLY if one spouse earns a lot more than the other. Were lucky to be almost 50-50 (my wife earns a bit more than I do) but if theres a big inequality, then reasonable guidelines need to be set out. They should also be flexible; if its not working with an allowance, Then maybe you both just contribute a set amount to a joint account that pays for home things and recalculate what that amount should be every so often.

Its my personal belief that combining finances is one of the more important things to do once youre married. Actually, I could marry a girl who wouldnt take my name, but I couldnt marry one who refused to combine finances. Its tough to work towards a combined future together when youre constantly stuck in a this is my money, thats your money mindset.
 25 Sep 2012 2:07 PM
 2 Jan 2010
 Edmonton, AB
Jay Merryfield
One more thing to add: it might feel controlling to start dictating who can spend what, but its also good to have a second opinion on whats really important. I have three quite expensive hobbies. Having to justify things to my wife makes me consider whether I really NEED it or if I just WANT it. From the other side of that discussion though: what if that $700 could go towards a family vacation? Maybe something joint for the house? If its truly extra money then there is no harm in getting it, but if youre being held back as a family unit because of money and meanwhile his DJ equipment budget is getting larger and larger. Well thats part of working together towards a common goal, is it not?

This is totally my opinion, of course. I have friends who still have separate accounts years after being married, and who have three 50+ TVs and a ridiculous home theater system but still has Ikea starter furniture and never goes anywhere nice on vacation. Everyone sets their own priorities. smile
 26 Sep 2012 9:05 AM
 2 Apr 2012
its funny you say that Jayson, When discussing this with my FI the other night, I pretty much told him I would likely yell at him for randomly buying expensive DJ equipment. (BTW he's not a dj, its just something he's picked up lately and thinks he'll be the next big thing) He told me that I SHOULD be yelling at him if he spends that kind of money without either having first come to an agreement about it or him saving up some personal finds to purchase something so large.

I think maybe he's looking for me to help him be more responsible when it comes to spending.
 26 Sep 2012 9:49 AM
 2 Jan 2010
 Edmonton, AB
Jay Merryfield
I wouldn't say I'm some kind of enormously irresponsible man-child, but I am happy to admit my wife and her good money-habits are a big (probably the biggest) part of why we've been able to do as well in life as we have been. smile
 26 Sep 2012 8:48 PM
 22 Sep 2012
New Member
That causes stress oftentimes, but we do our far better be open-minded about what one other spends and dont often be too tight with all the money once we have got met our short and lasting savings goals. We certainly have friends who run on an Allowance. Both have, lets express, $300 per month to accomplish whatever they like independently. Golf instruction, eating lunch out each day, online games, electronics, whatever.
 26 Sep 2012 11:01 PM
 30 Aug 2011
New Member
We've done a couple of things over the years
1 - we each had a box of receipts of what we spent on "joint" items for the month, and then at the end of the month we would calculate who would owe who (it avoids the paying half/half at checkout etc plus if someone wants to do a grocery without the other its not the end of the world). It worked out great and it also gave us more awareness of what we were spending our money on since at the end of the month we would look back on the receipts.

2 - we've also done a joint account, but we each have individual accounts and have certain amount of $ transfer in automatically in a few days after pay day, we put it a large amount so that it could cover the expenses and there would be enough to save up for expensive months.

Both methods have allowed us both to have our own "play" money while working towards common goals. smile
 10 Oct 2012 10:23 AM
 15 Apr 2008
My DH and I have combined everything. We joined all of our finances when we got engaged and bought a house. Personally I couldn't manage the 50/50 approach as even the thought of continually reconciling joint purchases exhausts me. Additionally, once you have kids, I find that finances become much more complicated and its almost easier if there is one Kitty to draw from. Whether that kitty is completely joint finances or just a bank account where a pre-determined amount of money is deposited to.

When it comes to personal spending, we've tried the allowance route, and found that we were constantly arguing what should and should not be included in allowance. So we just gave up. We generally spend money on differnt things (DH eats lunch out everyday; but I bring my own and then buy a pair of boots now and again) I figure it balances out in the end. Neither one of us minds too too much if the scales are not balanced at all times.

Good Luck
 14 Oct 2012 7:16 PM
 24 Apr 2007
 New Brunswick
DH and I have been together for 15 years (married 4) and we did not combine our money when we got married. Splitting things 50/50 worked for us so we stuck with what worked.
We do have a savings account that we both contribute to each month and have it divided in "funds" on an Excel sheet. For example we have a car fund for repairs, an insurance fund to save up for next year's insurance, a baby fund... In those, we have a pre-determined amount we contribute each month. After we pay our bills and into the savings, whatever is left is ours to to spend how we want.
We make about the same amount of money so splitting this way is easy for us.
 31 Oct 2012 11:59 PM
 30 Apr 2012
New Member

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