Mr. LSF and I have been married for 3 years now, but for the first 2.5 years of our marriage, we managed our finances separately. Heck we even bought a house without combining our finances.
I honestly don’t even remember why we thought this was a good idea, but we must have at some point. We did have a joint checking account that the mortgage and other bills were pulled out of. We communicated regularly about how much we needed to transfer into it to make sure the bills were covered, so we didn’t totally have our heads in the sand. We were also both saving money on our own, and had similar spending habits. Surprisingly, it worked for us. We didn’t fight over money and we still saved a decent amount, and all the bills were paid on time.
Once I discovered the idea of financial independence, I realized how little we really knew about where our money was going. We started talking more about how much we were saving, and compared it to how much we were making. Eventually we asked ourselves, “Where is all of our money going, we should be able to save more than this!” So we ditched our individual checking accounts and started using just our joint account.
Combining our finances allowed us both to see our entire financial picture, here are some of the great things that happened once we did that:
It allowed us to see how much money we were collectively spending on discretionary things, like going out to eat. This motivated us to cut out going out to eat, which saves us around $125 a month.
- We saw what percent of our income was going to flexible but mandatory spending, like groceries. I had already been meal planning, but looking at a concrete number to reduce gave me the motivation to switch grocery stores, which saves us around $75 a month
- It forced us to communicate about our finances more, which is great for our marriage. This got us to finally pulled the trigger on getting rid of the PMI on our mortgage, which saves us around $120 a month
- Seeing how much cash we both had individually saved motivated us to open a brokerage account and start investing in low fee index funds. We should have done this way sooner, but better late than never!
- We started working on our financial goals and plans, which will set us up for success in the future.
It’s crazy how much we easily cut out of our monthly expenses just by combining our finances and communicating. Of course, you and your partner can still accomplish these things without combining your finances, but for us I think it made us feel like more of a team.
At the end of the day, you have to have a financially strategy that works for you and your partner. For some people, that might mean separate finances, and there is nothing wrong with that!
What do you guys think? Did you combine your finances with your significant other? Drop a note in the comments!