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Best way to manage household expenses?

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Best way to manage household expenses?

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My husband and I have some issues we want to work on before hopefully reconciling. One issue we have is the best way to manage the household expenses. We just haven't found a way that works, but there have been many changes over the years in terms of income / working hours / childcare etc. Now those things are more stable.  I'd like to know what works well for others? 
We both work full time. My husband earns quite a bit more than me. I feel it's unfair for me to have as much spending money as him but he is happy for it to be equal. 
My idea is to try one of the below.
A -  Pay both salaries into a joint account for bills and savings, then transfer a portion to our individual accounts for spending?
B- Try to live off his salary and put mine aside for savings / holidays etc? 
I think I'm leaning towards B. If we don't touch my salary at all, we might be more inclined not to dip into it? 
Finally, what do you think is a reasonable amount of spending money each per month? I don't want to be too stingy but I do want us to save as much as possible. 

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Replies

  • skimperskimper Forumite
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    We've recently changed how we split our income, everything goes in to 1 pot like it used to but we now both get £200 each per month to spend on what we want. We transfer this in to our own accounts at the start of the month, and a set amount goes in to savings, whatever we have left at the end goes in to savings too. 

    We changed it as the OH used to spend on his hobbies but i never really spent anything on me and felt guilty if i did as we have the house to decorate, i was starting to get a bit resentful, but this way we both get to spend on what we want & we put a fair bit in to savings.

    Could you give yourselves a bit out of your salary each month then put the rest in to savings, best of both worlds. 
  • Savvy_SueSavvy_Sue Forumite
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    Finally, what do you think is a reasonable amount of spending money each per month? I don't want to be too stingy but I do want us to save as much as possible. 
    How can anyone possibly answer that? How, even, do you define 'spending money'? 

    What is 'spending money' supposed to cover? Random coffees and lunches out? Nights out with the lads / BFFs? Books, music, cinema, chocolate, haircuts, massages, chiropodist, waxing, flowers, makeup ... 
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  • Kathy535Kathy535 Forumite
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    We work out how much comes in each month and what % we both pay in (it’s a 67:33% split). Then we work out the household bills (we pay our own phones, gym membership, car insurance, bills that don’t benefit the household) plus 10% contingency.  We both pay in the % we bring into the household into a joint account.  That way, we both have our own spending money but the higher earner has more spends, because they earn more.  If we want to treat ourselves/ each other we can.

    Over the years the % has changed, we’ve made allowances for my children, for his working away (and me doing more of the non work work), for me being away (and him doing more of the non work work). Basically, as long as you are both content with your split then it’s fine, there’s no right way. 
  • FireflyawayFireflyaway Forumite
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    Thanks, interesting that people have different strategies. By spending money I mean to spend on treats. Anything non bill related really. 
    I might get my calculator out and see how the percentage thing works. 
  • Marvel1Marvel1 Forumite
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    I think I'm leaning towards B. If we don't touch my salary at all, we might be more inclined not to dip into it? 
    Finally, what do you think is a reasonable amount of spending money each per month? I don't want to be too stingy but I do want us to save as much as possible. 

    What does your husband think?
  • SpendlessSpendless Forumite
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    Over our 21year marriage I've not always worked for various reasons (childcare expense, illness of family member or like recently loss of job). When I have had wages we've done B. With no 'fixed' amount to pay for treats, we've had expensive and cheap holidays. Had money in the kitty for days out or not and so on. 

    We view all money as 'ours' rather than his and hers but different accounts pay for diffferent thing

    So as not to land husband with too many direct debits dependant on his wage packet, I put daughters extra curricular expenses  (dance, drama, singing lessons) through my own bank account. These all have an end date eg when daughter goes onto higher education/starts working full time unlike the council tax or electricity bill.

    When eldest started at Uni as he gets the min maintainance loan, we pay his rent and that also came from my wages. When he started  at Uni I was working f-time and his halls were cheap. Unfortunately my job ended when their customer sold the business and with our other child ill at that point returning to work was not an option for the best part of a year. That's when we had to dig into savings for the costs of  the things that usually my wages provided that weren't possible to do without.

     So I think whichever option you chose you do need some rainy day money saved up too and you should count this as a bill. 
  • FireflyawayFireflyaway Forumite
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    My husband doesnt know what to do! We have tried various ways that don't seem to work so both want to try something different. I've calculated the percentage thing and that might work. Only issue is if we go for a family meal for example who pays for that? I don't want to assume my husband would pay because he earns more but if I paid it would wipe out half my monthly spending money. The current issue is we have school fees to pay and are wanting to save quite a bit so we can move house. Once that's no longer and issue there would be more money free which would make it easier. A source of discontent has been my husband working but feeling he never had spare cash. 
  • MojisolaMojisola Forumite
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    Only issue is if we go for a family meal for example who pays for that?
    Meals out and holidays, etc, come from money set aside for recreation - paid in by both of you in whatever percentage you agree is fair.
  • MndMnd Forumite
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    All our money is ours. The only separate account we have is for my wife's spending money. She has this for all the clothes shoes. make up. lottery, work collections etc (lady spends we call them) I don't have any allocated cash but if I do buy anything it just comes out of the general money. I know we are fortunate to have a decent amount of disposal income and savings, so we don't have financial worries but this works for us. We bring in roughly in the same ballpark but never have my money/your money problems 
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  • SpendlessSpendless Forumite
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    My husband doesnt know what to do! We have tried various ways that don't seem to work so both want to try something different. I've calculated the percentage thing and that might work. Only issue is if we go for a family meal for example who pays for that? I don't want to assume my husband would pay because he earns more but if I paid it would wipe out half my monthly spending money. The current issue is we have school fees to pay and are wanting to save quite a bit so we can move house. Once that's no longer and issue there would be more money free which would make it easier. A source of discontent has been my husband working but feeling he never had spare cash. 
    Why would it come out of your 'spends'? If you're going to say your wages pays for x/y/z then surely a family meal out would be one of those things. That would be seperate to your own 'personal spends' which I woud think of as items exclusively for you and probably at relatively low cost eg a lipstick, magazine, take away coffee.

    Depending on the sort of places you are likely to eat out at, it might be that a family meal has to be put off for a while until you have saved enough of a reserve, if you tend to dine at the pricier restaurants. 
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