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