A good friend of mine who’s in her mid-twenties messaged me yesterday with a hard relationship question. Her partner makes almost twice as much as she does, but she always ends up doing the food shopping and spending her own money. On top of all that, she has a bunch of education debt, while he doesn’t.
She wanted to know if I had any advice on how to set up a joint budget that was equitable. Up until now, their system has been that every once in awhile, her boyfriend hands her some cash and she was ready for a more conscious, organized system.
Every couple has their own style and their own way of dealing the tricky money balance. Here’s the suggestion I gave her:
The first step is sitting down with your partner and calculating with how much money you each make per month. Once those figures are out on the table, work up an approximate monthly budget for joint expenses.
Here comes the hard part: figuring out what percentage of your incomes you need to put away in order to meet your expenses. If you determine that, say, you each could pay 25%, that means that your partner is paying more than you are, but you’re each taking an equal hit.
Once all that’s worked out, set up a joint bank account. If each of you put your percentage in every month (or whatever timeframe works with your pay schedule) and are sure to draw from it for household expenses, then your personal money becomes discretionary spending.
What do you and your partner do when it comes to sharing a household budget? Let me know in the comments!