Balancing finances within a coupled relationship is certainly more of an art than a science. Despite the fact that each couple takes a different approach, we thought it might be helpful for some to share how we’ve managed our financial split.
Some couples take some time to tip toe through the mine fields the financial elements of their relationship. James & I took the approach of diving right in. It has certainly been a balance throughout our relationship, adjusting to circumstances as they have changed over time. In the first few months James’ took on more of the household expenses as Miel’s first paycheck came in after moving to DC, now with James in school Miel pays more of the monthly expenses.
Initially we split the rent according to the percentage of salary to total household income. That meant when we first moved in together it was basically a 60/40 split with James paying a higher percentage of the total expenses. This has been used in principle, but has been applied in a way that best suits our finance styles. Some people who use such a model would dump all or part of their pay check into one account and then work from there. We apply this principle to rent and then have taken care of various bills according to what makes the most sense for us, while maintaining separate everyday checking accounts.
Initially, Miel paid for all the groceries and James paid for going out. This gave Miel the freedom to make choices at the grocery store and James the ability to steer the direction of restaurant choices (by no means entirely). James then took care of the electricity bill and Miel the internet bill. We’ve each still maintained our own cell phone bill.
Now that James is in grad school full time, we’ve reworked our system. We now split the mortgage in half, and James gets $300 a month out of savings for incidental expenses (metro, school books, food, etc.), the electricity bill and for some entertainment if he can squeeze it. Miel covers the rest of the household expenses.
Our financial split will continue to change in various patterns as our lives change. We appreciate the fact that we can both be flexible in making our arrangements work well for both of us.
If you’re trying to balance your finances and found this helpful, let us know. If you have another way that works well for you, we’d love to hear your tips too.