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Money and Relationships

Meeting someone and becoming a couple is a wonderful feeling. You begin sharing your time together and your love for each other, and as your relationship grows closer, you may move in together, which means sharing expenses.

Sure, it's nice when a guy asks you out on a date and offers to pay for dinner, but when it comes to being in a committed relationship, I'm a firm believer in sharing all the costs. While every couple is different, I don't think one person should be in charge of bringing home the bacon while the other one slacks at home.

So how can you make dealing with money as fair and painless as possible? Here are some tips:

  • No one said you had to merge all your money. And I hate to say it, but in this day and age, with so much divorce, that's just not a smart idea. But you could open a joint checking or savings accounts to pay for joint expenses such as rent, mortgage, groceries, electricity, etc. If one of you makes more money than the other, you may want to split the bills accordingly. So instead of spitting the bills 50/50, you may split them 60/40. As long as you are in agreement about your plan, that's all that matters
  • If you decide to go this route, you should use your personal bank account to pay for things that are solely for you like clothes, gym memberships, hair and nail appointments, gifts, etc.

Want to hear the rest? Then

  • It's not uncommon for one person be in charge of managing the finances. This person should deal with all of the paperwork, the bills, and the credit cards. (It doesn't have to be the guy. Growing up, this job was always my mother's.)
  • Decide what days bills are paid, the 1st, the 15th, etc. of every month. Whether one person is dealing with the bills or you're doing it together, this will ensure that it gets done on time and with no late fees.
  • When it comes to big purchases, like furniture, a pet, or a house, you must consult the other person before making any major decisions. Make sure to communicate openly about your wants and your concerns when it comes to spending large sums of money. This is good for your finances and for your relationship.

These are just a few tips that you may find helpful, but if you have a plan already in place that works for you, stick with it. Money problems can tear relationships apart, so just make sure you two are upfront and equally responsible when it comes to your expenses.


Clarishi Clarishi 10 years
My boyfriend always says that when we marry, I´ll be in charge of finances... He says he´ll give me the money and I will handle it LOL... I´m good at making money last ;)
Marci Marci 10 years
girl friday makes excellent points about discussing financial habits beforehand. Different approaches to money can be deadly to a relationship.
girl-friday girl-friday 10 years
I'm sorry but I don't agree with this post. How you choose to merge or not merge your finances is not the issue. You will have exactly the same problems regardless. If you are married, his debts will legally be your debts - it doesn't matter what account the money came from. Likewise, if you live in a community property state, the money you earn belongs to both of you, regardless of what account you put it in. I think it's dangerous to rely on these sorts of gimmicks to protect yourself. The only way you can truly do that is to have very open discussions with your future husband about what both of your financial habits will be. If his habits are irresponsible, you need to either not marry him, or make him go to some sort of financial counseling before marriage. No other measures can protect you.
DesignRchic DesignRchic 10 years
IMO, money is not the source of most divorces, it's the lack of communication where the problem lies. My husband and I decided that we would share accounts. I make more money than him, and I trust his judgment whenever he makes a purchase. I'm not bitter, or resentful, I just think in this day and age, we try to avoid conflict as much as possible, therefore we create "solutions" to avoid them.
cgmaetc cgmaetc 10 years
Two words: Pre. Nup. "It's Our Money" works in theory, but my mother having a few separate savings accounts saved us when my dad's business went sour. If it were up to him, he would have spent all of 'their' money salvaging a dying business, which would have resulted in more debt and borrowing large sums against their house. Thankfully, she had 'hidden' enough cash to pay the biz debts, pay off the house, and help him start a new, more lucrative venture. A smart woman always has some emergency cash available to her, just in case her man starts trippin', ya know what I mean? You should always keep a separate checking or savings account in just your name. What my parents did that worked was they had joint accounts and individual accounts. The joint accounts paid for the mortgage, groceries, utilites, and other living expenses. Mom's salary was for clothes, hair appointments, brithday parties, etc. Dad's cash paid for private schools, cars, vacations. It worked out fine. Been happily married for almost 50 years.
rubialala rubialala 10 years
I do the finances in our house.
gooniette gooniette 10 years
sorry, that's
gooniette gooniette 10 years
a great link to check out is there are several great suggestions about how to manage your finances and pay off debt and about how to work with your significant other on major purchases. great post though Dear. Thanks!
eaker eaker 10 years
I have never been comfortable with the 'it's our money' view. I am way too much of a control freak. I am guessing when I get married this might cause a problem.
bandages bandages 10 years
Once you get married it's both your guys' money.
princess_eab princess_eab 10 years
OH thanks for posting these. Financial responsibility has been REALLY hard to negotiate in our new household. We are both irresponsible with money and forget to pay the bills. A joint account just for bills is a great idea. Thanks also for letting me know that your mother did the finances-- I am probably the more organized one, but I'm so resistant to being the financial person because I'm terrible at math and my father still manages my taxes, as well as the entire family's finances.
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