How to Set Up a Household Budget for Couples

When a couple first moves in together there is one question that surfaces, out of need, pretty quickly. That is, how do they handle the money for the regular household bills? The rent or mortgage payment, utility bills and groceries have to be paid and if you don't have a plan for how to deal with these bills, you may be in line for your first argument in your new home. Follow these tips to ease the financial path you take together.

Add up your monthly costs to run the household, including groceries, utilities, car payments and rent.

Determine what percentage that each party will contribute to the expenses on a regular basis. If one party earns much more than the other, for instance, the person earning more may want to pay 70 percent of the costs, for example. Talk openly about this and come up with an amicable agreement for a set amount of money each party will contribute toward the bills on a regular semi-monthly or monthly basis.

Open up a checking account designated specifically for use for your regular household costs. List both parties as signers on the account and deposit the initial money needed to get started for at least the next two-week period.

Every pay period or at a pre-set time, each party should deposit their set amount of money into the new bank account. Ideally, have one party be the one to write out the regular checks and keep a running balance in the account.

Each party should have checks to be used toward grocery shopping, since this money is coming from the new account. Always being sure these amounts are deducted regularly.

Harmony should prevail within the first 30 days by knowing up front what your specific financial responsibility is, having the assurance that the household bills are all being paid on time and never having to wonder who's turn it is to pay for the groceries. Besides the above, you will both have more financial independence knowing that the rest of your money, after your regular obligation, is yours.


  • The new checking account must be used only for the specific costs you have both agreed upon to run the household. It is best for one person to write out the regular checks and keep a ledger on the account to avoid ever having to say, "I thought you were going to do that." The person designated for this task can change from month to month.


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