Series: How do couples handle their money? is offering a very interesting series on how couples handle their money.

Do they pool it, keep it separate or sometimes share? Does education play into what method they choose? How has the economy affected the choices of couples today?

The author, Jessica Grose, just got married. Before she was married they had kept separate accounts but split the rent and other household expenses. She wasn’t sure what they would do after they got married but it made her want to know how other couples were handling it.


“I wanted to find out what other couples were doing, and how they decided to become Common Potters, Independent Operators, or Sometime Sharers. I also wondered whether social changes—the staggering debt of recent college graduates, the loss of pensions and 401(k) matching programs, the dominance of women in higher education, the declining rate of marriage, and the increasing rate of cohabitation—were changing couples’ financial relations. And hey, I’m a journalist, which means I get to report out the answers. I wanted to ask strangers the kinds of invasive questions about their relationships—how much do you earn? What money-related fights do you have?—that are really hard to discuss even among close friends. The pairs I profile in the course of this series (sometimes anonymously, to encourage candor) provide a rare, private view of how life partners hash out their financial lives. I also put up a 40-question survey in the fall asking married and cohabitating couples to weigh in on how they manage their money, so I’d have some numbers to crunch.”

“The survey hit a nerve: 5,858 people took it. My respondents aren’t a nationally representative sample, since they just volunteered. Instead, they’re a mostly young and highly educated bunch. Their average age was 33, and a full 48 percent of them have graduate degrees; 72 percent said they were married or in a civil union, and the remaining 27 percent said they were not. (One percent of respondents didn’t provide their marriage status.)”…

“In the coming installments of this series, I’ll dig into how couples like Deb and Brett and Beth and Alan chose their particular financial systems and figured out their budgeting, and how their choices fit into societal patterns. I’ll talk about the apps, Web sites, and other technological tools couples are using to manage their budgets. As for Mike and me, by the end of the series, we’ll decide how much money to merge and how to manage it.”

This is the link to the slideshow of what her online survey has found.

Part 2 – The Common Potters

Part 3 – The Sometimes Sharers

Michael and I have always been shared potters but we were married right after I graduated so there wasn’t much time to accrue individual wealth. Also despite having the same degree, he’s always made considerable more money than I have so well to my advantage for us to share. (Especially since I haven’t worked in an office in almost 10 years!)

Some couples say they want to be able to splurge on certain things without their partner complaining or interfering but if you’re embarrassed about spending that much for a shirt or haircut (like the story talks about) then maybe you shouldn’t be. If you have to hide what you’re spending that may be you shouldn’t be spending it.

When discussing the stories with Michael last night he said, “We’re partners on everything else, why wouldn’t we be on money?”

So read through the parts of the series and see what you think of the survey and her points. How do you handle your money and why?

74 comments Add your comment


February 2nd, 2011
6:25 am

We married at age 23, when we were still in school and each made 160K and we still put it all in one pot. Then that pot gets subdivided into the household pot, the slush pot, the vacation pot, the summer camp pot, the savings pot, the bill pot, etc. But we have common access to all pots.

To each his/her own.

And, we’re grown ups. Neither of us tries to CONTROL the other person’s spending habits. We decide together what the budget is. There is no telling each other what we can and cannot spend discretionary funds on.


February 2nd, 2011
6:27 am

Whoa…something happened to my post. The first lines should read:

We married at age 23, when we were still in school and each made <10K a year and it made more sense to pay the bills to combine our funds. Fast forward 13 years and we make a combined income of 160K….

This is Mrs.Norman Maine

February 2nd, 2011
6:40 am

On my wedding day, my grandmother pulled me to the side and said “whatever you do, don’t share your money with him. Get your own accounts and handle your business”. You would think I would have listened to the voice of experience since my grandparents were married for over 50 years but I was young and IN LOVE. We were a team. HA!

Three years later, my husband showed me his brand new $300 watch, I flipped! “Why are you doing this”, I asked, “you know we can’t afford it”. He explained to me that he worked (part-time at a minimum wage job) and he could buy whatever he wanted. That did it! I quit 2 of my 3 jobs and got my own bank accounts told him that from now on we were splitting the bills straight down the middle.

Now, 17 years after that incident we make combined > 150K and he has had some struggles with debt and spending but he works full-time and he is never late on the bills and most importantly he pulls his weight. I’m debt-free and 60% of my pay goes to saving/retirement/investments. I should have listened to Grandma from the beginning.


February 2nd, 2011
7:07 am

We pooled our money but had vastly different philosophies on money. One of the biggest fights we ever had was when I averaged her AMEX bill for 6 months, it AVERAGED $1500. She blew it off as no big deal, and I thought it was insanely materialistic. Money was the top thing that destroyed our marriage. I’m not sure how I would do it again IF I ever have the opportunity to spend the rest of my life with someone. I’ve learned to never say never and not try too hard to predict the future. But now my vote counts every time when it comes to my bank account. I’m looking forward to hearing the pros and cons on here of the different ways to handle money in a marriage.


February 2nd, 2011
7:25 am

We make, combined, a little over 200k per year (before bonuses) and we have several accounts. We each have a checking and savings account at our Credit Union and then we have a joint checking and savings account. Each paycheck is divided so that a portion of each goes into the joint account. This is the account from which all household expenses, vacations, Christmas, AMEX, etc. are paid.The remainder of our pay is deposited into our respective “individual” accounts and this money is used, basically, in any manner in which either of us sees fit.
Of course, our health benefits, HSA accounts, both 401k accounts,and my employer-paid pension are funded pre-tax so this money isn’t included in any of the above.
This “system” may not work for all but it’s certainly worked well for us.


February 2nd, 2011
7:26 am

We do have separate accounts due to our philosophies on money. We also have separate credit cards and each pay our own bills. I typically pay mine in full each month. We split the bills and each pay what is in our pile. We both have jobs and always have had. My husband makes more than I do annually not daily but I typically have not put in a 40 hour week for years. I am considered part time, even though some weeks I work 7 days straight with travel. I am also off 12 plus weeks per year with no pay.

We came from VASTLY different financial families. Many here know that my family was OCD and his was loosey goosey. I thought it was relaxed at first…not so much now.

Hubby has his bills online and that has really helped him stay on top of them. Rarely a miss. I am so proud that this works for him.

I am more frugal and careful with money…he would be the one with the new watch or the one who literally lost $100 and cannot remember what happened. He has asked me if money has shown up as he cannot remember what happened to it…i.e. he had $50 on M and now does not. This makes my blood boil and so we do what works for us. May not work for others!


February 2nd, 2011
7:39 am

I’ve always thought that when you have separate finances, you’re just preparing for the divorce.

We’re a family. What’s mine is hers and vice-versa. We share one account.


February 2nd, 2011
7:50 am

I’m curious what the opinion is on here of the fact that now that women are making their own money more than they were, oh 30 years ago, that NOW people are advocating having separate accounts. Whereas before, the consensus was everything was “ours”.

Lady Strange

February 2nd, 2011
8:03 am

My ex husband and I had a shared account. I don’t think I will do that again though. Oddly enough I had more money after we split accounts even though we were still paying all the same bills. I’m all for seperate accounts and just splitting the bills.


February 2nd, 2011
8:04 am

Jef…my mother never worked and always had to beg my father for money. He rarely gave in.
I could not live like that. Back then, it was never ours either.

Dad still tries to lord it over my stepmom, who worked in a bank. She has a bit of her own money and can stand her ground. It is funny to watch.


February 2nd, 2011
8:18 am

jeff….30 years ago we had separate accounts-i didnt work…but i had an account to pay bills out of because my then husband was notorious at paying today what he might get tomorrow-in other words bouncing checks becasue what he thought would come in didnt. so i opened my own account and he gave me money to put in for the bills so that i could make sure they got paid.

i would not have my name on an account with anyone else (i do with my daughter so i can transfer money in and out if she needs it) but she has her own separate account also and we rarely use the one that is joint. i have been single for so long i cant imagine anyone else having access to my account…at least not until i get too old to take care of it…then it would be my youngest daughter or one of my best friends to be responsible.


February 2nd, 2011
8:18 am

@Jeff: There’s a lot to the attitude, “What’s yours is our and what’s mine is mine.” A lot of women grew up under fairly patriarchal families where the man doled out a bit each week to the little woman, even if the little woman was working, too. I remember a neighbor of ours growing up — they have five kids under the age of 8, and he was on the road with his job from Monday through Friday, eating out on expense account. When he was home, he wanted steak. But for the rest of the week, his wife was given a budget of $25 to feed five kids for the week. So she had to budget his steak (no one else got any) into that $25. They ate a LOT of cereal. This went on, I think, until her father finally had a man-to-man talk with him and basically told him he was full of sh!t.

We have always been a common pot sort of marriage. I have a separate account because I tend to do a lot of the buying of little things — $10 here, $7 there, $15 over there — the kind of thing that drives my husband nuts to balance in a checkbook. So I just take a sum of money each month for that sort of thing and we leave the joint account for bills, etc. or whatever we need. We each have separate accounts for our businesses, of course, so we can track money in and out of the business more easily.

We each have access to all the accounts, and if we need to move money around, we just check with the other person if the amount is more than $100, to make sure that we’re not getting in the way of an automatic withdrawal, etc. We have never fought over money, and we sure have never monitored each other’s spending.


February 2nd, 2011
8:23 am

My husband makes b/w 150-300k each year. We live like it’s 150. I used to work and pull in 60k per year, so I was never the breadwinner. We’ve always had joint accounts and I’ve handled the finances. The separate accounts baffles me. We’re in this forever and it is “us”. Surely a strong marriage can venture into things jointly? It’s like your saying you know it might not work, so let’s keep things separate and it will be easier if we can’t get along. Oh, and we’re in our late 30’s and I’m a mother of two young ones.


February 2nd, 2011
8:24 am

When I think of “splitting bills”, I think of a woman I worked with. Her husband made three times as much money as she did, but yet, everything was split down the middle — every time they went out to eat, she would have to pay her portion, right there, in cash. EVERYTHING got split down the middle – house payment, electric bill. If she was short, he made her pay him back. He, on the other hand, squirreled away the majority of his income for retirement, and when he divorced her, he was able to keep it all because he was able to show he was the only one that had paid into it, and she, since she had been paying almost all of her salary towards keeping up with his payments for everything, had almost nothing.

So whenever anyone says to me “splitting bills”, I pretty much shudder.


February 2nd, 2011
8:36 am

“..when he divorced her, he was able to keep it all

I thought women wanted true equality and can “do just fine without a man”! (Of course, I know they don’t-that’s just a line)


February 2nd, 2011
8:46 am

My parents had a common account and consulted each other for major expenditures. My ex and I had a common account but too much outgo for too little income. I have had a tough time going to grad school, paying for all the kids’ stuff, and paying for college, but I did it. He had no plans to help them anyway. I made the vast 3/4 or more money in our marriage, but he spent it on many things we didn’t need and couldn’t afford but he wanted.

If I were ever to remarry, I would have a yours, mine, and our account. I would never want to be sucked dry again like that. However, I allowed it, thinking we were in it together.

I think I would have a difficult time supporting a man again (especially if he wanted to constantly “help” his adult children on the money I make.)


February 2nd, 2011
8:48 am

DB – that sounds like my best friend and her boyfriend. They bought a house together, it’s in both their names. However, every Friday, she has to give him $250 for RENT…..I told her it isn’t rent when YOU OWN IT. He makes about 3 times what she does, he has a retirement account, and he controls all the money. He tells her what she can and cannot buy. When they go to the grocery store, they go together, but if she wants something out of the norm, he tells her no, she doesn’t need it. I keep telling her to get her own bank account, and set up a retirement account, but at age 51, she still doesn’t have either one. And the kicker is, her name is NOT on any of his accounts. If anything happened to him, she is out of luck. STUPID. I just cannot believe she is that dumb. They have been together for 17 years now, not married, but she still continues to give him every dime she makes……I just don’t get it.


February 2nd, 2011
8:49 am

I know many couples who remarried in middle age and split the costs equally. Many of the women end up putting all their money into the split pot and have to ask for money to get something themselves. I cringe when I see that.

I will probably never remarry.


February 2nd, 2011
8:54 am

I’m not trying to start an argument over it and I’m not mad about it so don’t get me wrong. I know there are stories on both sides of the issue that are legitimate. But I’ve noticed the plethora of articles directed toward women in the last decade about “protecting their finances” but I also see a lot of double standard on the issue. I think it’s one of the issues that drives the genders apart.


February 2nd, 2011
8:59 am

We married at 29 and already had separate accounts. Fast forward seven years and still have separate accounts. It works for us. I write him a check every month to help with the household bills and use the rest to save, pay my CC bill and the cable bill. I have access to all of his accounts if I want to but we have never felt the need to combine. I say do whatever works best!


February 2nd, 2011
9:07 am

Separate accounts did not work for us. He makes 80% of the household income, so everything is together. We talk about things. He pays the bills. Everything is in both our names.


February 2nd, 2011
9:14 am

I am with E!

Hubby and I discussed finances before marriage. I am of the school that says you should make sure your philosopies of money are similar and throw it in one pot from the begin. Saying were separate is like saying we will never be “one”.

Money is a huge part of why most marriages don’t work. In fact the past 2 couples I know that got divorced after over 15 years of marriage – it all boiled down to money. One of the gals in fact told me that she wish she didn’t have to work (in the middle of this recession). I knew both well enough to hear all the other excuses, but the underlying problem was money (or what the wife thought was not enough). These gals are my frinds and I think they both left decent, caring husbands and fathers over money. Of course, they are in search of a man with money now! :(

I see couples that are starting out headed for doom if they don’t get their finances in check and priorties straight before saying I do. I really do think separate is the wrong way to go, it can lead to so many deceptions, that start out small like a pair of designer shoes but lead to an extra cell phone and money for hotel rooms.


February 2nd, 2011
9:19 am

@Jeff: I don’t think anyone here thinks you’re trying to start an argument (at least, I don’t.) I think it’s a valid observation. The answer may be that men seem to have had separate accounts for years that they squirreled money away in, away from the so-called avaricious grasp of their spendthrift wives. Maybe women are just catching up :-) My husband is a forensic accountant, and in divorce cases, it’s rarely the wife that has been stashing money.

@JJ: Your friend is an idiot. ‘Nuff said.


February 2nd, 2011
9:20 am

My husband and I have a joint account and we look at our budget together about twice a month, which includes paying bills online at that time and discussing how much to put in savings from what’s leftover. Neither one has a separate checking account. We both work, but he makes almost twice as much as I do and always has. When we go out, he always pays, but the money comes from our joint account. I have retirement accounts and he has retirement accounts. House is in both of our names and the cash in our savings account is joint. Works for us, but he is the most wonderful human being I’ve ever met and gives me all the respect I deserve, including the handling of money.


February 2nd, 2011
9:27 am

My husband and I have a joint account, always have and neither one of us has a separate bank account, although we each have our own retirement accounts. House is in both of our names and so is the cash in our savings account. We look at our budget together twice a month, and at that time pay bills together and decide how much would go into savings after bills are paid or if there are any big purchases we need to make. We both work, but he makes almost twice as much as I do and always has. Works for us, but he is the most wonderful human being I’ve ever met and gives me all the respect in the world, including the handling of money.


February 2nd, 2011
9:29 am

We have separate accounts. I was married before and it was always a fight about money. My daughter’s father wanted a new car, we could not afford the car payments so I would not sign for a new car. When we split, he went and got a new car and shortly thereafter the repo crew showed up on my doorstep at 3 am demanding I turn over the car. Yeah righ I was driving my 12 y/o honda.

My husband’s parents have separate accounts. Daddy helped teach my MIL to make investments and they live a comfortable life. My husband never wanted shared accounts and I feel like I am a drain on him. He pays all the household bills where we live, I buy food and household stuff. He pays for all the equipment for the property and hay, feed and vet bills for the horses. He knew I could not afford to live at his level of income. I pay for my daughter and her needs and also pay for my house in Gwinnet which my mother lives in along with all of her utilities.

A few weeks ago he made a large purchase $6800 without discussing it with me. Last week he was talking about what he wanted for his Birthday present from himself. One item is about $2500 the other is less than $1000. I pointed out that the more expensive item was only going to go up in price while the other was coming down in price. I offered to help with the cheaper item but I could not afford to pay for the whole thing.

He is teaching me about investment and has helped me set up a retirement account. I’d be more than happy to turn my money over to him, have him invest it and take the leftover to help with the household accounts. He wants me to learn to invest so if I am left to handle all the accounts, I will know how to.


February 2nd, 2011
9:40 am

Grrr. Some of these stories are maddening! I can’t imagine growing up watching your mom (or dad) beg your dad (or mom) for money – how sad. As far as I know my parents had one big pot and what’s theirs was theirs.

We have 6 accounts – our checking/savings, my checking/savings, and his checking/savings. The bulk of the money goes to ‘ours’ for bills, mortgage, etc. The individual accounts are for incidentals. We make big purchasing decisions together, and have never really argued much over money. I pay most of the bills through bill pay and Hubs pays the mortgage and monitors the big picture via a tracking spreadsheet.


February 2nd, 2011
9:51 am

DB – I know, and it’s like talking to a brick wall, so basically I gave up. I’ve been after her for years to get a retirement account, and put money in it every month. She’s a waitress, so I guess she will be waiting on tables well on into her 60’s…..meanwhile, I plan on retiring at 65!!!!


February 2nd, 2011
9:59 am

Husband gives me a certain amount of money each month that is for the mortgage and utilities..When we go out to eat or vacations, he pretty much pays for things..I do all of the grocery shopping and actual paying of the bills..I keep up all the maintance on my car and he keeps up his truck, car and motorcycle..We make major purhcases together..

We each have our own money and if he wants to buy something, he does as do I..Like another poster mentioned, we were each married before and have our own accounts, saw no reason to change it..This works for us and has worked for 17 years..


February 2nd, 2011
9:59 am

We are common potters and have been almost since we got engaged almost 6 years ago (married 4 yrs now). In retrospect it was stupid to combine so early in case something bad happened but thankfully we are still happily married with only a few bumps in the road and we’ve since become parents.

We decided that we’d be better off combining, mostly because we knew that we’d be switching positions off and on as breadwinner (first him while we were in school, then me while he finished law school, now him as a lawyer). We never had to think about who had what account and out of which account to pay bills. Our only point of contention is that my husband grew up with the idea that a savings account was “play money” while I grew up with the idea that savings was a “/emergancy/oops too much money is going out this month” account.
Since I manage the finances (with a few flubs here or there) I won when it comes to the savings account. My husband knows his budget for the month with gas and lunch and he also knows to clear ANY purchase (big or small) with me that is outside of his monthly budget. I let him know if it’s possible or not.
We’re running a tighter ship than usual since I lost my over-time (teaching and extra class) and our salaries were frozen. But we’re still making it and managing to pay down debts and put a little money up for a second kiddo.
It works for us.

Warrior Woman

February 2nd, 2011
10:12 am

In the early years of our marriage, I was in grad school and my husband made about 3 times what I did. Now, I make 2-3 times what he does. Our entire marriage, we’ve shared everything. All our income goes into a joint account. From that, an “allowance” amount that we’ve agreed on in advance goes to each of us for unfettered spending. I manage our money and pay all the bills. This works well for us. I can’t imagine not sharing money, as we share everything else.

Tonya C.

February 2nd, 2011
10:24 am

We have his/hers/ours. Most of the money goes to ours, but the other accounts are for fun money and usually buying each other the occasional gift. We discuss large purchases.We tried both ways over the years, and this seems to work for the both of us without WWIII breaking out.


February 2nd, 2011
10:33 am

We share accounts, always have. We’ve been together since we were 18/19 and quite honestly I took over b/c he was lazy. It was just easier for him to let me deal with the bills. On one hand it’s easy b/c I always know what we have. On the other, it’s frustrating b/c he doesn’t and he doesn’t seem to care. I guess if he doesn’t know what is or isn’t there, he doesn’t have to worry about it.

He’s not a big spender on the day-to-day stuff but we did have a lot of arguments for several years over vehicles. He inherited this awful trait from his dad to want to buy and sell stuff. This means every couple of years, he wants to go haggle with the car dealers and get a new vehicle. He’s had 13 vehicles in his driving life to my 3. I refused to sign on his last two vehicles but since he could qualify for the loan without me, he did. I told him no more after the last one. I get the next ‘new’ car and I have no intentions of getting another car any time soon. His truck is almost 5 years old so I think he finally learned that lesson but it was a tough one.


February 2nd, 2011
10:37 am

When I was married, we tried it both ways. What works for one couple won’t work for another. When we combined accounts, at his insistance, he constantly overspent and we paid a fortune in overdraft fees until I put my foot down and separated our accounts and expenses. Our arguments about money decreased after separating our accounts but it didn’t eliminate our arguments in general and we are now divorced. Hmmmm, don’t know if you can glean something from that or not.

For what it’s worth, our marriage counselor suggested his, hers and ours accounts as a compromise that seems to work for many couples.

As for me, I don’t see myself getting married again. Many of the comments I’m reading today makes me appreciate my independence that much more. I don’t want to be in the position of having to ask for money for something any more than I want to be in the position of having to manage my partner’s lack of fiscal self control.


February 2nd, 2011
10:40 am

We have a joint checking account, a joint savings account and then I have a savings account of my own -but he knows about it. I actually made more than he did last year, but for 4 years prior to that I was a SAHM who only did some contract work here and there. However 6 years prior to THAT -he had gone back to school and I was the major breadwinner, but we’ve always had joint checking. We don’t keep tabs on how much the other is spending on clothes and haircuts unless an outrageous charge appears and it’s going to really interfere with our budget or there’s some type of large emergency expense or something at the same time. Both of us are fairly frugal now and if we’re going to make a large purchase (usually $300 or more) -we mention it beforehand.

Photo Mom of 4

February 2nd, 2011
10:52 am

We have separate accounts, but my account is the one that bills are paid out of primarily. Money from my husband’s account is transferred to my account based on the current needs.

Both of us were married previously and shared accounts. It didn’t work out well for either of us. When we got married, we each already had separate accounts and responsibilities relating to our birth children. We’ve found that it is easier to keep the accounts separated.

We do have the same philosophy regarding money so shared accounts would have been fine if we didn’t have the need to keep them separate because of our kids. We still discuss all major purchases with each other and determine whether one or both of us will choose to pay for it. In our 7 years of marriage, we seriously have never had a disagreement over money so it must be working for us.


February 2nd, 2011
10:55 am

All money is pooled.

I get the short end of the deal, but then again she’s much more attractive than I am, so it all balances out in the end :-).


February 2nd, 2011
11:03 am

So many of these posts remind me of one thing: love is not enough to make a marriage work. TRUST is just as, if not more, important. A lot of young couples only think of trust in terms of faithfulness, but it is so much more than that. You have to be able to trust you spouse’s judgement, particularly in regards to money. Generally, I don’t think separate accounts are the answer, but if that’s what it takes to keep an otherwise happy couple together, than so be it.

My husband and I are both tightwads, so we’ve been very fortunate to have had very few disagreements in regards to money, but it was through sheer dumb luck that I ended up with someone I was so financially compatible with. Money and how we would handle our finances were the furthest things from my mind when we got married. I often look back and marvel at how we managed to dodge that bullet, since back when we were engaged I don’t recall anyone sitting us down and talking to us about just how incredibly important this issue is to a healthy marriage. My heart goes out people who are blindsided by the spouses irresponsible spending habits. It can happen to anybody, and the damage it does to a marriage is often irreparable.


February 2nd, 2011
11:06 am

We do just like Warrior Woman – a shared pot, but then an equal allowance. That gives us the freedom to buy things even when the other doesn’t agree. Hubby is more of a spender, and I am a saver, so I’ve ended up with a separate savings account that I put a good portion of my allowance, and birthday gift money into. I’m actually hoping to spend it on a vacation for the both of us, but I will get to pick the location, hotels and such, whereas we usually have to agree on vacation planning.

In the beginning of our marriage, I earned more, then we had kids and I stayed home. Now that I’m returning to work part-time, he will earn more. I don’t know how people who manage money separately allow, fairly, for this type of arrangement. We are choosing that I only work part-time so that I can still handle the kids needs. Hubby’s work schedule doesn’t really allow him that.

To me, going into a marriage – keeping the money separate, is a sign of lack of trust.


February 2nd, 2011
11:08 am

I always say, “When the man controls the money, he controls you!”. I earn my own money and put it into my account. We have a shared savings account but that’s it. We decide who’s going to pay what bills. A couple of years ago a family member that doesn’t work asked me about money issues. I told her that we have none. She couldn’t understand it. This is why I could never be a housewife. Our situation has worked for years. We just don’t fight about money. His money is his money. Mine money is mine. Our savings is for both of us. Doesn’t matter who puts in more, it’s our emergency stash.


February 2nd, 2011
11:13 am

My husband and I have a yours, mine, and joint account. Based on our incomes, a certain amount goes in the joint account each month, with spending money, an allowance if you will, remaining behind in the individual accounts for the little splurges, here and there, throughout the month. The allowance for each of us is the same. The bills are all paid out of the joint account. It works for us because we get what we want, have accountability to what is available in our individual accounts, and a splurge or surprise purchase can never eat into what we need to pay the bills and save each month. It has really worked for us.


February 2nd, 2011
11:38 am

My wife and I married only 7 months ago. Our combined household income is >200k. I do a monthly budget and share it with her for her input. We combine everything to pay for household expenses and to clear up all our old debt in a hurry. We both pay ourselves the same allowance for discretionary spending. There is no such thing as yours our mine in our house. I couldn’t imagine laying claim to something as “mine” and not “ours”. I would not have married her if I thought there were something in my life that I wouldn’t completely share with her.


February 2nd, 2011
11:43 am

We have separate accounts. We were both married previously, and had our own accounts set up then. We just never bothered to pool the money by going to the bank and consolidating accounts. He has his credit union accounts, and I have mine. We both have BofA checking/savings accounts as well. I take care of the finances, so I just use his login and pay the bills that come out on the 15th (I get paid once a month), and transfer his truck payment to my account to send out on bill pay. He could care less about the finances, since he knows the bills are being paid on time and in full. All he ever says is “just make sure I have enough in there for a lunch out/tank of gas/cup of coffee”. LOL I could run with that…but I leave all his “leftover” money alone.


February 2nd, 2011
11:48 am

If you can’t share Everything in life equally then why do you people get married in the first place. There’s no mine or hers its ours. I don’t see this as a difficult concept. Most of you look like you married a bunch of losers.

Mom of older kids

February 2nd, 2011
11:53 am

I wish that my husband could brag that we make >200,000 a year. We both have advanced degrees and make LESS THAN $80,000 a year as a couple. We have his, hers and ours and hope to have money after the bills are all paid to put into the ors account. Hopefull one day we will have money to fight about Right now, we are just trying to survive and stay infront of foreclosure.


February 2nd, 2011
11:54 am

we’ve always shared our pots, but we’ve never been in debt either. I quit work two years ago to finish undergrad, now I’m en route to grad school. When that is done, I’ll go back to work, and we will continue to share the pots. I respect my husband enough to ask him about purchasing larger things, and he does the same. It’s never been a problem for us. It takes trust, responsibility, and a strong marriage to handle things the way we do (IMO). I don’t think either of us could even see going through t trouble of splitting utilities down the middle. It’s just not practical for us. It’s nice to knows others can do it, though.


February 2nd, 2011
12:12 pm

Some of you need to give the others a break. Just because something works for you, doesn’t meant it’s good for everyone.

My wife and I have share all of our money, but my sister-in-law and her husband have separate accounts. Their relationship is no less loving or trusting then ours. They just do things differently.

You’ve got to do what works for you, and let other people do what works for them.


February 2nd, 2011
12:13 pm

Great topic, Theresa. My husband and I share accounts for a few reasons. 1) He used to be irresponsible with money, so he preferred that I handle the bills, 2) I am responsible with money, and like to know what is where and 3) I would have to patrol extra accounts if our money was separate to ensure he is reigned in on his frivolous spending that he tends to do.

Joint accounts have worked for us for >11 years, and we like it. He knows where the money is and how much we have, so if anything happened to me, he could handle things. The system works for us, but understandably, may not work for all.


February 2nd, 2011
12:15 pm

What’s hers is hers and what’s mine is ours. She prefers to handle the bills and all, so I let her do what she wants. I mostly ignore household finances. Works for us: I don’t have to hassle with it, and she doesn’t have to feel obliged to ask for money.

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