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Separate checking accounts?

Posted by on Jan. 29, 2013 at 1:32 PM
  • 48 Replies

DH and I almost never have an argument about money - except when it comes to spending on the kids.  Check my previous post about the prom dress!  Anyway, last night he said, 'just a thought, what if we had separate checking accounts?', and I said, 'I had actually had that same thought too'.  So I wanted to hear some feedback from the group.

A little background, we both make about the same amount of money per year, we are financially stable, with little to no debt.  I have 2 kids, he has one, that all live with us.  He works overtime sometimes, and when he does he makes a big check, but I get a good size child support check every month, so it really averages out to be the same at the end of the year.

What do you think?  I'm hesistant because it's kind of breaking away from each other a bit and that scares me.  I'm also scared that somehow I'll end up on the short stick and broke all the time.  I guess I need some help making sure I think it the whole way through too!  Thanks!

by on Jan. 29, 2013 at 1:32 PM
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Replies (1-10):
sid1083
by Bronze Member on Jan. 29, 2013 at 1:46 PM

I myself have always preferred keeping most money separate, but have a small joint account on the side for things like family trips. Kept things cleaner for me that way.

shannon2012
by Member on Jan. 29, 2013 at 1:49 PM

We do seperate as well.  His money is his and mine is mine.  We have split the bills as well so we each pay our certain bills to run the house.  He makes a lot more than me so he takes are of the bigger ones.  We do have a savings that is joint for trips and things.

sleeblended
by on Jan. 29, 2013 at 1:51 PM

 We have a joint savings account as well, and we take two big trips a year, one adult trip and one with kids...do you each put a set amount in there each month?

Quoting shannon2012:

We do seperate as well.  His money is his and mine is mine.  We have split the bills as well so we each pay our certain bills to run the house.  He makes a lot more than me so he takes are of the bigger ones.  We do have a savings that is joint for trips and things.

 

Derdriu
by Gold Member on Jan. 29, 2013 at 1:51 PM

Why not have a his, hers, and ours?

That way, you don't have to muss and fuss over splitting bills, figuring up whose responsible for which groceries, etc., and can just pay household out of one account.  When it comes to the kids and extras you wish to do for them, you can do it out of  your personal account. 

PumpkinSpice8
by Silver Member on Jan. 29, 2013 at 1:54 PM
If you can figure out who pays what bills and who pays when you are out and about on the town and who pays for Christmas presents then it could be a very good idea. Just know who is responsible for what so there is no fighting down the road over stuff. And keep in mind if you are each responsible for your own kids stuff and not both parents for all kids you are going to have the bigger strain with two kids and half the bills than he will with one.
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sleeblended
by on Jan. 29, 2013 at 1:55 PM

 I'm afraid that would be more trouble than it's worth, and since I'm the one doing the bills right now, it would be all laid on me.  Plus, part of the fuss is some of the bills - the cell phone for instance.  Before we got married, he said that my kids couldn't have smartphones, or they would have to pay for their own plans.  So my kids had to switch to non-smartphones until they saved up the money to turn their plans back on.  Now when SD17 moved in with us this past July (with her smartphone that was just added to our plan), he wanted to do away with that "pay your own data plan" rule.  I wasn't having it and put my foot down.  She has to go do chores at her grandma's house once a month to make money for her data plan.  It still gripes him.

Quoting Derdriu:

Why not have a his, hers, and ours?

That way, you don't have to muss and fuss over splitting bills, figuring up whose responsible for which groceries, etc., and can just pay household out of one account.  When it comes to the kids and extras you wish to do for them, you can do it out of  your personal account. 

 

Birdseed
by Platinum Member on Jan. 29, 2013 at 1:56 PM

Different things work for different people.  

I'm not familiar with your prom dress post, but your statement about "being broke" leads me to believe though that although you don't like him spending more money than you approve of on his child, you want him to be chipping in so you're not the only one spending money on your kids.  So that sounds like a very slippery slope to me and one where there could be a lot of resentment.

Would it maybe make more sense to establish some guidelines for expenditures with the kids?  Like set aside X amount for fun stuff or non-necessities each month--a "FUN FUND" and then when there are things that his child or your kids want that is out of the norm, the money comes from there?

My husband and I have covered pretty much all of the financial positions at this point:  both working with him making more and paying only "his bills" and stuff for his kids and me covering my own expenses, me working and him without a job so me paying for everything, me working with him working and not making much but spending what he did make mostly on the kids, and now him working and me not working and him spending money on the kids--often beyond our budget to be honest.

Having separate accounts doesn't exactly solve the problem when you have fundamentally different ideas about what constitutes a reasonable expenditures--whether on the kids or a hobby or going out to dinner.  Even if the money is separate, you still know the money is being spent.

A prom dress isn't a quarterly expenditure and it can be a really big deal for a young lady.  Again, never saw that thread but maybe he just wanted to make it really special for her.  Maybe one of your kids will want something ever so badly that is a bit of a reach but you desperately want to be able to give it to him/her.  The tables may well be turned at some point.

I think that were I in your shoes (and I guess I have been), I'd focus more on the communication with your husband and identifying limits AHEAD of time, before emotion gets the best of either of you.

After a particularly over the top Christmas, I sat down with DH and asked him to please help come up with a monthly budget that we can put towards activities for the kids.  I want them to be able to participate in sports, music, drama, art, get to fly to Mom's or grandpa and grandma's, have nice clothes for school, etc.  But we need to pay bills, buy groceries, and put gas in the car too.  Being on a budget isn't shameful and it can really be a good teaching tool for the kids to learn that money doesn't grow on trees and there are limits.

Having a conversation when there was nothing looming on the horizon was MUCH more comfortable for both of us.  We now have a monthly amount that we're putting into an account just for travel expenses for the kids for example. DH spoke with BM about the last minute flight stuff and how we just can't do that anymore so trips will need to be mapped out in advance so that we can take advantage of better prices.  They are working together to plan out trips for the rest of the year so I can price shop for fares well in advance, I know how much money I have to work with without feeling like I have to rob my grocery budget to make trips happen, DH has agreed that we won't spend more than we've got, and honestly, I think everyone is a little happier.

That was my long winded way of saying that I think you should just discuss putting together a budget rather than splitting up all of your finances.  


sleeblended
by on Jan. 29, 2013 at 1:58 PM

 I don't know about that...I love my SD, she's a very sweet girl, but she has very expensive tastes.  My DD19, she has a job (at a teen consignment shop that SD refuses to shop at) and she is very conservative with her money.  DS14, he knows what it's like to be poor too, so I won't have a problem their either until next year rolls around and it's time to buy him a car!

Quoting PumpkinSpice8:

If you can figure out who pays what bills and who pays when you are out and about on the town and who pays for Christmas presents then it could be a very good idea. Just know who is responsible for what so there is no fighting down the road over stuff. And keep in mind if you are each responsible for your own kids stuff and not both parents for all kids you are going to have the bigger strain with two kids and half the bills than he will with one.

 

macbudsmom
by Silver Member on Jan. 29, 2013 at 2:04 PM

How will you split the bills?

Derdriu
by Gold Member on Jan. 29, 2013 at 2:05 PM

 So get two separate cell plans?  His and hers?  If he doesn't want to treat the kids equally - and it sounds like that's the case both with the phones and the prom dress - then you'd have to split anything involving the kids anyway.

It really doesn't have to be complicated.  If you figure that the household expenses figure at, say, an average 60% of income, then put 65-70% of your paychecks to joint and the rest to "fun money" accounts.  The only thing you'd each need for his/hers accounts is a debit card and access to check your balance.  You don't have to manage his; he doesn't have to manage yours.  Write the bills as usual out of joint.  It only has to be complicated if you or he (or both of ya'll) is pinching a little here and there from the joint to accommodate the kids.  They may have to hear "no" from time to time, depending on how well ya'll manage/stretch your respective fun monies.


Quoting sleeblended:

 I'm afraid that would be more trouble than it's worth, and since I'm the one doing the bills right now, it would be all laid on me.  Plus, part of the fuss is some of the bills - the cell phone for instance.  Before we got married, he said that my kids couldn't have smartphones, or they would have to pay for their own plans.  So my kids had to switch to non-smartphones until they saved up the money to turn their plans back on.  Now when SD17 moved in with us this past July (with her smartphone that was just added to our plan), he wanted to do away with that "pay your own data plan" rule.  I wasn't having it and put my foot down.  She has to go do chores at her grandma's house once a month to make money for her data plan.  It still gripes him.

Quoting Derdriu:

Why not have a his, hers, and ours?

That way, you don't have to muss and fuss over splitting bills, figuring up whose responsible for which groceries, etc., and can just pay household out of one account.  When it comes to the kids and extras you wish to do for them, you can do it out of  your personal account. 

 


 

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