Couple’s Financial Worksheet

Couple’s Financial Worksheet

The money in your relationship is being managed wrong. Horribly wrong. The bills are barely getting paid as it is, yet she just came home with another pair of shoes or he’s buying lottery tickets again. Really??

Don’t panic. I’m here with the fix. It’s called the Couple’s Financial Worksheet (CFW), and it’ll solve all your problems. It’ll look at your incomes, break down your bills, and spread the financial burden proportionally between you both. And, believe it or not, it’ll allow for vacations, dinners out, movies, and even your very own spending money to buy more fishing lures or Mary Kay or whatever the hell else you want without your mate bitching about it. Keep reading.

I conceived the CFW some years ago. My live-in relationship at the time was souring. Prior to moving in together, we had agreed I pay rent and she pay food and utilities. When it finally occurred to me I was footing 100% of the bills, I knew we needed a solution. 50/50 wouldn’t work – she made considerably less money that I did, but her share of the bills, based proportionally on the differences in our incomes, seemed fair to me. Hell, I would have been happy had she just held up her end of the bargain, but alas it wasn’t so. I confronted her with my newly hatched plan.

“But I bring the honey and you bring the money,” she said with a sweet smile and touched my shoulder lightly, batting her eyelashes.

“It’s not enough fucking honey!” I was nobody’s cash cow, and that was that.

As the years progressed I saw a lot of my fellow Marines in relationship finance distress as well. The stories were practically the same, only the names would change. Living paycheck to paycheck, paying all the bills despite her extra income, getting crappy gifts she’d use his money for, not being able to spend his own money without a fight, seeing her shopping weekend after weekend. Apparently, there were a lot more “honey/money” ideas out there than I thought. The madness had to stop.

This brings us to present day and the spreadsheet I’m distributing freely to the world.

First off, the Couple’s Financial Worksheet isn’t a budget. Your personal budget is your business. If you can’t figure that out first, you’re screwed regardless. What the CFW does is simply list the bills you may incur as two people in a relationship (i.e. rent and utilities or a family phone plan or dual gym membership perhaps), then assigns you a dollar amount of those bills based on your percentage of the net household income. Brilliant, right? I’ll break it down even further.

Couple's Financial Worksheet screenshot
Go to File ~ Download as ~ Microsoft Excel (.xlsx) to save a copy.

  1. Input his and hers net monthly incomes in cells D2 and E2 respectively (that’s take-home after taxes, but you can’t subtract retirement expenses, investments, child support, etc, because that’s your damn business).
  2. List your “couple’s” bills, to include joint plans, in column B. If various recreational activities are predictable, such as movies, dinners, etc., you can list them too (estimates are acceptable).
  3. Look at cells D4 and E4 for what you owe per month.

It’s that simple! The CFW calculates your percentage of the net household income and applies that percentage to the sum of the monthly bills to determine what you owe. Additionally, I’ve included a “Goal Cost” area in cell F5. That is the place where you input A) the cost of your Hawaii trip, the couple’s spa day, a family wedding gift, etc., or B) a “plus up” amount that you want to pad the monthly expenses with. In case A, you can adjust how many months you would like to save for your couple’s goal. The beauty is any goal can be affordable with enough months to save. It’s up to you! In case B, your months to save would be “1” as you want to contribute that much more per month. Depending on your goal cost and months to save input, a new monthly due amount will be reflected in cells D8 and E8 – which are still divided proportionally based on your percentage of the net household income.

But Jayme, you may ask. Now that I know no one (especially me) is getting screwed out of my hard earned dollar, where does it go? Good question. Wait for it…

A joint bank account!

Where your money goes is key. Your paychecks should continue being deposited into his and her own, personal accounts. Then, you each pay the joint account monthly with your share of the bills (that’s why it’s important to have a plus-up amount in Goal Cost to account for fluctuations in things like utilities, home repairs, etc.). You can set up automatic bill pay from your bank to the joint account using electronic funds transfer, bill pay, hell – even walking in and writing a check (although that is least preferred and archaic as a bastard). After the joint account is paid, what’s left in your own account is your own money. Do with it what you will. You’ll never have to worry him blowing money on a stripper or her getting breast implants over a weekend in Vegas (which, by the way, could be considered a couple’s expense – and hence factored into the spreadsheet as a Goal Cost – if agreed upon). This also means she can buy you a shitty tool set with her own money, and that means so much more!

If you think I’m done with the benefits of the Couple’s Financial Worksheet, you’re mistaken.

Each of you will have full access to the joint account – checks, debit card (no credit card on that account, you greedy bastards), transaction history. By each carrying a joint account debit card, any dinners out, household items on a store run, or unexpected couple’s expenses can be purchased on the fly. You’ve already paid your share!

Of course trust is involved, as either of you could still make personal purchases on the joint account, but that’s a minor risk. Let’s also say, worst case scenario, you’ve been saving for that Hawaii trip for six months and have a couple thousand dollars in the joint account. Suddenly, without warning, your mate runs off with the pool boy/secretary and takes it all! Oh no! Call me an optimist, but I’d rather be out two grand on an account I can stop payment to than have my entire personal account cleaned out that my employer will keep paying.

This is a mathematically perfect method in managing finances in a relationship. If you propose this plan to your significant other and they shoot it down, they are gold-digging, money-grubbing fucks. There’s really no light way to put it.

Please direct all questions in the comments.

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The author.Born in the year of the Dragon, the author grudgingly accepts the fact he has too many interests and not enough time. A cyclist as long as he can remember, an avid yet inconsistent writer since age eleven, and a U.S. Marine since age twenty-one, the author also adds peak bagging, diving, snowboarding, and computers to his list of interests. Incidentally, he is aware of his inability to make a living from any but the Corps. The author accepts this as fact and remains optimistic. Feel free to drop him a line.

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