How do you split up the finances when one is earning more money ?

Calmfab Forumite Posts: 9 Forumite
Hi there,

Hope you can help me because it's bothering me. Would you agree to split the family finances 50/50 and what we have both left is ours to dispose of ? At the moment, we put everything in the main bank account, I'm doing a job which I don't enjoy but pays very well. Yet if I want to treat myself to something (not a big expensive thing) I have to justify it.

What do you think ?


  • Sea_Shell
    Sea_Shell Forumite Posts: 8,866
    Eighth Anniversary 1,000 Posts Photogenic Name Dropper
    Are you Married? If so, i'm for the "all the money in the pot" system, and if you want treats, then allocate each other spending money to do what you want with.

    You need to both be on the same page though for this to work, in the best interests of you as a couple.

    We try and ensure that "our" spare money is split evenly (pensions, ISA's, savings) regardless of who earned the money (tax reasons aside)
    How's it going, AKA, Nutwatch? - 12 month spends to date = 3.34% of current retirement "pot" (as at end August 2023)
  • PrettyKittyKat
    PrettyKittyKat Forumite Posts: 1,270 Forumite
    I don't agree in having a 'same pot' bank account which everything goes in and out of. The reason for this is what you say, if you want to treat yourself to something you shouldn't have the justify it! Myself and my partner also like to spend our money on different things. I like to save for nights away with friends, he likes to buy expensive clothing. As we are using our 'own' money there is no risk of resentment over what the funds are spent on. I also want to buy my partner gifts with my own money, not his!

    We a joint account that all our bills come out of and we make provisions for joint savings from (for things such as holidays, the childrens Christmas gifts etc). Each month we both put a set amount in, which we agreed together. Initially we earnt around the same so we put the same in, however I then changed jobs to start a new career and I am now earning less so we reduced my contribution in line with this. I am working on increasing my pay so that my contribution can increase back to being level.

    Given your current set it is already to have everything paid into the same account then Sea Shell's suggestion of paying yourselves an allowance from the pot each month would be the simplest. It is up to you as a couple what amount you decide is fair (both have the same, or you get a little bit more due to higher earning, but that would have to be on the basis that if your partner pay increased so would his amount or if yours decreased so would your amount).
  • FreddieFrugal
    FreddieFrugal Forumite Posts: 1,749
    Eighth Anniversary 1,000 Posts
    All of our income goes in to one main account which pays everything.

    That works fine when you and your partner agree on spending.

    We do everything together - we don't really have much in the way of individual spending.

    We just buy things when we 'need' them, I can't remember the last time I bought something that was just purely for myself on a whim.

    Everything goes on the children now!
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  • Spendless
    Spendless Forumite Posts: 23,594
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper
    When our children were small and only DH worked. Neither of us would ever have spent more than say £50 without talking to the other one about it first.

    We both knew the income into the household and the outgoings and how much was 'spare'. There was enough money over for small treats but anything larger was discussed first, to see if it was really needed, could be compromised on or the purchase put off till a later date. We'd also discuss potential 'red flag' situations coming up, like if my car would get through it's MOT or when DH needed to replace his work suits.

    What are your circs? Are you married? Do you have children?
  • borkid
    borkid Forumite Posts: 2,475
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper Car Insurance Carver!
    When we were less well off and the children were small all the money went into one pot. All bills and savings ( rainy day, holiday etc) went out of this then what was felt was split equally between the two of us and could go into separate accounts.

    Now retired OH pays all bills from his company pension , I keep both my pensions ( state and works) and he keeps remains of his pension. Works out about even. Anything big we tend to buy individually, whoever has the money most accesible. I tend to pay for the few holidays we have and bought the garage doors when replaced. The drive needs resurfacing in the near future and I suspect he'll pay for that. All the accounts are actually joint but that's so we don't need to take out power of attorney to access the money if necessary. I don't use/ look at 'his accounts similarly he with mine.

    It depends on what stage in life you are really and what works for you but if you think of your partner first and have a similar attitude to money it should work out.
  • Sammy_Dexter
    Sammy_Dexter Forumite Posts: 5 Forumite
    We will have been married for 50 yrs in May 2019. When first married my husband earned more than twice as much as me (£12 pw). As my career progressed my salary overtook his and by the time I retired I was earning considerably more than him and able to retire with a generous pension. Access to joint income has never been an issue for us. From the first day of our marriage, with no discussion needed, our joint income has been ‘ours’. We have joint bank accounts, debit and credit cards, and each holds a small investment of equal value. Neither needs permission from the other to buy something although we do, of course, talk about larger outlays. My husband ‘doesn’t do shopping’ and relies on me to buy all, and I mean all, of his clothing. I love shopping and bargain hunting and if I see something he will like , and I can afford it, I buy it. My husband draws a small amount (his choice) of ‘spending money’ from the bank on a monthly basis and anything else we buy or pay for comes from ‘our’ income. I remember my very dominant Dad handing over his wage packet to my Mum, who paid the bills, etc, after extracting a very modest sum for his ‘pocket money’. He worked a 56 hr shift as a fireman, and part-time as a window cleaner, to make ends meet. They never argued about money though with three children, there was very little of it. I cannot imagine being in a relationship where the husband or wife withheld money from the other in the way described. I couldn’t love, like or live with someone like that. I think the suggestion that you divorce and split assets should be given serious consideration. Good luck.
  • Wobblydeb
    Wobblydeb Forumite Posts: 1,046
    Part of the Furniture 500 Posts Combo Breaker
    Since living together we have always put in the same % of our income - not necessarily the same amount. Our salary goes into our individual accounts first and then 75% of take home pay gets transferred into the joint account.

    So the higher earner contributes more to the joint pot, but they do have more left for themselves. However our earnings are not radically different, and the higher earner has changed since I reduced my hours ;)

    To be honest, now that we've got a child we look at the long term more as a family than as individuals. We have talked about putting everything into one pot, so that I can better plan our savings and investments. :)
    I've got a plan so cunning you could put a tail on it and call it a weasel.
  • millysg1
    millysg1 Forumite Posts: 532 Forumite
    We!!!8217;ve always been a joint pot couple. Everything goes to a joint account, bills come out, I move money to saving accounts every month with left over money for spending. We have a sort of monthly pocket money to spend on ourselves but we don!!!8217;t keep a close track of it and if we do go over a little I!!!8217;ll just transfer money from savings. My OH can buy what he wants for everyday spending, e.g. clothes, records, hobby stuff and anything bigger that would need to come out of savings is generally discussed. But I may book a weekend away with friends and that doesn!!!8217;t generally get discussed. Same if he did. We are very on top of our money tho. And are keen to save wherever possible and have equal views on spending money on luxury items. Because outer views are so similar I think this works.

    We!!!8217;ve always done this because who earns more has fluctuated a lot. To start with I was at uni and OH worked so he paid more, then I worked and he went to college so I paid more, then he has good job and I go on maternity leave, I return to work etc etc.

    If it wasn!!!8217;t all in one pot this would get so complicated. I don!!!8217;t believe one should suffer and have less money while the other is training to improve job prospects or on maternity leave. If for the good of the family and a joint pursuit.

    Everyone is different though, we are lucky that are spending habits are very similar and we aren!!!8217;t big spenders without planning it In adavsnced but we don!!!8217;t hold each other back from buying things we really want.
  • System
    System Community Admin Posts: 178,000
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    edited 30 March 2019 at 6:12PM
    My husband and I have separate current accounts and a joint account. It used to be the case that everything went into the joint account and we had a standing order set up so that each of us gets "pocket money" paid into our own accounts each month. Circumstances have changed slightly now, but our system is roughly the same. We review how it's working it very regularly but it's roughly worked out as 60% left in the joint account for spending which benefits us all (housekeeping - bills, food, etc), and 15% each for "pocket money" and the other 10% to savings. At the very least, if either of us wants to surprise the other, the surprise isn't spoiled when I check the account (yes, it's always me who checks it!!!!).

    Joint account covers most things as neither of us are big spenders, and if one of us wanted something expensive, we'd discuss it and it would probably come out of joint anyway. Our son's pocket money also comes out of the joint account, and that's not a set amount each month (there's a minimum, and he can earn more if he wants to be less lazy).
  • TBagpuss
    TBagpuss Forumite Posts: 11,166
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    edited 2 April 2019 at 11:51AM
    I don't think there is a single right answr.

    One option might be to work out your budget (icluding things like payments into joint savings) and try to include provision for some 'fun money' for each of you, which goes into your respecive sole accounts and which you can each spend as you like.

    That way, neither of you has to justity to the other what you are spoending your personal 'fun money' on.

    It also sounds as though you might benefit from talking more about how you approach money. Why does your partner want you to justiy even small spends? Is it becuase they are worried that you (as a family) won't be able to afford the essentials (bearing in mind they may feel the need to check even if you are no longer in that position, if you or they have lived hand-to-mouth in the past) Is it that they want things to be fair and feel you shouldn't spend money unless they get to do the same?
    Do they feel that they can't spend without your consent, so feel you should ask them before spending money on non-essentials?
    All posts are my personal opinion, not formal advice Always get proper, professional advice (particularly about anything legal!)
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