One of my favorite blogs, Newlyweds on a Budget, recently posted and asked "How do you talk about money with your husband?" I think this a really interesting topic, and Brian and I always talk about how funny it is that all the couples we know handle their finances so differently.
Brian and I chose to merge our bank accounts shortly after we bought our house. We knew that we'd be getting engaged shortly, and just found it easier to approach everything with a joint approach. Both of our paychecks go into a shared checking account and a shared savings account. On the other hand, we know couples that have a shared account that they put money into to cover household expenses, and then maintain their own individual accounts for any other spending. We also know couples that have totally separate accounts, and split their bills down the middle.
There's nothing wrong with any of these methods - to each his own! Brian and I have always been very open about money, and talk about it frequently. I'm the biggest dork, and happen to love numbers and spreadsheets, so I take care of paying all of the bills and tracking all of our financial planning. Just because I pay the bills though, doesn't mean that Brian doesn't know what's going on.
Here are a couple of ground rules that we use to keep communication open when we talk about money.
- Have a weekly check-up. Every Sunday when I sit down to pay bills, Brian and I have a quick talk about where we're at in regards to our budgets for the month. I update him on what bills have been paid, and we talk about any upcoming financial changes we might have.
- Talk about major purchases. Set up a limit, and stick to it. If one of us is going to buy something that's outside of our normal spending habits (for example, concert tickets) we discuss it first to make sure that the other person is aware of the purchase.
- Be fair. If you always spend $120 a month on your nails and hair, don't freak out if your partner tells you he wants to spend $50 on a ticket to a baseball game.
- Avoid resentment. It's easy for the person that makes the most money in the relationship to resent the other person for their spending habits. Keep communicating about finances and this can be avoided.
How do you stay on the same page as your significant other when it comes to finance?