How We Do It

Mastermind Weekend 1/16

Hey there!

I'm Tina

I’m the owner of Carrots ‘N’ Cake as well as a Certified Nutrition Coach and Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner (FDN-P). I use macros and functional nutrition to help women find balance within their diets while achieving their body composition goals.

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Good morning! :mrgreen:

It’s still raining here, but at least I had a little something to brighten up my day. Fresh flowers always put a smile on my face! 😀

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Breakfast

I was starving when I woke up, so I immediately went to the kitchen to make breakfast. I wanted something fast and filling, so I grabbed a whole wheat tortilla and started adding ingredients.

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In the mix:

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I need to make this breakfast more often. I forgot how delicious and satisfying it is.

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How We Do It: Finances

I get a lot of questions about how Mal and I manage our finances as a couple. We have our own little system that includes multiple personal and joint bank accounts. We never fight about money, so it definitely works for us. Our system may not work for everyone; this is just our experience.

Our Bank Accounts

Between the two of us, we have six different bank accounts. It sounds ridiculous, but it works for us. Mal and I each have our own personal checking and savings accounts. We also have a joint checking and savings account. It sounds like a lot of accounts to keep track of, but it’s really not.

Mal and I manage our own personal bank accounts, which also means we decide how to spend our own money. This is nice because I can spend my money on flights to the West coast and he can buy video games and neither of us gets upset. We also make sure to add money to our personal savings accounts for “Oh Sh*t” moments, like when one of our cars breaks down.

When it comes to our joint checking and savings accounts, we both contribute the same amount of money to them each week. We both set up an automatic withdrawal from our checking accounts to our joint checking and savings accounts, so we don’t have to think about every week and there’s always money in our joint bank accounts.

Who Pays for What

When it comes to “major” life expenses, Mal and I split them 50/50. We’re each responsible for our own half of the rent each month, which comes out of our personal checking accounts. We both write separate checks to our landlord. We’ll likely do this for our mortgage too.

When it comes to groceries and other bills (utilities, cell phones, car insurance, etc.), we still split everything 50/50, but we pay for these items from our joint checking account. We determined what amount is needed to cover all of our expenses and contribute that amount each week from our personal checking accounts.

Ok, all of this probably sounds a little confusing. A brief summary of our bank accounts might help explain our system a little bit better. Here’s what each of them pays for:

  • Tina’s checking: Rent, my student loans, prescriptions, beauty products, clothing
  • Mal’s checking: Rent, his student loans, his car payment, video games, J.Crew clothing
  • Tina’s savings: Taxes, house down payment, car repairs
  • Mal’s savings: Summer classes, car repairs
  • Joint checking: Groceries, utility bills, car insurance, cell phone, gym membership, gifts for family, dining out
  • Joint savings: House down payment, trips/vacations

Wow, that was a lot more than I planned to write! Let me know if you have any specific questions, and I’ll do my best to answer them. Again, this system works for us, but it might not be for everyone.

TNT Raffle Winner

THANK YOU to everyone who entered our TNT raffle to win a Breville Juicer. Mal and I are so thankful for your support and your donations help get us closer to finding a cure for these horrible blood cancers.

To pick the winner, I listed everyone’s name in an Excel spreadsheet (one entry for $5, two entries for $10, fifteen entries for $50, etc.) and then Mal picked the winner using the Random Integer Generator. So, here’s your winner: Holly Bigness!

Congrats, Holly!!!! Please email me at tina@carrotsncake.com with your mailing address and we’ll send out your new juicer this week.

Question of the Day

When it comes to finances, do you consider yourself a spender or a saver?

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145 Comments

  1. My Husband and I have seperate accounts but a joint savings.
    We both set aside X amount per month (our work also matches what we save. Its a GREAT set up)
    I pay the Mortgage as its the largest bill.
    He pays insurance and car payments on both cars, groceries, hydro, water, cell phone, cable internet….every bill. If we eat out he pays.

  2. Gorgeous flowers!

    I love when you share real life tips like this. In my previous relationship we always argued about money, even though we weren’t married! I’ll have to keep this idea in mind.

    I am such a spender!! I try to save and have been working really hard at it but I love to spend!

  3. I love how you specify that Mal spends his money on “JCrew Clothes” HA!

    I’m usually a saver. I get paranoid and anxious when I don’t feel like I have enough money saved away…but I also go on spending sprees where I pretend that I’m totally carefree without a debt in the world…it’s a vicious spend and save cycle!

  4. Hmm. Wouldn’t it make more sense to just put more into the joint and have the rent come out of there as well? Well, to each their own.

    My mother and her husband do it basically the same way. Except they each put equal PERCENTAGES of their incomes into the joint. If one person makes more money than the other, I think that is a very fair way to do things.

    I’m recently married and we haven’t merged finances at all but we’ve been paying bills together for years. He makes almost twice as much as I do but I pay all my pre-existing bills and he pays his. He pays the rent and I pay the utilities, phone, insurance, and he usually pays for eating out. We don’t nitpick about splitting it all evenly. We figure it all works out in the end. And it works for us.

  5. The responsible part of me (about 80% of me, I’d estimate) is a saver. But periodically, that 20% ‘you live just once’ side of me starts spendin’. 😉

    PS, I love the font in your new comment boxes. 🙂

  6. i loved reading this. my fiance and i met with a financial adviser about a year ago and she had us set up our accounts almost identically to yours. the only difference is that we also contribute to a money market account (since it makes us money) in addition to a savings account for those “oh shit” moments.

    we don’t do the 50/50 split though – he makes more than i do (net) so our split is more like 60/40, which is nice. for awhile there i was killing myself financially trying to put in 50/50.

    it’s great to connect to a post like this, especially when the system works so well. thanks 🙂

  7. thanks for sharing this- it is really interesting. i am single now, but definitely a big consideration for me and so often people hate to talk about money, but it causes so many problems if it’s not discussed. i apprecite your discussing what works for you guys!

  8. I’m definitely a spender – but only because I have to be! I live in DC, so A LOT of my income goes to rent. After that, groceries, utilities, entertainment etc. eat up most of the rest of what I make. I wish I had more to save, but you only get the chance to be young and single in a glorious city once, right?? 😉

  9. Interesting post!

    I’ve made a real effort this past year to be a better saver than spender. I have a checking account and a savings account, as well as a 401K plan to which I contribute pretty generously. My savings account is linked to my checking account, so twice a month a certain amount of money is automatically transferred to savings. This strategy is definitely helping me accrue more savings!

    I’m unmarried, but have been in a serious relationship for over three years. My boyfriend and I keep our finances separate, but we essentially share all major expenses 50/50–rent, utilities, groceries, vacations, etc. We’re pretty flexible about it, and we never argue about money.

  10. Before I met my fiance, I was a spender, a without a second thought spender. I had no clue what was coming in and what was going out. My fiance is just the opposite. He keeps track of every expense, and thinks twice before he whips out his credit card. He’s taught me to do the same, and together we’re saving for our upcoming wedding and a down payment on a house.

    We pretty much have the same system that you and Mal have–six accounts! And we split everything 50/50. It works for us too, but takes a lot of communication and trust/accountability.

  11. you know what’s one thing i really like about the new layout? how the pictures magically appear as i scroll down the page. cool!

    but that’s a very cool way of handling finances, and i’m glad it works for you guys! did you and mal live together before you guys were married? is that how the distribution plan started?

  12. Wow – that’s quite a system! My husband and I tried having the separate accounts + a joint account but it just didn’t work for us. We have now been using just 1 joint checking & 1 joint savings account for the last 4 or 5 years. Working like a charm. We’re both pretty sensible when it comes to large “fun” expenses like bikes or trips, and we figure it all evens out in the long run. Plus it just makes the month-to-month expenses easier to handle.

  13. That is interesting- my husband and I are just trying to figure all of that out. So far we do something pretty similar. Luckily we are both decent savers… although I have a weakness for spending money on fancy food products.

  14. This is a great post. My fiance and I are trying right now to figure out how to handle finances. Because he is 8 years younger than me and in a different field, my salary is significantly higher than his. Thus, we’re looking at a “ratio” approach to our finances, since he could not afford half of our lifestyle. He thinks all of our finances should be melded together though, and I prefer to keep some money separate for both of us so that we avoid the problem you mentioned — caring about whether someone buys a new watch or a new pair of shoes. This post is really helpful, I’m going to show it to him!

  15. When we got married, I was definitely a crazy spender and my husband was an insane saver. Over the years, I’ve gotten a lot better at saving and he’s opened up to spending, so we’ve both met in the middle. We have one savings and one checking account, which works fine for us and we don’t argue about money ever either.

  16. My husband and I also maintain separate accounts. He is responsible for certain bill & expenses and so am I. My dad always thought it was weird and didn’t get it, but personally, it saves a lot of grief & arguing. Neither of us are really savers, but I wouldn’t like someone telling me what I can and cannot buy. I know that’s not the reality, but that’s how it would feel I think.

  17. I need to be more of a saver. I’m working on paying off all of my school/moving across the country debt now, but I probably should start a savings account too. My boyfriend and I split everything 50/50 too even though he’s in school and I’m working full time. I think he just manages his money way better than I do. I’m working on it!

  18. I don’t technically have any finances (I’m 14) but I consider myself a saver – when I do go shopping I will always ask myself the question “Do I realllyyy need this?” and if the answer is NO I’ll put it down and walk away

  19. I’m a saver but once in a while I’ll spend on a little something to treat myself. I’m a student right now so I have to be a saver, however any money I have at the beginning of a semester goes to school….. so its hard to save for long term!

    Yummy breaky! I’ve never tried chia seeds raw before!

  20. This is really helpful! I am recently engaged and we have started talking about how we will manage money – we are both in our early 30s and own our own places so we haven’t merged anything yet. I have a feeling we will do something very similar to this…thanks for sharing!

  21. My husband and I are both unfortunately not as great as you and Mal are with our finances. It’s something we DEFINITELY realized in the past few months we have got to get together – especially since my husband was let go from his job. Not a good place to be in when you have no savings, huh? And we have a 4 year old…. so we’re learning. A little too late, obviously! But it’s helped us get on a better path!

  22. We do the same thing re: our bank accounts. The only diff. is we use our sep. accounts for fun stuff and we use our joint for living/home/kid stuff. Everyone thought we were so weird to keep separate accounts but I say, whatever works and it works for us! Nice to know other people do the same thing!

  23. its so important that ur keeping it 50/50 between the two of you. money can be such a stressor between couples but it seems like uve got a great plan thats been working out!

    mmm i was gonna make a similar breakfast this morning with banana, almond butter, choc chips on a tortilla wrap but a muffin called me instead. next time …

    xoxo <3

  24. My husband and I manage our money totally differently than you and Mal.

    We have 2 accounts–one checking, one savings. We set a budget at the beginning of the month. If one of us wants to buy something that’s not in the budget, we check with the other and make sure that it’s okay with them. Checking with the other really helps to cut down on impulse buys.

    We carry no debt other than our mortgage. Money that I made while my husband was in graduate school helped to pay off his student loans. We try to not think of money as “his” and “mine”. We’re sharing our live and money together.

    We like having our money together, because we’re both working towards the same goal.

  25. We tried to go with one checking and savings after we got married and I hated it. My hubby was the main check balancer and I didn’t like not knowing what was in the account, so I never wanted to use my check card and ended up using a regular credit card all the time, which I hate doing. We went back to our pre-married days system, which is similar to yours, only we only have four accounts (two checking, two saving). I write my hubby a check every month for half the expenses and the rest stays in my account to spend the way I want. We just find it easier this way so we each know what is in our own accounts.

  26. I’m definitely a saver. I hate the feeling of buyer’s remorse, so I only buy what I need, and very infrequently buy “toys”. If there are things that I don’t need like a video game or dvds I wait for my birthday or Christmas.

    I like your finance situation though. My fiance and I do rent 50/50 and grocery and utilities on an every other month/week basis. It really is whatever works best for you!

  27. Tina you and I do things the same way. I’ve been married almost a year and a half and we intended to combine finances and just found it wasn’t really worth it. For all joint expenses, we split 50/50. We also have a joint savings (that’s a tad neglected). Individually we have our own checking and savings.

    This works because I don’t want to get frustrated that he buys his lunch every-single-day (argh!) and he doesn’t want to see that I buy a pair of shoes per week.

    It works and there is never any drama!

  28. We are savers all the way. My partner and I pretty have the same set up that you guys do. Only we have joint chequing account which is for rent,phone, and groceries. Then a joint savings for trips and thats all we use it for. We like to travel 🙂

  29. Everyone has their own system on what works best for the household, that’s for sure. When I was married the first time {in a previous life} we had seperate finances and it seemed to work. Currently with my husband, we share everything and we have two kids so that changes everything as well 🙂 Have a great day!

  30. So interesting to hear how others handle their money. My husband and I live off of his salary and put all mine into savings (we put a portion of his into savings too). That way if one of us were to lose a job or decide to stay home once we have kids, we have never gotten used to two salaries. And I must say, our savings adds up quickly this way!

  31. @Sarah: We don’t have a formal budget, but our various accounts keep us on track. A certain amount of our personal income is alloted to each of our joint accounts, so we keep this in mind when buying groceries, going out to dinner, etc.

  32. I’m a saver and cheap – so hard for me to buy a new laptop that I know I need.

    I live with my boyfriend and he owns so we do more so percent of income since we’re not on the same playing field and living beyond my own means.

  33. @Kris: Our 3 savings accounts act as our emergency fund. Mal has a pension (since he’s a public school teacher) as well as a 403B. I have a 401K and a 403B from my previous jobs as well as an IRA that I max out each year.

  34. @Katie @ Healthy Heddleston: I make more money than Mal, but we still split things 50/50. For us, we see our marriage as an equal partnership, so both of us contribute the same. (This also goes for household chores, taking care of Murphy, etc.) But, since I earn more, I saved for the down payment on our new house.

  35. @Pearl Lee: Yep, we lived together for a few years before we got married. We had a similar system for our finances, but I think the joint savings account came along after we got married.

  36. I love the addition of the chia seeds! I’ve never had them crunchy before. 😛

    And with finances, I’m definitely a saver with my money and a spender with other people’s money. Well, with my parents money anyway.

  37. I am definitely a saver and an investment person, my husband is too. We squirrel away every extra cent we have. Right now our lifestyle is just how we want it — the right amount of comfort/fun/vacations/luxury for US and everything else goes into our investments. If one of us gets an increase in pay we maintain the amount we use per month for all of our expenses and the extra gets invested (IRA, various mutual funds, etc.). We want to enjoy our life now and we do, but we also want to retire early and not have to worry about money.
    Good on you and Mal (and everyone else who is a diligent saver!) because the average age people start to think about saving for he future is 46! We are well ahead of the curve.

  38. That sounds like a good way to split the costs and avoid money fights. My boyfriend and I have separate everything and if we get married we’ll do what you and Mal do–separate AND joint everything.

    Michael is a spender–I am a saver. I think that can cause arguments. We try our best!

  39. I have the potential to be either a spender or a saver. The more money I have, the more of a saver I am, though. A little strange.

    My husband gets finally gets his first paycheck this week. We’ve been living off my barely-above-minimum-wage income for the past 10 months, and we’ll finally have enough to really budget. We have 6 accounts as well like you mentioned, but we have both our paychecks directed deposited to the joint savings, and the money filters down through the bills and whatnots, then savings, then what’s leftover is divided between combined allowance (eating out, toilet paper, etc) and personal allowances (shampoo, video games, etc).

  40. We just got married in June so we are still trying to figure out a system that works for us. Thank you so much for sharing your method!

  41. My husband and I have the same kind of system set up. But we don’t use our joint account often enough- we should probably start both contributing to it regularly, but my husband likes to have the extra money in his checking account “in case” so instead we sort of take turns paying for dining out/car repairs/house expenses, and we just use our joint account to pay mortgage/taxes- then I pay the heat/electricity and he pays the cable/internet. It seems to work for us and once you do it for awhile it’s not confusing at all.
    My one question for you is why you two don’t put money into your joint account for your rent (and in the future mortgage), that way you wouldn’t have to write two separate checks…not that its a big deal to do that- when we rented he would pay me half the rent and then I’d pay the whole thing, that got a bit confusing (sometimes his check wouldn’t clear yet and I’d pay and then it wasn’t good haha)- don’t know if putting it together would work for you guys, I’m guessing you don’t do it for a reason.

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