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When you get married or move in with your significant other, you merge more than just your finances, but the discussion about money is something that every couple should sit down and have, prior to tying the knot or signing a lease together.
When my husband and I first talked about marriage, we were practical before romantic and talked about our finances in detail. We shared with one another how much money we made and joked about how much debt we were bringing into the relationship.
One of the first things we did before getting married, was put together a spreadsheet with our income and expenses. Both of us created our own, separately, shared them with each other and then thoughtfully came up with one spreadsheet based on our combined income and expenses. We started speaking in terms of “we” and “us,” focusing on how to reduce our bills and working together to come up with a budget that was both realistic and fair.
Since we got married, I’ve taken over the responsibility of paying our bills, mostly because having one person manage the money seems to make the most sense for us. While we do have separate accounts still we have pulled all of our info together into a joint account at Mint.com which easily keeps track of what we’re spending and manages our budget for us.
Major purchases are always discussed ahead of time so we know what to set aside and how much we can truly afford. The only downside to having easy access to all of this information is that neither of us can surprise the other with a gift since every penny is tracked and organized into specific categories. Of course, that’s what cash is for.
While there are many important details to discuss prior to the wedding day, couples should recognize that money matters are nearly always a point of disagreement when not discussed in advance. Schedule a time to sit down with your partner to talk about who will pay the bills, how much you plan on saving, investing, and spending. You’ll be glad you did.
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