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 Ash & Bobby
This week, we speak to a couple who’ve been married for nine years and have two daughters, aged one and five. With Bobby working less so she can look after the kids, the couple’s meticulous budgeting makes sure their £23k income goes a long way towards achieving their dreams.
How do you manage money together?
Ash: Both of our incomes go into one account, and we split this between different spending categories, bills, outgoings and a range of saving accounts. I bring home around £1,400 a month. With government support (Child Benefits and Child Tax Credits for our two children) and her part-time commitments, my wife has £700 a month in the bank. In total we have around £2,100 a month between us.
Bobby: We used to use an Excel spreadsheet to track our spending. We’d fill it in at the weekend. But by the time we got there we’d forgotten what we’d spent our money on, so it was quite hard to keep track of everything.
Ash: It meant that six days of the week we weren’t in control – we were spending without really knowing what we had left.
Bobby: Now we’ve got Monzo, as soon as we’ve bought something we put it in the right category so we can keep on top of it. In the last six months we’ve managed to save an extra £100 a month by managing our money better. We have a really tight budget and we have to stick to it.
Ash: In our monthly budget, we have:
£100 in the transport category which covers petrol
£160 for groceries
£75 in the family category which covers kid’s clubs, swimming lessons and nappies
£10 in personal care for hairdressers
£40 in the eating out category
£10 in the shopping category to cover cat food
£15 in the expenses category which we give to charity
Then £200 in the general category for things like clothes and treats
Finally, £1,000 a month in our bills category to cover rent, utilities, insurance, car finance, TV subscription, mobile phone contracts and other things like that!
"We’re saving a pound a day for a trip to London for our 10-year wedding anniversary next year."
Bobby: Anything that’s left over we spread between our savings. We’ve got a Help to Buy ISA and Pots for Christmas, birthdays, holidays, car maintenance and health. We’ve also got one that we’ve named ‘Pot 365’, where we’re saving a pound a day for a trip to London for our 10-year wedding anniversary next year.
Ash: We also both have personal Monzo accounts which we use to save for our own treats like Xbox games or spa days. This money generally comes from selling old household goods online. We split what we sell 50/50 to keep for ourselves. It’s not a lot, but it gives us our own little pot here and there.
We don’t feel we miss out on too much, though I would love a proper holiday one day.
Is having a strict budget difficult?
Ash: We’ve lived on a very limited budget for a long time, but we’re strong believers that you can be happy without lots of luxuries. We don’t feel we miss out on too much, though I would love a proper holiday one day.
As a teenager I was very careless with money. I ended up needing my parents and grandparents to help me out. This taught me a very valuable lesson. Now I’m able to budget to the penny, we’re able to live a happy and comfortable life and still save for our future plans, even though we have a generally low income.
"As a teenager I was very careless with money. I ended up needing my parents and grandparents to help me out."
Is one of you better with money than the other?
Bobby: I think we both have our own strengths that overcome each other’s weaknesses.
Ash: I agree. I’m definitely more organised with money, which helps Bobby understand the budget better.
Bobby: But I think I’m more sensible, so I’ll question Ash’s spontaneous buys before he does it.
Have you ever argued about money?
Ash: No, I don’t think we have. We work well as a team. All of our money goes into one account and we don’t consider who’s earned what. I do earn more than Bobby but she saves us a fortune on childcare as she’s at home with our youngest, so I think it evens out.
"All of our money goes into one account and we don’t consider who’s earned what. I do earn more than Bobby but she saves us a fortune on childcare."
Bobby: We both know we don’t have a lot and we have to stick to our tight budget, but it usually works out okay.
What are your financial goals?
Ash: As a family we have a lot of goals and ambitions, but our absolute priority at the moment is to save as much as we can for a mortgage. It sometimes feels like it’s impossible to save for the deposit we need, but we have to at least try.
"We’d love to take our daughters abroad eventually, maybe to Disneyland."
Bobby: We’d also love to take our daughters abroad eventually, maybe to Disneyland. This is longer-term though as most of our money goes into our Help to Buy ISA. But it’s something we aim to do in the next five to 10 years.
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!