Marriage and Money

Wise words here this morning, readers. How do you and your beloved manage your finances? Beyond the initial ‘which bank account?!’ dilemma, there is so much to think about and Courtney has outlined her experiences brilliantly.

I’ll hand over to Courtney and we’re looking forward to hearing about how your ’financial house’ is organised… 


Wisdom comes with experience. Experience comes with age. I wouldn’t call myself wise or old, but I do have some experience under my belt that I will share with you in this piece. I am a 30ish year old woman in my 5th year of marriage. My husband and I had our first child 11 months ago and are working on our next. Life is pretty good at this point but it hasn’t always been this easy. We didn’t have two dimes to rub together when we got married. We had no plan. We were “winging it!”

The first couple of years had some rough patches. The reason wasn’t that we weren’t compatible or that living together was driving us crazy. All of our problems stemmed from our finances. We just weren’t on the same page. Creating a financial plan and sticking to it is why we are still together and happy today.  

Roles and Responsibilities

My hubby and I sat at our hand me down kitchen table a couple years back to get our financial house in order. We asked each other, “where do we start?” The answer that came to us was to each have tasks that we were responsible for. This way we were held accountable for those tasks. This eliminated so many fights, because most of the time we would argue about how the other one didn’t pay a bill or spent too much. Now we hold each other in check and rarely fight about money.

When you create your financial plan as a couple it is important to spell out what each of your roles and responsibilities are. For example, you may pay all of the bills and balance the accounts, while he gathers information about investments. However you split up the tasks that are necessary to be financially sound, it is incredibly important that each of you know what your job is in the financial picture. 


It just so happens that I’m the spouse that’s good with numbers and very detail oriented. My husband is the “idea” guy that can get you motivated but then is off to the next thing. That is probably why we make such a good team. My role and responsibility, when it comes to our finances, is to keep a budget. My husband brings me his receipts at the end of each day so I can enter them into our budget. We made one simple rule at our kitchen table years back. Don’t spend more than you take in! This is a simple equation that far too many people get wrong.

Financial stress is the leading reason for divorce. By simply living within your means you can avoid so many fights about money. Be cautious with credit and don’t get in over your head. We use the envelope system to ensure we don’t spend too much. Once we have calculated our budget, we put cash in envelopes for each item in our budget. Once we run out of money in that envelope we can’t spend any more money for that item. For example, about a month ago my husband went grocery shopping and took the “grocery” money envelope. He went a little overboard and didn’t have enough money for the groceries in his cart! He was embarrassed and could have taken out his credit card to pay for the difference. Instead, he took some items out that weren’t necessarily needed so he had enough money to pay for everything. It is this kind of discipline that breeds financial success.


I remember when the only thing we insured was our cars. The only reason we insured the cars was because we were legally obligated to. Imaging what would happen if your home or car was damaged or destroyed. Would you and your spouse be able to recover financially? Protect your financial well being with the right insurance policies. If you rent an apartment, get apartment insurance. This policy will replace all of your belongings in your apartment or rental home in the event of a fire or theft. You may also want to consider life insurance policies so your other half would be financially secure in case anything happened to you. These policies can be extremely inexpensive if you purchase them while you are young.

Communicate, communicate, communicate! When issues arise (and they will) be completely open with your communication. I won’t sugar coat it; marriage isn’t always easy. Setting yourselves up for success from the very beginning and being open with your finances will give you the best chance to be prosperous in your marriage!


Categories: Marriage, Money and Career
7 interesting thoughts on this


  1. Rach
    Posted March 20, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    Great post. My husband and I work really hard on our financial planning and on making sure that we communicate. We each have our role – I balance the accounts and pay the bills/budget etc and he sorts out everything to do with insurance policies/investment etc. Our shared responsibility helps us to really focus on what we want to do in the future money-wise and strengthens our partnership.

  2. Ginny
    Posted March 20, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    This is incredibly sound advice, the only thing I would add is don’t just ‘consider’ life insurance as it is one of the most important things you can do to safe guard your spouse and (if you have them) children.

    The other thing that is so, so important is having a will, both living and end of life. You might think you know what your spouse wants, but have you actually discussed it? It’s very easy to think you will always know what your partner wants but when someone dies you have to contend with not only what you think but family as well and it can quickly become a very tangled web. The easiest way to cut through all of this is to make sure your/your partners wishes are carried out the way they want them to with a will.
    It saves both headache and heartache when someone is very clear about their wishes once they pass.

  3. VictoriaC
    Posted March 20, 2012 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

    I completely agree with Courtney you need to be on the same page. I’m personally always surprised by the amount of friends that despite being married keep completely separate accounts and ‘financial lives’ from their partner that just would not work for me. We do the same we split the responsibilities between us, keep a joint bank account and make all financial decisions equally.

  4. Posted March 20, 2012 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

    Really helpful post, thanks! :-)

    We manage our finances together, we set aside one evening a month to check all the bills, accounts and budgets and then each month if anything needs to be addressed we decide who has the most time to do it and assign jobs that way. This works better for us than having set roles all the time.

    K x

  5. Zan
    Posted March 21, 2012 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    I’ve only properly read this post today and it’s got lots of sound advice. I’ve been living with my partner for about 5 months and we’ve only recently got to grips with the financial ‘stuff’. Hasn’t been easy at times, esp. as I’ve moved in with him, into a house he owns, so everything bill-wise was in his name and we’ve not been able to change to both our names on everything. We have now got a joint account which we put a set amount into each month for bills etc and that’s working well.

    I think for us, the trickiest thing was that we’re both very independent and getting our head around the concept of things being ‘ours’ rather than ‘mine’ or ‘yours’. But we’re getting there…slowly…!

  6. Posted March 24, 2012 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    This is interesting- is talking about the same issues this week, and its great to see so many perspectives on these issues. I do wonder though, how do you figure out what to do? I have no clue when it comes to finances, I can sort of plan these things but keeping track and managing bills or investing is still over my head in some ways (I’ve never had any money to invest, and the only bills I’ve ever had before are rent or student loans). Can anyone recommend a good book for learning to deal with your own finances? Its nerve-wracking to learn as you go when the risks of failure are actually quite high…

  7. Sam
    Posted September 4, 2012 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

    I got married in June and we’ve just started thinking about how we should be handling our finances. I understand we should be budgeting (we’re both relatively good with our own money) and planning, but it’s how we go about this that is making my head hurt at the moment. It seems like a massive topic, so if anyone has stumbled across any helpful advice or websites, do share.

    In terms of books, I read Merryn Somerset Webb’s “Love is not enough” a year or two ago. I think it’s a really good primer. There isn’t much in there on the practical aspects of how to manage your finances jointly though.

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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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