October 2009 Weddings
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Joint Banking

First off...why is it so quiet today? Everyone still stuffed from turkey? Sleep

DH and I still have separate bank accounts. But sometimes it is so hard when bills are due and I need $ from him and when he needs it to me to get to the bank to get it (we are about 20 minutes away from our banks) However, my parents have a joint account and they constantly forget to tell each other when they take out or spend money so they are always over-drafting or have less in there than they think. 

Who has a joint account? Pros/Cons? Do you have just have a joint savings? How do you make it work?


Re: Joint Banking

  • We have seperate accounts because it's been that way since we first started living together and it works for us. Maybe if we had a mortgage or a car payment or something it would be different but I doubt it. We'd proabably create a mortgage account to so speak and then still carry on with our seperate accounts.

    The way we deal with the bills is we just each have a bills to pay ie phone, electricity, cable, rent & groceries. For the last few years the Mr has been cable and rent and I am phone, electricity and groceries. We each pay our bill and then put them in a file folder so we know when the other has paid their bill, or more so, so we both know the bill has been paid and that we have nothing outstanding. It's worked very well so far and we've been living together for like 7 years...

  • We have a few separate accounts.  First, for things like rent, utilities, and groceries, we have a joint account through ING.  We each have individual accounts for fun money and other non-joint items (like student loans).  We also have individual accounts for savings and investments.

    For us, we designate a certain amount per paycheck to go into our invidual accounts and everything else goes into joint which equals us paying the percentage we bring to the table going towards our overall bills (rather than 50/50).  This way, there's no jealousy over one of us getting to have more fun than the other, and everything gets taken care of.  We've not had any problems with this since we started doing things this way over 3 years ago.

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  • All of our accounts are joint accounts.  We combined everything just after we got married.  We just went in with the attitude of it's "our" money and "our" bills.  We communicate very openly about if either of us spends anything, so we know what's in the accounts.  We also regularly check our balances online so we know what's there.  We have a certain "cushion" in our checking account that we don't like to go under, so that we don't run into overdraft fees.  Knock on wood, it's worked out great for us so far. 
  • DH and I are very, very conscious about money, and are both committed to staying out out of CC debt.  We believe doing so is a team effort, and we keep each other accountable for our goals. 

    We do have several joint accounts with Chase.  We have:

    1) A checking account my paycheck goes into, which pays for monthly groceries and expenditures. 

    2) A checking account his paycheck goes into, which pays for monthly bills (rent, electricity, phone, etc.).

    3) A House fund. 

    4) A general savings fund. 

    5) A cash fund in a safe place for Christmas Gifts, Birthday gifts, etc.

    I would say that we both check chase's website several times a week to see where our funds are.  The Chase banking site is awesome, and allows us to see all four accounts easily.

    We don't really impulse buy anything outside of food.  Generally, anything over $20, we check with each other first, just to make sure it's okay.  At the end of each pay period, we take whatever money is left in our checking accounts and put it into one of the savings funds.  

    It does make buying gifts kind of tricky.  I used to have my own credit card that I could put charges on without him knowing, but the company that owned the card (NY&C) switched carriers from MC to Visa... and I have yet to switch over. 

    We also are dedicated users of Mint.com, which helps us keep track of our monthly budgets and retirement accounts. 

    I'm not against having individual funds for personal expenses, but we just don't have the money for that right now.  We have other financial goals we're dedicated to.

  • We have joint accounts for everything and it works really well.  We use credit cards for our daily expenses that way we don't have to worry about accidental overdrafts.  Plus we get cash back on all of the purchases.  Of course, we pay of the credit cards in full each month. 

    I ask DH to get receipts for everything and I update everything in my Quicken software at home about once or twice a week.  If it looks like our balance is getting too high one month, I tell him to cut it out with the coffees or we can't spend anything but groceries this week, stuff like that.

    I keep track of everything, though.  I pay every bill, even the studen loans he has in his name only.  It works great for us, because I'm a control freak over money and he could care less.  I have no idea how we would make separate accounts work.  

    Oh, and I agree with PP's statement about gifts - joint accounts make this kind of difficult.  For me, it's easy since DH doesn't look at the accounts online.  For DH, I would know where he bought something within a few days.  What he usually does is pay in cash for my gifts.  We usually don't pay anything in cash so he has to tell me how much cash he's going to take out and then at least I don't know where it's coming from.  Or, he'll wait until the day before he gives it to me to buy it, that way he can give it to me before it shows up on our account online.

    Hope that helps!  Good luck! :)

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  • We have separate checking accounts and a joint savings, and it's been this way all along. We each have certain bills that we pay from our own accounts (for example, I pay all the insurance bills - car, renters, earthquake - directly from my account, and he pay rent, car payment, CC from his account). if there is a situation where we decide to split something, I just go to the bank and deposit some money in his account from mine, which is easy because it is 2 blocks from our apartment. After spedning 10+ years in banking and seeing the messes that joint accounts can create, we knew there was no way we were going to go there. my parents also fought about money (or lack thereof) a lot when I was a kid, and I refuse to let that be an issue in my marriage. We are very open about what we have and where we stand.
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  • I'm way too anal with my budgeting to have someone else spending money from "my" day-to-day account, and as long as we have the money, I don't want to be hounding DH over every penny he spends. So we have both joint and separate savings and checking accounts. It sounds complicated, but it works for us:

    Each of our paychecks gets deposited into our individual checking accounts.

    We immediately put a pre-set amount into a joint checking account (ING), from which all joint bills like mortgage, utilities, etc. are automatically paid.

    After that we take care of our individual bills like student loans and car payments (since we bought them before we were dating) from our individual checking accounts.

    Then, we put a pre-set amount into our joint savings accounts (ING again). We have sub-accounts for everything- retirement, emergency fund, vacations, new car fund, etc. to keep them straight.

    Any remaining money is our fun money to spend (or save in individual savings accounts for gifts) as we please. If there's any left when pay day comes around again, it goes into our joint savings and we start again fresh.

  • DH and I each have a single account and then we have a joint account as well.  I pay 90% of our bills each month so DH has a big chunk of his paycheck direct deposited into our joint account and the remainder goes into his personal account.  The joint account is at the same bank as my single account so I can transfer money between them really easily.  We don't spend out of that account for things other than bills or household purchases so there is really no chance to overdraft it accidentally. 


    I guess I'm from the camp that thinks it is important for everyone to have a little money of their own that isn't subject to  discussion for every purchase.  If you want a little designer coffee, you should be able to do so with your money.  We talk over purchases over 100 just because money is tight for us but it isn't a huge deal most of the time.

  • OK that all makes sense! I think because I have seen the mistakes my parents have made that I am hesitant to have anything joint for checking. We do split bills (he pays cable, I pay electric, etc.) However, with my paychecks fluctuating so much because I only substitute teach I have been relying on him more.Also, I have some schools that do direct deposit and some that are check, plus they ALL are different paydays so it's hard enough for me to keep track.

    I think I will definitely look into a joint savings account and maybe wait to join our checking accounts together until I get a steady teaching job (which hopefully isn't years ugh). I think I should start consulting DH with purchases over $20. I get in shopping moods with my friend and it never ends well for my wallet Embarrassed  

    Thanks for the advice!

  • In my first marriage, we had his, hers, and joint accounts.  The basic agreement was that we paid for joint expenses in proportion to income.  Everything else was in our individual accounts.  As the need arose, we would renegotiate what was a joint versus individual expense.  (E.g., clothing was usually individual, but maternity clothes were joint.)

    The way to keep track of a joint account is simple in theory, although it obviously falls apart  if people forget to write things down.  When you make a deposit to the joint account, you write it down in your checkbook.  He does the same with the deposits he makes.  Each of you then keeps track of checks s/he writes.  At the end of the month, you can add together the totals each of you has in his/her checkbook, and this should match the amount the bank says you have.  However, if you want to make a transfer (because you have to pay a joint expense that is more than what is in your portion of the account), you just tell him, and he makes a paper transfer from "his" portion to "your" portion.  Because the bank already has the money, you don't have to do any more than that to accomplish the transfer.

    Example:  You are putting $1,000 a month into the joint account.  He is putting $900 a month into the joint account. You start out by writing checks only against the $1,000 you put in.  However, if you end up paying so many of the joint expenses that you need another $100, you tell him and he could "transfer" $100 to your portion of the account.  No money actually moves, but he now treats his portion of the account as $800, and you treat yours as $1,100 (before payment of the expenses).


  • To make this work, you have to make sure that you never write a check that is more than in "your" portion of the account without talking to your husband first, and making sure he reduces "his" portion of the account by the amount needed.

    In my current marriage, we have kept exclusively individual accounts. NotFroofy has been unemployed since before we got married, so I'm paying for everything anyway.  All I do is to make a transfer by PayPal to her when she is running low.  She has a PayPal debit card, so she can use the money as soon as I transfer it to her.

  • For 30 years we have had 2 joint accounts.  To tell them apart, mine has my name first, his has his name first.  His is for all the bills....because he works full time and I don't.  He carries that one.  Mine is for me and also where all the money goes that we are saving for something special.  It works for us.
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  • We have seperate accounts that have a link for transfering funds.  It works out well, the best of both worlds.  We track our own money, spend our own and do not really check each other's statements, but when we need to transfer money to each other we can do it online or at the ATM. We each make sure we give the other a heads up before we do it.  It works out well for us - neither one of us wanted totally joint accounts due to overdraft risk and feeling weird if we splurge, but wanted the ease of quick transfers when necessary.
  • I'm really surprised at the number of couples who do everything separately.  Maybe it's because our salaries are so different and that I take care of everything anyway, but I really didn't even give separate banking a thought. 

    Just an observation, that's all! :)

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