This weekend my husband and I will be celebrating one year of marriage (officially July 30th). It is CRAZY to me how fast this past year has gone by. While it has been an amazing one, I just can’t believe our wedding was a year ago already! I figured our one year anniversary was a good time to discuss how being married has affected our finances.
A little background: my husband and I bought our house in 2013, 3 years before we got married. We contemplated how to split finances when we bought the house. Should we combine our accounts? Should we split everything 50/50? Should we choose who pays what bills? Here’s how it worked for us.
My husband and I had all of our accounts separate up until we got engaged. When we got engaged we created a joint wedding savings account, but our checking accounts remained separate for most of that year. We created a joint account in May of 2016, just 2 months before our wedding. I was totally fine with having joint accounts, but my husband felt it might complicate our process financially and we hadn’t really formally created a budget at that time. Fair enough.
For the first 3 years of home ownership, we split who took care of what bills. It was easiest to do it this way rather than splitting hairs of 50% of each bill. I took care of the taxes, phone, cable and alarm system bills, while my husband took care of the mortgage, gas, electric and insurance bills. You might be thinking to yourself that this sounds like an uneven splits- mortgage versus taxes? While we pay our taxes just two times a year, if broken down monthly our taxes would be more than our monthly mortgage payment. That’s the joy of living in Westchester County, NY!
When it came to home projects, we generally split these costs in half. We also did the same with vacations, for the most part. I did all the grocery shopping, so more often than not I would pay for the groceries because I would forget to ask my husband for his credit card before I left and I didn’t really have a choice then. When it came to gifts, I would usually pay for gifts for my family and my husband would pay for the gifts for his family, again most of the time.
Then we got engaged. We chose to get married almost exactly a year form when we got engaged. At that time, we decided to set up a high-yield online savings account for our wedding fund. We deposited any money we received from our engagement party or other festivities into this account. Additionally, we set a goal to fund this account $1,000 each month. We tried to split this cost 50/50, as well.
Related Post: How to Have a Debt Free Wedding
The closer we got to the wedding, the closer we got to “what’s mine is yours and what’s yours is mine.” One of the biggest struggles we had was deciding which bank account we would choose. I LOVED Chase and my husband was set on TD Bank. Unfortunately, he ended up winning this battle due to TD’s more convenient hours (I miss you, Chase).
Along with a joint account, we also wanted to join our credit cards. Our main concern was how do we buy each other gifts when everything is joint? To allow for this, I kept my Chase Freedom card and left him off of it. My husband added me to his Amex Blue Cash Preferred card as a user, so when I login I only see my activity and not his. We then decided to open up a Chase Sapphire Preferred card (and quickly switched over to the Chase Sapphire Reserve when it came out) as a new card that we decided on together!
Having everything joint has made things SO much easier for us! Each month my husband and I spend between 30 minutes and an hour updating our budget. I input everything into our excel spreadsheet, while my husband reads out the charges. It’s so nice because we are both on the same page and we are aware of ALL of our expenses. If you haven’t checked it out already, here is our budget template that we work with each month.
In addition to making budgeting easier, having everything joint makes paying the bills easier. It no longer matters who is paying for what because it’s all coming from the same place. It doesn’t matter who gets paid more or less because it all goes into the same account. We still technically manage the bills the same way due to who has the logins, who gets the emails and who is in charge of sending out a check. But it is so nice to know that OUR expenses come from OUR money, all becoming one.
I do feel that my husband and I are very lucky because we are both accountants and, therefore, have always been very money-conscious. This makes speaking about finances very easy for us. We also have very similar goals, values and priorities. We enjoy going on nice vacations and eating at fancy restaurants. We do have some hobbies that we don’t share, though, of course. I enjoy fashion and shopping, while my husband certainly does not. My husband may or may not have a slight addiction to Dunkin Donuts; I do not enjoy it at all (sorry, DD!). We make sure to have lines in our budget to accommodate each other.
Most importantly, we are still able to surprise each other. I’ve got a nice surprise gift for my husband that I will be giving him on Sunday for our anniversary (I’ll share on social media once he opens it, since he reads my blog). I am so glad I have a separate credit card to purchase things like that without him knowing. When we review our budget together next month, he’ll be able to see exactly how much the gift cost, but that’s okay since he’ll already know about it by then. For us, this was important because we don’t want money to negatively impact our relationship. Money is important, but it doesn’t have to take away from happiness or surprises 🙂