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11 couples share: “How we manage our money”

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Are you "all-in" with your finances or do you prefer to keep your money separate? We asked 11 couples how they split their finances.

With cost of living pressures at the forefront of our minds, it's important to not just think about how we manage our money – but who we manage it with.

For tips and advice on how to best make it work, we asked the Finder crew to share how they manage their finances with their significant other.

Jess, 31, Double Bay (Sydney)

Status: Mingled finances.

What works: Having a joint account for shared expenses. "We use our joint account for the rent, bills, trips away and eating out which works really well to avoid awkward splits and 'I owe you' drama."

What doesn't: We could still improve our shared approach to account for shared savings goals. "I would like to start saving together so after this month we will start putting a joint amount aside each month. We haven't before as we have had so much on and so much to pay for."

Tim, Rhodes (Sydney)

Status: All-in finances.

What works: Combine all finances. "I find the whole idea of separated finances pretty whacky. If you're 'all-in' on a relationship, you should be all-in on your life together. Separating your finances feels like you're getting prepared for the worst."

What doesn't: "Despite my optimism, I understand that combining all finances might not be the best option for every relationship. I think it's important to find a method that suits you and your partner."

– Tim Bennett, publisher

Jarrod*, New South Wales

Status: All-in finances.

What works: Share majority of expenses. "My partner and I are pretty much 'all-in' with our finances, from the mortgage to our household bills and entertainment expenses."

What doesn't: Sharing everything doesn't always work! Create a separate splurge account so each partner gets fun money. "We each hold a 'splurge' account. Our splurge accounts sit alongside our joint account in the same bank. About 5% of our wages go into these accounts each month. We can spend this on any treats we want. Neither of us can see each other's splurge spending!"

Elise, 30, Randwick (Sydney)

Status: Mingled finances.

What works: Create a joint high interest savings account to save for events. "We opened a second high interest savings account that's shared to use to save for events, wedding/holiday etc that we contribute to based on our incomes."

What doesn't: We don't share everything. "I also have separate savings accounts, as well as additional super contributions, investments and charitable donations, however my husband doesn't and uses the joint account as his only savings form."

– Elise Stitt

Mary*, Sydney

Status: All-in finances.

What works: Committing to joint goals. "Before we were married we had our 'own' money but for both of us, combining our finances was an important commitment. All our pay goes into the one account every month and we use it to accomplish our shared family money goals. It's worked perfectly since we were married 5 years ago."

What doesn't: When combining all finances, "it can be hard to buy a surprise present!".

Katie*, Sydney

Status: Mingled finances.

What works: Come up with a system that works for you and your partner. "For now, my partner is largely a stay-at-home dad. He pays for 2 days a week of daycare and I cover everything else. He works casually those 2 days and keeps what's left after daycare as fun money for himself."

What doesn't: What worked in the past might not work for your current situation. "For 10+ years we used to split everything 50:50 but since having kids that's totally changed."

Stephanie, 37, Newtown (Sydney)

Status: Siloed finances.

What works: "Keeping finances completely separate and having split responsibility for certain bills. We keep our money separate so as not to fall too deep into nitpicking at each other's expenses (he's more luxurious, I'm more frugal). The responsibilities of shared expenses are split by who we believe uses them the most. I take care of childcare (I do most of the drop-offs and pick-ups), health insurance and utilities. He takes care of the car insurance, rego, internet and streaming."

What doesn't: "It's near impossible to keep all finances separate. We have a shared mortgage and offset account that we both contribute what we can to."

– Stephanie Yip, travel editor

Layla*, Gold Coast (Queensland)

Status: Mainly separate finances.

What works: Keeping it separate – paying for your own family and personal expenses. "Keeping our finances mostly separate works for us as there are (adult) stepkids involved. If hubby wants to lash out on his children, buy a new motorbike, car or whatever else – no problem! Likewise if I want to buy a new dress, start a business etc – it's on me."

What doesn't: Don't follow all the advice you see. It might not be right for you and your partner. "We work on the Barefoot Investor Program together – who BTW says share your finances!"

Gary, Marrickville (Sydney)

Status: All-in finances.

What works: Having the same savings goals. "We would also both like to one day own a home and have a family so we're both saving with the same goal in mind (but not enough that we don't enjoy ourselves now)."

– Gary Ross Hunter, insurance senior writer

Charlie*, United Kingdom

Status: Proportional finances.

What works: Share money at a proportional rate of salary. "We put about a third of our incomes into a joint account each month and cover all shared costs from that account. We contribute unequal amounts in dollar terms because we do the same proportion of income" and one partner earns more. "We also keep a very comprehensive Google Sheets tracker of our savings and who contributed what in case the worse should happen."

What doesn't: What works for others might not for you. "However, we know a lot of couples who split everything equally despite one side earning significantly more."

Antoni*, Poland

Status: All-in finances.

What works: Living off mainly one income. For some partners, "All-in is just more fair. Money is basically just a single factor, where others are caring for kids, cleaning or other responsibilities. My wife consumes from our shared budget, the same way as I consume from her work."

"Also every spending is a joint investment, where we both agree on something. Same time it's OK when we buy things just only for ourselves. If it does not affect our general budget too much, it's all fine. Otherwise we again have to discuss that and agree."

Are you thinking about joining finances with your partner? Here's how to open a joint bank account and some tips if you're thinking about a joint home loan.

*Some names have been changed for the purposes of anonymity

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