Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Are You A Onesie...Or A Twosie?

If you're in a relationship...or a marriage, like yours truly and Husband, who have been married 29+ years...how do you handle your finances? Do you keep everything in the same pot - or do you divide income and bills up by person, or proclivity? Do you split the chores the same way?

Get Rich Slowly does some comparisons on this subject, based partly on an interview J.D. Roth and his wife Kris were quoted in Redbook.  J.D. and Kris split their accounts, then combine to pay the bills. They divide chores based on their interests and what they call the "laundry principle:" the person that has the least negative feelings about the chore is the one who does it. (J.D. hates the laundry; Kris doesn't mind doing it. Thus the name.)

The Brick and I have combined our accounts from day one. We both felt strongly that our money -- like our life -- was to be treated as a whole. (The Bible's reference to the 'two being one flesh' wasn't meant to be taken lightly.) We have three major accounts: the home account (with a secondary emergency account), a 'Cindy Brick' account used for the business, and a third 'Brickworks' account used for temporary holding.
    We also keep a secondary savings that gradually accumulates money for long-term expenses like home/auto insurance and property taxes, things like that. (Ten percent of everything I earn goes into that account - which seems to accumulate juuuust enough for these once-a-year bills.)
     Also, a small amount is pulled monthly for Husband's 401K (matched partly by his employer), and a small amount goes to my account - same reason. (No matching, though, darn it.)
     The secondary savings contains a sub-account that we for vacations and Big Dreams.

This 'sub-this-and-that' accounting method works great for us. I think it's most effective, though, because we trust each other. (Judge Judy is littered with the corpses of bank accounts based on people who weren't worth trusting.) We also have a general 'rule' that anything more than $40 (actually, closer to $100) isn't purchased except by mutual consent. Husband has been buying junk silver lately, and I'll purchase a quilt now and then that doesn't follow this 'rule,' but otherwise, we stick pretty close to it.
    One thing really helps: saving up gradually for vacations or once-a-year expenses. It's especially good for snagging vacation bargains -- when that steal suddenly arrives (and just as quickly disappears), we've got the money to buy it now.

The chores, now -- that's a whole different story.


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