Personal, Personal, Joint Method of Finances

There are many ideas out there on how a married couple should handle their finances.  Some say to put everything together in the same account because it is now “our money” not “my money”.  Others are in the mindset to keep things separate, you are in charge of making the money and paying your half of the bills.  Then there is the strategy that we go with, which is a combination of both.  My wife has a separate account, I have a separate account, and we have a joint account.  I personally think this is the way to go with your finances especially in the beginning of your marriage when you start out talking about who is doing the dishes tonight, imagine having talks about spending $5 on a Latte at Starbucks.  So the Personal, Personal, Joint method is our plan of attack.

How does this work?

Great question from the audience!  Our accounts are broken up something like this.

Mr. Even Steven Mrs. Even Steven Mr. and Mrs. Even Steven
My paycheck Her paycheck Transfers from Mr. and Mrs. Accounts
My personal loans Her everyday expenses Mortgage
My everyday expenses Transfers to Mr. and Mrs. Even Steven Groceries
Transfers to Mr. and Mrs. Even Steven Rental Property Entertainment/Eating Out


The above chart is meant to keep it as simple as possible, but the idea is that if you brought debt it into the marriage you are responsible for it.  I would say this was more of Mrs. Even Steven’s idea than mine in the beginning, probably because she was in better financial shape than I was.  I would have to say after 3 years of marriage it is the best thing for us which is the most important.

Does Mrs. Even Steven pay any of Mr. Even Steven’s Student Loans?

No, not a penny.  At first I was bummed out about this strategy, I mean my wife was bringing in extra income and was not helping me out, what the crap wife?  We decided to attack our debt more personally.  She brought a house into our relationship which is in Florida, I do not pay a dime towards that house, just like she does not pay a dime towards my student loans.  What it does is make attacking our own debt personal.  Nobody hates my student loans more than I do, I promise you that.  So when I’m staying late at work, earning extra income on eBay, or bringing my turkey sandwich and piece of fruit to work for the 37th time this month, I’m doing it for me and to attack my student loan debt.

Have you had any problems with this method?

It’s been great I don’t think we have ever really had a problem with the Personal, Personal, Joint Method of our finances.  I would say in the beginning it was a little tougher to swallow knowing that Mrs. Even Steven had extra money that I could throw at my student loan, but that went away quickly when I paid off one of my student loans all on my own.

We are a Team

That is the best part of all of this, while we have separate accounts and separate paychecks, we are a team that knows the end goal is to avoid the 12,000 Day march to retirement.  If we were not a team, I would probably be spending my money on basketball jerseys, season tickets to the Cubs, and driving a Mercedes with a life altering payment.  Like many coaches out there have said before “There is no “I” in team”.


How do you handle your finances separate or together?  Have any problems with your method of finances?


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14 Responses to “Personal, Personal, Joint Method of Finances

  • We’re kind of in your position – I had a lot more in savings than my boyfriend when we first got together. We recently merged our finances as we figured it would be easier to manage our joint living expenses. It’s been working for us so far. Since we both have student loans, we’re currently focusing on our own, but if I end up paying mine off first, I’ll help my boyfriend out (assuming we’re engaged/married at that point).

    Our joint goal is to be debt free, and our student loans are the only things holding us back, so it would be a little silly for me NOT to help him when it would benefit both of us. That’s just how I see things for us. I’m always happy for others when they figure out a plan that works for their situation.
    E.M. recently posted…August Budget PreviewMy Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      4 years ago

      Once one of us is completely debt free I would think we would attack the next logical debt together, which would be the mortgage. Somewhere in between that we would need to decide on the investment and emergency fund amounts but our debt repayment would combine more.

  • Seems like you have a great plan in place! I believe my sister and her boyfriend have the exact same setup: they are both responsible for their own finances, except for living costs, food, joint activities, etc.

    I recently moved in with a roommate and deciding on what to do together and what to keep separately was the hardest part. Do you keep food a joint expense knowing that one person eats a lot more than the other?

    We figured it out together and are both happy with it. That’s by far the most important thing, I believe.

    Thanks for sharing, really insightful!
    No More Waffles recently posted…Savings Rate for July 2014My Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      4 years ago

      Thanks for sharing NMW. With your plan with your roomie the biggest issue is that you figured it out together and you are happy. That goes a lot further than your roommate eating all of your Oreo cookies and you getting angry about, because it’s just Oreo cookies right!?!?

  • Interesting plan. Have you considered putting together an interest cost analysis to ensure that you’re paying down the right debt first even if it isn’t “yours?”

    Jay @ recently posted…Think Day Trading is for You? It’s NotMy Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      4 years ago

      It’s a good thought and I have not. The interest rate difference between my student loan and the rental mortgage is less than 2% and our time frame is less than 3 years so the gains would be minimal if any. I also look at it like when you find a route to the grocery store that you know and like, sure there might be other directions, might even get you there a minute or two faster, but it also might get lost. That’s why we are sticking with the route we know.

  • When I was paying off debt I insisted on paying it myself, even though boyfriend became a fiance and then my husband. I felt strongly about cleaning up my own mess that DH had nothing to do with. Fortunately less than two months after we got married I became debt free. Glad that you and your wife found a system that works well for you both.
    Kassandra recently posted…Investing In YourselfMy Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      4 years ago

      Kassandra, you did everything yourself and I’m sure there was some satisfaction in that, so congrats. I think you nailed in suggesting we have found a system that works for us, personal finance while many people try to make it cut and dry with numbers, but it’s more than that it’s personal and that’s what makes it great because there is more than one way to solve your financial future.

  • We went the other route, of sharing all income and obligations. But I can see the merits of your approach, and you might even see better progress that way. As always, YMMV.
    Done by Forty recently posted…I Am Miley CyrusMy Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      4 years ago

      I think it varies on the spouse and situation, I brought personal debt into the situation and she did not, she struggled to see paying off something that was not hers, she also brought a mortgage into the marriage, she became very motivated when she realized how fast she/we could pay it off. I became very motivated when she did and when I started blogging as well. Motivation is key.

  • That’s a really interesting method! Our finances are completely combined. Neither of us brought any debt, or many assets, to our marriage, so we just combined our meager savings from the start. It’s been great to see the power our money has when it’s invested together, which works for us. We’re also both obsessed with our finances (in a good way 🙂 ), so it’s fun for us to discuss and review every expenditure in minute detail. We know we’re bizarre in that respect, but it seems to work well for us. Thanks for sharing your approach!
    Mrs. Frugalwoods recently posted…How To: Cheap Homemade Seltzer with a Modified SodastreamMy Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      4 years ago

      I can see combining your finances makes sense and I think that will eventually be the end all when we retire early/FI. We are worlds apart on your “We’re also both obsessed with our finances (in a good way 🙂 ), so it’s fun for us to discuss and review every expenditure in minute detail.” Our budget meetings are tough for Mrs. Even Steven, I’m convinced she would rather have a latte and watch the Kardashians.

  • Our situation is a little different in that I am a stay at home mom and therefor don’t make an income. So our money is naturally combined. With that being said, even if we were a two income household we would still combined our income. We believe that in a marriage you are one unit so everything should be combined.
    Tennille recently posted…Apps That Pay – Stop Throwing Away Your Receipts!My Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      4 years ago

      I agree in marriage you are a combined unit. What are strategy does is make it more personal, if you have personal debt make it personal and destroy the debt.

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