Through stories from real-life couples, Money in Love aims to start conversations about how money works in relationships.
Whether it’s negotiating each other’s spending habits or sharing costs from loft conversions to loo roll, the financial side of romance can be fraught with challenges.
In fact, according to the Money Advice Service, the average couple has 39 arguments about money a year! One in seven married people have a secret stash of cash, and almost a quarter said their other half would be surprised if they knew the real state of their money.
Meet Nick & Amy
This week, we speak to a soon-to-be-married couple who've mastered the art of sharing a dual income. Nick and Amy pay different amounts into their joint account each month, making their personal bank balances more equal and their financial relationship fight-free.
Job: Software engineer
Together for: Two years
Describe each other
Describe Amy: Organised, responsible and generous
Biggest purchase: Property and engagement ring which cost £2,300. I proposed the day we got the keys and moved in.
Biggest regret: An expensive night out
Guilty pleasures: Gadgets and clothes
Together for: Two years
Describe Nick: In control, organised and impulsive
Biggest purchase: House
Biggest regret: My $200 Ugg boots that I only wore twice
Guilty pleasures: Clothes
Amy, why did you describe Nick as "in control, organised and impulsive"? Isn’t that an odd combination?
Amy: Impulsive sounds like it contradicts the first two, but what I mean is that if Nick wants something and he knows he can afford it, he’ll make it happen. But that’s a byproduct of the first two things – if he wasn’t in control and organised with money, he couldn’t be impulsive with any sort of confidence.
Nick, why are expensive nights out your guilty pleasure?
Nick: I love to spend money on something I’m going to get a lot of value out of, which is usually a tangible product. I also love spending money on experiences that I’ll remember forever. It’s the inbetween spending I struggle with. Like the ad-hoc Friday night out where, after a few drinks, you’re suddenly everyone’s best mate and you get a round in and spend £100 just like that. I struggle to justify that personally, and even if I’ve had a great night I’ll regret spending so much for a few days!
"After a few drinks, you’re suddenly everyone’s best mate and you get a round in and spend £100 just like that."
We do enjoy going out together, and when we do we’re sensible, but make sure we’re not too sensible at the expense of not enjoying ourselves. We literally have never had a fight about money. Not once.
How do you manage money together?
Nick: We have a joint account with Monzo, and our joint outgoings each month are just over £3,000. This includes:
Mortgage/Service charge/Council tax – Roughly £1,100
Utilities – Roughly £120
Internet/TV Licence/Sky – Roughly £100
Insurance – Roughly £75
Food – £300
Gym – £30 each
Cleaner – twice a month, usually £50 a month
House fund – £50
Joint spending – date nights etc, £200
Savings – £1,000 (our joint outgoings are so high at the moment because we’re saving for a wedding)
We each pay money into a joint account – and the amount we pay in is a percentage of our income. Then we keep whatever we’re each left with as our own money.
"We literally have never had a fight about money. Not once."
Why do you put a percentage of your income into your joint account?
Amy: It just feels fairer than splitting bills 50/50. Nick brings home £2,700 after deductions and I bring home around £2,100. If we made it equal, we’d both be putting in £1,500 each month to the joint account. That would leave Nick with £1,200, and me with just £600.
What we did was calculate how much we earn together, which is £86,000. Nick earns roughly 56% of our income, and I earn the other 44%. Then we worked out that 56% of our monthly joint outgoings is £1,680, and 44% is £1,320. This leaves us with £1,020 and £780 respectively, which closes the gap quite significantly and puts us on a more even playing field. That money is then for our own use to do what we choose with.
It might not work with wages that have a bigger gap between them. But for us, we find it’s fairer and works really well.
"I know some couples put everything into a joint account, but we like to have our own money."
Why do you keep some money separate?
Nick: I know some couples put everything into a joint account, but we like to have our own money, and we think it’s better setting a limit on what we spend jointly rather than throwing everything in. If we know what’s going in and what’s going out, we don’t need to manage it so much.
What aspect of your finances doesn’t work well?
Nick: We never spend the £200 we put aside to spend together on a date night. We end up using it for things like petrol going to visit friends or food shopping if we’re hosting a dinner.
Amy: We might be able to put more money in for that fund when we’re not saving for a wedding.
"We haven't gone all out by any means – and the budget for our wedding is still pushing £30,000."
What kind of wedding are you planning? How much will it cost?
Amy: We never intended the wedding to be a “splurge”, but also never meant it to be small. It’s a barn-themed wedding a mile from our home, with 120 guests. There are some lovely aspects to our plans, but we haven’t gone all out by any means – and the budget is still pushing £30,000.
Nick: If we’ve splashed out anywhere, it’s by making sure we can get 120 guests there. That’s the most important thing for us. But obviously the more people at the wedding, the higher the cost.
We’ve got friends helping to make decorations, and we also know someone who makes wedding cakes. Our advice for cutting costs would be to use the people you know!
"We save £1,000 a month without question. Never more and never less."
How are you saving up for it?
Amy: We save £1,000 a month without question. Never more and never less. We’ve been lucky in that we’ve had contributions, but we’re contributing the lion’s share towards it ourselves. We could be saving more each month, but we still want to enjoy ourselves.
We’ve just saved the money we would have otherwise spent on our home or holidays.
Want to share your story? Email us at [email protected] with a bit about yourselves and your relationship with money. If you’d rather stay anonymous, we can change your names ❤️
If you're thinking of managing money with your partner, open a joint account with Monzo!