Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Trailing/Traveling Spouse talks $$$

Slate has a five-part series on how to manage money as a couple, which has made me think J and I need to talk about some stuff.  Currently we are what the article refers to as Sometimes Sharers, meaning we make our own money, keep it in separate accounts, but use a shared credit card for shared expenses.  It's also reminded me that I currently am a really bad budgeter for a lady in her late 20s.  That is, I don't budget at all, and I've regulated my spending pace so that I never really look at my account.  I think about this every few months and say I'm going to start paying attention to my Mint account, but this never happens.

Currently, J has everything in his name because he lived in our current house before I moved in. So, we pay for shared expenses on a shared credit card, and at the end of the month he splits everything in two and I write him a check.  I don't have to answer for my craft store splurges, but I do have to answer for the accidental priority shipping of a 10-pound wedding gift this weekend.

When we move, all of that will change. As much as talking about money makes this grey, cold day seem drearier, I'll probably feel better if we break the ice on our finances.  I really don't want our first fight about money to happen when I'm in a new town without a job.  I told J I don't want to have an allowance, and he said, "You won't get an allowance-- BECAUSE I AM SO MEAN!" Oh, I love that man.


  1. The Beef and I had a similar conversation last weekend. I realized that for my own ego, I can't stomach an allowance or writing him a check. That being said, we'll see what happens when/if I can't find a job after I follow him to a new town.

  2. I know I spent the first 18 years of my life accepting money and help from my parents, but after a decade of doing it for myself, I have no idea what kind of funk will descend when I am no longer making my own money. I know J, the student, is looking forward to a non-student-paycheck, but I'm happy as a lark with how much I'm making and where it puts me. For all intents and purposes, I'm the breadwinner in terms of money made. That's going to change so drastically.

  3. I hate the money talk. My partner and I have it every few months, just as a check-up of sorts, since I do the budget but we both do the shopping. We both work, so it's worked for us to keep separate accounts and a joint account, and just deposit like 70% of our separate incomes into the joint account. But I don't know how that would go if one of us wasn't working. What would be a good alternative to an allowance? It seems unnecessarily retrograde.

  4. For a long time I thought that I knew how to budget because as an adult I've never had to borrow money from anyone else (unless you count a credit card). I recently realized that what I've actually been doing is, as you put it, regulating my spending pace rather than making actual budgeting decisions and sticking to them religiously. I really don't know how to do that. I have a Mint.com account, but every time I try to use it to organize my finances I get lost in the minutia of it all. How can you learn how to budget without it taking up hours of your time?


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