The Truth About Combined Finances
This whole “what’s mine is yours” concept seems all la la la and fairy dust and stuff, but in reality I find it’s more like, “I would like to share, but at the same time, this sucks a little bit too.” My husband and I have been together for nine and a half years, married for almost three, and we are STILL getting the hang of this combined finances thing.
Why? Because it’s not a teddy bear’s picnic--it’s real life.
Image: Images of Money via Flickr
The funny thing is that before we decided to get married, we had a talk about money. We decided not to combine our finances. We had a system that had worked for six years, and there was no reason to change up the game, right? Yea, in theory, it was a great plan. But when we got married, I quit my nine to fiver to become a penniless writer. So let’s just say that plan went right out the window thanks in large part to me.
That first year was quite the adjustment for both of us. I went from having all my own loot to having, well, none at all. And at first, the jobs weren't exactly rolling in. Slowly but surely we learned how to share. My husband gave me a budget and I had to learn to live with that. Pursuing my dream and having less money to show for it was a trade off, but one I was willing to make.
Now, almost three years later, we are still juggling. I have more writing jobs, he is getting a new job, and we are still learning how to divvy up these shared funds. It’s a work in progress. When I am short for something like gas or groceries, I have to ask him for money. It is still really hard for me to ask for money and that was one of the biggest things I needed to get over when we started this whole combined finances thing. I’m still not entirely over it.
Sometimes there is a distinct groan and that’s when I like to say, “Hey, babe, I am just asking for some of ‘our money.’” But the concept of “ours” is still hard, even after all these years. People like to maintain some sense of independence, and if you’re asking for money, you’re not as independent as you might think. We also have different spending habits and different ideas about what we “need.” For me, if it relates to the kitchen (food, accessories, etc.) then it’s for me. For him, if it is a power tool, or a record or a concert ticket, well, he thinks we “need” it.
In the end, though, we are sharing this life together and that sometimes means our cold hard cash. A lot of couples fight about money and have different ideas about how finances should work; it’s normal to disagree about these things, but in the spirit of marriage, it’s important for everyone to bend a little.
I refuse to be too stressed about the issue of money, and certainly don’t want to fight about it. We have learned to bend, as well as how to stretch a dollar because in a marriage, it’s all coming from the same pot--for better for worse.
So tell me, do you have budget issues with your spouse? Is it hard to talk about money or do you do a great job as a team? Leave it for me in the comments section below!