Not So Frugal Newlyweds

My husband and I have been married for just over a year and have shared a bank account for just about half of that time. He just got a new job with the city so he's making a decent living. I work part time and make half as much as he does.


We are not hurting for money but I know that we need to be saving and not spend so much. Brace yourselves ladies: we each have a debit card and swipe away without logging in the amount in a ledger. We never go over, but we have an idea of how much we have because sometimes we'll call to check the balance.

He tried to take over paying the bills but slacked, so I took over. It's a blessing to be okay, but I know we are spending so much more money that we could be saving for a family vacation, paying off small debts, school loans, etc. sooner. I don't know how to begin to put us on a budget and I'll be honest and say that I'm not so sure how he'll take it.

He's used to having his own account (which he added me to) and he swipes away here and there, even though they are small purchases, no receipts kept track of. I know we are more susceptible to ID fraud, too! I'd say he's worse than I am when it comes to frivolous purchases. Any advice will be greatly appreciated.


Crystal from Los Angeles

September 25, 20070 found this helpful

Hi Crystal, You've taken the first step-identifying the problem. Open a CD account, where the money cannot be touched for an allocated period. Sit down and have a heart to heart talk with your husband. Make a list of all your bills and start paying them off(freedom!) Pay yourself each payday and put the money into a mutual fund. Budget an amount to be spent each week for food, gas ect. You're on the road and I'm proud of you. We've been doing these things for 22 years with great results. You can do it!

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September 27, 20070 found this helpful

Hi Crystal. I would suggest you each keep a seperate account for your money. Each have your own debit card. Then you have a joint account to pay bills. You each take money from your seperate account and add it to the joint account so the bills will be paid. Don't either of you get a debit card for this account because its solely for the bills. This way as long as the bills are paid each of you have money to spend.

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September 27, 20070 found this helpful

IF ONLY I had saved for children and other things that were soon to come! The best thing you can do is put one person in charge of paying the bills. It should be an agreement that it is the best saver and least likely to spend. If you can't agree then take turns. Every six months switch. Then, pay all your bills from one account. Don't have a debit card with this one. You can each then have your own accounts, unless it becomes a problem.

My husband takes charge of all the money. I resisted for many years. When I finally realized it was best for myself and my family I accepted he would make the decisions and felt good about it. It is always hard to compromise but well worth it, whoever gives it up.


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September 27, 20070 found this helpful

Hi Crystal, Set up an online account with your bank and check your balances every few days. You will be able to track both of your charges this way which will then help you set up a budget. You can also pay your bills online which will save you postage. This comes in handy with monthly payments that don't change. Just make sure that you set up regular deposits to a savings account. Kidzrus suggestion for a CD is a very good one. Painless savings! Good luck.

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September 28, 20070 found this helpful

When I got married in 1967, the minister advised us to live only on the husband's salary. He said women's work usually wavers as she has children. He told us not to become used to living on the combined salary as we more than likely wouldnt always have it. What good advice!!

I suggest you try living on your husband's salary and put your salary toward paying off debts and saving for retirement. In our case, we used the money I was making to buy furniture and later saved it as a downpayment for a house. Today I reap the rewards of that spending.

I believe you will be surprised at how much money you actually have been wasting. (wink) Sometimes we just spend money because we can.

As I write this I am thinking you might want to think of getting direct deposit for your check into a savings account. That way it wont get spent. Then you can transfer and manage the money as you wish. Or perhaps you prefer having two checking accounts. Please be wise in m aking your decisions.

Maybe its time to cut up those debit cards and start using cash. lol... I prefer using a credit card which gives cash rewards. I pay off the credit card each month and dont carry a balance.

Best of luck.

I was going to close here, but remembered a signature line from an online friend. She says, "There is no such thing as bad luck. There are only poor decisions." There is a lot of truth in that statement.

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September 28, 20070 found this helpful

My 26 year old son asked my husband and I to start listening to Dave Ramsey and read his books. I pickup up "Financial Peace Revisited" at the library, but I hate reading (bad eyes!) so it just lay on the coffee table for a few days. When I came in from work one day, my husband was absorbed in the book and I started to believe I had created a MONSTER! Later, I picked up "Total Money Makeover" audio book and started listening to it to/from work each day myself. Before we knew it - we were on the same page and have taken Dave's advice, paying off 4 small debts in less than 6 months, and working on the last 3 - hope to have them knocked out within 6 more months. We also have a good amount (more than Dave recommends) in an "emergency fund"! We have both stopped spending money on unnecessary items and it has actually been quite painless - we are determined to become debt free!

Good luck!

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September 28, 20070 found this helpful

I work at a bank, and therefore see accounts in varying states of disarray. My advice is, if you want to keep the joint account, you should each get a personal account as well. Either destroy the checkcards for the joint account or never take them out of the house, use them only for online bill payments. Put a percentage which you determine into your personal accounts each payday, and live off of it until the next payday. With that account you can still satisfy your swiping urges without touching the house money, which is in the joint account. It will also help you see how much is being spent on things you don't need. Additionally, definitely get web banking-most banks post transactions immediately, so if you don't keep receipts you can still see what is what. Check online faithfully, at least every other day and also when you have been out shopping all day. This will also help fend off account compromises: Someone got my checkcard number once and used it locally while I was out of town visiting a friend; because I check my accounts so often, I suffered no loss after filing an unauthorized activity report, and the chances of catching the criminal are greater. Additionally, if someone compromises your fun-money account you will still have your mortgage money and a place to live in the joint account! Also a tip about receipts: get in the habit of checking to see if the entire card number is printed on the receipt; if it is, even if you toss other receipts, keep those and shred them.

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November 1, 20070 found this helpful

It's good you're thinking about this as newlyweds. Be careful not to play the blame game, just focus on sticking to the budget. You might want to start a budget by just looking at your past few statements together and look at how much you have been spending on different things, then make alterations from there. Remember, don't place blame-- say "We spend too much on frivolous things" rather than "YOU spend too much..." You're married and you're in this together. He may not realize the extent of his purchases, and you may be doing something similar without realizing it, but you won't both know unless you look at your statements together. Once you have a budget, you have guidelines to follow so you don't have to be a nag and he won't feel bossed around.

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