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 Rob & Vic
This week, we speak to a Manchester-based couple who met on Tinder, and now have two young boys, two cats and a puppy. They use tax credits and Rob’s £25,000 salary to cover the family’s costs, so Vic can stay at home and take care of their growing family.
Job: Stay at home Mum
Together for? 4 years
Describe Rob: Good bargain-hunter
Biggest purchase? Car
Biggest spending regret? Mountain Buggy
Guilty pleasures? Makeup
How did you meet?
Vic: We met on Tinder!
Rob: We went for a drink one sunny afternoon and the rest is history.
Vic: We were both in our 30s and a lot of our friends were married and having kids, so we didn’t always have the opportunity to meet people. My sister suggested I try Tinder. There’s always going to be somebody out there looking for what you’re looking for. You just might have to go through a lot of people that aren’t to get there.
Now we’re engaged. But the problem is we keep having babies! We’re like, “next year we’ll get married,” and then we get pregnant.
Rob: We need a clean break from babies to really save for a wedding.
"We got a puppy recently, and that’s like having a third child."
Do you plan to have more kids?
Vic: We don’t know. We’ve got two boys so far, a one-year-old and a two-year-old. We also got a puppy recently, and that’s like having a third child. We got him from the dog’s home and they told us he was a bichon frise, but he keeps growing! We think he could be a labradoodle. It’s up for debate.
Why did you choose these words to describe each other?
Rob: Vic’s very much the planning department, organising our weekly food budget and making sure it goes far.
Vic: And I’m good at going to John Lewis for example, seeing something we want like a baby buggy, then finding it cheaper somewhere else.
Rob: She’ll go on sites like Gumtree and eBay. Whereas I’m good at switching our household bills every year to get them lower. I’ve just changed our energy bills to a longer contract that ends in 2021, and they were willing to lower the cost by £100 a month.
Vic: That was good because since having the boys and me being at home, the gas and electricity bills went through the roof.
"I do a weekly food plan, then do all the shopping online. It’s always within budget when we do it online."
How do you manage money together?
Vic: I’m a stay at home mum, so bills like our mortgage and council tax all come out of Rob’s account. I’ll get all the petrol on a separate card, then give myself a weekly budget of £100 for food. I do a weekly food plan, then do all the shopping online. It’s always within budget when we do it online. I used to go to Sainsbury’s every other day and I’d spend a fortune! We were spending around £1,000 a month on food.
Rob: It’s all the impulse buys. You go to Sainsbury’s and you’ll see one of the promotions, and end up getting things you wouldn’t normally buy.
Now Vic tends to buy food that she can make last for more than one meal, like pasta, sandwich meats for lunches, whole chickens, Quorn and vegetables. She’ll also freeze leftovers for other nights and lunches.
Vic: Rob takes home about £1,600 a month after tax, and we get £250 in family tax credits on top. This how our budget breaks down:
£600 bills including mortgage, council tax, utilities, TV licence, Sky
£400 food including cat and dog food, plus nappies
£100 for Rob’s travel costs to work
The rest we use to buy the kid's clothing, anything else we fancy, or the odd treat for ourselves.
It’s a tight budget, but we’re not in any debt.
"It’s a tight budget, but we’re not in any debt."
How did you decide that Vic would stay at home with the kids?
Vic: We felt by the time we’d paid out childcare costs, we might not have had much more. And while I was on maternity leave, we knew it was working money-wise.
I was working conveyancing at my stepdad’s firm. But unfortunately, he died when I was pregnant with my second and we had to shut the firm down. It was always the plan to give up work when I had our second anyway. I’ll go back to work when they’re a bit older, but they’re so little at the moment.
Rob: This way you’ve got the quality time with the boys as well.
Vic: When I had our eldest, because I worked in a family firm, I did go back to work quite quickly. He was only about three months old and I regretted it. That’s why when I got pregnant the second time, we decided I’d be a stay at home mum.
What was difficult about going back to work?
Vic: It was missing the kids and I felt like I was on a treadmill. I only worked Monday, Wednesday and Friday, but on the Tuesday and Thursday when I was off, I’d spend the day getting everything ready for work. So I wasn’t getting any quality time at home. I’d always end up working a bit extra.
"The hardest thing for me is getting used to not having my own money."
Is there anything challenging about being a stay at home mum?
Vic: We’re lucky that Rob gets to work from home quite often. Plus I have a lot of family close by, so nearly everyday there’s somebody else here. Sometimes I wish people would stop visiting!
The hardest thing for me is getting used to not having my own money. I’ve had to give up spending on stuff like makeup and skincare and some of the other more material things.
Rob: I have too. I used to not have to think twice about buying a new pair of trainers. But we’ve got something else to spend the money on now.
Is one of you better at managing money than the other?
Vic: I think we might be good for each other! Rob will see some new trainers and I’ll say, “No, you don’t need them.” Then you might stop me from getting something too. We keep each other in check. We’re as bad and as good as each other.
You were in your mid 30s when you got together. What were your finances like then?
Vic: We didn’t bring any debt to the relationship. The house we live in is my house that I owned with an ex-partner. Now we’ve transferred the mortgage so me and Rob own it together. That was the main thing we had to sort out. It wasn’t complicated, but I had the background knowledge and contacts with mortgage advisors from my job.
Have you ever argued about money?
Vic: I think the fact that we met a little later in life and had the boys means we’re at a stage where there’s less to argue about. Perhaps if we’d met in our 20s we’d still be going out and buying everything and arguing about that. But now we can’t go out anyway!
What do you do for fun now you're on a tighter budget?
Rob: We’ve both done all the mad nights out and travelled already. Now we go on walks or to dog training classes, which can be free if you go to the ones provided by the local council. When the boys have gone to bed, we watch a lot of Netflix.
Vic: We booked our holiday last year and paid for it monthly. We’ve got two holidays booked: Paris in June and Majorca in September. It’s about forward planning and budgeting.
"In the long term, our goal is to move to a bigger house with a garden."
What are your financial goals as a family?
Rob: We’d like to go to Disneyland when the boys are a bit older.
Vic: And in the long term, our goal is to move to a bigger house with a garden. We live in a three bedroom terrace at the moment and it’s only two minutes from a park so it’s okay. Living in this house also means I can afford to not go back to work because we’ve only got a small mortgage. If I went back to work now we could move, but it would put more pressure on everything.
Rob: We’re happy with the way things are.
Want to share your story? Email us at [email protected] with a bit about yourselves and your relationship with money. If we interview you, we'll give you £25 each to put towards a date night. And 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!