5 Tips to Joining Bank Accounts

Last night a newlywed(ish) couple and some of our besties told us they had an announcement. They combined their bank accounts!

austin moms blog joint bank accounts

The reason they made this seemingly random announcement is because they know Hubs and I had ours combined since we were engaged and LOVE IT. That’s no exaggeration. I LOVE having a joint bank account. Why you ask?

  1. There are never any discussions about who pays for the groceries, dinner out, or anything else. It is 1000% irrelevant who picks up the bill.
  2. There’s less to think about. Yes, this is basically the same as the one above but the idea of figuring out who would pay for big things like daycare, or what percent of daycare we each pay for makes my head hurt.
  3. It adds to the “married” feeling. It sounds a little silly but a joint bank accounts, because it is a big deal, gives me a sense of joint responsibility, risk and reward. It emphasizes the team component of marriage for me.
  4. The ebbs and flows of income are less dramatic. We both work and at some jobs I’ve made more and at others he has. But with a joint bank account, it feels like that gets lost in the wash of life. Which I like.

So that’s why I heart joint bank accounts but it’s super personal decision and every couple should do what is right for them. It doesn’t hurt my feelings if you don’t share my love and enthusiasm.

But if you are thinking about combining bank accounts for the first time and are a little nervous (understandably, it’s a big deal), here are a few lessons I’ve learned along the way that help make it AWESOME.

Have frank financial conversations.

It’s probably a good idea to discuss money openly and honestly with your spouse in general but especially if you are going to lump it all together. Do you have loans? What does your monthly income look like? What kinds of things do you spend money on? If finances are not your strong suit, consider using a tool like Mint.com to help you bucket your spending so you can both really understand where the money is going.

Create a budget.

This goes along with the frank conversations but is SO important, I’m calling it out separately. Budgets aren’t just for saving or living on a shoestring. They are just good for keeping your dollar ducks in a row. So create a budget together and agree to it. It doesn’t have to be down to the penny (or it can be) but a blueprint for your income and expenses will reduce unpleasant surprises.

Make sure there is equal access.

Hands down, this is my top tip. The transparency alleviates fear. When we first combined we both logged into online banking constantly. But soon we realized that the other one’s spending habits were actually exactly what we thought. Also, you don’t want either person to feel “kept” or like a child so open the doors wide.

Embrace “our money.”

What’s mine is yours, babe. The dollars in your bank account will not be color coded blue for him and pink for you. It is essentially purple, yours and his. Thinking about it that way makes having it in one bank account seem really natural.

Have your own money.

I know, this seems to directly contradict the previous statement lesson but hear me out. When we first combined accounts Hubs suggested we have “spending money,” a little cash each month to do whatever with and not have to justify it to the other one. I hated the idea at first because it sounded like he didn’t trust me. Not the case. Our spending money is, in fact, fantastic. I could get a pedicure every week, heck twice a week, and as long as I use my spending money, there’s no discussion about if I really need a pedicure that often. Conversely, he can (and has) saved all his spending money for a year and then blown it all in Vegas and I didn’t even blink (though I may have rolled my eyes) because it is his spending money. A trillion stupid arguments avoided.

How much spending money and when it is to be used (v the joint bank account) can be done in any way as long as you both agree. If you are looking for a starting point, I’ll share ours. We began with $100/month and it included things like pedicures, Starbucks, drinks with the girls, vacations alone and the like. It’s been amended over the years as budgets changed and when the kiddo arrived…because let’s be honest, after waking up every 3 hours with a newborn, Starbucks became a necessity.

What approach do you and your spouse take to bank accounts?



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here