Couples and FinancingPosted: January 9, 2012
Before I go much farther, I must say that while I love my guy to pieces, he is just not great with budgeting. He is horrible at savings and is of the variety of “hey, I have money burning a hole in my pocket, let’s go spend it on something.” That’s why I get to really do the budgeting fun and figuring out where our money is going to go.
There are a few steps that I feel a couple should take if they are going to combine finances. First you need to figure out if you really want to combine finances. There is always the option of keeping separate accounts. Of course, if you do that and you are sharing a household, you’ll have to talk about how you will pay the bills—split down the middle or in proportion to paycheck sizes. But I’m going to talk about the steps that my guy and I went through when we decided to combine.
Step 1) Go through paychecks, spending habits and bills. When I was working at my previous place of employment, he tended to have bigger paychecks than I did but now our situation is reversed. But we decided that we were going to combine completely with the exception of $50 each. That would be our personal money—I can’t lecture him about what he spends his money on and vice versa. We also went through where we spent our money, how much our bills were usually and came to an agreement that we wanted to save and pay off debt.
Step 2) Decide who will be in charge of budgeting. When we decided to combine 100%, we also decided that only one person should be in charge of the budgeting. This way it would be done the same way each time the budget would be done. However, this also means that this person should be good at balancing a check book and writing out shopping lists. We decided that person would be me. This was mainly due to the fact that I really like to plan and organize and have a love of budgeting.
Step 3) Have this person make the budget bi-weekly or monthly (whatever fits the pay period). It took me about 2 or 3 months to get this done. I wanted to make sure that I had everything accounted for and this was when I was tracking our spending habits even more. I cut down on a lot of the extraneous things that we were spending money on—fast food even though we were grocery shopping was a big thing. Finally, I had a budget that worked for us. It allowed us to save, spend money on debt and have enough to get through the 2 weeks between pay days.
Step 4) Go through the budget a few days before it kicks into place. This way there is no surprises. Mostly there are few changes and we just rotate through 2 different budgets based on what is due (rent or utilities) but every now and then something pops up. I like to go through it with my guy even though I think that he thinks that I get a little too excited when I hit our savings and debt savings parts.
Step 5) Don’t be over controlling. This is something that I cannot stress enough. I make sure that when I create the budget that my guy gets to see it and put input on it. When we want something, we discuss the importance of it and how to save for it. I want to make sure that my goals are on track with his and that I haven’t gone overboard. I tend to get overzealous when I have a goal being completed in site.
These are the steps that my guy and I went through when we decided to combine our finances. They aren’t perfect or the exact number needed but they worked for us.