Can we talk about money for a second?
It’s one of the biggest things families fight about. And that's not just true for siblings and parents, but spouses, too. It's something we had to discuss in great detail when we got engaged and especially in the first few months of our marriage.
See, we had always split everything 50/50 before. Meals, movies, vacations, etc. It wasn't an issue because we didn't live together so it just made sense at the time. Once we got engaged, though, we began seriously talking about how we would handle our finances. If we were going to spend the rest of our lives together, we really could't have enough conversations about it, could we?
We didn't agree at first, though. It's crazy to think about now, but we saw very differently in regards to sharing a bank account. Thomas was all for it. Maybe it's because it's what his parents did or because we already were sharing/going to share so much, but it was one of those things that he never even thought twice about. It was just always going to happen in his mind. You get married, you share a house, possibly a name, and definitely a bank account, right?
PJ on the other hand wasn't so sure. He has always been an extremely hard worker, and because of that he was able to start saving money from a very young age. The thought of just giving that over to someone else was difficult for him to comprehend at first. Plus, have we ever mentioned how frugal PJ is? And by frugal, we mean cheap. He doesn't like to spend money, which is another reason he's always had a comfortable savings account. So again, the thought of someone else spending his hard earned money, when he barley spent it himself, was a hard pill to swallow.
We had many, many discussions, disagreements, arguments, and talks about merging our bank accounts and just having one checking and one savings. It took a while, but we both finally agreed since we would be sharing a life together, it would be for the best to share our money as well. After all, we are a (small) family, and we couldn't imagine spending the rest of our lives splitting bills, mortgage payments, etc. We already share everything else, so it just made sense to share this part of our life as well. We know this doesn’t work for everyone, and that’s okay. It’s all about what works for you!
It wasn't easy at first. PJ had to get used to the fact that someone else (albeit his husband ;)) was going to be spending his money without him always knowing. And sometimes he would know, like Thomas’ $10 a month Apple Music bill that came with our marriage. Thomas had to get used to not spending money on whatever he wanted and started making conscious efforts to be smarter with it. Looking back, it really worked out best for the both of us since we were, in a sense, at opposite ends of the spectrum when it came to money. We would probably classify PJ as a miser: someone who is somewhat stingy and likes to save their money, rather than spend it. Thomas is most likely a believer: someone who is grateful for the money that they do have and believes that everything is going to work out, that you have exactly as much money as you're supposed to have in this very moment. How would you categorize yourself?
We read something a while ago in regards to a fool-proof way to never fight with your spouse about money and we've been eager to try it out. It's basically an allowance. We know that sounds juvenile, but hear us out! Each month, each person is allotted a set amount of money (we've agreed on $50) to spend however they want to. If you don't spend the money that month, it rolls over to the next month. So, if you're a saver like PJ, you could have a nice little chunk of change by the end of the year. If you're a believer like Thomas, you may have a couple extra lamps lying around ;). It's also good for surprising each other with gifts and such. Once we get started with that, we'll let you know how it goes!
So that's our whole deal when it comes to money and marriage. What do you think? Do you and your spouse share a bank account? Do you have any tips when it comes to sharing or not sharing?
(photo by Cameron Hinkle)