Tuesday, June 28, 2016

{ Married Life } Joint or Separate Accounts

What's mine is yours and what's yours is mine, right? Well...not always. This was a tough matter T and I have to figure out for ourselves and what worked best for us, not what works best for others. What works best for us may not make any sense to you and may not work in your relationship, because what may work in yours may not work in ours.

It isn't my intention, when writing this post, to cause anyone to feel like they are not doing something wrong or that what works best for us is the right way. These are just some pros and cons I have found in each type of account when trying to determine what would work best for us.

Timmy and I dated for four years before we got engaged. He always had his bank account and I always had my bank account, neither of us never knew exactly how much was in each account, but we knew we were OK to go out on the weekend for dates, nights out with friends, etc. and not have to worry about our bank account...$1 beer night at City Limits was our favorite nights in college!

It wasn't until we got engaged we starting talking about joint accounts and how we were going to pay for our bills, who was going to pay what and when. Our first idea. I pay for our rent one month and T pays all the bills (TV, power bill, trash, etc) that same month and then the next month we switch. This worked out great for the first few months and there was nothing wrong with this system other than I was constantly having to ask T for checks when his bill was due and we weren't building or saving any money in an account together. So what if we wanted to go on a trip together, who would pay for that? We didn't want to keep having to write each other checks. 

Before we got married we had set up a joint account that we would just casually put money in and put all of our wedding money in. We were going to just specifically use this account, for now, to pay off our wedding bands and continue to pay our bills as described above. That all went great until all the money ran out of our joint account and our rings were paid off. 

So now enters in our new idea. Pay all of our bills through our joint account. All of them. Each week T and I are going to put a fixed amount into our joint account from our checks (we get paid every Friday) and from there we will pay our bills and with whatever is leftover we will use towards groceries, date nights, etc. Then the money that is left in our personal accounts can be used for personal use. This works best for us because if we just put all of our money in one account I can foresee there being more arguments about what I am spending my money on. I mean we make about the same, so half of it would be mine but that isn't a healthy way of looking at it.

So we opted for "mixed accounts" some personal and some joint. Mainly so I can go get my nails done and not feel guilty for using some of our married money to do that, when T doesn't spend nearly as much as I do.

Joint Accounts
Pro: No need to worry about multiple account numbers, multiple checkbooks, everything comes from one place.
Con: This is not a problem with us right now, but could be in the future - if one or the other makes a higher income this could cause tension between each other.
Pro: Both have the ability to check on the account.
Con: No privacy. Want to buy your hubby a present but he looks at the statements all the time, better withdraw cash!

Separate Accounts
Pro: No one to answer to when you go on a shopping spree and how much money you spent, as long as you can contribute to your part of the bills that month.
Con: Too much privacy, you have to absolutely trust your partner that he or she is telling you the truth in how much is in their account.

Mixed Accounts
Pro: Your money in your personal account can be used at "fun money"
Con: If your joint account is low on cash and you go out to dinner, who pays?
Pro: You have a fixed amount you put in it each week or month.
Con: Multiple accounts and having to keep up with multiple balances.

So for us, we are trying out the mixed accounts and for now it is what works for us both. What have you found works best for your family?
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Piper Ellice said...

We're planning on doing something similar once the hubs starts working full time {next week, woohoo!}. We have separate accounts, and one joint...the idea is to pull out a set amount {ex. $100 each paycheck/could be any amount} to keep in our personal accounts, and then dumb the rest into our joint account for all bills/dinners/trips/etc. I think this will work for us because we tend to talk over all purchases just out of habit/hubs has a hard time remembering when bills are due, whereas I pay everything early. It's hard to find the right mix, but I'm hoping this will work for us!
xoxo, www.piperellice.com

Stephanie Chalk said...

You bring up really great pros and cons for all the situations. It isn't an easy decision {that's for sure} but I agree that it is based on the couple! Xo, Stephanie

Racheal Bright said...

This is what we did when my husband still worked for a company. It usually worked really well, we knew exactly how much we had coming in each payday. Now that he has started his own business, we are still working out the kinks. It's different because he doesn't get a pay check for a certain amount at a certain time. Kudos to you guys for figuring out what works for you!