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Finances in a blended family

(20 Posts)
TheOtherSideOfTheMoon Wed 23-Mar-16 12:35:47

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

NameAgeLocation Wed 23-Mar-16 12:38:47

It seems like you (ie the two of you) need a separate savings account for starters. Do you have that? Or does your DP just see whatever's in the account as being potentially available for spending?

Funko Wed 23-Mar-16 12:44:13

My view would be you both have separate accounts for your salaries etc, work out your joint bills and obligations and pay into the joint account x amount each to cover your share, round up a little for any odd eventualities. Then what's left of your salary is yours and his his.... And agree whatever you both want to pay into joint savings for family things like holidays, etc. Sound simple to me.
I've done the whole 'everything goes in one pot' before with ex hand I won't ever do that again in the future. It's makes for a difficult life in the long run imo

TheOtherSideOfTheMoon Wed 23-Mar-16 12:44:53

We have a separate savings account and transfer money from the current account into that at the start of the month. So when I say there wouldn't be enough money at the end of the month, that's just in the joint account. If there is anything extra left at the end of the month I will transfer that into the joint savings.

donajimena Wed 23-Mar-16 12:47:25

Most people I know pay a fixed amount into a house acount and keep finances separate. Much easier

TheOtherSideOfTheMoon Wed 23-Mar-16 12:48:06

I suppose the problem is how to treat the expenses for my DC. Should they be a joint cost and so the child maintenance go into the main pot as well?

With holidays, we are going on a short break over Easter where I personally have paid for half of it and the other half is from joint savings. So in some ways I've paid three quarters. But as there's me and my two children is that actually right?

TheOtherSideOfTheMoon Wed 23-Mar-16 12:49:43

With xh everything was joint; he didn't notice what went on, I thought I could save the situation with credit cards and it all went very wrong. I don't want that again.

Joysmum Wed 23-Mar-16 12:52:36

My dad and my step mum deal with finances the same was me and my DH do despite us not having step children.

My dad has me, I'd left home years ago. My step mum has 4 and 2 were still at home.

All income is family income. All expenditure on the family is family expenditure, there's no distinction between who's family is who's.

Many would see that as unfair on me and my dad but either you're living as a family and or you're not! That means everyone has equal rights and responsibilities towards the blended family. No way on earth I'd respect my dad if he tried to remain better off than my step family. Either you're a family or you aren't!

Once bills and expenses are paid then disposable income is divided equally between both parents.

Joysmum Wed 23-Mar-16 12:53:35

Oh and the disposable income goes into individual current accounts. No need to keep checking each other spending patterns that way.

StillAwakeAndItIsLate Wed 23-Mar-16 13:09:18

Joysmum that's exactly how I'd see it too.

AnotherEmma Wed 23-Mar-16 13:22:23

The thing is OP, if you're putting your salary into the joint account and only spending from your own account, you're not spending your salary are you? So instead of spending your own salary on expenses for yourself and your children, you are depleting your savings... For what? So there is more money in the joint pot? It's generous of you but it doesn't seem particularly fair.

I think the best way of managing it would be to pay your salary and other income into your own account. You can each pay into the joint account to cover joint expenses only (mortgage/rent, bills, food, holidays). If your income is roughly the same as DP's you should be contributing 50/50. (But if one of you earns more, than person should contribute more.)

As for the family holiday, unless you earn a lot more than DP I think you should go halves on it. Yes you have two DCs and he has one but if you are living together and getting married, and it's a family holiday, it seems fair to think of the DCs as part of the same family and share the expense.

TheOtherSideOfTheMoon Wed 23-Mar-16 16:01:27

I think your post pretty much sums up how I feel AnotherEmma. I feel pretty strongly that I don't want DP to feel that he is being used to subsidise my children at all especially as I get an all right amount of maintenance for them plus child benefit but maybe I've gone a bit far the other way.

We earn roughly similar amounts although with my extra earnings I earn a bit more. Those cant totally be relied on though.

In terms of family holiday it is just my DC and DP and me going on the one in a couple of weeks time although his DC might join us for a couple of nights in the one in the summer.

AnotherEmma Wed 23-Mar-16 16:03:41

But you earn your own salary, there is no way that he would be subsidising you. If anything you're subsidising him by putting all your salary into the joint pot and not spending any of it on yourself or your kids.

No need to be a martyr, OP!

TheOtherSideOfTheMoon Wed 23-Mar-16 16:33:15

This is quite probably true blush. And DP may have said similar things but is easier to take from someone anonymous on the Internet grin

(Although I do have the maintenance and child benefit and little bits of money I earn so I'm still not quite sure).

AnotherEmma Wed 23-Mar-16 16:43:58

I think you've over complicated things tbh. The way I see it, you have two options:
1. Separate finances, each person gets their salary and other income paid into their own account, go 50-50 on joint expenses (with a joint account for those, if required) and all personal expenses for yourself or your own DCs paid for out of your personal account.
OR
2. Joint finances, with all salary and income going into one joint account and all expenses coming out of it.

Obviously which of these you go for is personal choice. I guess whether you want to have joint finances depends whether you have similar attitudes to money and trust each other not to spend irresponsibly or get into debt.

But the way you're doing it now is neither one nor the other, you have "my", "our" and "your" money, but no fair, equal or organised way of managing it all.

TheOtherSideOfTheMoon Wed 23-Mar-16 16:59:32

You are very perceptive smile

I think the fact that we do have "enough" money also in some ways complicates matters as we don't need to budget vey strictly and so things are more likely to drift. Am determined that they won't though and it is good listening to all the thoughts here

AnotherEmma Wed 23-Mar-16 17:04:41

LOL, thanks smile

So, with my perceptive head on wink It does sound like you are anxious about money, which is understandable based on your previous experience. So maybe it would reassure you to work out a realistic budget - I don't mean budgeting as in spending as little as possible, I mean working out how much you have coming in each month and how much you want/need to save and spend on various things. If you have worked it all out and know that you can afford to spend £100 (for example) on yourself each month, and atill have money left to cover expenses and save for big things, then maybe you wouldn't feel so anxious about it?

TheOtherSideOfTheMoon Tue 29-Mar-16 14:54:29

DP and I spent a profitable few hours last night working out exactly what money we have coming in and what there is that needs to come out. Have decided to put all the "income" relating to children into the main account and have made lots of expense categories so that we can see how it is being spent. Have also included categories for irregular spending such as car insurance paid in a lump sum and other things like that. And a category for birthday/Christmas presents. Plus each of us has an allowance which is transferred into our own personal accounts.

We're going to see how this goes for the next month or so and then reassess where necessary.

AnotherEmma Tue 29-Mar-16 15:12:56

Sounds good. Well done for looking at it together and coming up with a plan. Hope that works out well for you.

Joysmum Tue 29-Mar-16 20:01:03

That sounds brilliant to me. I like to over budget for all the basics and then share out the over-allowance at Christmas if there is any after unexpected extras smile

It makes led monitoring initially until you find your feet but then a reassessment every 8-12 months is all that's required.

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