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separate finances

strugglingSM's picture

For all of the stepparents with separate finances, how do you manage? Do you have a joint account for joint finances? How do you manage housing and food costs for SKids? How do you manage joint expenses or fun expenses (like trips) that also include Skids? How do you decide on how to spend money on just the two of you, together?

Any other advice for someone who had joint finances and is trying to separate them out?

Acratopotes's picture

Sit back and read - this will be long and keep in mind I'm a bitch Wink

It will be very nice of you to pay 50% of utilities, water electricity and house rent (I can't remember if you have bio's staying with you and I assume skids are EOWE) and 50% of cable or wifi

You pay 50% of house hold food, basic foods you cook meals with daily. Anything special skids want or eat, DH can cover, you do not cover it, not your kids and not your problem.

You only provide your bio children with snacks etc and you will have to start locking your stuff up, or simply buy for the night.

You do not supply skids with toiletries, that's for DH to do, fine if they use the soap and toilet paper in the bathroom but that's that.

When you go on outings with all the skids, you only pay for yours, DH pays for them... if you do not have kids, you pay nothing.
DH can pay for it all, I mean after all you are his wife, he can buy you something and not only his brats...

When you do not have the kids, you can always tell DH, Hon, I'm taking you to the movies/dinner, my treat, I want to spoil you a bit...

When skids is not there you can buy snacks for you and DH...

Going on holidays - you contribute nothing, if you stay in a resort you pay only your share of the cost... DH responsible for the rest

And never feel guilty if you buy yourself something nice, it's your money you can spend it in any way you like, if DH can't pay his obligations he needs to work more, if he does not have extra money to entertain his brats, it's not your problem. And no you do not buy them combined gifts, you only buy what you want and give it to skids with your name on it.....

Make sure the joint account is used for house hold expenses only and not to entertain the skids, I would demand 2 signatures to withdraw/transfer money from this account, but that's impossible, thus I will keep good records of this account and every time DH takes out money from the joint account to entertain his children, i will take same amount back for me and tell him, the joint account is not there for the children's use, it's for house hold debt, there's food in the house additional snacks should come from his private account..

You never pay debt off for DH..... if he stops spending left right and center on the skids and stays within his means, then you can re negotiate, but up and until this day he's on his own. Make it clear to him, if he works out a budget and stays within the budget and tell the skids NO.. then you will consider joint accounts again

Kes's picture

I never had joint finances with my exH and don't have them with my DH, we have our own separate bank accounts etc We find what works best is that we each cover a proportion of household expenses that is in line with our incomes. DH used to earn a LOT more than me, and in those days, he covered most major monthly outgoings. I covered the food shopping and a few other things. Now that he has gone self employed, we have adjusted things slightly in a way that we both feel is fair.

In the last couple of years, we have started having a kitty of money for joint meals out etc. which works well. We actually keep the money in a jar on a shelf! and both contribute to it.

I have been disengaged since about a year after I moved in with DH, so we didn't do joint outings and trips with the SDs, he paid for all that.

Harry's picture

Question actually a big question. What is the make up of your family, number oh BK and ages and do they live full time, 50% of the time.
Number of SK and age of SK and do they live full time, 50% or weekends.

secret's picture

We have 100% separate finances.

The house etc was mine. I was paying all the bills etc 100% myself. His previous bills were costing him 700$ a month all in (food utilities etc), he was sharing a townhouse with 2 other men. When he moved in, we discussed... and landed on 800$ a month - the 700 he was already paying, plus an extra 100$ to pitch in because he no longer had to pay car insurance... said he figured I'd put it to good use.

My monthly bills are over 3000$, and his 800$ a month is discretionary spending money for me, really... because the increase in bills since he's been living with me really isn't even worth mentioning. He pays me cash, 200$ a week.

When we do grocery shopping etc, I pay for it using that cash. When we need something for the home, I pay for it with that cash. Unless it's something really major, I pay for it with that cash... because that's what he gives me money for.... to take care of things. When it's something major, we discuss it, and we each put money aside. Like when we got married... he pitched in nearly as much as I did, from his own account.

When I buy things for my kids like clothes, gifts... I pay for it (not with the cash).
When he buys things for his son like clothes, gifts... he pays for it.

When we buy things for the kids as a treat - I pay for it... because in the end, that's part of why he hands me the cash...

When we go out, we usually take turns paying the bill. He doesn't just hand me his 800$ and then contribute nothing else... he still takes me out, he'll still stop at the store for a last minute requirement, he'll buy me smokes or lottery tickets just because... and he doesn't generally spend frivolously on his son, though he spends wayyyyy more that I find appropriate for gift giving occasions. Not my money, not my problem.

I never feel guilty for buying myself something... because it's my money. It's mine to manage. Nobody goes without, everyone eats well and has what they need... whatever's left... mine mine mine.

But that's not entirely true... because I have 2 accounts. One is my daily chequing... the one my pay gets deposited into and bills come out of... the other is a savings account... Now and then, I dump cash in there when I'm starting to feel uncomfortable with the amount in my purse... he knows... and knows that this is "our money". He doesn't have access to it... it's "our" savings. I don't touch it.... mostly because I don't need to... but if I needed to, I wouldn't feel guilty about it... because I managed those funds into savings, if I need to use them so be it.

Besides... when we're older and retired.. it's my pension and my rrsps that will be our household income... so he can shut his piehole Blum 3

ESMOD's picture

Each partner should have their own separate checking/savings/investment accounts. One account can be set up to pay "household bills and expenses"

Split the costs up in an equitable fashion which usually takes into account how much each person makes... how many people live in home full time/part time.. ownership of the home issues like who's name it's in and how was it purchased. Generally if you can come up with a percentage split.. just take every household bill and each person transfers THAT amount into the joint acct for bill pmt. For groceries and other family type costs... an estimate of monthly expenses can be put in on the first.. or people can decide to take turns doing that shopping and just pay from their own accts. Vacations are also split along lines of who is coming along.. how much extra cost for each person etc.. (like you wouldn't necessarily assign a full vacation cost share to a 2 Things like insurance can be looked at on a situational basis too. Basically, people should analyze their costs.. assign relative responsibility and then figure out how to make it work. Sometimes it is having one joint acct with separate individuals.. but sometimes people have no joint acct and each person just pays an equitable amt towards joint expenses...(like one person pays cable.. the other cell phone plans etc..)

Otherwise, person specific purchases (like back to school shopping or gifts) come out of each bio parent's own funds.

Adults are free to buy for each other or the other's kids.. but that is a CHOICE..

Myss.Tique D'Off's picture

The most important thing to do (which I didnt so I know the importance) is that once you have combined your household is to look at the cost of actually running it. Have a look at all the expenses by drawing up an actual cost sheet with things like mortagage, utilities, insurance, food costs - all the joint things that go into you living together with your spouse. You can then decide whether you want to divide the cost share on the number of people you bring to the party or on percentage's based on your income. Say if you are two people (you and a kid) and your DH is 3 (him and two kids) you divide by 5 people - and you pick up 2 fifths and DH picks up 3 /5ths. I have also seen each couple pick up 30% each, and the remaining 40% divided by the kids. So it is 40% divided by 3 kids. You need yo work out what works for your household. Your own insurances like car insurance and life insurance etc and things you need or want are paid by you.

I say this as my STBXH and his kid moved into my house. We didn't do this. For the last two years, I continued to pick up ALL the costs in the house as I had always done - including him and his son. So mu STBXH has bascially been free loading for two years. Not very clever!! It is best to have an equitable split of the bills - no one person should unfairly shoulder the costs of the other.

bearcub25's picture

We have 2 bank accounts, I am primary on both though so I can see them online. 1 acct is just for me and the other for DSO, we don't have debit/bank cards for each others accounts and only 1 person on the checks.

DSO has certain bills he covers, I log into our bank and transfer the money to my acct to cover the bill, pay with his banking info/his checks. All utilities are in my name since I owned the house before DSO and I got together. Also I make twice what DSO makes so I do put in more for the bills. I try and keep stuff seperate, he has a 4 wheeler and used truck and both are solely in his name and he makes those payments, including his own insurance policy.
I do this so he has good credit and if something happens to him or I, his EX and skids aren't taking things that are mine and should go to my kids. My DH passed away 15 years ago so I'm protective over our assets, house, go to my children only. That's another reason I won't get married.

I only require DSO pay the bills that he can pay and still provide for his skids. He doesn't pay CS as he received full custody when CPS took skids from BM.

He pays for EVERYTHING for his kids. If skids need clothes, then he charges it on a joint credit card and I budget how much to take each month to put towards the card payment.

Stuff for just us depends on who has the money. When both skids were under 18, half of his tax refund went into savings and that was our fun money, emergency money, etc. Now we are just paying some stuff off and don't have a savings or fun money right now. We don't do trips with skids

DSO is very trusting in letting me do all the financial stuff. He has no clue of his bank balances and has no desire to learn to use online banking.

Cover1W's picture

So easy.

One joint account for general household expenses we each put in a set amount. DH is putting in slightly more than me but I'm not worried about splitting house expenses 50/50.
This covers mortgage, electric, gas, trash, etc. NOT phones. NOT internet connection. He and SD13 use those heavily and I refuse to pay for the extras he wants to buy.

Then we have our own accounts for everything else.
For groceries I do the main shopping, but he gives me his card/money for partial payment if he wants me to get specific things for the SDs. I've been burned too much buying things that are never eaten.

Other stuff, I pay only when I want to. It's minimal.

We pay our own debt off. Our joint debt I manage the payments. He's got a lot of it and he's not bringing me into that unless I fall into millions of $.

DH has 50% custody.

mizunomead's picture

Separate accounts, she pays me a portion of money every month for bills. Less then 50%. She buys most of the groceries. She pays for her daughters stuff. I do help out occasionally. But its a choice for me personally, she does not expect me to or ask to me.

mtnwife530's picture

Dang! I must have lucked out! DH moved me and my two bios in (8&14 at the time) we had our own accounts, DH (SO then) just wanted me to buy groceries as since he only ate Bologna &cheese sandwiches ,whatever my kids needed, my car insurance, smokes and cell. He took care of house payment, utilities, insurance, his smokes.
Kids are on their own. He pays utilities, (paid off the house last year) and groceries, insurance. I still pay my insurance, smokes (sometimes he'll pick me up a carton) and my cell, he doesn't have a (or know how to use) a cell. He has a traditional mentality, I don't take advantage, bus I'll respect it.

SugarSpice's picture

we have six accounts. we each have separate checking and savings accounts, and separate retirement accounts. we also have joint checking and savings.

i separated finances a year after we married because it became clear he wanted to monitor if i spent something on myself (i was contributing from work wages) and he was getting crazy spending money on his kids above and beyond child support due to guilt. dh x had sole custody.

i also have business accounts that are separate from dh finances.