Studies say you don’t necessarily need to be married to be happy, but in my case, sharing my life with my partner is one of the best experiences, I’m enjoying it 🙂 He’s a good man – I guess my approach to dating worked 🙂
So, obviously, as a married couple, we now run a household together, and jointly responsible for our finances. This article breaks down how we decided to budget as a couple, in a way that works for us. Under no circumstances I want to imply this is the best way for everyone, just the best way for us. Here are 3 things that worked really well:
#1 – We took the Financial Behaviour Test
Money as a topic comes up often during the dating stage (it’s not like he didn’t know he was dating a personal finance blogger…), and we had a lot of conversations about it, including on camera, when we did a Boyfriend Tag: Should We Combine Our Finances? & Other Money Questions video.
However, everything really came together when we both took The Financial Behaviour Test. It was an amazing AHA moment for both of us – only then we understood why we behaved the way we did with money.
The best part was the Financial Behaviour Comparison Report, showing his and my tendencies side-by-side. I am very happy to discover that we are mostly aligned – we are both low risk takers, savers (as opposed to spenders), and happy to pursue a content life (as opposed to an extravagant life) 🙂
In fact, it was because of his high score in financial relationship management (second line) and preference for financial advisors that I got him a professional financial planning session as a birthday present. He loved it <3
I would happily recommend the Financial Behaviour Report to everyone. You can even turn it into a date – Buy the Financial Behaviour Report for you and your partner and go through your results together 🙂 Individuals can do it too and learn more about yourself.
Buy it here >> Financial Behaviour Report (Individual RM49 /Couple RM99)
#2 – We decided on ‘I pay for this expense you cover that one’ approach (for now)
There are so many ways to budget as a couple. Some swear by joint bank account, some do the ratio approach based on income, some give total financial responsibility to the husband, etc.
As mentioned in my Thoughts I Have About Marriage (and Money Management) article, both of us were raised in families where all the women and men earned money, so we are now living the DINK lifestyle (dual income, no kids), with shared as well as individual expenses.
Individually, our financial situations are healthy, but different:
- Self-employed so income fluctuates a lot – some months three figures, some months five figures, most months four figures
- Multiple sources of income
- Healthy amount in savings, no consumer debt
- Well-funded but extremely high-risk investment portfolio; additional funding via lump sum method – every six or so months
- Employed with stable income
- Single source of income; currently learning additional skills
- Healthy amount in savings, no consumer debt. Paying for mortgage (yet to receive key) and car loan
- Building up investment portfolio; additional funding via dollar cost averaging method – monthly deductions
We thought of having a joint account at some point, but at this stage, while we’re waiting to move into our permanent home, we have decided to split our expenses this way:
- Me: Cover Groceries and Rent (plus the bills – electric, aircon, water and Indah Water)
- Him: Cover Mortgage and Car loan (plus petrol, parking and car maintenance)
- Both: Cover other individual expenses that we have
This separation works well – we don’t have to transfer money to another account and responsibilities are clear. Later, after we move and no longer have to pay Rent, we’ll probably have another chat about shared expenses and maybe set up that joint account, if necessary.
#3 – We organised our financial documents
Conscientiousness describes doing one’s work well and thoroughly; the ability to be orderly and organised when required because it gets the job done.
Which is kind of important for personal finance, and as it turns out, is one of the best traits in a partner and in a marriage too.
Honestly, I would have married him anyway even if he’s not particularly conscientious, because boi I fell hard for that face and love makes you stupid in, like, a biological way. However happily he turns out to be quite organised as well, so guess who had a genuinely fun date night just compiling our insurance policies in one place??
How do you budget as a couple?
Obviously, we are not going to pretend we have this whole thing perfected. I am very well aware that as newlyweds, we have much to learn about each other, and go through together. Maybe the way we handle expenses will change in the future, but I think we have a pretty good start at it 🙂
And now I would love to hear some advice from readers with longer experience. Married/cohabitating partners, what method(s) do you use to budget as a couple? What worked, what didn’t, and what changed over the years?
Please leave your wisdom in the comments section below!