What with a fantastic new job opportunity lined up for me (which I’m just not quite ready to go über public with, just yet) and Ben’s guitar-swirling beginning to really pick up, we’re preparing ourselves to see more money in our household than we have in ages. Although let’s keep our perspective, we’re still going to be at the very bottom rung of the pay scale; now we’re finally going to be able to get one foot off the ground.
We are going to be combining our monies in ways we’ve talked about for years, but I think we’ll finally be able to practically utilize. We’re going to be using what I’m calling the Venn Diagram of family budgets:
Despite being part of Coupledom for nearly a decade, we have always fiercely maintained financial independence from each other. But we realize it will make everything a bit easier if we just finally merge most of our money. We are using this method because, frankly, I’m just too lazy to keep a budget for guitar strings, new speaker cabinets, paint and buckets for swirling and Ben’s sudden cravings for cherry limeades.
Aside from my laziness, Ben (and now me!! [YAY!]) is considered a contract worker. Which basically means taxes are a giant pain in the ass. And a fully merged account would make an already tedious month in late winter even more confusing (especially now there would be two accounts needing to be pulled from it).
We’ve had a collective savings account for years, but we’ve also maintained separate savings and separate checking. We will merge all three savings accounts into one lump account, keep our individual checking accounts and begin a new checking account in both our names with a large-ish percentage of our paychecks put towards it.
But I’ve never created a budget before. Neither for myself nor for us. I mean, in my head, I’ve allotted so much to a certain item, but I’ve never sat down and wrote any kind of structured form for money. And Ben’s idea of budgeting is alternating spending a lot of money and spending no money at all. To help us figure out how much we’re going to need, I’ve been tracking every single penny each of us spends for the past few weeks, and I’ll continue to do so for the next two months. Hopefully, this will help give me a good idea how we should allocate our funds.
I’m curious to see other people’s relationship with money; be they single or moving in together or legally committing themselves to each other . With so many people we know getting married, I’m curious to see how they merge their money. Are you just going with the lump bucket of Everything Earned Is Ours or will you maintain totally separate accounts? How do you handle your money now? And even the ones not part of Coupledom: do you have a set budget and how did you come up with the numbers?
The few people I’ve told about our budgeting don’t seem to understand it. But the people I talk to keep everything totally separate (granted of everyone I asked, not a one of them was married). The daily tallying of our spending has been keeping money on my brain for the past few weeks. And I doubt it’ll go away until I’m used to the whole responsible-adult budgeting/following that budget issue.
This could take awhile.