Tools to budget as a couple?

Hi YNABers! My partner and I are seeking tools to help us rethink our budget. We live together - - he owns the house and pays mortgage and home improvement expenses, I contribute to bills. He has 3 kids from a previous marriage. We both have zero debt. We both use (and LOVE!!) YNAB, and enjoy frequent YNAB dates to do our respective budgets and discuss our shared & separate priorities. We currently have separate accounts and repay each other for shared expenses through account transfers. 

He makes 3x my salary so we're stumbling around shared expenses and seeking specific help to move forward. For example, if we split the cost of consumable household stuff (like gardening supplies, holiday decor, etc), his half of the 50/50 is far less of an impact for him, given his income. He has expenses I don't (children, house) but also benefits that I don't (tax breaks). 

I've contacted the internet and the YNAB help docs/articles, but I've found mostly general advice about talking to each other (we do!) and making a plan (we're trying!). Anyone have something concrete that would help us explore these issues, consider all the critical topics and find models, worksheets, or guidance? Or ideas about where to find this? (financial advisor, etc)?


Thanks in advance!!

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  • Welcome to YNAB! 

    My partner and I are in the same boat - he makes more than I do. To compensate, we have 3 budgets: his, mine, and ours. When contributing to the joint budget, we each contribute a percentage of our money. With the percentages, it works out evenly for us - even though he is technically contributing more money.

    For example (I'm just using fake numbers here), he'll contribute 50% of each paycheck at $1500, while I contribute 50% of mine at $850. The rest of our paychecks go into our personal budgets where we cover things like our personal cars, any gifts, personal items (clothes, beauty, phones, computers), and any other items that aren't shared between the both of us. Our joint budget covers the rent/mortgage, bills, grocery, vacations we take, restaurants, etc.

    I should clarify that we transfer the joint budget money into a joint account we started when we joined forces. Just like our budgets, we each have a personal checking, personal savings, and joint checking/savings.

    This might help you with the costs he will have associated with his children, which (I'm assuming) you wouldn't have to cover. Any costs for his kids would come from his personal budget.

    Hopefully, this makes sense... If you have any other questions, let me know! YNAB has been a DREAM since I found it. I'm sure you'll find it the same.

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    • Orchid Device Thanks! That sounds like how I divided income and expenses in my previous marriage. I was thinking about that when my partner and I started going down this road, and it helps to hear that it works for you and your partner. So far there aren't many other models that sound better! :)

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