Mr. W and I didn’t become roommates until we got married. He obediently paid his own mortgage, utility bills, and car payments, and ate canned vegetables for dinner. I paid my own rent and utility bills, tried not to shell out too much money each week on gourmet groceries and eating out, and did my best to avoid Sephora. Sigh. We knew it would be an, ahem, transition to get used to each other’s spending habits, but at the same time it felt too weird taking turns paying for dinner once we were married. Or splitting the mortgage payment. So we paid a trip to our neighborhood Chase to straighten things out.
Photo via FinishRich
Single Mr. W had a checking and savings account at Chase, a Chase Sapphire credit card, and a Macy’s card. I had a checking account, savings account, and several CDs at Bank of America, a United Explorer credit card, and a Banana Republic card. Here’s how things went down.
We decided to keep Mr. W’s checking account as our primary joint account, since he already pays all of the house bills out of it. I closed out all of my Bank of America accounts and transferred the money to the Chase account. We added my name to the account and ordered me a brand new Chase debit card once I changed my name. That’s Mrs. Wallaby, thank-you-very-much. And we also added each other onto our credit cards. So we each now have a Sapphire card and a United Explorer card. (Mr. W wasn’t too interested in the Banana Republic card. His loss. )
But, hive, Mr. W knows me. And I know him oh so well. We don’t see eye to eye on all of our spending… Like, if you ask me, we would totally survive without replacing our 55″ TV for a 60″ TV. (Right, ladies?!!) And Mr. W just makes a funny little sound and tries to stay mum when I bring home a new pair of boots. We’re both generally frugal and have the same financial ambitions, and we’ve carefully managed our personal finances and stayed out of debt. We make similar salaries, and through lots of (boring) conversations about money, we’ve both been putting aside similar amounts of money for retirement and savings each month. But when it comes to buying little things here and there, we don’t always see eye to eye.
Enjoying the hell out of my boots. Worth every penny. / Photo by Mustard Seed Photography
So to avoid arguments over small money matters, here’s our solution: allowances. We each get 5% of our take-home pay to spend on whateva-the-heck we want. If we want to buy something big that the other person doesn’t feel is necessary (cough cough, new TVs), we can save up our allowance, just like we did when we were five.
We’re still on the fence about how to carry out this allowance system. For now, we each have separate checking accounts at Chase and we transfer allowance money over to the accounts each month. (Funny story: Chase currently only offers two styles of debit cards: classic blue cards and Disney cards. So I ordered a 101 Dalmatians card for my allowance account. It’s like spending play money.)
Photo via Disneydebit.com
And we’ll see how it goes. I hope over time we’ll get used to sharing money and just rely on one account. It really would make things a whole lot simpler. As always, I’ll keep y’all posted.
How do you and your significant other manage your money? Did you combine finances when you tied the knot—or are you planning to? Is there are more efficient way for us to have separate “allowances”?