Bianca Knows Best … And Helps a Penny Pincher

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Dear Bianca,

My husband and I share a bank account, but we don’t share ideas about how to manage money. He loves to spend, spend, spend because, as he says, you only live once. I, on the other hand, prefer to save money for emergencies, especially considering the current economic climate.

Lately, we’ve been having more and more fights over finances, to the point that we’ve even considered divorce. But neither of us really wants to go that far. How can we reach a happy medium between spending like crazy and saving for the future?

-- The Money Hoarder

Dear Money Hoarder,

Get separate bank accounts! That’s the best advice that I can give. My parents have always had separate accounts. My mom likes to shop. My dad likes to save. And I’ve never once heard them argue about money.

Some couples even have three accounts -- one for each person and one shared account for bills. With that setup, you can each deposit into the bill account and your leftover spending money goes into your personal accounts. The bill account should cover the mortgage or rent, the utility bill, cell phone, cable, and Internet bills, as well grocery money and maybe even gas for the cars.

Then when the husband wants to splurge on beer or a new grill, that’s his prerogative providing he has the funds in his personal account to cover his purchases. Conversely, you’ll be free to hold on to every penny you have leftover after paying bills.

However, be sure and set rules and boundaries. My ex had a similar spending habit, and though he always used his own money, he’d ask borrow mine when his ran out. Put your foot down from the start and let your husband know that borrowing from your personal account is a big no-no (unless there’s an emergency, of course).

Also, when the two of you go out to dinner or any activity that involves spending as a couple, make arrangement to go Dutch or take turns picking up the tab.

Got a problem? E-mail Bianca at bphillips@memphisflyer.com.

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