We’re back! Tackling your finances is a huge undertaking and can be a lot to untangle. What makes it simultaneously harder and easier is adding another person to the mix. Establishing, maintaining, and reworking finances along with a partner is an act of trust and compromise. Having someone by your side can add income and help you stay focused and break up the workload. On the other hand, it also adds a whole other lifetime of credit, debt, and spending habits that will somehow have to weave in to yours. And we haven’t even gotten to kids!

In this post we’d talk about how budgeting and finances change with a partner or family, and how to best prepare yourself.

Love and Money

Anyone who’s been in a relationship will tell you that things change from when you’re single to when you’re with someone – how you spend your time, how you spend your money, and how you think about your future can all be affected. These changes can be accelerated when you’re serious about someone and are considering marriage. And, just as you talk about the future of your personal relationship with your partner, you should also have clear lines of communication open about your financial relationship too.

How a Relationship Changes Your Spending Habits

Sixty-nine percent of people report that they spend more money when they’re in a relationship than when they’re single. If you’re not prepared for this, it can throw your previously good spending habits out of whack and leave you wondering where all your income went. We’re not saying that you shouldn’t spend money with your sweetie, but when you’re in the throws of love it can be too easy to say yes to purchases that single-you wouldn’t even consider. 

Luckily, this proclivity towards increasing our spending tends to diminish the longer we’re with someone and the older we get, but even then we still spend more on average when we’re coupled. Knowing this ahead of time and being proactive about budgeting and our finances can make all the difference in creating a financially stable relationship.

Much of this comes down to our ingrained beliefs on what a “good” relationship looks like. Just like our  experiences with our families and cultures shape our personal views towards money, these things also shape our view toward what a “healthy” relationship looks like. Think back to your experience growing up. Was love shown through gifts? Was money a positive or negative thing? Was “quality time” spent doing free or low cost activities, or was money required? It can be helpful to do this personal detective work before getting into a serious relationship so we’re better equipped to understand our impulses and tendencies when we’re in one. 

We’re gonna start by jumping in to the biggest relationship step there is – marriage. 

Getting Married 

For the purposes of this post, we’ll talk about marriage not only in the capacity of two people committing their lives together, but also of the legal implications that marriage brings with it. We know that many committed, stable relationships look a lot like marriage, but not in the eyes of the law such as a domestic partnership or common law marriage. While we don’t dismiss these (or any other arrangement between consenting, loving adults), we will stick to the financial implications of legal marriage here.


It’s essential to be on the same page as your partner before getting married. This is true for all facets of your relationship, but one that’s often overlooked is finances. Couples can be hesitant to have frank discussions about money with their future spouse which can lead to trouble down the road. Below are some topics you’ll want to go over thoroughly with your fiancé before tying the knot (and ideally these conversations are happening way before you even get engaged). 


The question about whether to merge your finances and to what extent is one of the most important topics to discuss. Note that the choices you make now early in your relationship can change as you grow and mature as a couple. 

In general, people save more money by merging their finances and getting married than staying single. There have been studies that show that single women compared with married women can pay as much as a million dollars more over their lifetime when all costs like taxes, housing, and healthcare are factored in. 

However, this doesn’t mean you have to merge all your finances. Many couples choose to each keep their own checking accounts, while opening a joint account that they both contribute to. This can make things like paying for utilities, mortgage, or groceries less complicated, but still leaves you with personal spending money. It all comes down to how much you trust the other and what your financial goals are as a couple. If you do decide to merge your finances, take the time to create a joint spending plan that you both agree on and is transparent to both partners.


Like it or not, married couples receive a lot of benefits in our society. Here are just a few ways being married can save you money:


While the benefits of marriage largely outweigh the drawbacks, they are still worth noting and should not be overlooked.


An undeniable fact about marriages is that a significant portion of them end in divorce. Without passing judgement on why it may happen, there are steps you’ll need to take to ensure your finances stay in order if you become divorced.

Kids and Money

There’s no doubt about it – kids cost money! But, like any big life change, going in with open eyes can make a challenging experience seem more manageable. Kids will keep you busy, so start early with these financial tips and get systems in place now, so you won’t have to think about them as the wild and wonderful ride of parenthood begins. 


Yay! A baby! You’re in for a lot of unexpected and magical moments, but the one thing that doesn’t need to be unexpected are the costs associated with having a baby. Some estimates show that during its first year of life a baby can cost up to $21,000! Designate some of your time preparing for your new little one by focusing solely on finances, so when that baby comes you’ll be prepared.


The real answer is – it depends! It will come down to your current financial situation, how early you start saving and planning, and (sadly in the US) what your health insurance plan looks like.


Adding a kid to the mix means you’ll need to rethink and reassess your spending plan. This may take some trial and error, but some major things to think about are below.


Only 25% of high schools require a class in financial education to graduate, and research shows that kids who take these classes make better decisions about paying for college, take out lower interest rate federal loans to pay for it, and take on less credit card and consumer debt. You can’t count on schools to teach your kid what they need to know about finances, so you’ve got to do it. Believe it or not, there can be fun ways to do this too! Remember back to our first post when you thought about your own family experience with money? Was there anything you’d like to change about your experience? Now’s the time!

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