Finances and Marriage

BEFORE you get married, here are a couple of things to discuss with your soon-to-be love:

Tell each other about purchases…BEFORE you buy them

If you can’t do this then you aren’t ready to be married. I wish I had read this before. But then again, I was a shopaholic, and I had a bit of a ‘disease’…

But so did Ex, I suppose. He purchased things on the sly, and then I’d find out about them after the fact, and after he did some really fast talking, or when I’d see a line item on the credit card statement and freak out, thinking the card was stolen.

Agree on personal spending an amount to be withdrawn each month


I would suggest bringing it out in cash instead of leaving it in the account and trying to keep track of it that way. The reason being that once the cash runs out, it’s gone. And the rest of the money in the account will be automatically debited by various companies like if you have rent, car insurance, whatever, coming out.

I’m starting to do this actually, put a budget for $200 per paycheck to bring out for food/entertainment, and once the money is gone, it’s gone. I don’t try and put it on credit card or anything that I cannot clear. This is good too, because I’m more hesitant about handing over cold hard cash than I am to hand over a credit card.

Put your money together to be withdrawn

This one is super important. Each person should have their own separate account, and then a joint account for household bills. Of course, this was assuming both of you work and need to figure out a way to pool the cash together for the family.

But even if one of you stays at home, it’s a good idea to have your own separate account to hold spending money (hey, staying at home to take care of the kids is a job too!) and the joint account will be for food, bills, and other shared expenses.

This way, you never have to quibble about who paid for what that day, like “Oh you covered groceries, but I covered the car bill”. This way, each person puts in an OBJECTIVE amount of money, and you both know you both contributed a fair amount, and cannot try and bring up past purchases and payments to justify why there wasn’t enough money in there, or who should pay for what.

Read the statements together

When credit card statements come in, or bills have to be paid, sit down with a (small) glass of wine or chocolate, if that’s your thing, and go through the papers together. Make sure you’re BOTH on board about how much you owe each month, to whom, and what the long term plan is (pay off credit cards before the car loan? put the money into an emergency fund instead of putting it into retirement?..etc)

Share financial responsibility

Don’t let just ONE person be in charge of the finances.

Not only is it stressful for the person in charge, to carry the entire burden, but it’s also bad because the other is clueless if anything should happen.

Even if you designate ONE person to handle the bill paying so you don’t double or overpay by mistake, make sure they know where the money is going, why, and what the budget is for the month (print it out and post it, or use a jar/envelope system).

I was once told a story about this woman who called her husband at work and told him she was buying new drapes. He tried to veto the idea, saying that the drapes they had now were fine, and that they didn’t have the money because the rent was coming out that month.

She bought the drapes.

When the cheque bounced and they were charged a NSF fee (Insufficient Funds), because there wasn’t enough money in the account to pay the rent, he asked her why she bought those drapes.

Her response?

“It’s YOUR responsibility to put money into the account, not mine. I told you I was buying the drapes, so it’s not my fault there wasn’t money in there.”


About the Author

Just a girl trying to find a balance between being a Shopaholic and a Saver. I cleared $60,000 in 18 months earning $65,000 gross/year. Now I am self-employed, and you can read more about my story here, or visit my other blog: The Everyday Minimalist.