POLL: How do you manage your family finances?

How do you and your spouse manage your finances? Do you pool your resources, do you separate them? Do you have no idea how your bills get paid?

Tess posses that question to a few Marketplace staffers this weekend on Marketplace Money, and now we'll ask you. Take the poll:

About the author

Matt Berger is the former Digital Director at Marketplace.
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My husband, John, and I were married in 1983. We share a bank account into which our monthly incomes are deposited. We also each have a money market account. I have used Quicken to manage our money since 1992. Before that I used Excel to track expenses and income. Basically, we set up pots of money called classes in Quicken for current household expenses, food, savings, an allowance for John, and an allowance for me. We review our expenditures at the end of the year and set up how much money will go into each class for the coming year. We each know how much we have to spend from our allowances each month, so that we do not overspend. It gives us the freedom to purchase whatever we want within our means without feeling guilty or having to ask the other person. We also share credit cards and pay off the balances each month.

My wife and I have 1 joint checking account. It's not 'her' money and 'my' money, but instead it's all 'our' money. The paychecks go into the account, the bills go out.

My husband and I both have our own personal accounts and then share a "household" account which pays the bills. We both give a percentage of our salaries to the household account to pay the bills and whatever is leftover, goes into our personal accounts to buy whatever we personally want.

We have separate accounts but only for accounting logistics. We don't conceptually separate out our money. This works as long as there's enough to go around including discretionary expenses. However, with rising costs and decreasing income I feel this will change when money becomes tight where individual choices start to impact the bottom line in a significant way.

We have a joint account for the bills and my wife has her own accounts including credit card so she can have an 'established credit history'. We did this just in case anything were to happen to me. By default the bank puts all the accounts in the mans name as the primary. Being secondary on an account does not build credit history.

My husband and I have both gone through periods of time when we were unemployed, so we had to shift our perception to realize all of the money each of us made was 'our' money, even when we had separate accounts. We joined our finances formally after my husband's checking account was hijacked by someone who printed up checks with his acct number on them. There didn't seem to be any point to having separate accounts anymore. We don't really have much disposable income, so we shop together, discuss pretty much every purchase, and usually only spend money on things for the household as a whole- unless it's gift money which is 100% personal choice.

Paychecks go into a joint account, which makes automatic transfers into various joint savings accounts for short and long term savings goals (travel/vacation, home improvement, exercise/sports, hobbies, medical expenses, investments/retirement, etc) and a bill pay account.

Bills are automatically paid by rewards credit card or online bill pay, credit cards are paid off monthly by the bill pay account. Automatic transfers are also made into individual spending accounts for "fun money" (outside the budget spending with no questions asked.)

That way, there's good control over the monthly budget without feeling smothered, and the automatic transfers really add up. We don't spend much outside the budget, so our personal accounts mostly just sit there and grow.

We have individual checking and savings accounts where we save and pay agreed-upon household expenses, and a joint account where tax rebate go. We each add personal dollars and pay auto payments, house and auto insurance and other non-usual bills from this account.

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