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Family finances

(6 Posts)
blowthecobwebsaway Tue 13-Sep-11 13:37:46

Posted in chat but thought it would be more appropriate here.

I moved in with DP over a year ago into his house. Intention was to set up joint account (which we did) to share the household finances 50/50. We live in a rent free house (comes with DP job), so we have to pay the following; Council tax, tv licence, sky, cleaner, electricity, phone, broadband and food from this account. We both have our own cars, albeit his is expensive one and mine a cheap runabout and we pay for these ourselves and we both have kids of our own, he has 4, I have 1. My child lives with us 90% of the time, his kids live with us 40% of the time. We pay for everything for both sets of children including all clothes, toys, school trips etc. and DP also pays maintenance and I get no maintenance. We both have mortgages on other properties we own which are rented out (mine is my old family home), his mortgage is much higher than mine.

Anyway, the joint account was dependent on him moving the household bills from DD in his personal account into the joint account. He has never got round to doing this, so he has carried on paying for the household stuff from his account and I pay for the food. The trouble is that the food is about £130 per month more than the household bills and I'm starting to wonder if I should ask him to cough up for a weekly shop once a month.

He earns about 55k, I earn about 15k, we both work similar hours.

However, when we go out for dinner or for a day out or have a holiday together, he will pay for the vast majority (or all, if I let him) of the cost, so I have always thought it was "swings and roundabouts" and it didn't really matter. A family holiday for all of us is horrendously expensive as there are so many of us and DP likes to go out for expensive meals when we're on our own without kids.

Now, I am not poor by any means, so this is why I haven't done anything about this before now but I have started to think that I would like to save for uni for my child and /or get myself a pension (DP has a very good pension) and I'm finding I can't because I don't have any real spare income and I am still watching what I spend like I used to as a single parent whereas DP has no qualms in going out with his mates or buying stuff for his kids if he wants to.

The trouble is, I feel a bit petty asking for this but if he had set up the joint account properly in the first place it would have sorted itself out anyway as we would both be putting equal amounts into the pot. Although now I am starting to wonder if 50/50 is fair anyway or if I am being petty wanting to equal out the household finances when the luxuries we only have when we're together are not equalled out?

Rubyx Tue 13-Sep-11 13:50:51

You should totally got for it. He is getting a good deal with you paying 50% and is earning so much more than you. He should be paying two thirds.
You do need to get a savings plan sorted due to the increase in uni fees. If family meals are expensive remember he has four kids and you have 1 so he should be forking out most of it anyway.
I understand you feel petty and this has to be done with great sensitivity. Just start the conversation out by mentioning a kids savings plan or setting up your own pension and then lead on to this.

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 13-Sep-11 13:55:18

I think this is in two parts. First would be that you'd be better off with the joint account arrangement for all shared expenses. Get as much as possible into the definition of 'shared expenses'... groceries, utility bills and children-related costs. I'd also have an amount going in for 'joint savings' to pay for holidays, university funds and other big-ticket items. You'd be able to see how much you spend each month and that would lead onto part II.... i.e. each contributes to the joint account a proportional amount of the total based on their disposable income. Yours would be your salary, plus any net rental income, child benefit and maintenance coming in. His would be salary, plus net rental income, minus maintenance going out.

That would then leave each of you with a residual amount of 'pocket money' which you could save or spend as you saw fit.

blowthecobwebsaway Tue 13-Sep-11 14:08:51

I've never been overly keen to lump everything together because "joint expenses" can be very subjective. For example, DP would see going out for expensive meals as essential as he would buying his kids expensive items, not asking his ex to contribute from her maintenance, having an expensive car etc. I would end up saying my "essential expenses" were quite low (because they are) and DP would not want to cut back on what he spends currently. Meaning if I expected to pay £200 on clothes for my child, he would expect to pay £500 for each of his children - meaning that an essential expense of "childrens clothing" becomes £2200 of which I would end up contributing far more, I suspect than the £200 cost I would have incurred if I hadn't been with DP.

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 13-Sep-11 14:44:00

Then you start very small and just have utilities and groceries as 'ours'. Split it proportionally. However, ultimately, there will come a point where you have to start looking at yourself as a family of seven.

whackamole Tue 13-Sep-11 15:23:20

The way we work it, I have all DDs for bills etc come out of my account, purely because I get paid 23rd and he gets paid 28th. This includes child support.

All 'left over' money (which includes almost all of his salary as a result of the above) goes into our joint account, which we use as a 'spends' account. We buy anything, food, clothes, going out whatever - it all comes out of this account. Also childcare costs as this is where the CTC is paid in.

I do all the banking so periodically I move money about and into savings etc. I put £5 each week into 2 children's saver accounts - it's not much but it's what we can afford right now. At the end of the month if we haven't had to dip into it - which is fairly regular! - I transfer it across to another saver outside of our regular bank.

Would something like this work for you? Proportionally, we both have about the same amount of debt which we are slowly paying off, I earn about £200 more a month. If I'm honest more money is spent on me as I buy make up and more clothes etc but not excessively.

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