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How do you married couple's pay bills?

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Contributor

Re: How do you married couple's pay bills?

We had a joint account when we got married.  Didn't work for us.  Not that either would spend ridiculously, we just didn't like having to run larger purchases past the other person to make sure funds were available.  It made us constantly discuss money (was that bill already paid, did that check clear, did you deposit your check, etc.), and whoever really gets along during any sort of money talk?

 

We're both much happier with only individual accounts now.  We each have set bills we pay each month.  I have no idea if it's evenly split or not.  We don't take turns buying groceries or dinner.  We just buy if we're nearest to the store or if it feels like the other person picked the tab up last time.  We'll transfer money between accounts if the other's is low.

 

We each have our own credit cards, spouse is not an authorized user.  We pay our own cards.  I ran my cc utilization up, I pay it.  Vice versa.  

 

I can't remember the last time we fought about money.  

 

It's a lot of "we we we we we" for having all separate finances.  

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Message 41 of 50
Valued Contributor

Re: How do you married couple's pay bills?

Once upon a time I was married and we had a single, joint account.   That ended up not working out.

I have been with my partner for nearly 8 years - I imagine if we were to get married not much would change.   He owns the home and pays the mortgage and most of the bills.  I pay for the house upgrades for the most part (he does major repairs).   We are pretty open with our money. I pay some bills and he pays others.  I've suggested a joint household account, but we haven't gone anywhere with that.  For "fun" things, whoever had the idea gets to pay - so if I want to take a trip somewhere, I'm buying the tickets and getting the hotel and vice versa. 

I think the key is just being open about finances.   We both have separate financial goals, but we know what they are and they are not in competition.




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Message 42 of 50
Valued Contributor

Re: How do you married couple's pay bills?


@MakingProgress wrote:

How you handle your finances is a personal decision.   The important thing is to be on the same page about how you do it and about your goals.   I have been on both sides of the fence, my ex-wife and I were not on the same page and it didn't work, my current wife and I are on the same page and it is so much  easier.

 

We both still have our checking accounts that we had before we were married, but we have added the other to the account.  So in effect we have two joint accounts.   From "her" account we pay the mortgage, insurance, utilities, and gas for "her" car from "my" account we pay "my" car payment, groceries, gas for "my"car and any other expences that come up.   I put a big percentage into my 401K both traditional and roth, she puts a smaller percentage in hers, but she also puts cash in a money market every month.   While the money market is one account in our records we have subdivided the money in it into emergency fund, vacation fund, new car fund, chartiable donations fund, and this year we are adding a medical expense fund.   


DW and I have been revisiting how we handle our finances.   Since my original post a lot of things have changed for us.   Right after my original post I added 4 credit cards and we went from basicly Debit Only to Credit Only.   Since the cards were in my name I was paying them and she was sending me any needed funds via ACH.  Now we have added a second car payment and the back and forth between accounts is becomming a PITA.

 

So we will be combining direct deposits to one account and do all bill payments from that account.   I will be primarily responsible for makeing sure everything is paid, but we have agreed that we will discuss it weekly.   We are both paid bi-weekly but on alternate weeks, so it is like having a weekly paycheck.   

 

So it is still a personal decision, but we have agreed to change up how we have been doing it. 


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Message 43 of 50
New Contributor

Re: How do you married couple's pay bills?

We have yet to come up with a balance that I'm happy with. I feel that if both people are working full time, then the household necessities should be paid proportionately based on income. I do all the bill paying- the only reason we have no lates. My husband is horrible at paying bills ontime. 

 

Right now, we split the bills evenly except for car payments as I refuse to pay part of his mustang payment when I drive a car that was half the price because I'm not vain.. lol 

Unfortunately, that means I have $40 leftover every two weeks and he has $1200 spare to save or spend. Yet, I have more retirement savings than he does. 

 

So, I'm back in school so that I can earn more than him and get my leverage back. 

 

I do feel the need to add though, we have been well below median household income for most of our marriage. We were only married a couple years when the recession hit. We both lost our jobs and had to start over. We had some pretty significant financial roadblocks.

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Message 44 of 50
Contributor

Re: How do you married couple's pay bills?

Not married here but living as such.  We've just both been married before and don't see the necessity to do it again right now.  He makes most of the money with an out of home job and I stay home.  Separate accounts with his just for check cashing and things like refund direct deposits.  Essentially all the money ends up in my account for bill paying or in my hands to distribute our spending money.  It's easier on us that way as I keep up to date on bills and upcoming purchase or savings needs and he has zero problems splitting the remaining funds equally between us regardless of his higher income.  Even if he wanted to take over bill paying it would be hard being out on the job so many hours per week.  Big purchases (for our lower income bracket this means $100 or more) we decide on it together just because we don't want to put ourselves in a bad situation financially, not because of any resentment towards whose purchase it would be.  Works for us.

Message 45 of 50
Frequent Contributor

Re: How do you married couple's pay bills?

DW and I have used many different systems, some necessitated by where we were at financially at the time.

After we built a significant savings and had a good grasp on expenses as the family has grown, we now have a hybrid approach. We have a joint checking account, that a set amount is direct deposited into from each of our paychecks, that is used for all static bills. The remainder goes into our personal accounts. Everything outside of a static bill is paid for out of our personal accounts. When we accumulate “too much” in a personal account, we dump some into the joint savings account.

I think it’s important, even when married, to have a personal account. We each earn money, and as long as we are meeting savings goals, there is no reason why either of us need to worry about what the other is spending. We did too much of that early on when incomes were lower and we had different financial goals.
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Message 46 of 50
New Contributor

Re: How do you married couple's pay bills?

Kudos to you for managing your books well! I tried to reply to your previous post on wether to sell or not but I couldn't reply since it was already locked. I'm in the same boat but I found my rental first and I'm selling my townhouse June 1st. Fortunately, I've got family temporarily renting it at my cost while I get it ready to sell but I may face a month or two where I have to pay both my mortgage $1200 and my current rent $2000. Although it seems backwards to rent after owning a house for 20+ years it is a RELIEF of not having to do roof repair and window replacement and all the other items that need to be done while I figure out next phase. Like you, I have kids at home (2 teens) so just trying to get thru the next 4 years in a desired school district before laying roots again while re-establishing credit. Sometimes it makes more sense to rent instead of own! I liked the one comment you received that it is the time/market to SELL but no buy. Also, I'm doing it solo (I'm a single mom) so I wanted to encourage  you that it can be done with advanced planning. Also, did I mention I'm selling without an Agent?

 

As to this post, I use Every Dollar to balance my budget. It's a must to use a tracker to stay on top of things. Not sure how folks wing it. Best of luck to you. I'd be interested in hearing more about what you ultimately decide to do...hope you share your path forward. Pam

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Message 47 of 50
Contributor

Re: How do you married couple's pay bills?

I dont even know where to start here.
I dont actually know any happy couples that act like roommates.
& to actually suggest that financial separation means equitable division within a marriage is beyond absurd. And to place value on someone else’s marriage by what they can financially contribute is so ridiculous. I have many & many generations on all 4 sides of our family’s that prove exactly the opposite from what your preaching.
Message 48 of 50
Frequent Contributor

Re: How do you married couple's pay bills?


@Armstrong7984 wrote:
I dont even know where to start here.
I dont actually know any happy couples that act like roommates.
& to actually suggest that financial separation means equitable division within a marriage is beyond absurd. And to place value on someone else’s marriage by what they can financially contribute is so ridiculous. I have many & many generations on all 4 sides of our family’s that prove exactly the opposite from what your preaching.

Out of curiousity, to whom are you responding to?

 

My wife and I have 100% financial separation. We split our household expenses 50/50, straight down the middle. She has her money, her mutual funds, 403b's, etc. & I have all of my own. We do not even share one single credit card. We are not even AU's on each other's accounts. We have been together almost a decade now. Never ONCE have we argued about money. We have argued about where to eat dinner on a given night or what next color to paint the family room. But never ONCE about money.

 

My wife is a labor/delivery nurse in a maternity ward. Her co-workers each preach, word for word, your EXACT post. Even to my wife, to her face.

 

Guess what?

 

EACH one of them has admitted to arguing constantly with their spouse, over and over again, about money. Some of them even divorced over it. 

 

My own situation is anecdotal, just as EVERYONE of your family's data points (amongst the 4+ billion people on the planet) is anecdotal. Do you really believe that because marriage works a certain way for your family, that it cannot, under any circumstances, work any other way?

 

That's the absurd part.

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Message 49 of 50
Contributor

Re: How do you married couple's pay bills?


You guys are all over here talking about marriage & sharing bills, while I'm still saying to my girlfriend, "I don't know about that...being on the same phone plan?! That's a commitment of another 2 years! I don't know how much longer you'll tolerate my whacky antics!"
@Jenniferinfl83 wrote:

I feel that if both people are working full time, then the household necessities should be paid proportionately based on income. 


This! When I was about 19 I was chatting with a married guy at a job and asked him how the whole paying bills when married is done. His response was pretty much what you said. And it made so much sense, and is what I would want in a relationship/marriage.

 

Separate accounts for personal spending & saving, and 1 or 2 joint accounts for bills and such seem to anecdotally make for stable relationships.

 

My oldest brother & his wife have always done it. Never seen/heard of them fighting about finances.

 

Oh, my best friend is about to get married. He & his gal are both very finance-business involved people in terms of their degrees & careers. They also do the shared bills in proportion thing.

Message 50 of 50
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