Money Diaries

The Best Couples’ Money Advice We’ve Learnt From Money Diaries

If there's one relationship truth we know all too well (Taylor's version), it's that money can make or break a relationship. As we get older and engagement rings, houses, kids and escapes to the Bahamas come front of mind, it's easy for it to become a dealbreaker. Is our partner a saver or a spender? Do they allow us to spend our hard-earned cash on nice things without judgement? Do they have the same financial goals as us? Do they actually know how much money is in their superannuation? Once the rabbit hole has been opened, it's difficult to crawl out of it.
So when you've finished exhausting your friends with your financial and relationship problems, we've got an idea — turn to Money Diaries. If there's one thing Money Diaries has taught us, it's how to handle money in our relationships. And if there are two things it's taught us, it's how fun it is to perve on other people's weird and wonderful finances — from joining bank accounts for the first time, having your partner as your landlord, taking turns having babies, or having a husband that significantly out-earns you — it's filled with advice for even the most niche of scenarios.
Ahead, how ten different Money Diaries couples handle the ultimate relationship dealbreaker: money.

I Pay Rent To My Partner To Live In His Duplex

This Money Diarist works as a content coordinator in Western Sydney and earns $71,000 a year.
In a time where it feels like landlords are just becoming worse and worse, it's actually not a bad idea to have a partner for a landlord. This diarist lives with her partner in a newly built duplex that he owns, with her contributing $1,000 in rent each month. For all other expenses, they share a joint account, which they use mainly for utilities and groceries, but also for date nights, meals out and entertainment. "This works really well for us, but we also have to contribute a little more if it's been a busy month. My partner and I are still getting used to managing a home and the associated costs."

We Got A Joint Bank Account So I Could Get A Visa

This Money Diarist works as a media planner in Sydney's Inner West and earns $125,000 a year.
Moving in with your partner, combining your record collections, and eventually, getting a joint bank account, seem to be a rite of passage for any pair of lovebirds. But for this couple, their process was expedited when they needed to apply for a partner visa.
"My partner and I have had a joint bank account for six years. We had to get one to be eligible for a partner visa. It was a massive adjustment at first, but now I couldn't imagine us not having joint finances." They use their joint account to pay for expenses they share — rent, groceries, entertainment, bills and holidays — contributing $800 each week into the account.

I Split Everything 50/50 With My Partner

This Money Diarist works as a marketing specialist in Summer Hill, Sydney, and makes $70,000 a year.
Ah, the good ol' 50/50. Often a default for many couples, this diarist finds that going Dutch with her boyfriend works the best for their bank accounts, especially since they moved in together last year. "We've been splitting everything almost 50/50, so it's been a gentle transition into financial responsibility."
But this doesn't always have to mean splitting expenses straight down the middle. This diarist pays for her and her boyfriend's groceries and internet, and in return, he pays for their Netflix, Spotify and utilities, which "works out to roughly the same price".

My Partner Would Pay For Our 'Fun' Expenses As He Was Out Earning Me

This Money Diarist works as a community engagement manager in Woolloomooloo, Sydney, and earns $88,700 a year.
Whilst many of us casually fantasise about having partners that will pay for our lavish lifestyles, the reality of it is much more complicated to navigate. For this Money Diarist, having a partner that significantly out-earns her means that she's had to navigate money conversations more often.
"My partner and I have been together for a long time. For most of that, he has been significantly out-earning me, especially while I was studying. He was always willing to pay a lot more for our 'fun' expenses than I could." She says that this often would include candidly paying $25 for a cocktail at a bar he really wanted to visit, or going out for meals at nice restaurants that were out of her price range. "Now we're on pretty even footing for pay, but it's still really hard to convince him to split things with me evenly. I'm constantly working on it."

My Husband Earns More So He Covers More Expenses

This Money Diarist works as a communications account manager in Canberra and earns $121,000 a year, while her partner earns $235,000.
Whilst many people are advocates for going 50/50, many couples split their expenses depending on how much they earn. For this Money Diarist, her husband earns almost double what she does, and as a result, he covers a larger portion of their expenses.
"I’ve set up my bank account to automatically transfer $1,200 every month to our joint account. Since my husband earns more, he covers a larger portion of our expenses. We have a joint account and separate savings accounts so we're free to spend our own money."

We Have Fun Money We Can Spend Without Question

This Money Diarist works as a police dispatcher in Victoria and earns $65,000 a year.
With The Barefoot Investor getting us hooked on bucketing our spending, there's one bucket we can definitely start pouring our cash into — fun money! This Money Diarist shares her finances completely with her husband, with both of their paycheques going straight into the joint account. But to allow themselves financial freedom, they give themselves permission to spend money without question. "We each get a certain amount of 'fun' money per month that we can spend without question, but neither of us are reckless spenders."

He Just Started A New Job And Earns An Extra $15,000 While I'm On Maternity Leave

This Money Diarist currently lives in South West Sydney and makes $706/week on maternity leave.
Having a baby isn't just a huge life decision — it's a huge financial decision. And often, women are forced to choose between financial security and being a parent, especially when it's estimated that it costs over $160,000 to raise a child (and that's on the lower end of the scale!). For this Money Diarist, her husband starting a new job and earning an extra $15,000 a year has helped immensely while she's on maternity leave.
To maximise her maternity leave, she's had to be savvy. "I’ve been lucky that I’ve been able to access my annual leave, flex leave and long service leave at half pay, as well as my employer’s parental leave and the Australian government’s parental leave. This means that I still receive a paycheque each week and for the duration of my 12-month maternity leave (albeit a lot less than what I was used to working full time!)."

We Need To Budget An Extra $30,000 For IVF

This Money Diarist works as a sales manager in regional Victoria and is currently undertaking IVF.
But it's not just maternity leave that needs to be considered in the baby-making process. For some couples, as is the case for this Money Diarist, the cost of IVF comes into the equation.
"My partner and I are trying for a second kid with IVF. We won't know how much that will cost us until we successfully have a baby in our arms. After all our attempts with our first child, we ended up paying about $30,000. We've budgeted for that much, just in case."

My Partner Is Pressuring Me To Move Out But I Can't Afford It

This Money Diarist is a student from Launceston, Tasmania, who earns $16,000 a year.
When you're young and in love, one of the biggest life decisions you can make at the time is to shack up with your partner. And for this Money Diarist, it's a problem that she's had to think about constantly. "I'd love to move out — my partner is pressuring me to, but if we did, it would be really, really tight. The thought of that makes me so anxious." With both of them living at their parents' houses and getting free dinner most nights, it's an understandable financial burden, especially when they're self-proclaimed broke uni students.

My Partner Taught Me How To Be Better With Money

This Money Diarist works as a government policy analyst in New Zealand and earns $69,000 a year.
In most couples, there seems to be one universal truth — there's one person that's 'good' with money and there's one that's 'bad' with money. "I didn't have that many conversations about finances," she writes. "I always had money problems until just a few years ago when I met D. This is all my fault though — I just had no self-control and liked spending money!"
"I don't really worry now that I'm with D. I'm in a better financial space." With stories of being overseas and having $10 to her name (a rite of passage, honestly), she's now educated herself, got her spending under control, and produced a solid joint savings account of $53,000. You go, Glen Coco.

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