Money & Marriage

Ahhh, money. It's something that married couples have to deal with in the entire course of their marriage, and even before. Remember wedding planning? It's just the start of the compromising, budgeting, wanting and having, wanting and not having, letting go of what you can't afford, and saving up for what you really, really want.

It was so much easier when we were single. We earn our own money. We pay for things we need, we buy things we want. We save money in our own accounts. We are accountable only to ourselves.

But all that changes when we get married. By law, everything we own at the time of marriage becomes conjugal. Everything we earn during the course of marriage is shared property. Now we can't spend for something just because of impulse, especially if the purchase would involve a lot of money. We have to think of how that one single splurge will affect the whole family budget.

I am aware that families have different setups, and as such, we all have different ways to handle the family money. There's the pooling of both incomes (if both are working) and just have one in charge of managing the finances. There's the I-pay-for-these-bills/purchases-you pay-for-those setup. There's also the option wherein you both contribute to a common fund and keep the rest for yourself. I'm sure there are other options. It's really dependent on the couple. Whichever works the best for you is the right fit for your family. This frequently takes trial and error, unfortunately.

We already had a joint checking account before we got married where we put in the money that we were going to spend for our wedding, and just kept it going when we got married. This is where we get most of our spending money for bills, tuition fee, hospital expenses, rentals (for clinic space), insurance, car expenses, child care expenses, etc.

At the beginning, when we didn't have any children yet, we did not pool our money and just contributed to the common pot.

However, we realized that it gives rise to some conflicts, especially since we don't really earn that much and that regularly (that's the problem with being self-employed and professionals) and it's difficult to decide on who pays for what if the common pot is just not enough. And, we kinda tend to go overboard with our personal, discretionary purchases. So, we decided to pool our incomes, and just give ourselves a small weekly allowance for our own discretionary purchases or personal savings. The family expenses come from the pooled income. So far, this setup has worked for us. We've kept spending for wants at a minimum (and we have to save for those wants from our allowance, just like students) AND we pretty much know where our income goes since we keep a rough record of what we spend on as a couple. There's a lot of transparency and less of the finger-pointing and quarrels (although I can't really recall any) regarding money. I'd admit, though, that this takes a lot of trust. But then, since technically, a married couple is supposed to be sharing in every material thing, shouldn't trust be a part of marriage, to begin with?

This is my contribution to Wifespeaks: Memoir Monday. Interesting theme this week! Join us!


JO said...

very well said!

I guess we are on the same page.

meeya said...

hi joey, its almost the same with us - we have a pool of funds where the family budget comes from and then we give each other a standing allowance for our personal savings. besides, i don't have a lot to contribute in terms of finances since i'm a sahmmy. :P but this set up works for us and, since i'm getting my own allowance, its sort of my personal money that i can use to buy my personal wants as well as be able to buy gifts for my husband without asking money directly from him, hehe! :)

Anonymous said...

Hmmm... Good idea nga yan ;)

carlamaldita said...

nice that you found a way that works for you. some couples di magkasundo sa usapang pera eh.