Budgeting as a Couple

Hey Hoarders,

When I was growing up, money was always a topic that involved arguments, tension, talks of divorce and screaming matches that were enough to arouse the biggest fear in a young child.

As a result, I’ve always grown up believing that money was a taboo topic. That it’s rude to ask people how they deal with money, or debt or manage their budget. I believe this to be one of the biggest stumbling blocks of our generation (or any generation for that matter). We’re ashamed of money - whether it has got to do with how much we earn, how we spend it or how we prepare for the future with it.

Something needs to change. And the bedrock of that change lies in creating a space between people that is comfortable enough to talk openly about money.

I recently wrote an article titled Budgeting as a Couple: 12 Surefire Ways to Keep the Fire and Finances Alive. In it, I outline 12 unique strategies to successfully navigate finances in a relationship. This includes:

  1. Lay everything out on the table, without judgement
  2. Discuss your individual wants and needs
  3. Manage each other’s expectations
  4. Set long-term financial goals
  5. Schedule regular money meetings
  6. Divvy up responsibilities
  7. Tackle your debt
  8. Budgeting couples communicate
  9. Don’t play the blame game
  10. Remember the promises you’ve made to each other
  11. Dream about retirement
  12. Answer the question: joint or non-joint accounts

I’d love to hear other people’s strategies for navigating finances with their loved ones, whether it’s your parents, your partner, your children or your friends.

I think the more we create an open space to talk about money, the better we will get at managing it. We often require accountability in many other areas of our lives. Why should it be any different for our finances?


Looking forward to reading your article!

I know money was a hot topic for me and my ex— man, did we have different ideas about what to do with it. he was a spender, and I wanted to account for every penny.

I’m doing it different now with my fiancee. We are on the same page and openly discuss money both current finances and future plans. We have a joint account (huge step for him, lol) and discuss bills, spending, etc. All this even before we live together. It’s nice to feel confident out navigating finances together.

My parents never discussed money and I am making a point to be open with my kids about it and hopefully teach them before they are on learning about it on their own.


I am not married. Thus, I only budget as a single woman. However, I have always heard that money can make or break a marriage.

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This worked for us at one time while my wife and I were working. We had different income levels and paying bills from the combined incomes was sort of a hassle. What we did was work out a budget for monthly expenses and then figured what percentage each of our incomes was of the total household income. We applied that percentage to the budget items, used an envelope system to set paycheck amounts aside and we both contributed to the bills according to our incomes. This eliminated the “who was going to pay for what”, we each had some money left over and were able to save for a down payment on another house. Easy enough to do on a ledger system too.


It’s one thing to worry about your finances, but having to sit down with another person to go over budgets is an entirely different ball game. I have been engaged for just over a year and I definitely make it a point to sit down with my fiance to discuss this. He is still paying off his college debt; meanwhile, I am going for my Master’s in the fall. It’s been a lot of trial and error, but I think having these discussions is preparing us for married life. Number 3 on your list, from my perspective, is the most important part because he and I do go about our finances in different ways. Any relationship requires compromise, especially when it comes to money. After all, what kind of life would you have if one person always stresses about the other’s spending?

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My husband and my finances are combined. We have joint accounts, and separate accounts(he has 2 credit cards paid in full each month if used), (I have online account). We budget, but I manage the finances. We have an emergency fund that we do not touch unless a true emergency at a local credit union. We do not have money fights. I feel if financial goals are accomplished, then there are less money disagreements. We are debt free, except a small mortgage. We have a huge emergency fund, because I have high security gland. We just try to stay on top of our finances, as financial problems are the number one cause for divorce.


@veronica It is so true that financial issues are one of the biggest causes of stress in a marriage. That is why it is so important for people to work hard to get their financial house in order. The stability that comes from having a good handle on your finances is something that is really lacking in a lot of households.

Nice, @veronica, congratulations! Sounds like you really have your finances in order together.