Becoming Debt Free in 2009

November 6, 2008

How We Divide the Financial Responsibilities

Filed under: Budget — ambercouric @ 10:26 am

Our system has evolved over twenty years of marriage.  In the beginning, I handled the finances.  All of the finances and I NEVER one time balanced a checkbook the entire time I was in control.  Just say this went on for YEARS.  I was young and stupid and uninformed.

The next phase had my husband handling all of the finances.  Because I didn’t balance the checkbook and he is a little anal (well actually a lot ) about that it was decided he would take over.  So he did everything.  Paid the bills, balance the checkbook and kept up with everything.  That worked for a while and then I begin to feel a little resentment because I felt I had no control.  I do have just  a few control issues.  I could always check the balance in the checkbook and knew exactly where we were but I almost felt I had to ask permission to spend.

Next, we worked our way into budget meetings.  Twice a month, just a few days before payday, we would sit down and develope a “budget”.  List all the bills and then how much was left over.  This helped me because we included a catagory that was labled miscellaneous and that would cover anything I needed for me or the boys.  Usually the miscellaneous money was about $300 every two weeks.  So I knew that if I went to Target or the mall or wherever I could spend up to $300 and everything was fine.  (Let me just say at this point I WASTED a LOT of MONEY).

The next step in defining our roles came when it seemed that my husband got GRUMPY when he paid the bills.  He just didn’t enjoy writing out the bills.  So he would put it off until the last moment.  No bills were ever late and we always had the money he just dreaded writing those darn checks.

Finally, the current method was decided upon.  We sit down twice a month a write a budget.  Not a zero balance budget because that just is to restricting for me.  We list all up coming bills, expenses for the boys, special needs and wants.  We have a set amount that we put into savings every two weeks.  After that we deduct for all the bills that are to be paid.  Then we include a $100 miscellaneous category.  Just in case we didn’t plan for something.  Then on payday I pay all the bills either online or by check.  I put in the check register all the bills that were paid and when my husband gets home he balances the checkbook.  He goes online once a week or so and balances any debits that were made.  He is the type of person who will search for the error if the account is two cents off.  I would just forget the two cents so he is much better at balancing than I am.  I on the other hand love to pay the bills.  I like to watch the balances go down.  I like to compare last year’s electric bill to this year’s bill. 

This system doesn’t really put either in total control of the budget but it keeps us both completely up to date.  For us the old systems didn’t work (even though we used some of them 5+ years) because it put to much responsibility on one person.

In my home it takes two to balance a budget and I think it is perfect for us.



  1. Tried that, but didn’t work for us. He just wants to know that he can spend something… uggg! I wish it would just so he would know where we are at, but he just wants a monthly update now…

    Comment by Kristie — November 6, 2008 @ 10:52 am

  2. Hi there-personal finances is all about finding a solution to suit your situation best, thankfully you got there with yours now!! Well done, its great you both know the situation and keep up the good work. Our banking system in the Uk allows all my bills (except groceries and cash expenses) to be paid by direct debit monthly. So we have a monthly, quarterly or yearly bill, but the companies debit 1/12 of the same amount every month. this keeps my budget static so amounts are always the same every month.

    Comment by sharon rose — November 6, 2008 @ 11:53 am

  3. Well done on coming up with a solution that works for both of you, even if it did take a while to get there!
    My husband deposits his paycheque each week and w/d the cash we will need for our envelopes. When he gets home and hands it over to me, his responsibilities end. I organize everything, pay all the bills, and do 99% of the spending. It works for us, and I give him lots of opportunities to speak up if he doesn’t like it!

    Comment by MadeMistakes — November 6, 2008 @ 12:44 pm

  4. Sounds like a good system. We still don’t have something concrete. I’m still working on it. Right now we have a budget but aren’t checking frequently enough to know whether we are right on target. We are using Wesabe but it’s a pain, having to download the transactions from every single account and credit card. Does anyone have a better program?

    Comment by Saver Queen — November 6, 2008 @ 1:47 pm

  5. I do everything and my husband walks around oblivious.


    Comment by cheryl — November 6, 2008 @ 3:59 pm

  6. I’m with Cheryl! I try to explain our finances, where our investments are, how we should prepare for the future….his eyes glaze over in the first 30 seconds. Then I get the “oh honey I trust you to figure it out”. I don’t want to have to figure it out alone, but since I have the aptitude and inclination, it falls on me. I guess it’s OK, I have those control issues too so at least I’m in charge!

    Comment by Miss M — November 6, 2008 @ 5:55 pm

  7. good for you – I think it is very important to have both people involved in the finances (I do ours, but have spreadsheets that DH looks at every week — also – when there is something that is out of the ordinary, we sit down to discuss – we also do a ‘beginning of the month’ talk about the upcoming expenses for that coming month or season)

    keep it up 🙂

    Comment by jpkittie — November 7, 2008 @ 8:31 am

  8. I feel like the only guy out there that handles making sure the finances are in order. Some of your past attempts at budgeting are interesting though, and I may give them a shot. My wife isn’t too interested in the bills and stuff, it comes down to what she needs or wants and being able to afford it all.

    Comment by Jim ~ — November 7, 2008 @ 12:03 pm

  9. Wow, that is great that you have a system figured out. We have several checking accounts to maintain plus my husband’s business account so it seems like a constant battle to know where our money is going. I get so tired of doing it all, I wish we could divide up the chore. Baby steps.

    Comment by Mrs. Accountability — November 8, 2008 @ 12:23 pm

  10. i love this post… not married but something i have night chills about

    Comment by debtor — January 8, 2009 @ 3:10 pm

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