How Marriage Impacted Our Finances

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.

Unmarried Finances

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).

Married Finances

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 🙂

Related Post: 20 Questions to Ask Your Partner Before Getting Married

I’d love to hear from any of my married or engaged friends, or even any couples living together, to see how you manage finances with your partner! If you are married, how have your finances changed since getting married (if they have at all)?

13 thoughts on “How Marriage Impacted Our Finances

Add yours

  1. Very cool. I like that you can just be added as a user on cards, makes it a lot easier for gifts like you said!

    Making some concessions (also not a fan of DD) is important. That’s part of why my wife and I have separate fun money accounts. Makes it even easier for gifts and everything too!

  2. Very nice! Do you have a set amount on how much each of you can spend on a large item without discussing it with the other? My husband and I have free reign to buy items under ~$100, but if it’s more than that, we usually run it by the other person.

    We bought our house before we were engaged and followed a similar path. Separate accounts until we were married and split bills accordingly. I definitely like having one checking account for everything a lot better!

    1. I agree on liking one checking account more! It’s just much easier for the two of us.

      We actually don’t have a set amount on how much we can spend without discussing it. We have pretty open communication about all purchases, so I think that’s why we haven’t set any limits. We just try to stick to the budget and discuss all purchases with each other throughout the month!

  3. My wife and I went through the exact same thing when we were married slightly over a year ago! It is funny, we tried splitting it at first and it was just a huge headache. So we decided to combine our accounts once we were married and it made our lives so much easier.

    We actually ditched both of our banks for Capital One since we also have investing accounts with them as well. We are trying a 1 bank philosophy, so I will see how that continues down the road. Buying gifts – well, if we really want to keep it a secret, we will ask a family member to buy and pay them back. She has also used her one credit card that I never use or really check (since I am not a Discover fan). But my thought is that if that is our biggest concern, then we are okay!

    Thanks for the read this morning!


    1. Thanks for sharing, Bert! I never thought about having someone else buy the gift and giving them the money. That’s a great idea too! I agree, if that’s the biggest issue you have, you’re doing great!! haha

  4. Congratulations on the one year mark! And you’re right, Those are some high property taxes!

    Just curious about the house purchase long before you were engaged, was that difficult at all?

    1. Thank you, Ross!!

      Not at all! We were together for 2 years before that and I think getting the house made us even closer and made our relationship stronger. Plus, it was one less thing to worry about cost-wise when we got engaged and had the wedding to pay for!

  5. Happy belated anniversary! We celebrated our 10-year mark this past weekend as well!
    I think it’s a huge plus that both of you have an Accounting and Finance background. My wife has a legal background and she hates reviewing finances. We have a fairly similar system, except I’m tasked with budgeting and reconciling both of our joint accounts accounts myself 🙂

    1. Happy belated anniversary to you, too! Wow 10 years!! That’s incredible!

      Hey, whatever works for you guys! I’m sure our formal budgeting process will change a bit once we have children because we won’t necessarily have the time to sit down tracking expenses line by line the way we do now, but the open communication will def be something we stick with.

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