Thursday, May 23, 2013

Becoming a Combined Income Family

It happens rather quickly. One minute you have your own money, you put half your income towards the bills, then you decide it'd be best to combine your income with your significant other. For James and I this was (and still is) a learning process. When James joined the military money became very confusing. He would send me some money from his account to pay the bills and if I needed more for groceries or something and he was away I'd have to go without. That was when we decided to combine our incomes.

The Beginning

At first we had a hard time keeping track of where the money was. James hates having to check the account balances before using his debit card, so that meant sometimes money was being spent willy-nilly and it occasionally left me with little to spend on the things I wanted. This, of course, led to me trying to figure out how to fix it, which lead to James being stressed (he hates to talk about money, and prefers sticking to old routines).


When James spent his own money he put half of his bills away with each pay and spent whatever remained, with some going into "savings". Of course, when you have car payments that come out of your account bi-weekly and insurance payments that are debited from your account as well that system just doesn't work.

How We Do It

So this is the system we set up that seems to be working.

  • I handle the money. Where it goes, what the budget looks like, what money goes where and how much. 
  • We have a cash diet for spending money.
  • At the end of the month, whatever is left after our spending money has been allotted and the bills have ALL been paid, we send the rest to savings.
We don't work out a budget each month. For the simple fact that I can never tell how much we need to spend on certain items every month. Our only fixed expenses are the car payment, insurance and cell phone bills. The other expenses vary widely. James may not spend money on clothes, and I may not get groceries, or he might need new jeans and I may need to buy $50 worth of groceries. So, if we simply take our incomes, pay the bills when the arise (and use our allotted spending cash on personal items), we should have sufficient funds to put into savings and towards debt at the end of the month.

What system do you find works well for you and your significant other?

Were you looking for a complete budget how-I-do-it? Here is Jen's budget binder from IHeart Organizing. :) I deliver for my peeps.