Tag Archives: marriage

Our Decision To Join Our Finances

When Lauren and I got engaged last year, we had an important decision to make: did we want to combine finances or keep them separate?

We are on the same page financially, we have similar goals, and are equally frugal. We buy what we want but also have things we want to save for in the future.

There are couples who keep their finances separate and there are others that combine their finances. It can work either way, so every couple needs to find out what works for them.

Advantages of Keeping Our Finances Separate

Since we have the same goals, why combine finances? Lauren doesn’t need me looking at each of her purchases and questioning the little things. We’re focused on the big picture, so why worry about individual transactions? She should be able to spend money guilt-free without me looking over her shoulder.

As we began to talk through it, we realized one thing: we didn’t want to have an allowance.

Since I am working full time and Lauren is in school full time, keeping our finances separate meant that I would be transferring money from my account to hers. We thought that would have the potential to create a rift where I would want to reduce the amount she gets each month. This was definitely something that wouldn’t work for us.

So, we thought about joining our finances and what that would mean for us.

Advantages of Combining Our Finances

We’re about to get married, and we love thinking about how everything will be shared. “Ours” is our new favorite word. We’ll be able to consolidate accounts, which I like. Lauren won’t feel like I control how much she spends.

Lauren has some student loan debt and by combining finances, we can pay down the debt together. With separate finances, Lauren would be responsible for her student loan debt. It would cost us a lot of money if we had to wait until she finished school to stay paying off her loans.

However, when we combine our money, she’ll have my help paying down “our” loans. This is especially true since she has some loans at a high interest rate that I would love to pay off in the near future. Now, we’ll be able to tackle them together.

Both emotionally and financially, it makes sense for us to combine our finances.

Readers, do you have separate or joint finances with your spouse? What do you think of our decision?

Give This Gift If You Want To Piss Off Your Husband

I love getting surprises, but there’s one I wouldn’t be too thrilled with. If Lauren ever does this to me, we’d have a problem.

I love the enthusiasm, but I’m pretty sure major purchases shouldn’t be surprises. Surprise, I just locked you into a $30,000 contract and you’re going to be paying someone else every single month for the next 5 years!

Gifts That Keep on Taking

There are a few other gifts that work in similar ways. While it may seem very generous, an xbox 360 for example is sweet because it’s expensive and you may not have been willing to pay for it yourself. But, there’s another side to it. You’re now responsible for buying games to go along with it, and at $50/each, the costs can add up. And you don’t want to waste a brand new, xbox, right?

Similarly, getting someone a nice picture without a frame kinda sucks because you’re forcing them to spend on getting it framed, which can definitely be expensive.

Be smart with your gifts, don’t give gifts that will cost the other person money. And if you’re in a relationship and buying a gift with shared money, don’t buy something really expensive that the receiver will have to share the costs of.

Readers, do you hate gifts that keep on taking? What other terrible gifts have you gotten?

Tips for Combining Finances

The following is a post from staff writer Crystal from Budgeting in the Fun Stuff, where she writes about finding the balance between paying your bills, saving for your future, and budgeting for the fun stuff along the way.

Daniel’s engagement led me to think about my own engagement about 9 years ago. Mr. BFS and I were pretty much living together already and had already made plans for our future, so the engagement itself was more a formality than anything else. We also started looking at combining financed but were waiting until my name was officially changed to make everything easier. Here are a few tips for anybody looking to combine their finances.

Ground Rules

It is important for newly married couples to establish the ground rules for banking transactions that occur when combining finances. One spouse may be accustomed to relaxed spending while the other is used to itemized budgets. That is why it is so important to create a joint plan that both parties agree to.

My husband was not a spendthrift, but he wasn’t as detail-oriented (aka anal) as me either. When we decided to combine our finances, we agreed that I would run the budget since I cared and we picked out our target amounts together. We also eventually started giving ourselves fun money allowances so he could spend on hobbies without me freaking out all the time. It has worked out great!

Joint Accounts

I know some couples prefer to keep things separate, but I lean towards fully combining a couple’s finances. It makes it easier for me to budget. Joint accounts will also give both partners equal access to all of the money to write checks, make deposits, and conduct business. A joint account usually means less paperwork and makes keeping up with transactions much easier.

Whether you prefer joint accounts or not, the key is to simply agree on a plan together. Everything else is just details.

Insurance Policies

Having the same automobile, life, and health insurance policies can mean that both of you will spend much less out of pocket on premiums. You can qualify for multiple vehicle coverage if you have two or more cars. Being married can also mean lower rates because married people statistically have longer life spans and are deemed more stable by insurance companies.

My husband and I got married young. I was 22 and he was 21. His car insurance premiums plummeted when we got our joint policy. Apparently, a 21 year old male is high risk but a married 21 year old male is not. I doubt his driving improved overnight, but we appreciated the savings.

Taxes

Most married couples can save on tax liabilities by filing their taxes jointly. A couple with a combined household income of $80,000 will pay less in taxes than two single taxpayers who make $40,000 each. It makes sense to file separately if one spouse makes significantly more money than the other or if your combined adjusted gross income is incredibly high. Otherwise, it makes sense to use the same accountant or tax software and file your return together.

I personally loved this part since it meant I never had to file another return again. My husband enjoys doing our taxes, and I think it completely stinks, so I happily print out the necessary documentation, make lists of the numbers he needs, and then I can just let it go. It’s a fantastic part of being married in my opinion.

What other tips do you have for a couple combining their finances for the first time?