My boyfriend, Nick, and I started dating as penniless college students.
Back then, we didn’t disagree about money because we didn’t have any.
Now that we’re in our thirties, living together in Montreal, Canada, both working full-time—him as a computer programmer and me as a senior communications manager—things are a little different.
Our mutual overspending landed us tens of thousands of dollars in debt in our twenties, and now that we’re living debt-free, I definitely want to start enjoying my money again … within reason. Nick absolutely disagrees, clipping coupons and scanning weekly flyers for sales on items we need—and absolutely nothing else. I’ll give you an example: Nick has had the same pair of “jeans” for at least five years. When the bottom wears out, he takes them to the tailor and gets them cut into shorts. “I don’t want to waste a good top half,” he tells me.
Every now and then I want to splurge on a nice vacation, a weekend road trip or a spa day, but Nick doesn’t want to spend a cent.
So we decided to keep separate accounts, which frankly has saved our relationship. We spend it how we want while contributing equally to our joint monthly expenses (although he covers our $300 utility bill, and I pay roughly the same amount for our cell phones and home insurance). We don’t question how each other spends their money and neither one of us has ever missed a joint payment.
I don’t remember my parents having separate accounts … but then again, they’re now divorced. Nick and I have found a solution to our different spending styles, but I couldn’t help but wonder—do other couples disagree on spending? (And do they have any advice for us?!) So I asked two couples how they, jointly, manage their money.