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Working out finances in blended family

(19 Posts)
TheOtherSideOfTheMoon Wed 23-Mar-16 12:13:38

DP and I have been living together for a year. He has a DC at university and I have two DC both at school. We have a joint account where our salaries go and main household bills are paid out of.

I get maintenance from my DCs dad and child benefit. I also do some work on the side. Mostly this is less than about £1,000 a year. This all goes into a separate bank account of my own. I try and make sure that anything solely for the children (clothes, dinner money, school trips, clubs, birthday presents for friends etc) gets paid out of this account. And where I've needed to pay by cheque (only the joint account has a cheque book) I transfer money back into the joint account.

I also do some work which brings in more money. Have only done that once since we've been living together but as we're getting married that went straight into that pot.

I also pay my car tax, phone bill, contact lenses out of my account. I have a moderate amount of savings which I have used for Christmas and birthday presents and tax bills for the self employed work I do mainly.

DP has some savings and will use these for larger expenses ie buying a new phone, going away etc but generally will use the joint bank account for everything else. I use my account for things just to do with me (haircut, buying clothes, books etc). I have also used my savings for half of holidays we are going on as a family with the other half coming from joint savings (we transfer an amount each pay day into a joint savings account).

I'm not sure quite how things would work better as I am currently feeling not entirely happy, but I'm not sure if I'm being unreasonable. DP, on his own admission, doesn't particularly look at the joint account for any everyday things and says he would feel happy to spend up to probably about £50 on random things for him. I on the other hand check it every morning. We have both separately had debt issues in the past (none now smile) and I am always worried things will go wrong. He says he trusts me to make sure things are all right, but I have ended up in a position where I don't feel comfortable to spend money on me from the joint account and it annoys DP when he realises I have transferred money into that account from my account. I feel that he doesn't really have to think about how the money is. I also have no idea exactly how much gets spent on ourselves. We need to look again at the bank statements and see, but I know I basically try and spend as little as possible on anything that is for me from the joint account and in some ways resent DPs freedom to do what he wants, within reason of me saying there isn't enough money left.

Should all the money I get go into the joint pot and everything get spent out of it? I think I would like for each of us to have the same amount of money to spend, but I'm not sure how my children's needs should get split in that. And some of their costs obviously come at different times. We give DPs son an amount of money each month as he now gets less student loan due to DP and me moving in together, although that comes from the joint account.

DP can see it makes me unhappy to feel I am in charge of the money and equally gets annoyed that I seem to not spend much if anything on me from the joint account. But I am aware that if I didn't, there wouldn't be enough money in there to do what we want to do wrt the wedding and future plans. We talk about this, but nothing ever gets decided and I just don't know how other people deal with child maintenance and working out what money should be spent from which account. Any thoughts are welcomed smile

LineyReborn Wed 23-Mar-16 12:20:23

The thing that would annoy me out of this, would be his saying you should use the joint whilst not acknowledging that there wouldn't be enough money in it.

Have you tried to do a full broadsheet of incoming and outgoings? I think you need to aim for similar amounts of personal spending money, maybe?

LineyReborn Wed 23-Mar-16 12:20:57

*spreadsheet

TheOtherSideOfTheMoon Wed 23-Mar-16 12:23:31

Thank you - I think it's the not knowing what's in there part that bothers me most.

I think another going through the bank statements is needed. Equal spending money sounds a good idea and maybe it should just be that the money stays in the same accounts as it is now, but we try and make sure we get similar amounts to spend overall.

TheOtherSideOfTheMoon Wed 23-Mar-16 12:23:51

I read broadsheet as spreadsheet by the way grin

LineyReborn Wed 23-Mar-16 12:31:26

I've seen good advice on 'equal spends' on the Relationships board, btw, where a partner feels it's not really right.

TheOtherSideOfTheMoon Wed 23-Mar-16 12:33:40

I was in two minds about whether to put this in Relaionships or Money. I think part of the problem is that the spending might be equal or not and we just don't know (until we do a spreadsheet)

Greaterthanthesumoftheparts Wed 23-Mar-16 12:40:11

Here's what we do.

Each have a separate account where we get paid, out of that comes phone bills, health insurance and a set amount each to spend (both get exactly the same) DP then pays his maintenance to DSS mum, and everything else gets transferred to the joint account for rent, car stuff, food etc. the amount we have to ourselves is generally constant each month but if we have a big bill (I track everything in a big spreadsheet) we both reduce spending amount so that we are both equal. We then spend what we want from our own accounts without input from the other. Works for us, all bills get paid and we have the same spending money just for ourselves. No one has to feel guilty. We have numerous savings accounts for different purposes as well.

fieldfare Wed 23-Mar-16 12:41:01

Do a spreadsheet, work out what's coming in, what regular monthly outgoings there are, what less frequent outgoings there are, include things like vehicle expenses, new school uniform, approximate amounts for school trips etc and the money for the son at Uni, birthdays and Xmas etc.
Whatever is left save half and then split the remainder to your own personal accounts as spending money. Or whatever proportion of saving/spending works for you both. Has to be realistic to take into account new clothes, haircuts, gifts for one another, meals out .

TheOtherSideOfTheMoon Wed 23-Mar-16 12:57:45

I think I have got too used to just needing to work out my own finances for the 4 years between XH leaving and moving in with DP. Thank you for all these thoughts - I think maybe the child maintenance/child benefit etc needs to all be put in together to work things out and then see who gets what.

jamtartandcustard Wed 23-Mar-16 13:10:08

I can't advise you what is best just tell you how we work ours. Background - I had 2 kids, he had one, then we got married and had 2 together. I currently get maintainace for dc1 (though not for much longer is dh is adopting my 2). Anyway, we each have our own accounts which our wages go into. I also get the child benefit into mine and he gets the working tax credits into his. We have asked them to change it but for whatever reason they didn't so that's just how it is. We then have our joint account which the child tax credits go into. We also each transfer the exact same amount each month into the joint which all household bills go out of. So for bills we each pay 50%. Then whatever is in our own accounts is ours to spend (or save) however we want. I tend to buy most of the kids clothes but that's my choice. I like Boden and frugi etc. Dh would only buy them clothes from primark. This works for us because we have such different attitudes to spending and also, having both come from damaged relationships, I personally never wanted to feel financially dependant on a partner or alternatively, support someone else. Holidays etc we always go 50/50.

cozietoesie Wed 23-Mar-16 14:29:00

When were you planning to marry?

TheOtherSideOfTheMoon Wed 23-Mar-16 14:46:40

We are getting married in July this year. And the amount of money for that is coming along according to our wedding spreadsheet smile

cozietoesie Wed 23-Mar-16 14:51:22

Whose idea was it to get married?

I just sense that you're not on the same page for a good many things and am wondering whether those should be resolved before doing something so formal?

TheOtherSideOfTheMoon Wed 23-Mar-16 15:42:27

To be honest was probably more me who initially wanted to get married but DP is equally enthusiastic now. I realise that things can come across in a different way from how they are intended to, but I'm not sure what the good many things are where we don't seem to be on the same page.

We both want things to get sorted out so both of us feel comfortable. I suspect that I don't want DP to feel that he is meant in some way to provide for my DC and am possibly taking this a bit far. I am frustrated with him feeling that I can be "trusted" with the joint money and that that absolves him of financial responsibility in any way and that is something I want to address. But I really do feel we are mostly on the same page for everything else.

cozietoesie Wed 23-Mar-16 16:53:15

That's good. smile

Treatment of money can be quite indicative of a relationship though. You say you've both had debt issues in the past and yet you haven't agreed on how to treat blended family money yet? And you're giving the impression of being a little tightly wound and resentful of having a responsibility which he won't share?

As I said, these are just impressions, though.

WiseUpJanetWeiss Wed 23-Mar-16 16:53:33

We have our own accounts into which our salaries are paid. We pay a fixed amount each month into a joint account for all shared bills and expenses including food and holidays (and our wedding but that was very cheap grin). He pays a nominal £100 more to feed etc. DSS when he's with us.

What's left in our own account is our own to do whatever we like without feeling we're impacting on the other. He pays CM and buys golf gear and pays golf fees, and I get haircuts and boots and splurge in garden centres and give my grownup DS presents without guilt!

If the joint pot looks a bit empty (it's me who monitors it) we'll both top it up.

Works very well.

TheOtherSideoftheMoon Thu 09-Jun-16 17:13:00

Thought I'd come back to this two months later.

We now have spreadsheets - one for each month and one for savings.All money from both of us goes in (except some extra I earn separately)At the beginning of each month we go through the general expenses that are coming out, any other ones (ie this month DP's car has had a service) and adjust them where necessary (there's a category for my DC's clubs which fluctuates) and we both get a fixed amount to transfer to our joint accounts.

All my salary and maintenance for the children goes into the joint account, and for larger yearly amounts we are putting an appropriate amount of money into savings to cover it. When I do extra work in my own time, I have been keeping that money, which both of us are happy about.

Am very glad we have started doing things this way and so far it is working well. I probably look at it more than DP does but I feel happy with the level of engagement he has with the process. And it is helping both of us to see where the money is going each month.

Theothersideofthemoon Thu 09-Jun-16 17:14:19

We also get equal amounts of money to spend as we want which are transferred at the beginning of the month.

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