Transition from a Solo Budget to a Shared Budget

It’s crazy how quickly time flies by, but it’s been nearly three years since the last time I was able to live with CK (and Sydney!). Between both of us attending grad school and then getting jobs in different cities, we’ve scraped by with weekend visits. But now we’re finally going to be reunited and living under the same roof! Since the very beginning, we’ve been slowly sharing more and more details on our respective financial situations. In the past year, we created a shared Google Doc spreadsheet that includes all of our regular monthly expenses (rent, car insurance, health insurance, etc.), student loan payments, credit card payments, retirement fund contributions, savings contributions, and the slew of variable costs (e.g. gas, groceries, entertainment, etc.).

140221_budget-doc

This is a screenshot of our shared Google Doc budget, just to give you a rough idea. My budget is the first 4 columns, and CK’s starts at the 5th column.

It was extremely helpful to better understand what financial obligations the other person had on their plate. CK has some hefty student loans and a car payment, but I own a horse and also have student loans to pay off. It seems basic, but it really helps to just see all of the numbers on one screen and know where all the money “magically” goes each month. So after the shared Google Doc budget, what was the next step? A shared savings account.

A few months ago, we realized we were less than two years out from the wedding and needed an organized way to make sure we could squirrel away some dollars to avoid wedding horrors like a cash bar. Enter the shared savings account. We both have set up automatic withdrawals from our personal checking accounts into the shared wedding savings account for each paycheck. Now if someone sees the perfect set of table linens or recycled decorations from another wedding on Craigslist, we can scoop them up with our personal debit/credit card and reimburse ourselves from the wedding savings account. And the next step? A shared checking account.

For rent, utilities, and other household items (like groceries), we’re going to set up a shared checking account. We’ll still have our individual checking accounts, but this will allow us to cut a single rent check and better track household spending. An added bonus is that it will be adorable to see our names printed together on the checks. This is what I get excited about these days – checkbooks and joint accounts!

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