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When two adults come together in marriage there’s bound to be some kinks that need to be worked out.There are sometimes situations that arise that you don’t realize will be a problem until they happen. Even though I 100% believe you should discuss finances before marriage, life happens and reality can be a little different than what you expected it to be.
How you each spend your money doesn’t need to be a deal breaker, but it does need to be figured out so you can avoid all of the fights.
I am a huge saver. I prepare for the worst at all times and rarely allow myself luxury purchases. If I can’t truly justify spending the money- I don’t.
When we got married I brought into the marriage a couple thousand dollars. Some set in a savings account that I had going since I opened the account at 18 and the rest as a nice cushion in my checking account so I would never need to worry about a bounced check or my debit card not working.
My husband’s contributions were much smaller. He is a spender. He’s capable of saving, but only when he knows what he’s saving for. Any significant money he made previous to the merging of our finances went first to responsibilities and then straight to fun.
Both viewpoints were shaped by our childhoods and really caused us to butt heads often in the beginning before we could figure out what worked for both of us.
The first step we took to get on the same page was the big purchases rule.
This is an agreement made between us that anything around $100 must be mutually discussed and agreed upon before purchasing. This also includes getting a bunch of small things that add up to $100 on one purchase or in the relatively same time frame.
This helps the saver in me because I know that there won’t be a huge chunk of money missing one day while checking the account. The amount that you decide is a large purchase may vary based on how much you make. I was working retail, so every penny counted.
Even though I don’t need to I like to establish the unofficial rule of running most personal purchases by the other person. My husband has never told me no, but it helps me to feel like it’s ok to spend money on myself when he says yes. Plus it encourages him to do the same.
For a good amount of time this was the only thing we had in place. My savings account was a rough spot for him. Him wanting to merge it into the checking was a rough spot for me. We have a savings account that doesn’t really get money added to it anymore, but also never gets money taken out.
When considering how much money we have, we only look at the checking account. Doing this keeps the savings safe for a time when we absolutely need it. Due to some health and job issues, he finally got on board with having this emergency money. Between what we keep separate in the savings and the padding at the bottom of the checking account we always have about a three month cushion.
We contended with a job loss, a move across state lines, a new car, and new jobs before we set up our saving grace.
My husband has built his own computer, is setting up a wood shop in the garage, and has a great love for video games (which I find terribly overpriced). His hobbies are expensive and he despised having to “ask” about buying any of it.
This wasn’t working for either of us.
A new checking account was created.
This account is attached to our existing accounts and is therefore technically a joint account. When we set it up, we both received debit cards for it. But I instantly stowed mine away. For all intents and purposes, it is his account.
We agreed that each month he would receive $200 into his account.
This money can be borrowed from, put on pause, or the monthly amount can be adjusted to best suit the family’s monetary situation.
The great part about this solution for me as a saver/micromanaging psycho is that I know exactly how much money each month he is going to spend on himself. It encourages him to save for the big things that he wants and it helps control the impact those purchases would have had on our shared account.
We have used this method for about 2 years now and it has worked beautifully. We don’t fight over what he wants to buy or what I want to save anymore.
With this set up we are able to make bigger plans financially like what we will pay off next, how much we can invest in our house projects, and how close we are to being capable of running a one income household.
Do you have a creative way of solving the saver/spender married dilemma? I’d love to hear about it below!