Another Way to Approach Splitting the Bills (What’s Your Method?)

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sharing bills in your marriageOne of my loyal and lovely Facebook fans (give us a thumbs up if you haven’t already!) asked me yesterday if I had any posts on splitting bills. I didn’t, but I’m about to now.

This is actually something I’ve been meaning to talk about it anyway, so why not now? This one’s for you Taiisha!

The Man and I moved in together very early on in our relationship for two reasons. 1. We couldn’t get enough of each other, we won’t lie. 2. The idea of saving money on rent and bills and such was too tempting to resist! #noshame

When we sat down to discuss the best way to do this we quickly realized just splitting everything right down the middle, as many couples do, wouldn’t work for us. Mainly because we don’t have the same salaries. I make more than he does right now (I love him for being 100 percent okay and comfortable with that, by the way) and when we did that math things really didn’t feel fair.

We came up with another idea. It’s probably not new or anything, but we gave it our own nickname anyway. It’s called “the same, but different” approach to bill splitting. We each spend 40 percent of our individual monthly incomes on household bills and joint expenses. Because I make a little more, I’m putting in a little more, but proportionately speaking we’re both taking the same “hit” each month.

We include rent, utilities, car notes, insurance (home and auto), groceries, and pet costs in this total, and lucky for us, it equals out to be the combined sum of 40 percent of what we each make a month. Gas and any other personal spending is reserved for the 60 percent of our pay checks we each have left when all the bill paying is done. We don’t stress each other about the rest because together we make sure the money that’s needed to run our household is put aside each month.

We call that total our “magic number”. Each time I get paid I put in what I need to to ensure that my piece of the magic number is ready to roll when we need it; he does the same. I haven’t a clue what Suze Ormen or Oprah would have to say about our methods, but I do know they work for us – very well, I might add.

How do you and your spouse split and pay bills? Share your tricks of the trade. I’m sure we can all learn a thing or two from sharing when it comes to financial know-how.

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10 Responses to Another Way to Approach Splitting the Bills (What’s Your Method?)

  1. @BrothaTech says:

    One Unit

    ALL of our check goes into our main account. We use that account to pay EVERYTHING. After that is all done, we have our own little accounts that receive the SAME amount of "spending money" every month. When we go out to eat, to the movies, or do other activities TOGETHER, our main account pays for all that stuff.

    When it's time to buy gifts (birthdays, Xmas, Valentines', Mother's/Father's Day, etc.) we agree to an amount, and that money comes from the main account as well. Now, if I want to go "balls to the wall" and do something EXTRA special for Mrs. Tech (which we both typically do, but is NOT required), that money comes out of our personal spending money.

    …and we don't make the same amount of money either.

    We've been together (as a couple) long enough that we decided to go this route to completely remove finances as one of those "subjects" that wouldn't cause drama in our relationship. 14 years later (7 of those married) and multiple pay increases later (Ballin'), it still works for us because this was the best way FOR US to act as one unit.

  2. Taiisha says:

    Thanks for creating this article! I have been dreading this discussion with hubs. Although we are married, we don't move into our "together house" until October 1st. We make about the same amount of $, although mine is an unemployment check from a former high salaried job. So splitting 50/50 would make sense according to your article. However, the hubs want to be the "provider" so we are possibly going 60/40 instead. If that becomes an issue we may go 50/50 & see if it's better. Our main account will be for bills, car notes, insurance, household items, groceries, family entertainment, childcare and SAVINGS. What ever is left we will split for our own accounts for personal items, gas, car maintenance, girls/guys night out, etc. I hope it works out just fine!

  3. Guest in VA says:

    I take care of paying all the bills. So i put everything that needs to be paid in a spreadsheet with a column for my name and his. some stuff i pay 100% like my student loans or my car and some stuff he pays 100%. But most household expenses end up being 50%. However we can see what each of us has to end up paying in total. We don't have joint accounts so my husband gives me a check for his half on the 1st and the 15th. Any money left in our accounts is our own responsibility. This works for us because my husband buys stuff for me if he sees I need it and knows i put my money to stuff the kids need, and I buy stuff for him out of kindness. I also can come home and find that he went out and bought household good like cleaning supplies, dog food, etc.. without me telling him to. So in the end we both do what we need to do to make the house run. And if i'm ever 'broke' i just tell him I need gas money. The other day he just handed me some cash and said hide this in your car for emergencies (cause i left my purse at home one day). So in the end we got each other's back no matter what.

  4. We use the three pot method: his, mine and ours. Paychecks go in the joint account, mad money goes into personal accounts. We also have a joint savings account and I have a personal savings account and an ING account that I don't mess with too much. I figure that if we REALLY need the money the ING is the safety net account that I'll crack open to save us. It works pretty well, but I have to rein my husband in sometimes because he is a little spendy but generally if it's under $100 I don't care.
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  5. my hubs makes about 10X more than I do, so he buys the fancy dinner and I get the quick subway dinners.. works for me =)

    My recent post Life Before Kids

  6. Alexis says:

    Thank you for sharing this very informative article… We are sharing our bills… When I have good income, I pay for the bigger bills and vice versa…
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  7. jordy liz says:

    We put all the income in one big pot. My husband works off of commission, so some months my income is higher, and some months his income is higher. We each have a separate checking account as well that we transfer a small amount to every other week that is our "play money". It has worked well for us!

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