Budgeting with partner

I have been using YNAB for about seven years. Starting with the desktop version and onto the online version. I love using YNAB, but the struggle has always been with my other half. Talking money and trying to budget with him was always an issue. I always felt reactionary with my budget, but I did the best I could.

Well, he decided to go back to school, and he is taking this personal finance class, which is basically David Ramsey. We both agree and disagree with what David Ramsey says, but overall, I feel that we may actually start getting on the same page soon. 

My ideal is for us to fall into the advise that Suze Orman had given out, which is an combined account and budget for household/joint purchases, and a separate account for the each of use for our personal spending. I am hopeful that we might actually start this. 

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  • Best of luck! Since you're using YNAB, a simpler implementation is to use categories for your and his personal spending in the household budget. No extra accounts or budgets are necessary. The hurdle may be to have him check his category balance, although this is hardly different than having to check his account balance.

    One of the main benefits of this approach is personal spending can be put on a credit card (rewards, fraud protection, warranty extension, etc.). Another is overspending doesn't incur overdraft fees as it would with dedicated personal accounts.

    As for checking that category balance, there are many options:

    • the YNAB app on his phone
    • one of the add-on mobile apps directly showing that category balance (I'd expect widgets are available)
    • a daily note on the refrigerator with the current balance
    • etc.
    Like 2
      • FLMark80
      • FLMark80
      • 3 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      dakinemaui Thank you for the suggestion, but I think having separate accounts for our personal spending is a good idea. I will definitely consider what my partner's thoughts on this tho.

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  • I've been married for 27 years. We have joint accounts and I've always done all of the budgeting, bill paying, etc. Yesterday, for the first time EVER, he asked me if there was enough money in the Christmas category for him to buy some of his friends gifts. I about keeled over right there!

    Like 2
      • Annieland
      • I was told there would be no math.
      • Annieland
      • 3 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Periwinkle Flute That is hilarious!  Totally our household too, except for the asking about category balance for GIFTS, no less!  I would keel over and probably foam at the mouth too.  Then again, so would he if I actually completed a load of laundry.

      Like 1
  • I've started threads about this issue before because talking finances has been a challenge for the 22 years we've been together.  Ramsey just freaks me out in general, and I learned all my starter personal finance from Suze, but never did the separate accounts stuff.  Whenever I so much as gave him his own credit card both our credit scores plummeted, so that approach failed.  The only thing that has worked for us is for me to just do everything. I want to say 90%, but I don't even think 95% or 99% is honest.  It really is 100% me.  I'm trying to get him to enter a check he writes into YNAB because I don't keep a gigantic cushion in there.  

    Categories would probably be better as dakinemaui said.  But if it doesn't work out and leads to more stress and arguments, I would cut your losses and just suck it up and go back to putting out small fires here and there.  Good luck!! And kudos to your persistence and flexibility!

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