I am a huge data nerd, and personal finance nerd. That’s something I’ve said before.
Also, I’ve been known for tracking every cent I spend, so that I can analyse the money I spend. What gets measured gets improved, so I measure the things I want to improve on. Simple, right?
Then why don’t I track the spending from the joint bank account I have with Girlfriend? What’s wrong with me?
Separate vs Joint Accounts
Girlfriend and I are living together now for a year and a half. Ever since we started living together, we own a joint bank account. Even though we keep finances separate, we figured some things are easier when combined.
I still receive my salary in my personal bank account, and then budget for all my expenses in my personal budget. This is also the budget I use to track my finances, come up with my net worth, and calculate my savings rate.
One of the expenses I incur in my personal bank account is the transfer I make to our joint account. I consider that money spent, so I record it as as money that’s leaving my budget. This implies the joint accounts are not part of my net worth figure, which is true.
Splitting Up the Costs
Since Girlfriend is still in university, and doesn’t have a full time income, we decided that she doesn’t have to pay rent, at least not until she has some steady income. For me it doesn’t really matter, I owned my apartment before she moved in, and I was able to pay for it before she moved in. That’s easy.
However, there are costs we are incurring together. The costs we pay for together are groceries, energy (water, electricity, heating), joint insurance, and the internet and television subscriptions.
When Girlfriend moved in, we came up with an amount we would pay monthly to the joint account. This amount is more than enough to pay the bills, as we can see now. On average, we save about 150 euros per month.
Goals for This Money
We are planning on taking a long vacation next year and decided to pay most of it from the savings in our joint account. That means that if we can save money on groceries or heating, we’ll have less money to pay from our “own” accounts.
So even though we do save money each month, by spending less than we anticipated, I still consider this money “spent”. That’s the reason I don’t track this account. It’s too much work, and for me it’s spent money already.
Not tracking this money certainly makes my life easier, since the typical transaction is small and there are many. Now I just track spending the money from my account to the joint account and that’s it.
How are you tracking your spending?