Welcome back! This is my last post about how my husband, Neill, and I handle finances. I've already dished on the money situation when we dated and then when we moved in together and in this post I want to share with you how we are handling things now that we are married.
For Neill and I, being open and honest with each other about our finances and our financial goals is very important. So, we've been having lots of frank conversations about spending, saving, and goal setting. We try to be 100% transparent with one another and we've decided to take a big step that will help us with
In my last post, I mentioned that we opened up a joint saving account a while ago that we've used in addition to each of our personal saving accounts. Now, however, having our individual accounts just doesn't seem to feel right anymore. Even though both of us have said that whatever we save individually is really for us, we want to make that thought a reality. So, we decided to totally revamp our organization.
With this new set-up neither one of us will keep a personal savings account. We'll only put money into our joint savings. This certainly wasn't something I would have wanted to do originally, but right now it makes the most sense for us.
We decided to keep a total of two joint savings accounts so that we can save money for different purposes. One is a Save for a Rainy Day Account. This is our six-month emergency fund that is not to be touched unless we have . . . an emergency. The second is a Save to Spend Account. This is where we can save for vacations or a new piece of furniture (like maybe that couch I mentioned in my last post!). The only catch? Our numbers aren't quite where we would like them to be. So, we've started a friendly-competition to get into savings gear. We each have a savings goal (different, to accommodate our salary difference) and the first person to reach their goal wins $500 dollars out of the Save to Spend account.
A bonus of merging our savings is that it motivated us to finally set up an emergency fund. Since Neill is still the primary wage earner in the family it is really important to me that we have an emergency fund set aside. We've always known where we might pull money from if we found ourselves in a dire situation, but this is the first time actually pulling the money, setting it aside all in one place, and taking a hard look at whether or not we have enough. I'm really excited about our new plan because I feel like we are a bajiliion steps closer to following through on our new years resolution to be financially secure.
As you’ve probably already gathered, I don't have any secrets to successfully negotiating finances in a relationship. But for us, communicating and being flexible seem to really help. Since we both keep an eye on our finances and discuss them pretty regularly we are able to realize when something isn't working. And, we aren't afraid to switch things up a bit. Who knows? Maybe in another year we'll decide to merge Finances can be a touchy subject to talk about and I think the uneasiness surrounding money-talk makes it extra difficult for couples. So, I thought I'd quiet that little voice in my head that says discussing money isn't appropriate and lay it all out there for everyone. I’d be lying if I said that it was easy! But, I had a good time writing these posts and I hope you've enjoyed reading them! Please do come over to Married in Chicago and say hello from time to time. I’d love to hear from you!
What are your thoughts on merging finances completely? Do you keep a private saving account? What
motivates you to save money?
Alisha is a 20-something newlywed pursuing a doctoral degree in psychology and blogs at Married in Chicago.