My husband and I moved in together in October 2016. This was my first time living with someone I talked about how we managed our finances those first few months. We’re hardly experts  but we got through splitting expenses while living together for a year. And then our wedding ($$$), and most recently, talking about plans to move and to save for our future. Through that time, we did not get into ay big fights about money so clearly we’re doing something right. Here’s how we manage finances now that we’re married.

How We Manage Finances Now That We’re Married

We were married one year after moving in together, so here’s a 5 month update on how things have changed.

Find a common ground

Our similar spending values are probably the biggest reason we avoid arguing over finances. We both value owning less, investing in fewer things that we really want/need, and in saving. And we both think about purchases before actually making them – something I hope most of you do, too. I realize not all couples are on the same page in terms of spending and saving. If that’s the case, I recommend sitting down together and talking about what works for you. 

Be honest

We were both always very honest about how much we were making and spending from the start. I know that information isn’t always easy to share, but it’s so important to know where you’re both at in terms of spending, saving, and debt. I have a friend who would lie to her husband about spending before they got engaged/ You need to know the habits of the person you see a future with because if you’re not honest, you will end up having some serious problems in the future.

Start with a joint account and credit card for shared expenses

For the first few months of our marriage, we continued to rely on splitwise to track our shared expenses and settled up at the end of the month. After weighing our options, neither of us seemed to have strong opinions about what to do with our finances, but we wanted to combine something, so we opened a joint account for our shared expenses to start. I also added Conor to my credit card so we could pay for all our mutual expenses from our joint account. All our bills (home, car etc), groceries, restaurants, OB appointments, etc. are all paid for from our joint account. Anything “extra” like manicures or lunches with friends comes out of our personal accounts. Ok those come out of my account because I’m the one that does those things.

Keep something separate

Having that separate account has been key. With all the changes that have taken place the past few months, it’s nice to maintain that sense of independence. It isn’t about keeping secrets and ultimately, I know both Conor and I respect each other. Neither of us would buy something we couldn’t afford. But that personal account has allowed us to keep an open dialogue. We can be together while still maintaining that sense of independence we had before getting married. Because sometimes, you just need to splurge on a big sale or new pair of slides, and that’s ok.

Discuss goals and big expenses

It’s important to us that we keep saving each month, so whether you decide on a joint or individual savings, keep saving for your future. We also have some big expenses coming up and want to make sure we’re on the same page, which means communicating and talking through what we both want. We really wanted to go to London this spring but were in the process of buying a home and prepping for baby, so after talking it through, decided it would be best to hold off on a big trip.

Then there’s the small stuff. There are these dining chairs I’ve wanted for our future dining table for forever but they’re a little more than we want to spend, so I told Conor that if he wasn’t comfortable I’d scrap the idea altogether because we have to be on the same page about this stuff. The small things add up both financially and emotionally, and resentment is the last thing you want when it comes to money.

Communicate and be open to change

We split the down payment on our home but our accounts are still separate. Conor thinks we should merge everything into one account so we’re talking about it and will see what happens. I’m not ready. I’m sure things will change once our daughter arrives but this seemed like a good transition during the first few months of marriage, and it’s worked for us.