Tips on managing joint finances
Working out how to manage your money together can be tricky. To help, we've put together a guide on some key things to think about when budgeting as a team.
"Talking to loved ones about money is important and we understand this can be difficult. There are simple steps you can take to help make these conversations go smoothly and allow you to feel more in control." Jo Sneddon, Financial Wellbeing Manager, Tesco Bank
Find the right time to talk
It sounds simple, but before you think about combining your finances, make sure you have an open and in-depth conversation. Start off by setting aside a quiet hour or so with no distractions (including phones) so you can lay out your financial background and spending habits upfront.
You might want to prep for your chat by creating a list of your own incomings and outgoings, so you have a clearer picture ahead of time. Maybe you already have your own budget you want to share too.
Top tip: Remember to keep in mind that you’re both different people with individual lifestyles, so talk about spending rules for each other that are fair to avoid arguments down the line.
Now for the planning part
Next, start to think about what a joint budget plan will look like – you can do this on your computer, on paper, or there’s lots of online budget planners which might be useful too.
List all joint outgoings like rent or mortgage, food and bills. And remember to factor in any joint debt that needs to be paid. Once you have everything down, take a look and see where you might be able to make savings. Maybe it’s a TV subscription you don’t really need, or single memberships that could be cheaper if they were joint.
Our guide on clever budgeting techniques is a great place to start if you’re new to budgeting.
Think about a savings goal
Setting a joint savings goal can be a great incentive to avoid overspending on things you don’t need. Maybe you both want to save towards a house deposit, holiday, maternity/paternity leave or just put something aside as an emergency fund.
Once your budget plan is up and running, you could set up automatic deposits to a joint savings account at the start of the month to make things a little easier.
Joint account v individual accounts?
With your new budget plan in place, you’ll need to decide how best to manage your joint cash. Have a think about what feels right for you before making any decisions.
Do you want to:
- Keep separate accounts or open a joint account?Keep separate accounts or open a joint account?
- Close your individual accounts and pay for everything using a joint current account?Close your individual accounts and pay for everything using a joint current account?
- Use a shared account for joint bills, paying in a pre-agreed amount each month but keep your individual accounts for all other expenses?Use a shared account for joint bills, paying in a pre-agreed amount each month but keep your individual accounts for all other expenses?
Joint accounts can be convenient, but make sure you understand the shared responsibilities – it’s likely you’ll both be responsible for any debts on the account, which may impact your credit rating. If you have any doubts, it’s always best to speak to your bank before jumping in.
Remember, we all have different attitudes and experiences when it comes to money, so approaching the initial conversation from a place of no judgement really helps. Talking about money can be understandably tough, but it’s important to remember you’re a team with a joint goal to work towards. For more expert advice on how to tackle it, visit relate.org.uk.