Dutch no more…

This afternoon there will be no read and run behaviour from the Florence Finds readership. This is a post for you to wade right in on and give your opinion or share your circumstances. I think this is the kind of subject that for every household, there’s some variation on what they consider normal. There’s no ‘one size fits all’ solution and so I can’t wait to see if someone has a better plan than I do. Two heads are better than one and all that jazz.

Today I’m talking finances, or more specifically, the joint account. Like I said, there’s no ‘must do’ advice here, but changes are afoot in the Norris household and after ten years of together-ness, it feels kinda scary.

Rachel Zoe’s Fashion Offices via The Coveteur

Since moving in together Pete and I have had a joint account – it was our solution to getting rid of constant, ‘you owe me £20 for the food shopping’ and a running tab of I.O.U’s. Personally, I think there’s nothing less romantic than talking about money and day to day niggles if they can be wiped out, should be. We decided to set up an account that our mortage later came out of, and also calculated how much we needed to put in to cover all of our joint outgoings. We included the mundane (electricity and gas) to the necessary (TV license, phone and broadband) and made a guestimate at how much we needed to be able to also do the weekly food shop out of that account. One final stroke of genius (I thought) was to add a couple of cheap meals worth (£30 at the time!) too so that we could go out for dinner on a whim, mid-week and not feel like anybody had to pay. That took care of a couple of date nights and inexpensively gave our relationship a little boost.

Rachel Zoe’s Fashion Offices via The Coveteur

Since then little has changed. We have adjusted our direct debit into the account every 12 months or so, when we have added (or dispensed with) things like gym membership or the gas charges have gone up. By and large it works really well. Getting married, which for a lot of people I suppose is the traditional time to look at joint finances, hasn’t changed our outlook and we both felt that the time to be going joint completely wouldn’t come along until there was a third (little) person to consider too.

I’ll be honest, I have several friends who think we’re mad, but equal numbers or more of peers who do a similar thing with their money.  I know yet others who don’t have a joint account, so there really is an option for everyone. The ones who have completely joint finances tend to be the ones with differing incomes, whereas Pete and I earn a roughly equal amount. The only time we tend to come undone is when there’s holiday bills to be paid and credit cards to be split.

Rachel Zoe’s Fashion Offices via The Coveteur

Like I said though, change is afoot. Pete and I have decided to turn our attention to saving and so in an effort to seriously tighten the purse strings, we’re going over to his account for everyday living as far as we can manage and siphoning mine off into a savings account that will also be tapped for holidays and little extras. It’s going to feel really different.

Although it might seem strange, I like keeping our finances separate. Not only have I never had to answer to Pete if I want to buy (another) handbag or that must-have top that I’ve spotted, but I also don’t have to nag about the cost of his latest car fantasy. With separate accounts we can treat each other in a way that seems like it would be difficult to manage with a single account. On the other hand, I’m almost looking forward to the fact that having someone else to be accountable to.  Being accountable not just to Pete but the idea of our future, will put a different perspective on my spending and perhaps make those little treats seem less desirable when compared with a bigger object of lust.

I really want to hear your thoughts on this today readers…

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65 thoughts on “Dutch no more…

  1. We don’t have a joint account – when we moved into together I had MASSIVE student debts; credit cards, maxxed out overdraft, and owed my parents a fair whack too, so in my mind I thought it was unfair to lumber someone else with debt I racked up… Just over a year later, I’ve made huge inroads into clearing my debt (should be overdraft free by my birthday – yippeee!) so we’ve started putting more of a focus on saving – namely for our wedding. Every month we put a sum of money aside in my fiancé’s ISA (as by my own admission, I’d fritter it away), and I pay off a bit more debt.

    We split the bills between us – I pay TV license and internet every month while insurance comes out of his account, and then bigger quarterly bills like electricity are split between us both. As a couple we pay for food etc in a kind of turn about manner, but I’ve never felt like he “owes” me money for shopping, and thankfully he’s never said anything like that to me either.

    In the future, I want us to sort out a similar system to what you and Pete have had – whereby bills come out of a central account and we each have our own money to do with as we please. I think the fact as post-graduates working at a uni, and thus still eligible for student accounts has delayed us in doing this – who wants to pay for account “priviledges” when you can get them for free! x

  2. Friends have often asked what Mr P and I do in terms of finances, and are often shocked/surprised when we tell them.

    We have two accounts. Both joint.

    That’s it.

    One is our everyday account – all the money goes into that one, all our bills come out of it, and use that one to live with. Yes, even if I want to buy some fancy shoes.

    The other is for savings. At the moment, we’re in a fairly different situation to what we’re used to (we’ve sold our house and living with family to a) save like mad and b) wait for something perfect to come along.

    The shock and surprise comes from friends who fall in to one of these categories: they either can’t believe we would be so open with each other about our spending, can’t believe that we are that trusting, or can’t understand why we don’t split things 50/50 – i.e if I spend £10 then Mr P should spend the same amount (um, it’s not a competition!!).

    I’m well aware that Mr P is very good to me – I wouldn’t think twice (if we have the money) about spending on clothes/make up/weekends away with the girls, but by the same token… if we have the money then he is welcome to spend on his things (like his massive splurge at Chester Oaks Designer Outlet last weekend, but that’s another story!).

    Another surprise is that I handle all of the finances. Completely. Mr P doesn’t have a clue how much is in the bank at any given time… but I’m on top of it. I budget for holidays, days out, how much we can save/pay off on credit cards and so on, and it just works.

    I’m not saying that it will work for everyone, but for the past four years, it’s worked just fine for us both 🙂


    • I also handle all the finances in our house, I wonder how common that is. G has no idea how much money we have in our joint account, he just trusts me to be aware and let him know if we’re having a wobbly month!

      K x

        • Go strong financier women! 😉

          My Mum and Dad always did all the money stuff together and I realised how important it was when my Dad died. So many of my Mums friends wouldn’t have had a clue about how to pay the bills lets lone the rest of it and it’s always made me never want to lose a grip on our finances. Pete and I kind of take turns, I keep on tabs on the joint acct in general, but either of us might be the one to search for new home insurance and we look at bigger decisions together.

          • PS. I can’t believe that people would be shocked about the two of you being open with each other? WTF? Why would you hide that stuff from your husband of all people?!

          • Seriously Rebecca, I know people who hide stuff from their other half on a regular basis/lie about their spending! Insane, I know!!! xoxo

  3. Although we don’t have joint finances almost all of our living expenses come out of OHs account (mortgages, bills, groceries, all of our socialising together and holidays) and I just pay for my own expenses like mobile phone bill and gym membership as he earns around 10 x more than me!

    As I’m still paying off student debts and credit cards I do still have to try and budget each month even without the major cost of rent and the only time it can get frustrating for me is when I’m trying to work out how to replace worn out trainers or get my haircut and the OH is blowing hundreds of pounds on frivolous purchases. I don’t care at all what he spends his money on as we never go without but as I am too proud to ask for money directly I do often struggle for everyday purchases even though I know he would help me out if needed.

    We don’t argue about money but a pay inequality can be difficult. One of my biggest bugbears is that we often meet his parents somewhere for dinner and all stay at a hotel which he pays for but I am unable to arrange the same for my parents as I feel it isn’t my money to spend.

    I think we are probably due a rethink as I am now pregnant with our first child and don’t want to be worrying needlessly over making my maternity pay last. But, I don’t think OH understands my point of view that it is hard to ask for money when I have to admit it’s so I can go buy an overpriced latte whilst he is hard at work!

    Sorry for long comment! Finances can be so difficult

  4. Ooh, money, always a juicy discussion!

    We have been together for nearly 4 years, and married for just over one

    We don’t have a joint account, and don’t plan on having one.

    My husband pays the bills, and when I go on maternity leave, I will be fully dependent on him (once maternity pay runs out) to provide for us

    (and this is going to sound awful, I promise I’m not stuck in some 1950’s timewarp) but he will pay me ‘housekeeping’ to make sure myself and bubs can buy what we need day to day and have coffee and cake of an afternoon when out with friends. I also have access to an American Express card should I need it

    Old fashioned? Maybe. Right for us? Yes. He is older than I am, and wants to fulfill a traditional providing role, while I will get to stay at home with the baby, which suits me fine

    Things may change – and we are always open and honest about how things are going with regards to money, so if a change needs to be made, then so be it

    And I know how it sounds – but after two redundancies in 3 years, we are very lucky to have found ourselves in this position and just hope we can make it work for as long as possible

    • I don’t think that sounds 1950s, just realistic for your situation (which sounds pretty similar to mine).

      I think I’m going to have to be brave and bring up that I’m going to need some income once my maternity pay runs out – I am just scared he’ll think I just want to be a “lady who lunches” when really all I want is to be able to top up my Oyster card whenever I like.

      • I think it helps my DH is of the ‘our money’ mentality, while as I still feel guilt spending his money when he’s earnt it. I certainly won’t be frivolously spending his cash in Starbucks, but as you say, to be able to function daily with his help is the main priority

  5. My favourite subject! I am an evangelist for joint finances. Combining our finances was the best thing we ever did for our relationship, no exaggeration.

    I started to write a novel of a comment, but I’ll sum it up as this: having joint finances teaches you about trust. Trusting yourselves and each other to spend wisely and considerately, and trusting that you have each other’s best interests at heart, always. Which is what it’s really all about, no?

    • I totally agree with this but any discussions I’ve had with the husband about getting joint accounts have ended when he asks for a reason for us to have them…which I can’t ever provide as we don’t jointly save for anything. But the trust thing is so important and I can’t think what his reasons are for not having one (other than his parents getting in a mess when they divorced…but that’s a bit of a depressing reason!)

      • I can imagine it’s a big adjustment to get used to the idea of someone else having access to your money, especially if he’s seen his parents having to deal with problems. But it’s worth remembering that no matter what bank accounts you have, a divorce would always result in a lot of financial complications, so you can’t escape that just by maintaining separate accounts (that could even make things more complicated).

        I suppose for us one of the main reasons was convenience (no need to worry about transferring money for things, splitting costs, etc) and also it made us feel more of a team. I earn more than my husband at the moment, but I imagine over time that will go back and forth, so this way it sets it out from the start that whatever we have is *ours*.

        In our wedding vows we said, “All that I am I give to you, and all that I have I share with you,” so to me this is just another way of living out that promise.

    • Maybe you’d like to know that T and I now have completely joint finances after I saw your views, Kirsty. I just could not argue with your opinion! And it has been great, so far. The only issue has been buying presents for each other, but neither of us has discovered anything yet.

      It makes me much more cautious with my spending (sometimes to the extreme), but I think it’s right for us.

      • This is the main issue for me (buying presents) we have a joint credit card that literally gets used for everything to collect air miles and I am so bad at not looking where the husband has been shopping in the run up to Christmas. Yes I know I only spoil it for myself, but I can’t help it. Pretty sure hunting for Christmas pressies around the house every year with my big brother is to blame!

      • Wow, that’s amazing! Although now I’m nervous it’s all going to go horribly wrong and you’ll blame me for your finances going tits up…!

        I’m glad it’s working out for you so far. Yes, presents are tricky – thankfully, due to my extreme laziness at admin tasks, we still have our old current accounts sitting there so can transfer money to that to buy Christmas, birthday presents etc. But I also know his online banking log-in details…

      • We have totally joint finances, have since just before we married, and it’s only recently that the slightest bit of friction has occurred, which is because I was unemployed for about 12 weeks and suddenly we a, weren’t making joint sacrifices of ‘treats’ in favour of seeing the house deposit fund slowly but surely creep up, and b, were seeing a REAL difference in our ability as a couple to pay rent and bills yet still enjoy ourselves. This sparked me feeling SUPREMELY guilty every time I went to use my debit card, and also feeling really quite depressed about my inability to bring anything in to our household. We had a MASSIVE chat about it though, and started to feel a lot better about things, and then, YIPPEE I got a new job! I agree with Esme re: the present buying difficulties though… esp as my husband’s ideal gift is to be taken on a trip somewhere (even just down the road) and it’s basically impossible to book flights or accomodation without a card….

  6. For the past few years my husband and I have earned a similar amount. We have a fairly similar set up to you at the moment – enough goes into the joint account to cover living costs and savings, with the remained left in our personal accounts for spending.

    Recently my husband has started to earn significantly more than me and we need to review the finances. However I’m not sure what the solution is. I feel bad for contributing less than him, and don’t want to feel subsidised. I know he doesn’t feel like this, and would happily contribute more to the joint account so I have more left in my account, but part of me thinks he earned the money so he should get to spend it! At the moment he is buying the “treats” – things like wine and meals out that I am not very good at buying anyway because I worry about spending on what I see as frivolous things (I really wish this wasn’t the case sometimes – most people get a buzz out of shopping, I feel sick!). This isn’t really a long term solution though, so we need to come up with something better.

    One thing I think I will always want though is my own personal account with my own personal money and bank statements, even if that money comes from my husband!

  7. Hi Rebecca, I’m always interested to see how other people work their finances.

    We actually went the other way around, when we got married we went completely joint, all money into the one account and all out of the one account. It was a nightmare! After a year or so we decided to change to a similar set up you have at the moment. All money goes into the one pot, we work out what monies are needed to run the house – bills,food, mortage etc and then we take a lump sum each for personal things like hobbies and shopping, we call this our pocket money 🙂 What ever is left goes into savings.

    I found we were less spontaneous and romantic when we had the full on joint account. We could see exactly what went out of the account so it took the suprise out of any gifts or secret getaways we wanted to plan for each other. Now we use our pocket money for perosnal things as well as treating each other to melas out, gifts etc. Our ‘pocket money’ or ‘wage’ whatever you want to call it is a set amount so we can save more, if we feel like splurging that month we up the pocket money and reduce the savings 🙂

    I earn less than Phil and take less ‘pocket money’. So far it’s working well. I don’t know how it work once bambino’s come along tho. I’ll cross that bridge when we come to it 🙂

    Would you think I’m mad if I said there is a speadsheet for all this? ha ha

  8. Currently we have the exact same set up that you’ve had up until now, even down to the it going a bit wrong around holidays situation!

    It would be great if you could come back to this topic after you’ve had a few months of the new way to compare and contrast.

  9. It’s my first comment! I have been reading this blog for a long time and today felt like a good time to start commenting!

    Like many of you hubby and I have a joint account for bills, food etc. We then have a separate joint account for savings, he earns a bit more than me so we work out proportionally how much to each pay into savings and bills, he covers around 60% and I cover 40%.

    We then keep the rest of our salaries to ourselves in our own accounts to spend as we wish – I am far more frivolous than him so this works well!

    The only other additional piece of saving we do – which only started last year and was a life saver! Is to have a Christmas account, we live in London and our families do not so it can be a costly time of year for us travelling around the UK, plus presents, and parties etc. We each save a small about every month and by the time November comes around the present buying and pricy flights to other parts of the UK fund is already sitting there! It was like a pot of gold last year as I previously would of racked up a big credit card bill covering the festive season!

    No idea how things will change with a family in tow but for now it seems to work well 😉


  10. We have a joint account for all bills including mortgage which we both pay into every month. Our own accounts are for individual things (eg our own mobile phone bills and accidental shoe purchases). When we have something to save up for like a holiday we both save up and put money in the shared pot. This has worked fine for us for the past 6 years.

    However, we’re about to move abroad for hubby’s job and to start off I won’t be working, I’ll be relying completely on his money. He is fine with this as he says it is OUR money, but I know I’m going to feel awkward about impulse buying clothes/books/shoes/whatever else takes my fancy and I just KNOW I’ll end up asking him for permission (which he will hate!). Not sure I’m going to make a very good lady of leisure, I’ll be job hunting as soon as we land!


  11. Like Kirsty, I too can be a bit of a joint finance evangelist!

    Since we moved in together, which was before we were engaged and when our salaries were pretty similar we have had a totally joint system. As time has gone on, his pay has nearly doubled and mine has pretty much stayed the same. We’ve tweaked the system slightly and now what works for us is this….

    We both get paid into one joint account. I make sure there is enough money in there for all of our bills and we do not touch it again for the rest of the month. That way, I know that all the direct debits will be paid without a fuss. We then have a second joint account where we put a fixed amount for food and petrol every month. Whatever is left gets split exactly down the middle and we each take half and take that as our ‘spending’ money for the rest of the month.

    It works perfectly for us- it means we each have a degree of financial independence but that no one feels hard done by. With our first baby on the way we have addressed the budget and will be doing exactly the same thing during my maternity.

    It might not work for everyone, but it is absolutely spot on for the two of us. It’s taken a few years to get it right but I can’t fault the system as it stands!

    It’s so interesting seeing how other people sort out their household finances though- always an interesting discussion!

    • Mazz this is getting suggested to my husband when I get home tonight. I like that you both have ‘spending money’ so that if you want to buy 6 nail polishes you can. Amazing.

      • I’m glad you like it Gemma! What’s great is that we can still treat each other and buy each other birthday and Christmas presents without it feeling pointless because it’s coming from a big joint pot. We’re still 100% open about what we’re spending but it means we both have the freedom to spend our ‘fun’ money in our own way whilst knowing that the joint stuff is totally accounted for.

        Also, and I don’t want to write and essay (!), when we have larger purchases or we have debt to pay that all gets accounted for and comes out before the left overs gets split which means that some month we both have less and during better months we put the extra stuff away for a rainy day!

    • This is very clever. I’ve been thinking about opening up another joint account for only bills and rent actually. We already have about seven random bank accounts between us due to admin incompetence, so what’s another one between friends?

  12. Hubby and I also have a joint account for bills which we set up when we moved in together, and keep our own separate accounts as well. As I earn about 4 times more than he does, we calculated our total spend for bills per month, he contributes into the joint account what he can afford and I cover the rest. We each use our own accounts to cover personal things, so we never have to ask the other for money. I always pay for the big joint purchases, holidays etc and contribute into our savings, and I normally pay when we go out. I’m lucky that he’s an enlightened man and the disparity doesn’t seem to bother him. And I’m fine with it too: because I retain control of the finances, I know what we can afford and what we can’t, and he contributes to the relationship and the house in other ways. It also makes for a nice surprise when he takes me out for a change!

    My impression is that our situation is quite unusual – both in terms of me earning so much more than my husband and us having agreed that we don’t need things to be anywhere near equal.

    ,I do sometimes feel under quite a bit of pressure as the main breadwinner to maintain our lifestyle, and I’d be really interested to hear if anyone else is in the same boat and how they deal with it.

  13. We probably could go completely joint for finances witjout much bother as we share a lot. We have a joint credit card which we pay all joint purchases on, it saves having to guess how much to put in the joint account. We each have our own accounts too but at the end of the month we just put what is left from those into a shared isa. So if one of us spends more that month we put less into savings. I earn more in my household so I usually end up putting more into savings but we don’t keep score!
    I like having my own money but we both have similar spending habits so it isn’t like one of us doesn’t contribute. I think if we had vastly different personal outgoings it might not work out.

  14. Aaaah the money topic! I think me and my partner perhaps go about it in a bit of a convoluted way – but it seems to work for us. We have separate accounts which our wages go into, but a chunk of this is immediately transferred from both to a joint account (we both put the same amount in) – this money is to pay for our bills, house, new furniture etc.

    We keep food shopping out of this, the reason being that I earn less than my partner (though that is about to change) and I have the expense of running a car, whilst he does not. So we felt it sort of balanced out. In reality I am not sure it does, but it may well be something we reassess when I change jobs later in the summer…

    I do like this arrangement because I have a penchant for shopping, and I know that if all our money went into a joint pot I would suffer from shoppers guilt every time I bought myself a pretty little treat (which is fairly regularly, and I HATE shoppers guilt). I have my own separate savings account to support my habit. He has one too but I am confident there’s probably nothing in it (savings not his strong point and I know that if I had full tabs on his spending that this would be a bone of contention).

    It’s really interesting to see how others do it though, definite food for thought! Thanks for starting the discussion Rebecca 🙂 xx

  15. I love this subject as I really don’t get the separate accounts idea? I remember a friend of mine was amazed when I told her that the only finances my husband and I didn’t have joint were pensions and ISAs (obviously), and one of her reasons for keeping seperate accounts from her husband was that she didn’t want him to see how much she spent?! I can’t believe people would have mortgages with a person ( a huge comitment) yet have no idea what their spending habits are? If you can’t justify your spending to your husband I think thats an issue. My husband and I have earned varying amounts over our time together, I was lucky enough to earn more than double his wage before I had my son, but would never expect him feel bad for spending ‘our’ money he worked just as hard as me I just worked in a better paid industry. When I was on maternity leave my husband was the main earner, but isn’t that life? finances and incomes change, but we made a decision to be together and we support each other in all ways, financial and otherwise. We’ve never argued about money and we make completely joint financial decisions and I just can’t get my head around the alternative.

    • I think it’s possible to have seperate accounts but still have joint financial responsibility together…we certainly make all our money decisions together even though we have individual accounts

  16. After talking about this over lunch on Saturday with u Rebecca I’ve been thinking about it too…..

    We currently both have separate accounts which our wages go into. We both earn the same….so don’t have the disparity problem!!! Then we each have savings and ISA accounts which we save as much as we can whilst still being able to do nice things and buy nice shoes (me) or big expensive gadgets/ car stuff (Andy)!!!

    Its pretty confusing from then!!!!! Andy and his parents jointly own the flat we live in (they bought it outright when he was a student and he used some inheritance money to buy a 1/3 of it). He basically then pays them rent to buy back more of it and I pay him rent to live here!!!! (when we move out they’ll give us the money he’s (and now I’ve) put in for a big deposit/ renovation fund for our own family house!!!) (although we’re not yet married and he wants to be wed before we own a house together!!!)

    As for bills etc Andy pays the lot and then has access to my Internet banking and just takes half of the costs as they arise!!! Holidays and exciting stuff we usually pay on credit card (mine in the uk to get air miles and his abroad as it as a excellent rate!!!) then when we get home we add it up and equal it out!!!!!

    Think it wud make more sense to do the joint thing that u and Pete have currently….but we’ve been a bit lazy at sorting it out!!!

  17. We do the same – a joint account for mortgage and bills etc then our own accounts for everything else. (We’re married, but have done this since we bought a house together)
    It works ok as we earn roughly the same so pay the same into the joint every month. To be honest the only real problem is that we don’t have enough left over each to do much saving or splurging and we wouldn’t have enough to live off one wage. That’s fine at the moment, we have just enough for all the essentials and occasional treats but if we have children maternity leave and reduced hours for me would make things tight – that’s when the tension may kick in!
    Some of my friends have children and don’t earn, and while I would never judge anyone at all, at the moment that feels so alien to me – especially when we go out for drinks or shopping. But then, I don’t have children yet – who knows what will happen!
    Good luck with the saving Rebecca, interesting post (and I like the pics) x

  18. We have entirely joint finances, we have three joint accounts, one savings account, one account for bills, rent etc and one current account for life spending, food, petrol, clothes, books etc. We also have a joint credit card, for emergencies (although I am continually forgetting the PIN to my credit card and thus never use it).

    It works for us, largely because I am not currently earning much, I inherited a lump sum earlier in the year that has enabled me to pay my way through a masters. For simplicity though, that lump sum is in the savings account gaining interest and anything I earn also goes directly to savings. Day to day, we live off G’s income. It could feel a bit like he’s supporting me, but cut the other way, he could feel that I’m the one investing in our future because the majority of cash in the savings account came from me. We consider ourselves to be a joint unit, financially, because it’s easiest for us, we rarely argue about money because we have the same financial goals. And luckily, my biggest weakness for expenditure is the same as his (books), so we never argue about that!

    K x

  19. We have the exact same set up as you at the moment. Each of us have our salaries going in to our own accounts, then there are DD’s in to the joint for all the boring things and a couple of nights out.
    We then have joint Credit Cards which does get a bit fiddly at the end of the month but works the rest of the time.
    Re saving, I have a DD in to the savings each month for holidays and the new house we hope to buy next year and Mr S put’s whatever he has left in at the end of the month.
    Month to month savings seems to be harder at the moment but my whole end of year bonus will go in to savings with parhaps and little treat to reward my hard work! 🙂
    L x

  20. We’ve been together a few years and married for almost one year but we still have seperate accounts. It’s not something we’ve given a great deal of thought to, although reading all the posts above perhaps we should!

    It’s interesting to hear how other people arrange their finances. My husband earns more than me so our outgoings – mortgage, bills etc – aren’t split 50/50, they are more like 60/40. I have a direct debt each month that pays him for my share of the mortgage and bills and then we split food and petrol costs from our own accounts, we aren’t hugely strict about it, we just sort of take turns. It seems to work for us at the moment and I must admit, I do like having the independence of my own acct for a spot of shopping! I do think though with more commitments that we’re taking on – building work on the house etc then it might be something we look at in the future xx

  21. Great discussion topic! What are you saving up for?
    I don’t have a joint account with my OH (been together 6.5 years) – we don’t earn the same and I’m saving for a house whereas he has some debt to pay off. Hopefully in the future we will. I think that the most important thing is definitely the ‘our money’, we are a team mentality, whether or not you have shared finances or not.

  22. I’m terrible for ‘reading and running’ (every day, I love the blog Rebecca) so thought I’d contribute as requested! We have the joint account for mortgage, bills and a lil bit extra like most of you but separate for everything else including savings.

    Although I wouldn’t mind completely joint accounts as we’re similar in our spending and saving, the main thing that puts me off is not being able to surprise each other. My boyfriend recently surprised me with a trip away for my birthday and I have bought him tickets to see his favourite band which I don’t want him to know about until our anniversary in October. As we can worry about general day to day stresses I think it’s important that we can still surprise and treat each other, I wouldn’t want to lose that.

  23. We have a similar set-up to you, Rebecca – our salary goes into our own accounts and we both pay (at the moment the same) amount into a joint account, which our bills, food etc comes out of.

    I don’t know if I could manage having completely joint accounts – I don’t want to see how much he spends on nights out with the boys, and similarly I don’t want him to see what the pair of shoes that “I’ve had for years” cost. There’s a part of me that thinks that, as it’s my money and I’ve worked hard to earn it, I can spend it on what I want (after essentials have been paid for!). Potentially a bit selfish as I earn more than double what he earns… Maybe this is because we haven’t together for that long (almost two years, married for eight months of that).

    However, I am a bit of a control freak – like lots of you, I manage our finances. I am absolutely terrified about being financially insecure, so feel better being in control of what I earn and knowing what savings we have. The Husband is much more relaxed!

  24. When we moved in together we maintained separate accounts but paid the majority of our salaries into a joint account to cover mortgage, bills etc. When we got engaged, and then married, we decided to abandon this as it had proven far from ideal and just make everything joint and we’ve never looked back. We do have a dd back to our original accounts which is our present fund, so there’s be no spoiling of the surprise with a line on a credit card bill around birthdays and Christmas).

    At the beginning I did have to deal with the guilt of contributing less to the household income but I soon had to get over that as we work in very different industries and will never earn the same amount of money. Also, when I talked about my guilt V pointed out that I had contributed a lot more in terms of lump sum savings to the deposit on our house, to our savings pot now for one reason and another, and that made me feel better. Not that I had done this but because I’d never thought about me putting in more than him to these things, so could then completely understand how he didn’t see it as bad that I wasn’t contributing as much as him to day to day living.

    We very much see ourselves as a team, and part of that is sharing our money, and the responsibilities that come with that. I can totally see why this wouldn’t suit everyone, but I can highly recommend it!

  25. Fab post!
    Between us we have five accounts(!) – a current account each that our salaries get paid in to, a joint account for all the boring bits (mortgage, bills), an everyday savings account (to cover even more boring stuff like tyres, or something very exciting like a weekend away together) and then a long term one (for the future apparently). We each contribute as much as we can to the savings but it depends on what’s left from our current accounts. I’m not really sure that I can think of a time we’ve ever really argued about money so this must work for us!

  26. Phew – I’m not the only one!
    We’ve done the same as rebecca and most of the commenters since we moved in together, however since having our first baby (14 months old with no 2 due in October, and no neither were planned, the drs told me I had polycystic ovaries…) I have gone back to work part time due to ridiculous childcare costs and was running myself more and more into debt each month trying to pay the same into our joint account on half the wage, so 3 months ago we went full on joint account.
    It’s been so hard for me not being able to feel financially equal and think of it as spending our money and not his, all in my head obviously not put on me at all by my husband. I know I will struggle even more with. U conscious on this after baby 2 comes along as it makes more sense for me to quit my job (obscene childcare costs means I would be paymore sense for me to quit my job (obscene childcare costs means I would be payously not put on me at all by my husband. I know I will struggle even more with. U conscious on this after baby 2 comes along as it makes more sense for me to quit my job (obscene childcare costs means I would be paying to work even though it would only be 3 days a week) and instead I will be finding myself a part time evening job as it just does not sit right with me not to be contributing something to our pot.

    Another great topic / post Rebecca

  27. Wow, great reading ladies! Thanks so much to everyone who shared their current set up. I’m actually syuprised by how many people are completely ‘joint’.

    I guess at the end of the day my fear is that I’ll have to reign in my spending… although in reality, I think that not only is Pete well aware of how much I spend on clothes (He’s very good natured about it) but he also happens to own a much more expensive car than me, that as a consequence costs a lot more to run/service etc. He also shops a bit and although infrequently, spends a fair bit when he does, so I wonder if in fact we’re closer to equal than I think.

    The other issue is that being a locum, my income varies, though thankfully it has been very steady for several months now. I worry it might dry up and then I’ll be reliant on him 100%. Right now I could potentially choose to take a few months off if I wanted (as if!) but I would feel very guilty if that happened and he was the only one supporting us.

    The thought of being reliant on him after having a baby frankly terrifies me. I can’t imagine not being independent and I guess I can’t imagine it being the other way around and me being happy with it. Scary times but they are a-coming! One way or another! I guess it’s just about getting used to being different?


    • Funny you should say that about choosing to take a few months unpaid leave (as if) – that’s exactly what I’m doing! There’s a strong chance I may be crazy. But I would say having joint finances has made it much less stressful and complicated than it might have been to save and prepare for it. We’ll have to see how it goes…

    • Rebecca, I’m sure your husband would be ‘happy with it’ if you were off work to look after a baby, its not like you have taken time off to just sit around, its hard work being a mum. I didn’t feel at all guilty or terrified of losing my independence when I was on maternity leave as I was confident of what I had ‘put in’ to our finances over the years, as you have, I’d paid my dues and I was still working hard just not being paid. Being independent doesn’t just rely on incomes. As you say it is about getting used to a different way of life and you will 🙂

      • You’re absolutely right – Pete and I have had this conversation many times and he obviously has no problem with it at all – perhaps because that is what he has always anticipated, whereas for me it takes a bit of getting used to!

        And you’re doubly right that maternity leave is hard work! Just unpaid!

  28. My husband and I have been together for 12 years and married for 2 years and I think we have had a joint account for most of that time since we moved in together after about 2 years together!

    We definately see our finances as a joint thing. He supported us financially while I was at uni, as he was working, while I only had a saturday job. Since then I have always earned more than him, but luckily he doesnt seem bothered by this, and as our money all goes in the joint account it automatically becomes ‘our’ money. All our bills, rent and shopping comes out of the same account, and anything we have left at the end of the month we try and save. We have separate ISAs to try and make the most of our savings, but Daniel has more in his ISA than I have in mine (we emptied mine for the wedding 2y ago!) so we tend to put any savings we have in his to make the most interest, but again we see this as ‘ours’ rather than his!

    We are moving to Australia in a month and I will be self employed so wont get maternity leave/pay, but we just plan to save as much as we can before/during any pregnancy so we have something to live on during any time off I take, as I will still earn more than him over there, and realistically we would probably struggle on just his wage, especially if there were 3 of us!

    Great topic as always!


  29. So interesting to see how others make it work. Unlike most it would seen my husband and I have completely separate accounts, even though we’re about to take on our first mortgage! However, one of the main reasons for this is that we’re both self-employed do it is much easier for us when we do our accounts that everything is separated.

    We are pretty laid back when it comes to money and our main concern is that neither gets into debt, so for example my husban has been paying the rent and I give him money when he needs it, but i put more in my ISA for the deposit and paid a lot more for our wedding a year ago. Our income can fluctuate a lot month to month so we just try to be sensible at the same time as having treats. Having said that, I’ve just got a permanent job so the mortgage will be coming out of my account! Is it weird to feel quite excited about that though?!!

    I should think that if/when we have children (hot topic of the moment on the blogosphere!!) things might change, but for now separate accounts, but a joint vision works for us!!

  30. Phew, finally got here! I’ve been wanting to comment on this all afternoon.

    Like so many people above, Martin and I have a joint a/c that all our household bills come out of it and our own separate a/c that our wages get paid into. Anything left over after bills are paid for the each of us is for us to spend how we each want till the next pay day.

    Martin earns more than I do so he pays slightly more towards the house bills but we are pretty evenly matched and that was my choice. I wanted us to pay as equally as possible when we decided to move in together.

    Things for us got a bit tough when I was made redundant a few years ago but luckily he helped me out and I managed to get a job within a month or so.

    WIth him earning more than I do, I personally wouldn’t feel comfortable with us paying all our money into one a/c. Mainly because there would be more left over than I would be use to and I would probably spend it! I like tha we each have our own money to spend as we want. So far this has worked for us, but no doubt we will have to look at things again when we eventually decide to have kids.


  31. Really well timed post because we are wondering about going completely joint but haven’t quite taken the plunge. Ever since we moved in together over 9 years ago, we’ve had a joint account for mortgage and bills which we both paid equal amounts into and then what was left was ours to do what we wanted with. I have always earned more than David and always tended to pay for the bulk of food shopping/eating out and similar.

    David was made redundant just over a year ago and I took over paying what he would have paid into our joint account. In retrospect it would have been sensible to go completely joint at that point but neither of us expected him to be out of work for so long. He withdraws cash from the joint account when needed and otherwise pays for things on his credit card which I pay off at the end of the month. This works OK ish, but the super-organised part of me does not like not knowing how much his credit card bill will be (it can vary quite alot month to month) and I know he hates feeling like he isn’t contributing.

    We are now considering a almost fully joint system where everything gets paid into our joint accounts and then a small amount gets transferred into our individual accounts for personal spending. Possibly not quite equal amounts as I definitely spend more than him. I’m quite keen to have a small amount of privacy over what my extravagances cost – although I know he wouldn’t mind (and mostly I’m very good) and also because like others have said I feel its nice to be able to keep surprises and presents secret.

    Luckily we both have the same general approach to money, we both tend to try to save a bit and not spend more than we earn which I’m sure helps. In one way David’s redundancy has been a bit of an eye opener, now I’m not sure what we frittered the extra money away on.

  32. Didn’t get round to commenting yesterday but for what its worth here’s what husband and I do…

    We’ve been together nearly seven years, of which we’ve been married nearly two. His salary is about 50% more than mine. Prior to getting married we split bills pretty evenly and had very separate bank accounts and credit cards, although we were both very open about what we earned, owed and saved.

    After we became Mr & Mrs we talked more about money and had a long conversation with a financial adviser – a really useful experience which highlighted things to save for, joint plans and retirement. We also bought a house which needed (and still needs more) work within six months of getting wed, which shifted things quite a bit. So at the moment we still have separate accounts, although we’ve been talking about sorting a joint account out for house general bill, food shopping, etc and saving , since the wedding. I’m afraid the paperwork involved is a major reason why we’ve not moved on this quicker…

    We split the mortgage 50-50 (which comes out of my account as we got a good deal with my bank) and then each have a set of bills, so I pay for the weekly Tesco shop and council tax, he covers everything else. And due to him having a higher income he’s also covering some of the big purchases we’ve made in the last 18 months, including the recent building works in the garden which include replacing 160ft of fence.

    I’m not sure we’ll ever give up own accounts, I like the freedom it gives us both. The nub of it all I think is about being able to be honest about money – what makes you nervous, what you’re ok with, how are you going to compromise. And it, like most things in a marriage, takes work 🙂

    While we’re on the subject of *big* conversations – how about will writting? Does anyone here have one? This is on my to do list this year…

    • EVERYBODY SHOULD HAVE A WILL!! Sorry, lawyer here…

      Now that’s off my chest(!), this is a great topic and has proven to be very interesting reading, thanks Rebecca. My OH and I only moved in together a few months ago so this is still a way ahead for us but it is great to get some tips for when we reach that stage.

  33. Pingback: Stop what you’re doing and look at this! « Kerry Cooks

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