It has been six months since I published this post about our goal of living on one paycheck. While this was originally a goal to improve numbers, it helped improve our relationship, too. I thought I’d give you an overview of how the last 6 months were for us, as a couple doing finances together.
WHY COUPLE MONEY?
We initially decided to live on one paycheck because we wanted to save quicker for a house deposit. While discussing, we also realised that a few more benefits come with this exercise. It will:
- motivate us track our expenses, which will then motivate us to spend even more consciously;
- help us improve our finances as a couple by making us accountable for both our spending;
- help us reassess the level of financial risks we are willing to take, which I hope will lead to us investing more;
- help us prepare for financial emergencies (i.e. losing a job) and for when either of has to stop working (i.e. when we decide to have kids).
Six months into it, we are already reaping some of the benefits. We both know our normal monthly spending and both try to stick with it. We were also able to talk about grown up things like financial risks and we’re investing more than before. Regularly, too!
But of course, the improvements did not happen overnight. It took some work and some days of wanting to strangle each other.
At the start, it was uncomfortable. This is honestly the perfect word to describe the first few days/weeks/months of it. We were both new to having joint finances and we both stepped outside our comfort zones on this one. We were sure that we wanted to do this, but at the same time unsure of what was happening when we started. It took our brains a while to process the situation.
We also kept on checking with each other if it’s okay to spend money. It was ridiculous and annoying for the person being asked. The conversation went like this at one point:
Me: “Can I buy a shirt?”
BF: “Of course you can, why are you asking me?!”
BF: “Can I buy a coffee?”
Me: “Please stop asking.”
We both know we have money, we both bring money into the pot. But the fact that we no longer individually own our monies gave us a sense of responsibility for the other person.
Thankfully, we started easing into the situation on the 3rd month. Yes, 3rd month. I told you it took a while. We stopped asking each other permission to spend money. My boyfriend got used to asking me for the transaction card without shame in his eyes. He over does it now, too.
This is my favourite part of couple money-ing. My PF habits rubbed off on my boyfriend and he
will soon start his own blog is more interested in growing money than he ever was before.
He has always been good with money, with spending less than he earns. But it was only after we started openly talking about finances did he realise that he can do other smart things with his money. With our money.
With his interest came curiosity. He wanted to know more and see more. When we started with this project, I created a spreadsheet for our monies, with the following tabs:
- Net Worth – broken down into Cash, Super, Shares, Debts (currently $0)
- Bank Accounts – our individual savings accounts (we haven’t officially combined our accounts)
- Cash Flow – semi-detailed inflows and outflows
I shared the file with him but I didn’t expect him to do anything with it. If anything, I wanted him to see what we’re spending and what we have. I made separate worksheets so he won’t be overwhelmed with the numbers. I created everything as simple but as detailed as I could.
I placed Net Worth before anything else, because that’s where the big $$$’s are. I did it for impact. Haha! I knew he wouldn’t really care about how much we spend every month, but he’d sure be interested about how much we’re worth.
True enough, the questions came after he saw how much our net assets are. He also started updating month-end balances himself (he rarely forgets) and he starts financial conversations, too:
Our portfolio is worth $xxx now, maybe we can target $xxx before the year ends?
Yes, he even went there. He now talks portfolio value. In a span of six months, my boyfriend turned from I-don’t-care-I-have-savings to I-want-to-invest-more-money. Am I happy?
Did I mention that he also researches on shares? Like which ones to buy and avoid? Yep. But let’s leave it at that before I jinx it.
Last but not the least, he also saw the value in allocating savings. Some of you might remember that I like having ‘funds’. This system works well for me and it reduces my financial stress, but my boyfriend used to think it’s silly. He never understood why I had to do it. “It doesn’t matter where the money comes from as long as you have savings.”
And then our car insurance bill came and he got bit flustered because he forgot that it was coming.
BF: “Sorry, we have another big bill, I forgot about this car insurance.”
Me: “It’s okay, we already have money saved for that.”
That, my friends, was how I changed my boyfriend. We also have a wine fund now.
The first blogger friends I made when I started were all doing PF with their significant others, as a team (hi Our Next Life, Northern Expenditure and Two Cup House), and I’ve always admired them. I wasn’t really jealous but I’ve always wished that one day my boyfriend and I can also work together on a common financial goal. Well, here we are, only almost 3 years after!
We’ve had a few wins, financial and non-financial, this year but easily, this takes the cake.
Does your significant other share your personal finance passion? Or are you perhaps like me when I started – with a partner but alone in personal finance? Let’s share stories in the comments!