How do you share money?
I'm Jewish and nosy (not that kind) so I must know.
Since getting into a relationship many moons ago, I've been fascinated with how different we can all be about money when it came to having to part with my own ...hmm...'hard-earned' (...questionable) dosh. Additionally, whilst working as a Finance Writer, I also got to see this from the inside. It seems every family, friendship, share house and relationship have different ways of sharing money that works for them. Also, I'm Jewish so this topic has got me all hot and heavy before my husband gets home tonight after spending ('our') hard-earned cash on drinks and 'darts' (note: it's a no from me).
For us, my husband and I pretty much share everything, which has evolved over time. We were originally 50/50 (or really, he was perhaps more gallant than I'm letting on), we moved to a 'percentage' system when I was knee-deep in the Barefoot Cult, but honestly, we live together, we got married, we bought a house - it's just 'our' money. Organised and bookmarked by me, the CFO, into varying accounts or 'buckets' (cheers Scott Pape), but it's not mine or his, it's just ours. As my husband Will says, "I make the money and married a Jew to help me save it." I'm not saying this is better or worse, it's just what has ended up working for us.
But with everyone else, whether it's 50/50, all or nothing, percentages or otherwise, have a read of how some of our contributors choose to share their hard-earned dosh.
Taylor* is in a relatively new relationship with a man who earns more than her. "We do pretty much 50/50, but Joe* usually pays for more stuff or more expensive stuff. It’s not really a 'thing' where we have rules or anything. We usually just tend to take it in turns."
Maxine* and Bill* have been dating a few months, and have travelled together as well. "It's not 'set', like 50/50 every time," says Maxine, "He probably pays a bit more as he earns a lot more, but generally one of us will pick up a tab, if we are at the other's house they tend to 'host' and pay for whatever we are doing. When we travelled, we took out the same amount of cash and stored it in one wallet so it wasn't annoying for meals, accommodation, drinks out etc, but if I wanted to buy something for myself, or he wanted stuff, we didn't use the joint money, we used our own".
Couples who live together
Gary* and Pamela* have been together for over a decade, and have never shared money. Pamela says she wouldn't do it any other way. "We have our own bank and savings accounts that we just manage ourselves. Together, we have a shared savings account that we put the same amount of money into per month, and a joint credit card that we put all bills and shared stuff on, like household items. When we go out on a date night or grab brunch etc. we use the joint credit card. Even if it’s not a 50/50 split, we both don’t mind, as there’s no point being petty about splitting a bill and it always comes out in the wash anyway." They're also responsible for their own 'wants' rather than needs. "If it’s something for the house that’s a 'nice to have' that I want, like a throw pillow or candle," says Pamela, "Then I pay for it because I want it. If it’s linen or a new toaster that we both get use out of, then it goes on the joint card. It works really well for us and we have literally never had a single fight or issue with money or each other’s spending."
Long-term couple Nikki (of LAL Podcast fame) and partner Mark are Barefooters (aren't we all?) They have an account for their joint expenses (and little baby Elle!) but their own savings accounts for when she wants some botox eyelash extensions and he wants to get rowdy on Superbowl Monday.
Newlyweds Abe* and Kayla* share all their money. "It's literally just all the same money. We're super boring!" says Abe, "We each have a credit card that's linked to the same account, and then it gets balanced at the end of every month, together".
Lena and Megan have recently celebrated the purchase of their first home together. "We pretty much split 50/50 and put everything on Splitwise" says Lena, "It helps that we like the same things, but maybe the odd thing is just for one. Like, I always get bananas (and she's allergic- terrible!) and she drinks way more coffee than me, but it all comes out in the wash!"
Roommates Sachi and Ali just do everything 50/50, sharing "Everything...shampoo and all!" says Sachi. They also use Splitwise to keep track and just split everything from rent to pizza and tea.
Sadie* has lived in quite a few share houses in her time, and has the drill down pat. "With roomies, aside from rent, we split bills evenly (gas, electricity, water, internet). We each get our own food, and this works for us!" Sadie says they manage this by direct debiting to her account. The roomies share costs for general household items, just putting it on a shared whiteboard when they did the last shop, so it can then be shared across the group evenly.
Similarly, Bronson* has had roomies for years. "We do our own food, share condiments and spices, and bills are all split 'cos It’s central heating. Toilet paper, dish soap and laundry detergent are all shared. So you just do the right thing and buy when it’s your turn."
For share houses, Shaun is a true veteran. He states that "In every house I've ever lived in, bills are split evenly between housemates, regardless of if someone is home more and uses more internet or whatever. With things like toilet paper, dishwashing liquid or laundry detergent, in an ideal world, everyone just pulls their weight and purchases it when it's needed and over time it all evens out, but in reality, it doesn't always happen." When I asked about splitting these costs on an app or card, he added that "In my experience, a little house money jar never works and its usually the people with no money who advocate the most for it. There's always one or two (depending on how many housemates there are) that don't pull their weight, but usually most people do. We usually buy our own food and have our own space in the fridge and pantry."
*Names have been changed.
How do you share bills?