Here are 14 tips for combining finances after marriage -- via Madamenoire.com.
MAKE SURE YOU'RE BOTH IN AGREEMENT
Before either of you can start the process of combining finances which each other, you'll have to sit down and talk and decide if the two of you are on the same page. You may find that your husband isn't exactly keen on combining finances right away while you'd like to get this process done and out of the way tomorrow. You both have to be on the same page before you make any monetary decisions.
OWN UP TO YOUR FINANCIAL SITUATION
Whatever you and your husband decide to do in regard to finances, be sure that you are both open with each other about your monetary situation. If you have a lot of credit card debt, it's important that your husband knows about this. If you have a savings account at some other bank that you do not touch, make sure that he knows. The same goes for your husband. You should have a good idea of where his money is going and how much debt he has.
MAKE MONEY A PRIORITY
After the wedding you're still probably on Cloud 9 and there are a lot of tasks to complete. From name changes to the honeymoon to just enjoying life as a married couple, you won't have a lot of free time unless you plan for it. Before making any other huge decisions and life plans, be sure that the two of you make money a high priority on the list. You'll want to work on a plan for combining finances as soon as possible.
PAY OFF DEBT ASAP
Before getting married, a lot of couples work to pay off as much of their debt as possible. However, weddings are expensive and can put you right back into debt. If you, your husband, or both of you have credit card debt or other high-interest debt, be sure to pay it off before you go through the process of combining finances. The cleaner the slate the better, and the less chance of problems popping up along the course.
EXAMINE YOUR BUYING HABITS
Married couples tend to sometimes go above and beyond their economic means to buy the things that they want. All newlywed couples want a new home and a new car that they can call theirs. However, after getting married, both of you will want to sit down and take a good look at your purchasing habits. Do you go on shopping sprees every weekend? Is your new husband keen on buying new shoes every single month? These purchases will matter when you two decide to go about combining finances.
OPEN A JOINT ACCOUNT
Opening a joint account is one of the biggest steps towards combining finances. With a joint account, the two of you will have a single account that both of you have access to deposit and withdraw money from. This account should strictly be used for bills that both of you are responsible for paying such as the mortgage, HOA fees, the water bill, the gas and electric bill, and so on. This account makes paying household and joint bills much easier.
KEEP A PERSONAL ACCOUNT AS WELL
Just because you are combining finances with your husband doesn't mean that you can't still have your own personal account. This account is for your use only. So when you want to go to the mall and buy yourself a ton of clothes, you can do so without having to touch the money in the joint account. The same goes for your husband. If he has a separate account for just himself, let him keep it and use it when he needs to.
MAP OUT YOUR FINANCES
Successfully combining finances requires some work and calculations. Since you are now a married couple, here's a chance to determine how much money and expenses the two of you can expect as a couple. Hop on the computer or grab a pencil and paper and create a spreadsheet that gets all of your financial details into writing. Write down your gross monthly pay, as well as your husband's, and start deducting the bills you two must pay together. This will help the two of you stay accountable.
DETERMINE HOW EXPENSES WILL BE DIVIDED
For some couples this question is a no-brainer and for others, it requires a lot of serious thought and consideration. Some couples automatically go for the 50/50 approach, where both of you put in the same amount of money towards the bills. But, this isn't the only way to do things once you've decided on combining finances. Some couples may find that one partner can pay all of the bills while others may decide that pitching forth a percentage is the best way to go about things. Find the way that works best for you two.
HAVE AN EMERGENCY FUND
Life is extremely unpredictable and the fact is that things can change in an instant. When it comes to money, it's always best to be prepared for any situation that may come your way. In the event that one of you loses your job and cannot contribute as much to the bills, you'll want to have an emergency fund handy to ensure that bills can still be paid without going into debt to do so.
PREPARE FOR CHANGES
Once you have gone through with combining finances, prepare yourself for changes. While it is just the two of you for right now, think ahead to the future. Your finances will certainly change if the two of you move into a bigger home or if you have children together. Finances are fluid and they will change with time, so prepare yourself and don't get too comfortable with how things are right now.
DECIDE WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR PAYING THE BILLS
With a joint bank account, the two of you in theory will both be contributing money towards paying the bills. However, you'll also need to come up with a plan as to who will be the one to write the checks or schedule the online payments. It's usually best if just one of you is in charge of this so that you'll know exactly who paid what and when payment was sent. This makes paying the bills a lot easier.
Aside from combining finances, as a couple the two of you will also need to work towards combining lifestyles. If there are income differences between the two of you, you may find that you want to go on a luxurious vacation while your husband can't exactly afford that on his current salary. Be sure that your lifestyles match your financial decisions to keep things as sound as possible.
CONTINUE TO TALK ABOUT MONEY AND FINANCES
Even after all the decisions have been made and you two have gone through all of the steps to combining finances, don't let this be the end of it. Don't forget about the decisions you two have made and never make assumptions about changing or going back on these decisions. On occasion, talk to each other to ensure that you're still on the same page and that the two of you still feel financially sound. You won't know if there's a problem unless one of you speaks up about it.