A month ago, after the most excruciating rental search known to man, my boyfriend and I moved in together.
And then we began the process of sorting out our finances. The rent was going to come out of my account. The internet was set up to his, as were our toll payments. Each week, we’d buy groceries together and put petrol in the car, all the while fiddling with our banking app as we flicked money back and forth between us.
I’d owe him $20 for groceries. Then I’d end up at the petrol station filling up the car and asking him for money. He’d pay for the Internet and I’d grab the electricity bill. It was a nightmare to keep track of.
There was an obvious solution. We’d open a joint account, put in a designated chunk of our pay each month and use it to pay for all our joint expenses, all the while maintaining our own accounts to finance, well, whatever we damn well wanted.
Our pay goes in to our own accounts, then we transfer a portion of it over to cover our joint living expenses. Simple. Life admin, sorted. The lazy person’s solution to our financial needs.
I knew we’d made the right decision, but I knew there were plenty of people out there that would think the account was the ultimate betrayal to the sisterhood and a symbol of sacrificed independence.
When I told some of the women I work with that we know had an account in both of our names. They looked shocked. Confused, even. And I wasn’t surprised. Sarah-Jane Collins, our associate editor, looked as though the mere of thought of combined finances made her want to vomit in her mouth.
A man is not a financial plan, I was reminded. “But, feminism!” another colleague protested.
But am I a really a bad feminist because my boyfriend and I now use the same debit card to pay for our toilet paper? Or are we just being smart?
Watch: David and Libby Koch share their advice on how to manage your money. Post continues below.
“I’m happy to share an account where an equal amount is put in by both parties for house stuff, saving for holidays or a home, but mostly I like my money like I like my women: independent,” said writer Katy Hall.
Another Mamamia staffer, Allanah, told me she once had a joint account with her former housemates. Housemates!
“When I lived with a group of friends opening a shared bank account was the greatest decision we made together,” she told me.
Image via iStock.
"We could all put in our rent, bills and shared expenses without any worries of owing money to anyone else. If I were to move in with a partner I'd totally have a system like that again. I wouldn't give them access to my personal account, but a shared kitty to pay the bills would protect us both."
Clare Stephens, one of our content producers, thought it was a slippery slope.
"Maybe you end up totally sharing and then you have kids and then you're looking after them and then BOOM your partner leaves you and everything gets messy," she said.
It's a valid point. Couples separate every day. But if we do break up? Well, I don't think it would be too hard to consciously uncouple our joint finances the equitable way- straight down the middle.