Sharing a Budget
Watching daytime court room television, you’d think that no couple in the world ever discusses financial responsibility before they get into a committed, single budget relationship. While most people realize that it’s important to discuss money and its place in the relationship, there are more specific details about financial issues that should be laid out on the table and fully decided before ever sharing a bank account- here are a few of them that are often ignored.
Know your partner’s financial personality
Just as you often learn too late in the relationship that your significant other has a bad temper or is too impulsive, small financial personality quirks can ruin a relationship as well. While your thriftiness vs. their extravagance could eventually even out, it could be the death of the relationship if you’re sharing a budget. The last thing you want is the person you love blowing your rent money on a non-necessary, non-refundable purchase.
Create a budget worksheet…
… and be honest with it. One huge fail in making budgets (alone or as a couple) is only listing your bare necessities, and not taking into account entertainment and impulsive tangible purchases (expensive clothes, a night on the town, etc) that might happen. While you may leave these out while making your own personal budget, if you’re sharing the expenses, you have to account for two- so be sure to plan ahead for your indulgences.
Figure out how to share expenses
According to the author of Life or Debt, Stacy Johnson, you can live as a couple with either a single combined account, or have completely separate accounts- each can create a healthy, happy, financially secure relationship. He suggests that married couples combine their income to work together for a financial security, and a couple living together with no immediate plans of marriage are better off contributing to an expense account and then using their separate accounts for their own purchases.
As you can see, financial responsibility as a couple can either be successful (by using the tips above) or a complete failure which lands you on a daytime TV courtroom show. Make sure to be thorough and honest when creating a shared budget, and you’ll be happier in the end : ).
Read more couples’ budget advice at the Frisky