Question for Couples - When do you put more in the pot?

Jordan and I are at a point where things are humming along really nicely. We have our joint savings account for our house fund – which we each contribute $150/bi-weekly too and we have our joint chequing account for rent and the household utilities. We also hold roommates damage deposits in this account. We each contribute $287.50/bi-weekly – which covers our share of rent/bills.

On to the variables – Jordan and I each contribute $100/bi-weekly to our ‘food jar’ so the division of grocery/personal care/cleaning supplies is split evenly.

There ends our ‘joint’ financial endeavors. We usually split costs of eating out or other entertainment, but it’s not clearly defined – and that works for us right now. When it comes to large purchases – we usually talk about them first, but at the end of the day we each still have our own pots of money.

Now, here comes my question.

April is salary review time each year at my company – and I’m likely going to get a raise of 2% (not significant enough to change things) however; I may get a boost from $47,000 to $51,000….That’s pretty huge. That’s close to 6.5% - which is significant.

I think that if my income gets that big of a boost – I should put more into the ‘pot’. I figure – a gross increase of $4,000 will net me about $107/bi-weekly.

Right now – Jordan is very aggressively paying off his truck and thus his discretionary income is not very flexible. If I put more into joint he would have more flexibility in his budget.

I’m wondering what you do in your relationships – and what you think is fair? I was thinking maybe I would contribute $50 more to groceries (and Jordan would keep $50) or maybe it would be easier to adjust our joint account contributions to say $260 biweekly for jordan and $315 for me? or Does it makes sense to just leave things alone - we've been together for two years now.

To help give some context, I’ll share an average snapshot of my bi-weekly budgets and Jordan's.  I have two of Jordan's below - so you can see what the month looks like.  We've gone a long way to find some balance between each pay period - but they are still lop sided.  You can see one week he has about $55 for un-budgeted expenses and the next he has about $175. 

Olie is the lunch truck that comes to his place of work every day and Telus is his cell phone bill. We're getting better at making lunches - but realistically there will usually be a cost to this.

Here's my next bi-weekly budget (though you've seen a lot of these):

Of course things like horse board, car insurance, the gym and our cell phone bills only happen once a month - this is reflective of what we have left over on any given pay period.  You can see that my car insurance costs more then Jordan's but my cell phone bill is cheaper then his.  There are also some expenses that are different.  Jordan has a gym membership ($54/month) and I have a horse ($165/month).

So that was the current picture....if I get a raise - and have an extra $108/biweekly - how much do you figure is reasonable to chip into our joint pot and how much should I keep to funnel into savings and debt repayment?


  1. *Crosses fingers that the raise comes through*

  2. I think that it would be best to not add or change the budget in anyway, but maybe you can pick up the tab more often when you go out to eat or do fun things.

  3. My opinion is that if the raise does come through ... put all of that extra money towards your Student Loans. Once they're both paid in full, then by all means, increase your contribution to the joint funds 'pot'. But as Jordan aggressively pays off his truck loan, you should aggressively pay off your Student Loans. That way there is no reason for any resentment to occur in the future. If you had another two years or more of loan payments left I may think differently, but with the end of your loans in sight this year you don't want anything to distract you.

  4. I hope the big raise works out - how awesome would that be?

    I feel you on the food truck - T often goes to work on various sites and so doesn't always have access to kitchen facilities. No matter how good our intentions about making lunch, we know to budget lunch money. Plus it's just easier - we're lazy and he can never think of lunch ideas he actually wants to eat.

    I think $50 is a good amount - as for how you choose to do it (food jar or main pot) is up to you - what do you prefer? Does it make any difference which way you go? Either way it seems he gets a bit more breathing room thanks to you, which is the end goal.

  5. Every relationship is different, so it's whatever you both are comfortable with.

    For H and I, we have always "shared" our money. We have 1 bank account that the money (his and mine) is deposited in. This just works for us. I never worry about what he's spending money on, and vice versa. Our fixed/variable bills are combined together and they are paid from our pooled money. It's never been "your" money and "my" money. And we have never once had a fight over money, either.

    But like I said - some people don't understand how we operate like that (and I will never understand a marriage where each couple has separate bank accounts!). But as we see it, we're a team. We're in this together. What's mine is his, and what's his is mine.

    Every relationship is different. Do what YOU think is right, and if it doesn't work - try something else! :)

    Good luck and hopefully that raise comes through!

  6. I would talk to Jordan about it. Maybe he is fine with contributing the same amount (maybe he prefers it). If that's the case I would put the raise toward your student loans. If he is willing to accept you paying a little more than him then maybe contribute $50 to alleviate him and then the rest to debt and/or savings.

  7. We have several joint accounts and basically pool our incomes together. Hubby makes double what I make, but I work less to accommodate childcare responsibilities and household duties. We pay our fixed expenses and about 1/3 of our variable expenses on what hubby makes. I cover 2/3 of the variables, plus all the savings and debt repayment. But basically, we pool our money so there is no "his" or "hers" or "you pay x", "I pay x". It's all just "our money", "our bills", "our savings". I can't remember when we started pooling our money, but if it helps to know, we've been married for 12 years and together for 14.

  8. I agree with what others have said. I think you should focus on paying down your debt before adding more to the budget. I mean, the reason that Jordan doesn't add more to the budget is because he is aggressively paying off his debt...why wouldn't you be doing the same thing?

    Once both of you are without debt I think you should revisit the discussion again because by then things will be very different.

  9. Oh I am crossing my fingers for you on the raise!!!

    I've always been on the belief that each person should contribute relative to their income. So that would vote for you contributing more.

    However, I also like what eemusings said. =)

    At the end of the day though, do what makes both you and Jordan comfortable. That is all that matters.

  10. I think Jordan wants to feel that he is paying his share, same as you do. If you put some extra into the joint pot instead of more into groceries it might feel less like you are feeding him, oe subsidizing him. And when Star's board goes down (soon) you can commit that to debt. (After the Farrier)

  11. This is tough! I never did the 'joint' money thing with anyone besides my husband, and that wasn't until after we got married. I vote you leave your contribution as is and pay down your own debts with the extra money -- and I hope you get that raise!

  12. I know your question has already been answered, but I thought I'd share my two cents. :) My husband and I kept completely separate bank accounts until we were married. Everything was separate (my husband isn't very responsible with money). After we got married, we added each other to our checking and savings accounts and now we have one primary checking where all of our bills are paid out of, both of our paychecks go into the account. I do all my daily purchases on a credit card (paid off in full every week or so) and he still maintains his own checking account (that I'm a signer on) where I move $100 or so every payday into for his daily purchases. He also has his own credit card with a very low limit that I let him use for fun purchases, but I make sure it's paid off every month.

    If he wants to spend money on something "big", he always calls me or asks me first and I will let him know if we have the money or not. This is just what works for us. He's had some financial messiness in his past and I've worked hard to pay off a lot of his debt (with his income). He has access to all the accounts and knows all the passwords to our online banking.

    If you want things to be even between you and Jordan, what you could do is contribute an even percentage of your incomes into the joint fund, like 30%. Obviously, your 30% would be larger because you're income is higher, but you'd both be contributing the same percentage of income to the joint account.


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