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Combined or separate checking

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  • Combined or separate checking

    Just for fun, wanted to see what peoples' opinions are.

    My wife and I do a combined checking and combined credit card (CSR to rack up points).  I find that it helps to keep each other accountable to purchases (I am big on needs vs wants and not buying junk, I am a minimalist).  I know some of my friends do separate side pots with a combined account for shared expenses (mortgage, groceries).  I wonder if this leads to more spending though.

  • #2
    I actually feel fairly strongly that married people should have basically totally combined finances. I guess in a special situation like if one person had generational wealth maybe you could talk me out of it.

    At most maybe have an account for each for spending w/o discussing w/ spouse but that should not be primary checking. My wife and I do this but it is with a truly trivial amount of money (total <1% of AGI between the 2 accounts). It's basically for saving for the few purchases that really cause the other to raise an eyebrow.

    Maybe someone can convince me otherwise but you're sharing a home, a bed, kids, etc. Just seems odd to keep money divided.


    • #3
      We are in the "one big pot camp".  it's just easier IMO

      The only thing separate is my husband has a separate checking account and CC for his LLC. only LLC expenses for that account. (as well as payments to him go in there)....but i actually pay all the bills using the account and then transfer salary money to our joint account.


      • #4


        • #5
          combined, as separation would lead to inevitable "this item for the HH isn't something I think we need to want so you need to buy it if you want it." those would be endless arguments


          • #6

            Way easier for us.

            We sat down and did budgeting for our incomes (which were essentially the same at the time) both agreed to maximize savings, pay our individual debt obligations, pay our proportional share of bills and have our discretionary income out of our checking /saving accounts. She has additional obligations with her parents that she needs to be able to transfer money easily through a previously linked bank account. It was close to 50/50 at the time.

            Got a pay increase and my wife went to locums because of our baby and we readjusted our expenditures, now I pay essentially all of the bills, she covers her student loans and discretionary. She gets to buy her $10 organic, artisan, fair trade, ethically sourced, chocolate and I get to buy my $12 extra hoppy, limited release, small batch microbrew without the other criticism, (judement sure but no criticism, lol).

            Takes trust in a relationship but we review bank statements and retirement accounts every few months to make sure we're on track. And we're about the only ones that do it this way.


            • #7
              She has her own CC but it's paid from the same pot.


              • #8
                Basically separate for over 2 decades with not one squabble about who spent what. With two homes we each cover the expenses of the place we spend the most time in, split car insurance and handle our own savings. Vacations are paid for by the person who wants to go to that locale. Fortunately we are aligned with our financial philosophy, have no kids or family members with their hands out.


                • #9
                  joint checking for both of our pay checks for sure... but do have separate checking accounts that have 500 dollars per paycheck going into each accounts for our own discretionary spending without too much scrutiny by the other ....  we still can see what the other is spending in these accounts but we dont get to question it...


                  • #10

                    joint checking for both of our pay checks for sure… but do have separate checking accounts that have 500 dollars per paycheck going into each accounts for our own discretionary spending without too much scrutiny by the other ….  we still can see what the other is spending in these accounts but we dont get to question it…
                    Click to expand...

                    We have a similar set-up, everything is basically one pot, but each of us gets our own account/CC to spend on whatever.  While these expenses are tracked by our budgeting software, it allows us to buy gifts/whatever without the other person immediately knowing.


                    • #11
                      Yep, combined checking/savings and credit cards here, but with separate checking accounts for various stuff we want to save for.  So, all paychecks go into the joint account, and all bills come out of the joint account.

                      If we're saving for something, we'll agree on an amount to pull from that joint checking each month to put in a separate account.  Our first child is due in May, for example.  We've been pulling $300 out a paycheck and sticking it into another account for the hospital bills, nursery, etc.

                      We have plenty of friends who actively hide accounts, credit cards, and purchases from their spouse.  One may have 10k credit card debt that the other has no idea of.  I could never live like that.  Easier (and happier for us) in the long-run if there's full financial transparency.
                      I should have been a pair of ragged claws. Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.


                      • #12
                        Separate everything for us. We make big decisions about purchases together. She is in charge of short term budgeting, I am in charge of long term investing and retirement. Other than big purchases, we have no idea what the other spends their money on and we like it that way.


                        • #13
                          We have everything combined.  I feel that when you are married it you really both own everything.  We have two cars.  I drive one as much as the other.  Combined checking and we only have the one CC.  I wish we could take the I out of IRA so we could combine those too.

                          Neither of us would bother the other on most things but if I was planning on a larger purchase >$200 we would talk about it first.  Those things are usually something for the house/family anyways so I would want her input.  Come to think of it I buy very little purely for myself.  The occasional book/audiobook


                          • #14
                            We have separate accounts but it's basically out of laziness. That's what we did before we were married and that's what we've done after. Neither of us are big spenders so it has caused exactly zero disagreements so far.


                            • #15
                              We have combined accounts.  She's a signer on everything but my CSR (which she got one of her own--we travel a lot, so we get the full benefits, though we'll likely churn one off in the next year or two).  We use a budgeting software to budget a small amount monthly for each others personal spending--though we've both let ours get much bigger than the monthly "allowance".  When we reconcile our accounts in the budget (we use YNAB), we just don't look @ each other's CSR.  And since loans are paid off, etc, we have plenty of wiggle room, so around holidays, birthdays, we don't reconcile too frequently (really we're at monthly now).

                              Initially she wanted separate accounts, but I saw my parents have lots of money fights doing it that way. She saw fights cause her parents had money fights with joint accounts, cause dad wouldn't let mom spend money on things she thought was important.  So I listened, and while she's still nervous about that, I think we're doing well in that regard.  I know it could be a sticking point, as I'm the larger breadwinner ($350k+ vs. $60kish)--not that I think I'd have survived residency without her, so she gets credit where it's due.