Separate But Equal
Mr. Cabbage and I are a duel income no kids (DINK) couple and we will NEVER EVER combine our finances. We have both been in marriages where we combined finances and the other person had different or no financial goals. I am now in a relationship where I am open about my finances and financial goals and it is wonderful having someone support my dreams like that. Sorry too much cheese? Mmmmm cheeeeeese!
I was married to someone who did not know the login to our bank account or credit card accounts and just assumed I always had everything handled and he could spend whatever he liked on whatever he liked. HOW do you respect someone who can’t login to ANY of their financial institutions? I could (hypothetically) have bought a $700 plane ticket home from Vegas after missing my return flight on a business and he never would have known.
Mr. Cabbage was in a marriage that caused him to have to claim bankruptcy. Neither of us ever want to be in situations like those again, yet both of us totally respect each other’s opinions, advice and we share our goals and want to work toward them closely together.
We split everything. Every time we get groceries, go out to eat, travel or buy a new mattress one person pays and we put it in a spreadsheet in GoogleSheets of our expenses. We have columns in our sheet for what the expense was, who paid it, and how much the other person owes. Then at the bottom we can tally who paid what and who owes what. We don’t use the spreadsheet for our utilities or household expenses. We have those split and we each pay one or two of them and it works out pretty well. For everything else though, we keep a running tally, but we don’t really worry about paying it back unless it gets too lopsided.
We’ve been doing this since the month after we started dating. We have gone on five international trips together, numerous other vacations, a ton of concerts, comedy shows and hockey games and it has always worked. I’m not good about saving receipts, but I check my two credit card and my bank statements all online about once a week and transfer all our shared expenses into the sheet. I do have to save the grocery receipt and things that aren’t a neat fifty-fifty split and keeping those suckers is the trickiest part.
What Makes it Work?
We don’t nickel and dime each other, that could make this method a huge problem. We also don’t need the money to be evened out right away, we have a little leeway to let the tally ride.
Both of us believe one person paying the lion’s share of the expenses in relationships (where both people work and earn nearly the same – like us); is terribly unfair and can lead to bitterness and dependence on someone else to get us to our financial goals (or not). Also, it could lead to a dependence that would make someone stay in a relationship they are no longer interested in simply because they like the lifestyle or don’t know the bank account login.
I am not sleeping with Mr. Cabbage because he bought me dinner and dessert… hell with our irritable stomachs, if we didn’t do it before dinner we might be out of luck anyway. We dress up and sleep together because we have amazing times out or want to kick the night off on the right foot and not because we owe it to anyone.
I’ve never done this is a relationship before. Mr. Cabbage has and we’ll have to ask him what worked and didn’t work in the past. I do know that it always leaves me with a sense of balance. We do speak up when one of us doesn’t have something in our budget and we decide whether it is really important or just something to do.
Tell me: How do you and your spouse/significant other handle your budget and do you have the same financial goals that you are working toward together?