Joint Budget Planning - Help?!

Earlier in the week, I wrote about the enlightening conversation that Jordan and I had about how we are managing our money.  We've taken a stab at coming up with a realistic joint budget.  We've decided that we'll work on an ideal budget (ie. 10% of income to RRSPs) once my student loan is paid off and we are no longer using our credit cards.

The idea behind the joint budget, is utilizing our joint chequing account for more than just bills.  We want to streamline everything that is coming in and coming out.  We want to eliminate any uncessary stressors.

First we listed our net income after taxes and deductions. We are planning to have both our pay cheques deposited into the same joint account.

Next we listed all of our non-negotiables. Although sometimes the amounts will vary (ie. utilities and horse board in the winter).  These are expenses that are going to be there no matter what.  This plan includes my our debt repayment plan of having the student loan paid off by December.

Next we listed all of our variable expenses.  Each column that is highlighed in yellow would have it's own ING (or other) account.  Every other cent would live in the joint account. 

The Planning Spending money is key here.  We would like to get a joint credit card and this sum of money would be earmarked to pay it off each month.  We figure that this will be the best way to streamline joint expenses and track exactly what we're spending at the same time. We would also buy our groceries, gas and anything else that was joint with this credit card.  That way, we'd know exactly what we were spending.  The c/c limit would be set based on what all those expenses add up to be each month.  

With this plan we've set our allowances at $400/month and there is still about $200 left over. What to the allowances cover?

  • Our cell phone bills (mines around $50 Jordan's is around $90)
  • Our World of Warcraft subscriptions (These are about $15/each)
  • Eating out at work (Jordan's spends about $100/month I spend closer to $50)
  • Clothes for ourselves (untracked - no clue)
After we look at what we would be personally responsible for, Jordan would have about $200 left over and I  would have about $250-$300.  I'm not sure that it's enough money to have some left over to save for gifts we may want to purchase for each other (ie. Christmas, Birthdays, etc.).  Do you think it is?

The idea behind this post is that it's a place to start. Nothing is set in stone just yet.  We'd really like your opinions/help to refine this budget.  It's important that we both feel like we are no longer strangled by limitations but freed with a solid plan.  It needs to be easy/simple.

So, please, feel free to offer suggestions or ask questions.  We would both really love the help.


  1. Do you have any annual expenses you need to set aside for? Ex - Costco, CAA etc

  2. @ Jolie - Thanks for reminding me! I always forget abot those - and we have both Costco and CAA.

  3. When it comes to your allowances...will that be cash? Will you still keep your own credit card in addition to the joint one?

    This looks quite similar to what my budget is. The main difference is we also put a small amount (started at about $15 bi-weekly) into an ING account and it was our "gift money" for each other. That way, when our own birthdays, anniversaries, or whatever comes up, we have a good chunk of change set aside. I absolutely love it and I recommend you think about doing something similar.

  4. @ Financial - we're thinking that the allowances would go into our own bank accounts. I think it would be important for both of our credit ratings to keep a card of our own.

    I like your gift money idea. When we were talking the other night - our idea was that gifts for each other would come from our allowances. I would probably do something like that with mine - to have some cash set aside.

  5. It's fun to look at other peoples' budgets - mine looks completely different as I have a son who lives with us, and my husband has a son who we only have every second weekend (so he pays child support.) That means we have categories for daycare, school supplies/bus fees, after school activities, birthday parties, etc.

    I also play WoW. ;)

  6. Are you still using CIBC? If you do, take advantage of their Visa card's personal spend manager so you can create and track categories such as groceries, gas, house needs, etc. It makes a credit card more controllable b/c you can account for every purchase made. Plus for Jordan, he'd be able to see how much is left in each category/month just by logging in. It can also send you out emails if you go over budget (I've never tried this but apparently it works well).

  7. Is your tenant's insurance in the joint account already? It's looking like you have a few more $$ that need a job.

  8. Wow, so much to catch on! Congrats - sounds like you guys are really taking a big step forward together. Are you still going to be saving separately (things like EF, travel, car funds, and stuff like that?)


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