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It is inevitable for married couples to discuss about money. Joint account? Separate accounts? Joint and separate accounts? Who pays for what? Who handles the finances?

Before we got married, I have expressed my feelings about money to John. I want a separate bank account where I can put my own money (and maybe some of his :D). I take care of my personal needs, credit card bill and budget for this humble blog. Aside from that, I contribute for Peewee’s ever growing expenses and a little to our grocery budget. I earn enough to save a little, eat three meals a day and spend for trinkets here and there. And the rest of expenses are shouldered by John.

Since marriage is about trust, I tell John if I have money or none at all. I don’t ask how much money he has on hand or in the bank. But he openly tells me. Even if I badly need some, its just hard for me to ask for it. He knows when I don’t have any. It’s just me. Because I hate to talk about money. For me, money comes and goes. Yes, we need it but its just a part of living not the main event.

Now as for daily expenses, he buys whatever he sees and thinks we need and vice versa. But for big items like appliance, new gadgets, or about anything that really needs saving now that’s a different story. Here’s what we do:

1. Research, research, research!
What is it? What does it do? We research online and visit the store, ask the sales person what the product is all about. Weigh the pros and cons of the product and how it will benefit our family. A big expensive item is hard to return to a store compared to a small inexpensive one. Impulse buying on big ticket items is a no-no.

2. We need it vs. We want it
Now this is a tough one. 🙂 Sometimes lines can be blurry in this one. I have a way of measuring if its a want or a need: if all of us can and will use it then its a need, if only one can use it then its a want. If you want it, then go pay for it yourself. Exception to the want rule: if it is needed for health or work.

3. How much does it cost?
Can we afford it? How are we going to finance this one? Do we have to sacrifice on some minor things to finance it?

4.Who’s going to pay for it?
How do we split the cost? 50-50? 70-30? Your credit card or mine? One straight payment or 0% installment? 6 months, 9 months or 12 months?

5. Sleep on it. Convince the other.
After we weigh all the factors and have planned to how pay for it, we sleep on it. If one is not yet convinced with the product or the financing plan, the other should do more convincing! hahaha

It takes us as short as 3 days to as long as a year to buy a big expensive item. We have fun making these decisions at the same time we are learning how to handle our finances carefully.

How do you handle your finances? Any tips?