When it comes to finances for couples, most people fall into two camps: The 50/50 split and the proportional split. (I’m excluding couples where income disparities are massive, for example, when one makes double what the other does – there seems to be general consensus that proportionate contributions are more appropriate then.)
I decided to go with the latter in our case for a couple of reasons.
For one, I make more. It’s not a huge amount, but it’s more than small change.
And secondly, his income varies. Generally he works quite long hours and sometimes does Saturdays, but that’s not always the case. The difference between a 40-hour week (or less on occasion, as once their systems were down and everyone sent home) and a 55+hour week is significant.
Since I’d been covering all our expenses for a few months prior to this anyway, the easiest route was to continue doing that, and just bank his contributions – barring an extra $10 a week into our “irregulars” account – directly into my savings.
My driving guideline is pretty simple: What will leave us both better off?
Flexibility, I think, is key. On weeks he brings in less than usual, then he puts less towards our expenses. It might come down to a choice between saving or debt repayment. And because the debt we’re focusing on is, well, to me, savings comes first. It’s not super-urgent nor is it accruing interest.
We recently got a $320 AECT dividend, and while I decided to leave my half as a credit on our power bill, his went toward his EF. His circumstances mean that building up that safety net is paramount, while it’s not so much of an issue for me anymore.
I do all this with an eye to the future – like I’ve said numerous times before, we’re planning for a future together, and although not all our money is merged, one day it most likely will be.