How to transfer between budgets?


Some background:

I recently moved in with my girlfriend and have had an open discussion about how to handle our finances. We decided to keep our current accounts separate and to open shared checking and savings accounts to pay our shared expenses (rent, groceries, etc.) and to save for common goals (house downpayment, furniture, trips, etc.). Yes, we have discussed our plans for the future and plan on getting married.

My question:

How can I transfer money between separate budgets (personal to shared) without the transfer looking like an expense? Would adding the shared checking account as a tracking account work? How have you seen or read this type of situation handled?

Thank you in advance for your answers!

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  • Moving money between a budget account and some account not part of the budget (including tracking accounts) will always appear as spending.

    • nolesrule thank you for your response! I figured this was the case, but wanted to see if there was a potential work around.

  • You can't. Money leaving the budget is treated as an expense. Even if you have a tracking account set up, you would still need to categorize the transfer to the joint account as money is leaving the budget. It will then be income on the budget you are moving the money in to (or negative expenses if you inflow to anything other than to be budgeted).

    I don't have a lot to offer on keeping the split structure like that. What you could do is put everything into one combined budget. That allows you to keep your physical accounts separated, but it becomes much easier to plan it all out with the money all in the same pot. Just split up your categories as you need them with yours, hers, and combined sections. Moving money from yours into combined becomes much simpler and you get a better sense of the whole picture. Even if you don't want the GFs accounts in the budget, you can still keep the combined account in there with yours. Any money she puts into the joint account will just have to be added as new funds in the budget. I think it would be more ideal if you could work from the same budget together, but I can see if you don't think you're at the point of that level of transparency yet. Just my recommended approach.

    • Tobias Thank you for the response and suggestion! I honestly didn't even consider just using one budget; was thinking if the accounts are separate the budget should be too, but you have made a some good points. Making a combined one right now to see how we like it!

  • Hey Green Jackal ! Congrats on moving in together!

    This blog post has an outline of how the three budget setup can (Your's, Their's, and Household) work! Of course, customize as needed for your situation.

    One tip is to use Payees to show the money is moving between the budgets, like "Shared" and "Partner's Name". Each budget will have a transaction to show how the money moving out, or in. Money is leaving the budget, so it will show as an expense. You can always exclude those categories from your reports.

    • Nicole Thank you your response and for the link! That should help clear some things up.

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