Combining Finances & Growing Up

My fiance and I have been living together for a couple years now, we now own a house together and we are getting married in August, but we haven’t really combined finances much yet.

This fall we started our first joint savings account to start saving for our wedding. And with the introduction of our first monthly budget, and with my fiance going back to school in the near future, I think it is time that we figure out how best to share our money. I’ve read quite a few blog posts about the subject. Some couples share everything in one account, some have separate “fun” accounts that are each given a certain amount each month to pay for personal expenses and fun stuff, or can be saved for bigger personal purchases, and some just have a shared account that shared bills come out of, and each person just contributes a certain amount to this account. I’m not exactly sure what will be best for us because our situation is a bit complicated.

I typically make more than he does in a year… substantially more. This may change after he’s done school, but that is how it has been in the past. And, as a single girl with this money, I have lived a lifestyle that was great for me and my fun/travel quotient, but not so great for my savings… Every other year or so I go on a major three week vacation to some exotic location (so far it has been Costa Rica, Bali and Equador, each with a different friend).  Add to that a relatively big week long trip once a year or so, and a few expensive girls’ weekends to Seattle or Portland. (I should really tell you sometime about the crazy amazing meal we had in Portland…)  I definitely have been living it up.

He has had a bit of a different path, and had some debt from past schooling (gone now), has had a lower income, has a kid (she’s awesome, by the way!), hasn’t done much traveling and has had a bit more time to accumulate some retirement savings. I’m not sure if all of this is relevant for this conversation, but I wanted to give some background so that you know where I’m coming from…

So, to get to the goals of saving more, living on a budget, paying for his schooling and paying for the increased mortgage that comes from our house, I think I will need to be the one to make the biggest personal lifestyle changes…

I don’t want this to come across in the wrong way, so please don’t get me wrong.  I love my fiance and I am so excited that we are planning a future together, and really excited and proud that he is going back to school to learn something that he is really interested in.  I know that we are working together to a common goal and a great future together, but habits are hard to break and part of me still wants to make my major three week journeys to far off lands and to enjoy my crazy expensive girls’ weekends.  And then I feel so selfish when I think that…

And so I came to the realization that I need to grow up a little, and that I need to make some changes in my lifestyle so that I can share my life and experiences with my fiance.  (I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned before that change is difficult for me.)  If I want to do my major travel, I’m going to have to save up a bit longer so that we can pay for 2 tickets (or maybe 3) and go together, and I may have to make my girls’ weekends a bit more frugal so I can still have some time with my girlfriends while saving for our future.  And I may have to give up my multiple nights out at the pub each weekend to save money and eat at home, but I think it is worth it.  Some of my friends tease me and say that I’m getting old and “settling down”, but a good Friday night at home with my fiance and his kid, complete with homemade pizza and some board games (favourite is currently Settlers of Catan), is so much more appealing to me now.

I’m not sure yet exactly how we are going to combine our finances, but I know that I am ready for it, and I am willing to give up some of my previous spendy lifestyle in order to have a great shared future with my fiance.  I think that might mean I am growing up…

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5 thoughts on “Combining Finances & Growing Up

  1. I totally get this. My husband and I still haven’t combined finances. We each pay different bills and have things split up the way we are comfortable with. I love having separate money when it comes time to buy each other gifts.

    He makes more money than me, but I have felt the pull of saving instead of splurging lately. It’s perfect that you have a family to think about and are enjoying time at home. That’s what I remind myself of too. What do I really enjoy? Is it just as fun to stay at home and play games and eat there, or to have a girlfriend getaway at someone’s house and do each other’s nails like we’re 12? 🙂 For me, the answer is usually yes. You just have to get other people on board!

    Like

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