Money matters

*Hoorah, it’s Two Post Tuesday again – check back at 1pm for a post that I think absolutely defines AOW*

Everyone has differing ways of dealing with their finances when they become a couple, and a lot of that depends on the individual circumstances. 

One of you earning significantly more than the other; whose place you live in; children from past relationships; children from this relationship – each of those will impact on the choices you make. Most probably though the choices you make will depend more on how each of you feels about money. 

Money is an emotive subject, and everyone will come to a relationship with their own preconceptions on how they feel it should work in a relationship. It could be from seeing how your parents made it work, to how you made it work in past relationships. But it can also come wrapped up in your beliefs about commitment, self worth, and control. And it can be difficult when those beliefs and preconceptions don’t match up with your partner’s.

We’re not here to tell you how to do this. There is no right answer. Every answer is right if it works for you. Between the three of us we each have differing approaches to our finances which work for us, but which might not work for you. What we really wanted to do was to create an open conversation where we can talk about how each of you make it work for you. This is absolutely not about how much money, this is about how you manage it.

Do you have a joint bank account? If so, how does that work? Do you keep your money completely separate? If one of you earns more than the other, do you work out who pays what based on that? How do you make it work if one of you is living in a place that the other has a mortgage on? What happens if one of you stops working? What about when children come along?

This is a really emotive subject, and, especially for us brits, one that’s difficult for us to talk about. But it’s one that I wanted to put out there because I think it’s something that a lot of us wonder about, and it’s the type of subject that AOW really should tackle. Money is also one of the things that can cause arguments in any relationship, so if by talking about it, it gives us other options and opens our sights to other points of view, then all the better.

So today, AOW is all about you wise wise women and the comments. Tell us how you do things, what difficulties you’ve had, and whether it’s something that causes problems for you. Use it as a way to ask questions as to how others make it work. Tell us if you’ve found a way that you want to rave about. If you don’t feel comfortable posting as yourself, feel free to be ‘anon’ for today. This is not about judging other people’s choices, it’s about sharing things that work for you. So leave a comment and lets get the discussion started…

Categories: Money and Career, Your Favourite Posts
47 interesting thoughts on this


  1. Becca
    Posted October 18, 2011 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    This could not be more timely now that we are MOVED IN. Where is my moisturiser?

    We have always done it 'roughly' as in 'you get this, I get next time' but now we're saving for a wedding AND to buy in London we're being a bit more frugal about it. We agreed that as I earnt more, I pay more. That was fine. But mow it's me earning and working ALL the hours God sends I maybe…..begrudge him being home at 6pm, having beers with his mates and getting up three hours after me. Don't get me wrong, he still works hard (I'm not sure I could cope if he sat on his arse all day).

    We have a joint account but we only pay our bills into it. Quite frankly I don't want him examining how much I spend on gym membership a month.

    I KNOW that if anything happened to me, he would cover me financially for a while. I also know that it is only money and you can make more. But you can't miss out onmemories.

    ALSO bloody fantastic week AOW.

  2. Posted October 18, 2011 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    That's what worries me Becca – I'm in the opposite position where Andy contributes more because you know, hello, I'm growing feet here, but he's out working all hours to make that money – I think if I was in his position I might start to resent it like you – so how do we make it work?

    It's obviously a bit different now because of the baby thing, but Andy has always earnt more than me, so I've always felt that I needed to contribute more to the relationship in other ways. Do other people feel that way?

    Also – hurrah for being MOVED IN! Congratulations!

  3. Anonymous
    Posted October 18, 2011 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    We have always kept our money separate, which worked well as we used to earn almost exactly the same. Now I earn less than half of what my husband earns, so it is often a struggle for me to manage month to month.

    I'm proud about money, and would never ask him to buy me things I needed – and I understand this is more stupidity than a virtue. I do get a bit fed up that income is taken as a household once you're married, so I don't qualify for some of the support I would if I was unmarried.

    I suppose you could argue that trying to cope financially on my own is my choice? I have no idea if it is or not, to be honest…

  4. Posted October 18, 2011 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    Mr K earns a lot more than me, and I'm still not comfortable with it, nearly seven years on.

    We get paid into separate accounts and have a joint account for bills. We split the mortgage and bills more or less equally, and he'll often pick up the tab when we eat out or do something social together. However my problem is that my earnings are so linked to my sense of self-worth, I feel like because he earns three times as much as me, he has a career that is three times as important as mine. I know that's bull, but it doesn't stop me feeling that way. And I have a huge chip on my shoulder about it because that sits all wrongly with what I want our marriage to be about.

    He's never made me feel bad about working a job I believe in for a lower salary, and for working less hours than him. He does push me quite hard to get promoted, but I don't mind that, I like having someone help me navigate my career and make sure I'm always challenged in my work.

    I just can't shake the feeling that I'm not contributing as much as he is and all my feminist principles are slapping me about the face. Even though my head is screeching "you contribute in other ways!"

    And don't get me started on spending his money. I know we're married but I still feel guilty every time I use his credit card. And I hate the fact that it gets easier as time goes on – in five years I might be roaming the halls of Selfridges with his Amex. That thought makes me feel sick,that I could so easily let someone else support me. Which is ridiculous – isn't sharing and supporting each other what a strong marriage is all about?

  5. Posted October 18, 2011 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    Great post AOW. We both have similar views on money and saving thankfully. We get paid into our own accounts and then divide it up into joint, bills and savings. With what's left for our own individual spending. What this post prompts in me is the fact that I earn very slightly more and spend that extra on clothes, makeup and hair. Thankfully Warmth has a football season ticket so I don't feel as guilty, though I know I spend more than that cost. I sometimes think I should save my extra but don't. Or I justify shopping by thinking 'Warmth will really love these jeans so it's for both of us.' Sorry to trivialise today's post but it's what's on my mind at the moment. What do others do/think about this?

    ps Clare – yes I think I would feel like you in wanting to contribute in different ways. I know that when I'm on school holidays, so still earning but not at work every day, I feel I should do more.

  6. Posted October 18, 2011 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    Anna- that's what I'm heading into now – I will be spending Andy's money because I won't be earning. And yes yes yes it's because I'm going to be bringing up his child, but STILL I feel a sense that it's not MY money, I didn't earn it.

    And what if I want frippery stuff? Like shoes? And pretty things? When it's my money I can justifiably spend money on things like that and not even think about it – when it's Andy's, I don't feel comfortable spending money on things that are just 'nice' rather than 'necessity'…that's going to take some getting used to.

  7. Posted October 18, 2011 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    We have a joint savings account and joint bank account and pay a set amount into these each month for food, bills, saving for a deposit etc. Rob does pay a little more into the pot because he is earning more. We then have our 'own' money (whatever is left after our joint money) in our current accounts to spend as we wish.

    I can then spend money on things like gym, clothes or save up for a big purchase and he can do the same without either of us getting irritated on how we have spent our money. We have both come from families where when you get married whatever you have is shared between you, so I think eventually we will pay both of our salaries into one pot but this works really well for us at the moment…

  8. Posted October 18, 2011 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    JHD – not trivialising at all – that's exactly what I wanted to talk about – when incomes aren't equal, how do you deal with the emotional element of someone being able to afford to do more? I think that's actually one of the hardest parts to navigate whatever the financial situation – the little extras and treats…

  9. Posted October 18, 2011 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    My husband actually isn't allowed to work at his government job (which he's committed to, like you Anna, even though there are potentially better paid private sector jobs with better benefits etc) at the moment, and he goes back next month. So he's had no income for nearly 12 weeks and it's been against the actual law for him to do any other paid work. We thought the process he's in at the moment would take 12 working days, and I have been temping, in Glasgow, for minimum wage. I won't be as crass as to type the numbers in, but it's not a lot. We're living with my mother-in-law, and I shudder to think what we'd have done if it weren't for her. We both HATE that she's paying grocery bills etc, and that we're in her space. And although it's been really tough for me, I think it's actually been more frustrating, isolating and 'oh-I-never-realised-how-much-working-affects-the-sense-of-self' for him. Not too mention the comments about 'house husbands' and 'being under my thumb'. It is SO infuriating because we feel like people are looking at him thinking 'slacker'. I think we're all so conditioned, as a society to see money matters in a marriage, in a set and gender-specific way, but the reality is you can't predict what's going to happen or how you'll react to the career ups and downs and the budget adjustments that come with that. Bella, I hear you about the three hours' extra sleep though – I got up yesterday morning to go to work and although R normally (read, every day so far) gets up to have breakfast with me before I go to work, we were both so knackered I said 'you stay in bed honey' and before he could even respond he was back to sleep. But you will also feel a MASSIVE sense of achievement at your wedding – I really felt proud of myself on our day for having saved and contributed – it will all be worth it. And Clare, I know it's a cliche but it's true nonetheless – you're doing the most important job in the world.

  10. Posted October 18, 2011 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    Anonymous – it's tough isn't it. We've been brought up as independent women who should be able to and WANT to support ourselves, but equally partnerships are all about working together. If he was earning much less than you, wouldn't you want to help him out?

    That's the way I try and view all feminist issues – if I would be happy to do it for him, then I don't mind him doing it for me. It's only an issue for me when it is 'expected' that the woman will fill a certain role etc…

  11. Posted October 18, 2011 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    Oh, I know this feeling. G is 9 years older than me, that's then 9 years ahead of me in his career, so realistically he is likely to always earn more than me unless I become stratospherically successful. Unlikely, because I have chosen a career in scientific academia, so unless I win a Nobel prize I'm going to have to shoot for "worthy" rather than "wealthy" as a career aim.

    Because he has always earned more than me, from the minute we moved in together I knew I would have to come to terms with him contributing more financially than me. It's worse now because to launch my fledgling Nobel-prize winning career in structural biology, I'm currently doing a research masters, which means I am paying tuition fees and barely earning. I hate this, sometimes. I feel that I need to prove all the time that I contribute other stuff to the relationship, I feel compelled to try and make all the dinners and keep the flat clean as payment for him supporting me. Then I feel ridiculous and anti-feminist and hate myself for defining myself in such a rigid stupid commercial manner.

    The way we managed to get through this giant stumbling block in our relationship was when he asked me how I would feel if it were reversed. If he needed to take a year unpaid to do what he really truly wanted to do with his life. I'd support him all the way, and so I understand why he supports me. Because he knows this is what I LOVE, it will make me happy. And love is him wanting me to be happy.

    Also, he knows if I'm doing what I love all day long, there is less chance that in order to satisfy my nerd-needs he will come home to find me bouncing on a chair shouting "look at this protein, it's so gorgeous, look, look, let me show you how it works…" while his brain bleeds slowly out his ears and he wishes for a strong drink.

    I agree that it's hard to spend on yourself though. I don't really buy myself clothes, unless I genuinely need them (definition: crotch holes in jeans constitutes need for new jeans, holes in other locations, less so). It's even harder to learn to define yourself not by what you do or what you earn but by who you are and what you love. And not to let the terms and equality of your relationship be dictated by money.

    Great post. And for full disclosure, we have entirely joint finances, all our accounts are joint, our savings are joint, and we pay everything from the pot of our combined money (which is 85% his)

    K x

  12. Esme
    Posted October 18, 2011 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    Great idea AOW. These comments have been so interesting already.

    T and I have had a joint account for a few years (since before we started living together even) to make it easier when going on holiday etc. When we graduated we decided to have our salaries go into our joint account and then pay ourselves the same amount for our own spending every month. So all bills, rent and house things go from our joint account and we can use our own money for clothes, presents etc.

    We decided to do this because at first we earned almost the same, but we knew this wouldn't last. Now I earn a significant amount more because he's doing a PhD (and will do for a few more years possibly) so technically I support us, but we don't look at it like that. We see it as what we earn as a family. Hopefully at some point I won't be working and will be bringing up our children, so it will be the other way round…

    It all works in theory and is definitely the right way for us. My gosh, I could write another 300 words on this subject!


  13. Posted October 18, 2011 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    Interesting stuff!

    I think we've taken a slightly different approach from everyone else who's commented so far, in that since we got married our finances have been completely, 100% shared. We still have our own current accounts just because we never closed them down, but both of our wages get paid into our joint current account and all our spending, whether on groceries or handbags, comes out of that account. We don't contribute equally to it – I earn quite a bit more than F – but our lives are so intertwined that it made no sense to keep our finances separate.

    For us (and I pass no judgement on anyone else), I cannot tell you HOW MUCH this has improved our financial relationship – heck, just our relationship generally. When it came to eating out, or buying food, I felt really bad making him pay half becuase I earned more, and he felt really bad if he *didn't* pay half because he's "the man" (he's quite traditional, my husband). Now we just never even have to think about it. It just feels – to me, anyway – like *our* money. My philosophy is that we're a team, a family, and there's no point in him having loads of debt and me having loads of savings, or me having a new outfit every week and him wearing the same old jeans until they get a massive hole in the crotch and he practically flashes his balls at passers by (has happened) – he'll get everything I have eventually anyway, or vice versa, so might as well start sharing now when we can both enjoy it.

    So that's how we do it, practically. But that's not to say there aren't deeper issues. F struggles with the fact he earns less than me, not because he doesn't want me to do well, but because he feels he ought to be able to support his family and a lot of his identity as a man comes from that. While I try to tell him it doesn't matter to me, I have to respect his feelings, and who's to say I wouldn't feel the same in his position? I'm sure our feelings will change over time as our situation changes from childless and mortgageless to (hopefully) homeowners and parents, and we will have to keep reviewing and adjusting all the time. I just know that having joint finances takes a lot of the pressure off us because the disparity isn't staring us in the face every time we go our for dinner.

  14. Posted October 18, 2011 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    Kirsty that makes so much sense when you put it like that. Ultimately, you are a team, so it should all be in one pot. And I love the idea of it not being in your face every time you have to pay for something.

    Such great comments ladies – it's wonderful to hear how you all deal with this…keep them coming…

  15. Posted October 18, 2011 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    Coming out the other side of the second redundancy in two years for us as a couple, money has been at the forefront of our minds.

    In 'good' times, my husband pays for everything, and I contribute a mutually agreed amount per month towards the bills. When we have children, he will be supporting me when I am off work. He would like me to be a stay at home mum, whereas I would like to do some part time work (hence becoming a doula) so I can contribute. His self worth is related to being able to 'look after' me, and mine is related to being able to contribute…so it works out for both of us.

  16. Posted October 18, 2011 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    Oh, and I think with him being older, he holds a lot of traditional values…were he younger, things might be different

  17. Posted October 18, 2011 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    I'm a student, and will be for the next year, so i only earn 83p and a packet of crisps per year. boyfriend earns a fairly decent wage. we decided to have a joint account for bills (but mostly to put wedding cheques in…) but keep the rest separate. i chose to go back to university, and i don't want him to give up anything because of my decision. if he wants new snowboard boots, then he has worked hard to earn that right. we are aware though that this will need to be flexible in the future though. it won't work when we have kids, because they'll take priority. we'll probably change to something more like kirsty then. good discussion though!

  18. Anonymous
    Posted October 18, 2011 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    New Anonymous Person:

    I'm in the same position as first Anonymous, except I used to earn considerably more than my husband.

    I was always home from work late at night, not sleeping, going into office at weekends, and getting increasingly unhappier. I now work for myself.

    We live in a rent free house owned by in-laws. My husband works with his parents in family business. He is a partner and takes drawings out. He is always wanting to reinvest in business, and so tries to keep his drawings to a minimum. This also helps keep the inlaws happy.

    We have separate accounts. My husband pays council tax, oil, electric, water, and the maintenance of house.

    I run the car. My husband uses business pickup, if my car is not around. I pay all car costs – fuel, tyres, car tax, servicing, insurance etc. This adds up.

    I also pay all the food bills, telphone, TV licence, and any decoration of house. New carpets, curtains etc.

    The bigger items such as a new kitchen or bathroom, my husband would pay.

    The problem with the way we are doing things, is that when I was earning more money, it was fine, and I was putting lots of money into savings. Now that I don't earn as much, I'm not saving a penny. I'd like to do up one of the spare bedrooms, as we are planning to try for children next year. It would be the nursery. However, I just can't afford to. I'm not talking expensive, just buying some fabric to make curtains, and a plain carpet. We have furniture that we have been given, as family have done up their house, and gifted the old.

    I'm very careful with money. I don't spend much on clothes, only tend to go out for meals if its with friends, and have cheap holidays (if any). However, how we will sort out finances, with children is worrying me. I would probably be buying cots, pushchair etc. from ebay, but no doubt it will still add up.

    I don't like to talk this over with husband, as working for myself, was my choice. I don't want to burden him with my worries. I also want to be able to contribute.

    This is the sticking point, my husband is in his mid 30s, and has tens of thousands of pounds in savings, so I really should not worry about how we will pay for children. But I do. My husband has long-term plans for that money. It will at some point be needed for empire building. We pay for children, out of the money we have coming in each month. So although as a couple, we are very fortunate, I still have money worries.

    Well, I better get back to work, and earn some money, to be able to pay for children…..


  19. L
    Posted October 18, 2011 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    When we moved in together we had a joint account for bills etc but it was always nearly empty! We've now upped the amount we each put in and pay all joint things like presents, meals, etc from it as well as bills.

    I earn a wee bit more than my other half but he doesn't mind at all. He loves his job and I absolutely hate mine, which we both agree makes up for the wages. Mine is also fixed term contracts with a horrible company and his is permanent with better working conditions. We've both been out of work for a couple of months during our relationship and have supported each other and we both have the same attitude to money so I think we may eventually end up like Kirsty and Fin.

    After speaking to my cousins and my cousin's husband at the weekend who all work in the oil industry I'm contemplating trying to find a job with better pay and benefits but unreltaed to science. This would be a massive step away from my whole education but I think the financial security it could bring would make me feel less stressed out about the future ie actually having a pension and paid maternity leave…

    God it's all got very grown up!

  20. R
    Posted October 18, 2011 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    This couldn't be better timed and reading everyone elses comments is having a slightly calming effect on me.

    D earns more than me and has done for a few years but it hasn't always been this way. For a while, after he was made redundant, everything came out of my (fairly low) wages and we managed. It wasn't all that great and we couldn't afford extra bits and dinners out etc but we managed.

    Now, D has got a good job that pays him well and I'm coming to the end of my contract at my current job. I'm trying to look for something else but in my heart I want to go back to uni and do my nursing degree. Currently we split everything pretty much down the middle – not exactly though. Generally I'll spend money on food for the house and when we go out he'll pay. The fact that we're looking at having only one income in about a month is a bit scary.

    I know we'll be fine on his wages – as we managed on mine ok a few years ago and that was even less – but we've got used to the little extras. And now with the wedding to save for, I do feel a little bit nervous about using his money for everything! Bills related, life related or wedding related.

    Like you say though, we're a team. I've supported him financially (and I know he hates that he had to let me do that) so we can keep working together. It's just that little bit of me that says I should be supporting myself – I'm too independent and stubborn for my own bloody good sometimes.

    R xx

  21. Posted October 18, 2011 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    Money – what a minefield!

    We have a pretty complex system but it works for us. We hold separate current accounts and have a joint current account, we hold joint savings accounts as well as individual ones. We also have separate business accounts plus joint ones where necessary.

    Day to day, Mr M pays all of our bills be they rent, mortgages, utilities etc. He's also most likely to pay for the shopping, meals out and drinks in a bar. He does this because he's paid regularly. I get paid somewhere between once and maybe four times a year so when I draw my dividends from my business, we bung it into our savings for us to then distribute into any other accounts we need to as and when.

    On paper, it sounds as if I'm 'kept' (not that I think there's anything wrong with that if it works for you) but it's set against the back drop of me earning more money than him.

    The important thing for us though is it works because we're honest about our financial situations and ultimately we see our finances as Team M money. He supported me when I set up my business and I have subsequently done the same for him. It doesn't matter to us who earns our money as long as we both work hard.

    We're also on a mission to reach a certain financial goal in order to buy our dream house and hopefully fill it with a child or ten (he'd still like to secure a spot in our family cricket team!). If we get there, we're also working towards both being able to condense hours so that we share childcare. It's important to us to feel equal in our relationship even if financially we're at different levels. Seemingly having an intertwined pot of money whilst retaining our financial independence is the key to that for us.

    SJM x

  22. F
    Posted October 18, 2011 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    Great post – and something I think is always on my mind, although in a slightly different way.

    T and I have been together for a long time, since we both earnt next to nothing and so although we earn quite different amounts now, we kind of muddle through by splitting the mortgage and bills with him paying for the lions share of social stuff we do as a couple. I think that the times of having absolutely no money and having to pool our very limited resources has made it easier to accept money now we have it as 'our money' if that makes sense.

    My 'problem' (and believe me I know how ungrateful this sounds!) is that T has very very wealthy parents who have, in the past, gifted us large sums of money towards our house for example. This is unbelievably generous of them but I can't help but feel beholden to them – and it also raises questions over what would happen to that money if (god forbid) we split up or something happened to one of us. Is it ours? His? Who knows.

    And finally to Clare- the possibility of having to relocate to a country where I would be unable to work has come up for us and I expressed all of my concerns to which T firmly said that moving myself halfway across the world to support him was by far a greater sacrifice than him bringing home the bacon. I'm sure Andy feels the same way (I know that won't stop you worrying but thought I would share anyway!).

  23. Anonymous
    Posted October 18, 2011 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    Second anonymous person (again):

    Sarah M – good point on cashflow with your business.

    I sometimes have months with very little money coming in, £200 here, £400 there, and then a big pay day (with a job I have been working on for say twelve months being completed and paid). I would like to work it, that my money goes into savings. However, I don't think inlaws would like this, as the drawings husband makes from their business would have to increase. It is just not an option at the moment.

    I think I need to sit down with my husband, and explain my concerns, and we need to re-work things before children.

  24. Posted October 18, 2011 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    Joint account for the bills and mortgage but separate for everything else. Overall he pays a bit more than me but a) he earns more and b) historically i've always paid for the big things like deposits because I had savings and he had debts – so generally we balance out quite nicely at the moment.

    In our lines of work he's always going to earn more than me but I do all the organising of everything so that also helps to balance.

  25. Posted October 18, 2011 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    Two weeks before our wedding, my hubby's brother and his wife sang the praises of ONE ACCOUNT. yes, just one, for EVERYTHING- rent, bills, food, travel, pressies, clothes, socialising, to come out of, and both our salaries to go into.

    ONE ACCOUNT has worked like a dream.

    It totally fits in with my idea of marriage- you now share everything, good and bad, with one another. Does it matter who earns what? I don't think it does at all.

    The only downside? Keeping each others' birthday presents a secret!

  26. Posted October 18, 2011 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    Anon 2 – I could swear you were my friend in a similar situation (husband and family business, your income variation), except they now have a child together.

    She had similar concerns to you before they had their son. He was keener to start a family at that point than her, largely because she felt financially insecure, despite them being married.

    They spend a long time talking through matter and my understanding is that they did the following things:

    1 – He had to explain to his parents that they wanted to start a family and he needed to ensure that they were in a picture of financial health before doing so.

    2 – He took a significant drawing from the business and made his parents aware that what used to be an absolute reinvestment on his behalf, may not always be so in the future.

    3 – They set up an account for their family. All things baby came from that account (my friend also used it for her maternity wear etc).

    4 – He set up a standing order to her account each month so that she had a guaranteed income giving her the freedom to spend as and when she wanted to, without having to justify the cost to him. I think it was only about £500 a month but all of the other expenses were paid form the joint pot.

    5 – when their son arrived, the wider family were smitten and, to my knowledge, there has been no conflict in terms of drawings from the company since.

    Might not work for you in the slightest but wanted to share it with you in case there's something that you might find useful.

    (I'm glad it's not just me who might work for that long and end up not being paid!)

    SJM x

  27. Anonymous
    Posted October 18, 2011 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    Hi Sarah

    Thanks for this, I think my husband is going to have to speak to his parents. My husband always falls in line with what his parents want. It may sound silly but me and my brothers fall out with parents, non stop, as we are all very opinionated. It's not unusual for us all to have a big slanging match with each other. I'm probably the meek one in my headstrong family, and that's saying something. They are all very assertive.

    My husband and his sisters, never so much as disagree with their parents, and are always very polite, and well brought up. At our wedding, it was all my side of family, rolling around drunk.

    I need my husband to take drawings of about £1,200 a month, once we have a family. He takes much less than this now. I still expect to be working. Also there is maternity allowance for self-employed women.

    The problem is my husband's sisters both have terrific jobs, and are very well paid (think on the lines of doctors). They both earn much more than their husbands, and are working with a family. Neither are stay at home mums. I think his family, expect something similar from me.

    Second Anon


    P.S. Thanks for reminding me that wider family will be smitten, hopefully this will make things easier.

  28. Posted October 18, 2011 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    hey R- my jaunt back in to student-dom was to get my nursing degree. best (and, at times, worst) thing i have ever done. if you want to talk about it, you should totally send me a wee email.

  29. Posted October 18, 2011 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    This is so timely, you have no idea! I love Kirsty and Fin's approach, even though thats not what we do right now, I can see it works.

    I come from a family where everything was shared in one account and there wasn't a specific yours and mine share (tricky for buying presents but fine for everything else) so that seems normal to me.

    We, however, do what a lot of people here seem to do, we have our own money and shared money and it works for us but I do wonder why we haven't thought to do what Kirsty does already. Are we being selfish with not sharing everything? Or just practical?

    It's so ingrained in us that we are what we eat/ wear/ do/ earn its hard to break free from the money/ worth trap. But we must, because I've always thought that differences of opinion about money can be one of the most divisive and poisonous presences in a relationship. Probably on a par with sex. And its scary to work out what truly works for you, but worth dealing with head on. And as things change, what works might change too?

    Thank you AOW for getting this topic out there, the other comments have been so interesting to read x

  30. Posted October 18, 2011 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    My husband and I have the same system as Kirsty and Fin. When we first moved in together we set up a joint a/c and would contribute a set amount each month to cover bills, mortgage etc, and keep a separate a/c for personal stuff. But then when we got married we just decided to pool it all together. And just like Kirsty, I agree that it makes life so much easier. I buy more clothes and books than he does, but S has an expensive bike habit so it all balances out. And when it comes to things like buying drinks or food out it's so much easier to just pay without having to think about who's covering the bill this time.

    S does earn a smidge more than me especially since I'm a part time freelancer and can't ever guarantee my income, but it's never caused a problem. We see ourselves as a team and pooling our money is a part of that. I also don't think it would bug S if I earned more as he's always said he'd love to be a kept man if I could earn enough for both of us!

    I think parental attitudes are also a major influencing factor in this decision: both my parents and S' have joint bank a/c and so we've both grown up with that model.

  31. Posted October 18, 2011 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    PS Just to add, this topic seems to be the issue that causes the most problems amongst my married and coupled-up friends. Money is such an emotive issue and conflicting ideas over the best course of action seems to be the biggest cause of arguments.

  32. Anonymous
    Posted October 18, 2011 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    Another new anonymous.

    We moved in straight away as he was unemployed and I had a (rented) house and a job and the only way to live in the same country was that.

    He tried to live on his savings while he looked for work but then they ran out.

    He now has a job but is earning about £10,000 less a year than me at the moment. He is very generous with his money, always buys rounds when we are out and tries to pick up the tab in restaurants.

    Most people assume he earns more as he is private sector and I am public sector. Most people don't realise how senior my job is because of the title. I have had friends look at me in astonishment when they find out my salary.

    However I only earn £200 more per month in real terms and save that for our wedding and buying a house. I can save more consistently while he saves his bonuses as and when he gets them.

    The big issue is if and when we have children (we both want to). He expects me to stay at home/ go part time but I am not sure if that will work financially. I'll get a good maternity package so our income wont be tiny for nine months but I really have no idea if I want to go part time or if that will be a relaistic choice financially.

    I don't think we do it right, but have no idea what is the best way. I feel like a spendthrift. Beofr ehim I was inc onstant debt. Being with him has motivated me to sort out my financial situation AND get a better paying job but I feel like I am letting him down as he is so much better with money than me. I worry that he has to carry me financially as I don't do my bit.

    BUT then he never seems to remember to do the food shopping when it is his turn so I end up paying. I don't think I could share everything with him financially without feeling bad every time I buy shoes (I buy shoes a lot and feel bad enough as it is).

    These comments have at least helped me frame my thoughts. I think this is something we need to discuss more.

  33. Laurie
    Posted October 18, 2011 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    Money is pretty much the only thing we aregue about in the run up to our wedding and I wish it wasn't such a big deal.

    Both our parents are divorced and I think as a result we both believe in having our own money – whilst I admire the couples who just have one pot it wouldn't work for us. I would feel guilty spending money on clothes and girlie nights out if I hadn't earned that money myself, and my mum has ingrained into me a need to be self-sufficient 'just in case'. Whilst that doesn't sound very romantic I agree with the principle.

    We have seperate accounts (as an aside we also have seperate linen baskets and do our own washing which some of our couple friends find odd/hilarious!). The rent and bills come out of mine, because I earn more and because for 3 of the almost 5 years we have been together the mister has been training to be a primary teacher/supply teaching so sans a steady salary. The mister then gives me what he can each month.

    I don't for one minute mind paying for more stuff, as I love the fact that he has now found a vocation which he adores, and which he is awesome at. When it comes to saving for the wedding however I sometimes get fustrated about the little amount he has been able to put aside. I know I shouldn't, it's just hard to shake.

    I look forward to the day we earn the same and put the same amount into the pot because I know he doesn't enjoy not being able to contribute as much as I can. However I see it as fair game as hopefully in a couple of years he will be supporting me whilst I am on maternity leave.

    Excellent post and found reading all the comments really useful

    Laurie x

  34. Sarah
    Posted October 18, 2011 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    Eek, money. I feel like I spend way too much time thinking, talking and worrying about money since we got married, it's sad!
    We have a joint account for bills and the mortgage as well as dreaded loan repayments. We consolidated our separate debts into one loan a year ago, and we split all these joint payments down the middle by both paying a set amount into the joint account each month from our own current accounts where our salaries go. At the moment this works well – to all intents and purposes our money is shared, as if one of us needs money until payday, the other will pay for whatever and vice versa as we get paid at different times of the month (yes, we do still act like students and spend most of our salaries in the first two weeks!)It just means we have our own bank cards and can buy things like presents and shoes without 'asking'. This works fine, until you throw the potential issue of children into the mix. Until recently, I earned more than my husband, but his wage is now the same as mine almost exactly, and there is more chance of progression in his job. We're used to splitting everything down the middle, but if we have children there will be a big pay cut for me as my company offers minimal maternity pay and I'd like to work part time for a while. Of course, my husband will support us, but it really scares me that we will still have all our bills and mortgage and debts to pay, but on a greatly reduced income. Many of my friends already earned a lot less than their partners, so having children hasn't made much difference to them financially as their other halves have already been footing 'the big things'. I feel bad for feeling envious, but I do. I feel as though always contributing equally and both working hard to afford our house hasn't really done us any favours as our mortage is based on two earnings not one. Do other people look way ahead into the future and plan for kids as soon as they start working and looking to buy a house? I feel we were more fluid but also feel a bit stupid. x

  35. Posted October 18, 2011 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    Oh this is all so interesting and often fraught.

    We keep things fairly separate. We have a joint account for the bills and the mortgage but everything else we keep to ourselves. We had a joint savings fund for the wedding that we put contributions from friends/family in to as well as topping it up ourselves.

    He earns more than me and probably always will. He's much more of a spender than me, I'm a thrifty saver girl. It sounds mad when I earn less than him but I'd feel annoyed if all was joint and he was spending loads of "our" money on frippery whereas I feel fine knowing that he spends his own money as he wishes and I save mine as I wish!

    I get joy from not spending and knowing that the money I've saved will be there if I want something bigger at a later date. I'd just be paranoid that he'd go and spend it on the new iphone!!

    When it comes down to big expenses we tend to cover them 50/50 from savings.

    The only thing that isn't equal is the car. He buys almost all the petrol and we split everything else 60/40 with him paying more because he uses it to commute.

    I don't think it will be sustainable and I think when we have children things will become more complicated but who knows we'll just have to adapt our setup as we go along I think.

  36. Posted October 18, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    Interesting post and comments!!

    All of our money goes into one joint account and there is never an issue over who earned what – sometimes if I'm having a really good month i earn more, or if it's a slow month he will.

    We both have some debts which we are paying off together, and all of the bills go out of this account too. If either of us wants something, we get it, and if it's something big/expensive then we'll just talk about it. We see ourselves as a team and are always helping each other out – there's never an issue of owing each other anything or who should pay for what and this works really well for us! :)

    Leah xx

  37. Posted October 18, 2011 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    To the 'one pot-ers' – I agree in principle (insofar as I would consider both of our incomes to be 'our' money) but I can't see it would be practical for us.

    I attribute this to the fact he's a conscientious saver and I'm a spender. He derives pleasure from watching the figures in our accounts go up whereas I like to sit on our bedroom floor cooing over a shiny new shoe box! This way I can use my account to make me happy with completely unnecessary purchases and he can't annoy me with his reluctance to buy himself anything nice!

    SJM x

  38. Posted October 18, 2011 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    I'm interested to read how few people go down the one-pot approach… or is that just the audience of this blog being generally more independently-minded?

    We've had a single pot since we bought our flat together with everything going in and out of that. At first we paid ourselves a small amount a month out of that as "spending money" for clothes, going out with the girls/boys etc, but eventually that died away.

    I feel the same way about it as Kirsty and Frankie – now we're married we are a team, and it would seem strange to me to still have to decide who pays for dinner etc. It very much feels like *our * money, and as neither of us have massive spending habits it hasn't been a problem. If we want/need to buy something big, we'll talk about it.

    However we have pretty similar earnings – I don't know if I would feel different if there was a big difference in our pay and I felt like I was spending his money, or the other way around.

  39. Mahj
    Posted October 18, 2011 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    I used to have a job that paid me a decent salary and so I didnt mind sharing costs with the Martin. Then we moved in together and got a joint a/c which we pay money for our bills into. The remainder of our wages we have in our seperate bank a/c's and we spend how we wish. And this worked great…until I was made redundant a few years back.

    The market was really bad then (isnt is still?!) and I ended up being offered a job that was considerably less money. As luck would have it, the interest rates dropped dramatically, so we had weeny mortgage payments. But I was still on less money.

    Martin now earns considerably more than me, but my damn pride wont allow him to pay for anymore. I think he pays for one bill more than I do. He treats me to dinner out and little bits here and there all the time and whilst I love the gesture, I hate that I cant repay the favour.

    The way he views it is that we are married and its his pleasure to help me out, but I really wish I could pay him back. Just sometimes.


  40. Posted October 18, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    Ruddy hell ladies! I can't believe the response to this – it's one of those topics so close to everyone's heart – it's hard not to have an opinion on it, isn't it.

    Clare's having some difficulty commenting at the moment (she's lost access) but I know she massively appreciates all the time you've taken to comment – as do Aisling and I. It's fascinating to see the differences in opinion and how different people handle it in different ways.

    I for one am going to broach the "one pot" approach with Mr K to see what he thinks – anything to help get rid of that pesky chip on my shoulder!

  41. Posted October 18, 2011 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

    Ladies, your stories and advice and yourselves generally are all AMAZING.

    Interestingly, Phil and I are in talks currently to adopt the ONE ACCOUNT approach-Kirsty, Frankie, Leah etc, I'll be using your thoughts as pro-ONE ACCOUNT evidence, so thank you!

    There's so many branches of 'the money thing' we could go down, I find talk of business expenses etc completely fascinating, then the points about surviving on 'one' income for children, or re-training/learning are so close to home for me.

    I love you all for teaching me so much, a learning day is always a good day!

    You're a fantastic bunch of women and whatever your situation, or your feelings about said situation, you all inspire me. Thank you!


  42. Posted October 18, 2011 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

    I'm with Anna and Aisling 100% – it is SO interesting to read about all your different plans and thoughts and worries. I think this is the third time today I've popped back to read the latest comments – pretty sad!

    Interestingly, a lot of the later comments seem to be straying beyond the practicalities of financial management into the thorny topic of the two-income trap, which is a phenomenon that simultaneaously interests and terrifies me (I keep meaning to buy the book) – another post for another day, perhaps, AOW?

  43. Posted October 18, 2011 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

    I've checked in about 5 times, so don't feel bad Kirsty!

  44. Posted October 18, 2011 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

    Make that 6, just wanted to say this has provoked an interesting discussion chez Stendall tonight. Go AOW!

  45. Posted October 18, 2011 at 10:56 pm | Permalink

    Bit late to the discussion but thought I'd offer up our situation too. We had separate accounts up until we got engaged, and then we decided that it made a lot of sense, to us, financially, to combine our income. We both earn similar roughly the same, our outgoings are generally the same in terms of going out with and without one another, and we were just getting a bit fed up of constantly thinking about who had spent more money on food and sorting out money for holidays, presents and the like.
    For us, it works really well – M hates thinking about money, and has a real guilt complex about spending it, so it helps him a huge amount to have someone else take the pressure off (and to have someone say that we can afford to spend money on things we want); so I keep track of how much money's in the bank, pay the bills, look after our savings account etc. If we need to reign in our more frivolous spending then I tell him, or if we're doing much better than usual then I'll tell him, but otherwise it doesn't get discussed a huge amount largely because he'd rather not think about it, and if that makes him feel more comfortable and less (irrationally) worried that creditors will come bashing down our door, then it makes my life (and his) a lot easier. In terms of spending, M buys little and often (usually to feed his jazz habit), and I tend to be the opposite – I'll have a splurge every now and again, usually when I want some new clothes – so it all works out quite well.
    I guess our point of view is kind of "what's mine is yours" – neither of us are the kind to go crazy, and we'd never buy something massive or extravagant without consulting the other, which obviously helps. Obviously, I don't know how or whether this would change if one of us lost our jobs/earned less or more money, but I guess we see our joint finances as another way to support each other, and hopefully that will continue.
    Really interesting to read about everyone else's way of doing things – I do think it's a case of finding a way that's comfortable and sensible for the two of you.

  46. Posted October 20, 2011 at 1:51 am | Permalink

    Well, I thought I might as well add my two cents!!

    We are poor as church mice! And, he is studying to be a Chef.

    We are having a joint asset marriage – you can actually choose to have a joint or separate asset marriage where we are getting married. (Is this the same in the UK? I dont know!)

    I earn more money than he does, pay the rent etc. But, it is his turn to study – the deal is as long as he covers his studies and certain things I dislike paying for (cigarettes!) I cover everything else. Its not for ever and he works hard.

    We dont have too many problems with money, but do argue sometimes at the end of the month when we can only eat rice!

    When we so have money, however, we do argue slightly over what to do with it – for example our wedding guests are giving us money as wedding presents. I would like to go on honeymoon to a snazzy country (like Morocco). He would like to buy a car. Of course, I know this is the probably the right thing to buy, but I would like a honeymoon!! :)

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Hello! We're Clare, Aisling and Anna and welcome to a corner of the world where smart, flawed, real women talk about the bigger picture; about their experiences, stories and opinions on all aspects of being a woman today, from marriage to feminism to pretty, too.

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