What are some good strategies for managing household finances and avoiding conflict when spouses have very different attitudes towards money?

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July 17, 2015 5:30PM

Divide the bills up equally. Not necesarilly in half, equal to

income. And have two separte accounts. Don't mix your money. But

everything still has to be "ours." You just don't really look at

the other persons finances. And if one partner needs extra money

for something and the other has it, then, of course, money can be

shared. But for the most part, it's separate money and separate

bills. I wish my husband and I would have done that from the

beginning. We have two different spending habits and it's hard with

a joint account.

My parents have that problem. You manage your own money and your

spouse manages their own money. That should help eliminate some of

the disagreements. At the same time though, you should still have a

mutual understanding of who's going to pay for what and how much

each of you is going to contribute to an "emergency" fund.

Step1: Both have to have an income.

Assuming an approximately equal workload either by being


or by doing all the household chores, taking care of the kids,


there should be a rule to equalize the income: say, a third of

the income

belongs to the spouse.

Example: He earns 2100, she does most of the household chores


earns about 600 on the side, workload about the same.

He gives a third of his income to her (700), she a third of hers

to him (200),

result is 1600 for him and 1100 for her.

Step2: Three bank accounts for three types of expenses: his,

hers, and common.

A common expense is what both agree to be a common expense.

Obvious things are rent, food both eat in about the same


a car both use regulary, tickets they both want, etc.

Less obvious candidates are things like her make-up.

Now if he likes her prettied up then he'll consider it a common


since he, too, wants her to use make-up. If he doesn't want her

to use it

because he considers her pretty anyway and it just increases the


of losing her but it's important for her self-esteem she may


to use it - but at her own expense.

Let's continue the example from above: Let's say the common


amount to about 75% of the total income. Then each transfers


of his income to the common account. This leaves him 400 and her


for things like presents or individual expenses that are of

little benefit to the spouse,

or even expenses frowned upon by the spouse.

If they want to save up for some big future common expense (like

a car or a house)

it may be smart to have a common account for running


and another common account for common savings.

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