Q. My husband and I have separate banking accounts. I didn't used to mind, but writing two checks for everything and trying to make sure it's all "fair" is getting to be a drag. We agree that we should combine our finances, but then nothing changes. Should I just accept things as they are or keep trying to combine our money?
A. In most cases one person will handle the bills and keep track of the finances. If you two are paying separate bills and expenses, it's easy to lose control of your spending as well as blame the other person if things come up short. It becomes a control issue. Maybe ultimately, that's what this is really about?
If it's difficult to pry loose from your separate checking accounts, then the best remedy is to set up three checking accounts. The first is the main account to pay all the household bills. Determine how much each of you will deposit into this account from your paychecks. The other two accounts are the ones you're currently using. Instead of paying bills with those accounts, use them for miscellaneous items you spend money on. Make sure you keep enough money in them so you don't have to dip into your joint household account.
If your husband procrastinates on opening the main account, then you take the initiative, go to your bank, and begin the process. The bank will send you home with a signature card for him to sign. Then make a list of all the bills you'll pay through this account, get together with your husband, and create your game plan.
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