Do You Split Your Household Expenses with Your Spouse? How?

Hi Ozbargainers,

I have a rather delicate subject to discuss.

My wife and I both earn almost similar income (decent income); Our expenses are also high – Childcare, Rent, holidays being the biggest culprits. No home loan currently but considering it in the next 2-3 years.

Individual expenses are handled individually but most of our common expenses are paid from my account.

I understand that the married couple should be one unit.
However, I just want to know whether any of you split expenses? and how? (in the proportion of income/ common account for expenses/ one salary for saving, etc.)


  • +120

    yeah, nah.
    we've both shared resources since we started dating (except chocolate, I don't share…)

    • +6

      You have to have some standards. :).

    • +27

      Same here… We actually share chocolate as well, and even dessert sometimes… We do have different toothbrushes though…

      Joint account, everything goes to the same account and no "private accounts" exist… We share the same credit card, we pay trips, house expenses… We went through moments when we had similar income to other moments when one had no income at all, and everything is fine… One could say that if you cannot have a joint account with your partner you shouldn't get married…

      Whatever works for each couple, but I can't imagine how annoying would that be if we had to separate everything…

      • +14

        if you can share saliva, a kid, and a house to live in, sharing an account is easy.

        • +1

          if you can share saliva,

          And other fluids.

      • how does it work if you want to buy something a little extravagant. Ie: weekend car, some tech gadget ect?
        do you just go out and get it, do you ask permission ?

        • +5

          You talk to your partner about it, be like "hey, I want this. We can afford it" and then (well my partner) she'll be like either "yeah or nah wait till this date because of so and so". Then she does the same when it comes to her stuff.

          • +1

            @npiet1: Communication! ;)

          • @npiet1: LoL I've never even been in a serious, living-together relationship but this would've been my response too. Seems kind of obvious, not sure if juki was being serious or just taking the piss by asking.

            • @SlavOz: I was really just curious - a lot of things turned out different to what i thought before actually living them
              a lot of bargain comments saying "good bargain wife said no" werent just humouristic then :)

        • it depends on the your relationship..

          my missus wouldn't care if I went out and got a camera and gear that cost a couple of grand, or a nice bottle of scotch for 100 bucks.

          but she will care if I bought a 30K car,

          like wise,,, I don't monitor her shoe and dress shopping. but I will care if she went and bought a 15K berkin handbag.

          • +1

            @Archi: What about if she bought a 30K car herself?

    • +2

      Once you have a home loan it's easy. Everything in the offset account to save money.

      Having said that, once you're married everything should be shared. Definitely none of this "your share" business unless you want to get a divorce.

  • +61

    Have 1 joint account

    • +25

      Yep. 1 account - all income is shared, all expenses are shared and we both have online access, so you can see what the other is spending on if you want to.

    • +46

      Have 1 joint account and chill out

  • +40

    Similar situation, both on similar wages. Prior to our mortgage, separate accounts, halved all bills. Progressed to contributing an agreed amount into bills fund, if short we topped up, if money left over, it went into our travel fund.
    Once we had a joint mortgage, our salaries went into a joint account to pay for everything. However, we both had an agreed amount that went into personal accounts each pay, that we each used in any way we wished. This worked really well for us.

    • +6

      That's the way we do it. I earn more but heck we're married and that's not a half commitment to my mind. We have our "fun money" paid to individual accounts each fortnight and do with it what we like. Controls spending and avoids any debate around it!

      • +3

        Yeah we do similar, except we use a budgeting app to assign a monthly “fun money” allowance, not even in separate accounts. Some times my wife earned more, other times I did, plus maternity leave, but who cares - we are not housemates, we are a married couple. Everything is going in to the same pot.

    • +1

      +1 for this method. Have put together a pretty thorough budget for annual expenses - rego, rates, car servicing, groceries, right down to money for birthday presents. If it’s a a shared expense, it’s accounted for. Then we have a ‘personal spending’ included in the budget, whereby this cash is purely up to each person to spend on personal expenses - clothes, hobbies, etc. Saving and mortgage are also obviously is for

    • Same kinda. My wife doesn't work so 90% of my salary goes in to our join account for the bills etc. I keep the rest for play money throughout the month. Works ok.

  • That should say 'I understand that the married couple should be one unit'. We put all shared expenses on one credit card, and pay for individual expenses from our own accounts, apart from rent which my husband transfers his share to me and I pay. Though in the future we're planning to just pay it in advance a few months at a time so we don't need to worry about it more than once per quarter.

    • Edited now. Thanks for your reply.

  • +3

    Have separate transaction accounts and leave under $200 each - just incase need urgent cash

    Rest all is joint accounts - joint savings for in and out going for all expenses (like credit card spends, bills, loans). We don't split expenses, all common and shared under one roof

  • +23

    Ha, you call it delicate? Wait till you and your spouse are not earning roughly similar income.

    • +3

      Haha.. I called it delicate as Frankly, I was not sure about my approach and didn't want to create issues between us. Until recently she was earning less but she got a big pay hike when she switched jobs narrowing the gap between our incomes. I used to pay for everything earlier too, but my account is getting drained all the time.

  • +39

    I pay for everything and if she wants to contribute, that's totally up to her. I also make sure she can leave her job if she wants to and we'll still be able to live comfortably with mortgage, expenses and all from my own income.

    • +23

      True love exists

      • +37

        Does it, phunky? You've been resisting my advances for years

      • +5

        True love is finding a sugar daddy? To quote my Nanna, "Money can buy you a fine dog, but only love can make him wag his tail."

        • +1

          'only love can make him wag his tail' ?

          never seen a hungry dog wag his tail in anticipation of food … ?

        • Our a good dog trainer, which money can buy.

          • @CJ31: It's a saying.

    • +25

      Hey it's me your wife.

      • +6

        username checks out

        • I couldn't keep my first wife. Tried everyone's suggestions, including sleeping separately for a while. Me on the couch, her in a giant pumpkin shell. Nothing could save our marriage.

          Had another, didn't love her.
          It was only when I learned to read and spell that I loved her very well.

          Sounds strange but things were different back in the 90s (1790s).

    • +8

      You talking about your wife or a child here?

      • +3

        For all you know she does 100% of the house work and everything for the kids. Different people split the work up differently. You don't know their situation. So why the rude comment?

        • If she wants to contribute that's totally up to her.

          Not, she contributes in a variety of other ways.

          The poster is saying, I expect nothing from my partner, I am willing to carry them through life.

          That's what you do for someone who is incapable or immature, like a child.

          Why your defensive comment? Does someone you know get kept in such a fashion?

          • @ozbjunkie: There's nothing defensive here mate. I'd like to see you tell my wife I carry her, but you might want body armor. Back in the day she was a black belt.

            I just don't think you need to assume she's a child, and I don't think fyeahm was necessarily saying his partner did nothing - just that he wanted the give her the option of not having to worry about making money because he was willing to do that.

          • @ozbjunkie:

            OP's Title / Description / Tag regarding nothing but finance/money


            fyeahm's comment: I pay for everything and if she wants to contribute, that's totally up to her.

            The subject is financial contribution.

            I am still trying to figure out how you fumbled that ball and completely missed the context just to try and take a swipe at a man doing a fantastic financial job as a husband and father.

    • Women leave her job and stay at home to do the cleaning? Omg that's so sexist, how dare you, woman-hater, neo-Nazi White Supremacist!!!

      -Australian media

  • +24

    We just throw everything into one account and don't really ask questions what each other spends on. Rarely any surprises as we are both fairly thrifty.

    • yeah but i bet theres alot of "book stores" coming up on your bank statements.

    • Same here but only because we earn roughly the same amount. Only catch is >$300 purchases need to be discussed beforehand.

      If I drastically earned more than her I would get professional advise about protecting my wealth; I'd expect her to do the same if the tables were turned.

      • Are you married though? I'm not but I always felt like it would be weird going solo and protecting my extra wealth if i was in an official partnership.

        • I am married.
          It might be more difficult but if your partner has issue with it then maybe that's not a good sign.
          Think about it, if you entered a relationship with a person who was already a multimillionaire, would you be ok with that money not being available to you if you separate?
          If your partner helps you make a lot of money by relocating for work, raising children, working around your long hours to make it possible for you to work those hours, of course they deserve some of it.

  • Put all income into one, then spread a bit for day to day for the both of us (separate day to day and one savings)

  • +11

    First they'll want to split the cost of tampons before you know it, you'll be buying property under joint names, shared child raring expense, shared use of assets…

    Where does it all end? Adjoining graves?!

    • +1

      Where do you stand on splitting the cost of condoms? I vaguely remember seeing a forum post about this very issue on here. Can't find it anymore :(

      • +24

        Splitting the cost of condoms or the cost of splitting condoms? Lol

        • -7

          If by splitting the condom , you mean stealthing:

          Under Victorian law the non-consensual removal of a condom and continued penetrative sex is classified as a sexual assault

          So no. Was asking about sharing the cost of contraceptives.

          • @DisabledUser102420: Well, I say f—k it. :P

            • @tshow: Do it often enough and you might not need those tampons.

        • 'the cost of splitting condoms?'

          may not be necessary - I've heard a pin can do the job

        • +1

          Cost of splitting condoms?

          Over $16k per year.

  • +24

    We share everything. All money goes into one account and all expenses are considered as for us as a couple - whether it's for one of us or both. That's kinda the whole point of being in a long-term relationship, you share everything.

    • Totally agree! When we went to the bank to discuss our mortgage the account manager made us feel like weird people because I was studying and had no income for several months while my partner's income was going to our joint account, and was paying for my studies as well.

      I do understand that's all about being in the "right" relationship with someone you can trust, and feel that you can share "everything". We started doing that after about 2 years, but I hadn't considered doing the same in my previous four-year relationship…

  • +1

    We split everything 50/50, I'm the sole earner between the ages of 20-50, she'll be the sole earner between 50-80.

    • +24

      Unless she decides to upgrade to a newer model. :)

      • +2

        Or he is dead

    • +5

      Yes please report back on how this turns out. Interested for research purposes.

    • Can you give extra details on your professions? Sounds a bit risky at surface level.

  • +7 has an article about managing money for spouses. Worth a read?

    There are also tools like HoneyDue which is a mobile phone budgeting app that's designed for spouses, as well as YNAB (You need a Budget) and Mint.

  • +10

    Everything goes in the offset, then she spends everything.

    Still have our pre marriage bank accounts though for emergency spending.

    • +1

      Yes I'm a little surprised at the lack of people mentioning offset accounts here…….an awful lot of separate savings accounts going on!

      We have 1 offset for the house (which doubles as everyday account) but never bothered to close our separate transaction accounts so they are just for salary deposit and emergency cash. Then a few joint CCs.

      Been doing it that way since 1yr of dating

  • +3

    If you want to stay happily married keep separate individual bank accounts. Keep a joint account for expenses, bills etc.

    I've seen too many instances of a single joint account leading to issues when financial pressure or problems come along at some point down the track.

    • +2

      Not saying you're wrong, but I'm not following the logic here.

      What issue arise from having a joint account for all expenses when there's financial pressure? Surely split accounts has equal issues, if not more due to secrecy?? Surely a single account helps with transparency at least.

      • +5

        Transparency is not always good.

        At the worst - unfortunate domestic situations where a partner is controlled generally feature a recurring aspect - financial independence is taken from the other.

        At the best - individuals in a relationship generally require some aspect of privacy. Be it to buy a treat for themselves etc.

        My initial post in no way relates to my personal situation considering I am single by choice.

      • +2

        The issue comes when one person feels the other is spending more than what is "fair".

        Joint account for all income and shared expenses and then an (equal) allowance paid into separate accounts for the 2 people to spend whatever they want on. Everything spent from the shared account has to be agreed on. Your personal accounts are for you to do what you want.

        It gives transparency and independence.

        • -3

          I guess for relationships that have no trust.

        • Yep spot on. This is how we do it and it's the best way for sure. 90% of my salary goes in and I keep the rest for my monthly splurging, coffees, beers etc.

    • If you want to stay happily married keep separate individual bank accounts

      What happens when the wife gets pregnant and goes on unpaid maternity leave for 12 months or decides to take a few years off? Are they expected to save up so they can still keep contributing to the expenses, bills etc?

      • +7

        we have one joint account for all expenses, and also separate transaction accounts for our own spending.

        all pay goes into joint account. weekly direct debits to both transaction accounts

        one credit card that pays all the bills and joint spending like movies and groceries and eating out. paid off by joint account.

        I recently took 6 months off work and my wife was happy to support me while I got my shit together,

        it has always been that my wife would always have the choice to work or not as I was the higher income earner, my wife only works part time.

        • +1

          Sounds like a healthy system and allows you each some financial independence. I like it.

      • May be contribute in the proportion of your income? 0 income, 0 share.. Higher income, higher share.

        • I vote for joint account for expenses, personal accounts for savings.

          You can budget all expenses, and get an equally % of the income. Who makes more will pay more but on an equal %.

          If someone needs to be out of work unexpectedly (childcare, disease, job/career transitioning) the one who keeps working should cover all expenses.

          I think it's reasonable that you share expenses when your wife/partner also works.

      • +2

        Are they expected to save up so they can still keep contributing to the expenses, bills etc?

        Did you not read the bit where I specifically said: "Keep a joint account for expenses, bills etc." One partner, or benefits, can cover it just like every other family in this country does.

        Unique events like pregnancy would obviously be key exceptions where financial management would temporarily change.

        • -4

          Yes I did, did you not read my comment?

          So you're saying that you should split things equally until there's a life event like a pregnancy then the wife can take some time off from paying her half or does she need to write an IOU or start paying more when she goes back to work? What about if she loses her job? That's not your fault so she should keep paying?

          • +1


            So you're saying that you should split things equally

            No. Where did I ever say this?

            Care to misconstrue or straw man my fairly simple post any further?

            • -4

              @zeggie: OK so what are you saying then?

              You keep separate accounts and one joint account for bills and expenses. How do you decide how much each person puts into the joint account?

              • +1


                You keep separate accounts and one joint account for bills and expenses.

                I'm saying exactly what my posts say. Not your odd interpretation of them where you've added aspects I never raised or mentioned.

                How do you decide how much each person puts into the joint account?

                I don't decide that. Why would I? That's for each couple to decide based on their individual and joint circumstances.

          • +3

            @onetwothreefour: In the event of a life event like a pregnancy I believe both partners should stop working to keep things fair and even and avoid negotiating changes to any existing arrangements.

            • @crentist: Finally someone who speaks some sense!

              • +3

                @onetwothreefour: If you want a genuine dialogue you need to be careful with implied tone. You were coming off as oddly antagonistic and that dissuades people from engaging fully with you.

                • @jacross: Agreed, at the risk of enraging PC warriors, it does remind me of experiences I've had arguing with feminists.

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