Back in 2019, when my partner and I first got together, we didn’t really pay much attention to managing our finances. The truth is, we didn’t have a clear plan, and we didn’t really think much about it. Things took an unexpected turn when we both lost our jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and we decided to move in together. Our financial situation was far from ideal, and it forced us to start talking about our incomes so we could figure out how much we could afford for rent and daily expenses.
We decided to pool our money together which was quite different from my previous relationships where I always insisted on paying for my own meals when we went out. In this relationship, we combined our money and used it jointly.
However, as we started to stabilize our incomes and return to our normal spending habits, we realized that we hadn’t considered our individual desires. Since we combined all our money without setting aside any personal funds, we never really asked each other simple questions like “Can I use our money to buy drinks for our friends?” or “Is it okay to use our money to buy a new dress?” These conversations just never happened.
One day, I became frustrated because I had been holding back on buying things I wanted, like new clothes, while my partner had been spending more money on drinks with friends than we had budgeted for entertainment. I started to wonder where all our money was going and how long I would have to sacrifice my own needs for the sake of our shared expenses. Thankfully, this frustration led us to have a serious conversation about managing our finances as a couple.
Our journey toward better financial management began with a problem and a feeling of inequality in our spending habits when everything was combined in one pot. We decided to start by separating our shared expenses from our personal ones. We created separate accounts for our personal spending, allowing us to use our money for whatever we individually desired, whether it was starting a new project, investing, or simply buying something we wanted, like yoga outfits or boxing equipment.
Having separate accounts for our shared money, my partner’s money, and my money greatly improved our mental well-being and the overall health of our relationship. It wasn’t just about randomly putting money aside; we calculated how much we both earned and divided it based on a percentage.
Additionally, my partner’s income was project-based and often substantial, so we decided to allocate it for our emergency fund, personal expenses for each of us, and investments. On the other hand, since I earned a regular monthly income, my earnings were directed towards our daily expenses. This setup not only relieved us of worries about our daily spending but also allowed us to dream and save for our future plans with ease.
Trust is the most important element before you jump into couple fiancial management. So make sure it’s there before you start.