Personal Finance

Splitting the bills in a marriage

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  • May 16th, 2017 11:20 am
[OP]
Newbie
May 7, 2017
86 posts
35 upvotes

Splitting the bills in a marriage

What do others do for splitting money with their spouse? Best practices? Pros and Cons of keeping money separate or putting everything together. How do you pay bills etc.
Assuming both spouses work. Non-working is obviously totally different situation.
91 replies
Deal Guru
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Mar 23, 2008
10299 posts
6553 upvotes
Edmonton
Are we assuming both spouses make equal money?

C
Sr. Member
Jul 28, 2012
976 posts
377 upvotes
Montreal
We have a mix of both. We each have our own chequing account as well as a joint account for mortgage and home insurance payments.

Most of our expenses come out of a joint credit card. To pay that card, hydro bills and city/school taxes, we split the amount 50-50 (we both have almost the same salary) and each pay our half out of our own chequing accounts.

I like our arrangement because even though we share expenses, we still have the freedom to spend whatever's left in our respective accounts after paying bills and putting money aside. Plus in Quebec, there is no right of survivorship for bank accounts. If one of the account holders dies, the account is simply frozen, which is quite a bummer if the payroll of both spouses is deposited into the same account.
Deal Addict
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Mar 9, 2012
2997 posts
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Kitchener
onthefence wrote: What do others do for splitting money with their spouse? Best practices? Pros and Cons of keeping money separate or putting everything together. How do you pay bills etc.
Assuming both spouses work. Non-working is obviously totally different situation.
For fairness, I'd think the best way of doing this is to pro-rate it. So whatever after-tax income is for each spouse, so if one is $40,000 and one is $60,000 after tax, the one with $40G pays 40%, the one with $60G pays 60%. It should keep 'free' money pretty close.

Wish you the best.
How can we fly like eagles, when we're governed by Turkeys?
Deal Addict
Nov 13, 2013
1870 posts
804 upvotes
Ottawa
50-50 split all joint expenses. Joint account for bills and credit cards for most other expenses. It's really easy. Our salaries are also similar. I can see resentment if one person makes a lot more so a lot trickier.
Deal Addict
Mar 2, 2005
2032 posts
332 upvotes
Every relationship is different and so are its arrangements. I have heard friends/families do all sorts of contributions. What works for one might not work for other.
Figuring out percentages can be silly and in my opinion can often be damaging to relationships as it draws a harder line than what is necessary in a loving/equal/mature relationship. I might be old fashioned (in my 30s) to the millenials but I feel most important is to talk about everything.
The transparency is far more important than the cents anything adds up to. We have an understanding to share our expenses and when something else comes up, we always discuss how are we going to handle that particular one.
Then again, to some that might be obscene and is totally understandable.

Good luck to collecting more data.
Deal Fanatic
Dec 11, 2008
9887 posts
1429 upvotes
We earn around the same and came together with similar assets so we just throw all our money together in joint account. We still have our own accounts but we just pay everything together.
Banned
Jul 18, 2016
2014 posts
779 upvotes
How common is it to have two equally earning spouses in a relationship? Is money really the most important. So he earns 40K and she earns 60K. So what. Babies involved? They're both working equally hard and loving each other in what is hopefully a satisfying relationship. Combine the two net incomes together and pay the bills and mutually agreed upon savings plans. Whatever is left, divide in two.
Deal Addict
Apr 19, 2010
2596 posts
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Sudbury
One Bank Account...wife and I make similar Salary's. Pay bills out of one account.

Shouldn't matter who makes more...when you start splitting hairs....trouble starts.
Deal Addict
Aug 17, 2008
4119 posts
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Sask.
Everything joint - all money coming in goes into one pot, everything needing to be paid comes out of the same.
This has worked perfectly in all situations for us at different stages - wife earning more, husband earning more, one or either of us having no income (e.g. due to unemployment, SAHM).

Whatever you choose, make sure everything is clear and you are both communicating. Don't make your marriage be about money.
Member
May 29, 2012
477 posts
137 upvotes
Southern Ontario
I would agree with the other here , joint account pay all bills from it.
At the start of our marriage I liked having my own money but it was too much work figuring out who pays what and how much, and then who pays if one wants something that the other doesn't, blah, blah, blah.
I make about 75% of our household income, but I feel that we are married and I feel like it keeps us separated doing it the other way. One thing that we did which was my own initiate is that whatever money we had before we got married stayed our own, I was a really good saver before I got married and my wife not at all. I felt better knowing my money was protected and I could get an early start on retirement saving and compound interest, it gives me piece of mind knowing I have a decent chunk of money in case things go really bad. After 3 years of marriage she has become more frugal like me and asks herself if she needs it or wants it a lot more often.
Deal Addict
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Mar 23, 2011
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natalka wrote: Everything joint - all money coming in goes into one pot, everything needing to be paid comes out of the same.
This has worked perfectly in all situations for us at different stages - wife earning more, husband earning more, one or either of us having no income (e.g. due to unemployment, SAHM).

Whatever you choose, make sure everything is clear and you are both communicating. Don't make your marriage be about money.
Exactly, you're married, it all becomes 50/50. When we were young we set a budget of what we could each spend "extra" per month but that was more of a guideline than a rule. I had some bad years of earnings and some great years of earnings, she always made the steady income. Figure out a budget and priorities as a could and stick to it, don't fight about money, there will be too many other battles.
Alex
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Jan 15, 2017
2905 posts
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sherman51 wrote: Exactly, you're married, it all becomes 50/50. When we were young we set a budget of what we could each spend "extra" per month but that was more of a guideline than a rule. I had some bad years of earnings and some great years of earnings, she always made the steady income. Figure out a budget and priorities as a could and stick to it, don't fight about money, there will be too many other battles.
I agree. Don't use money to try and control the other person. Be honest and communicate openly and often. When we first got together, we discussed out long term financial goals. We discussed how each other felt about debt? When did we want to retire? Did we want to live cheque to cheque? What did financial success look like to each other? Once we identified and agreed to our long term financial goals, the day to day finances took care of themselves. We constantly talk about whether or not we are on track. Like mentioned above, large purchases are discussed as to whether or not they meet our goals, and small purchases are re-examined to see whether they are necessary. Supporting the goals we both made together is supporting each other.

And realize that life together is about change. Some times you will make more, sometimes it will be the other. Jobs change and your personal circumstances change. Supporting each other financially is just one of the many changes that you will face as a couple.
Deal Expert
Aug 2, 2001
16281 posts
6422 upvotes
We just put our salaries into a joint account and everything is paid out of it. This has worked with we both worked and while my wife was on mat leave. Our view is that it is all our money and what is important is that we are on the same page with our spending, not who is spending what. At the end of the day we are accountable to each other and if we make a mistake (e.g. give in to an impulse purchase), it's nothing more than just a mistake and nothing to get upset over.

Finances need to be tailored to your situation and what works. For some people they like having "my own money" and only using a joint account does not work for that. I might not agree with it, but what is important is that both parties are in agreement on how to deal with their finances and you are honest with each other.
Deal Fanatic
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Mar 12, 2005
9053 posts
1391 upvotes
Victoria
We both have our own bank accounts that our paycheques drop into, a joint account for mortgage payments and the big bills (car insurance, house insurance, property tax, utility bills and the unknown).

We almost go 50/50 into the amount we put into that account (I pay $100 extra month). We go 50/50 on groceries (basically take turns buying them). I pay the hydro/natural gas/electricity/tv/internet bills. We both use our own credit cards and pay our respective cell phone bills.

I never liked the idea of pooling assets. Our system seems to work. Might be different if we had kids.

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