Living on a Budget, Saving Money/Dividing incomes


Douglas, my question is rearding the division of incomes within a family so that all's fair in love. My husband makes six figures, while I work part-time for his company and make in the neighbourhood of 30,000 dollars per year. Currently, I pay for my car, my fuel, food for our household (we usually feed between five and eight daily), miscellaneous household expenses, and clothes, diapers, etc for our two children. My husband pays for other household expenses such as gas, water, feed for our horses, etc though a number of his expenses are written off through one of his companies if possible.  My question is, what is a fair way to divide income?  I am far from being a big spender.  Last fall wad the first time I've gone clothes shopping for myself in nearly four years and I'm just the type of person who is willing to hold out for things to come on sale. Even so, my money all gets used up with the exception of a small portion each month I put in savings. My husband, however is never strapped for cash, and can go to the store and buy a hot tub without even batting an eye. I'm tired of always being on SUCH a tight budget. I'm investigating ways to divide income so that it's fair for all parties.
Any advice or ideas you could offer would be greatly appreciated.

Hi Aimee, thank you for selecting me to answer your question.

It looks like you have several issues here.  It sounds as if you are married, yet it appears that you and your husband treat your household income as not one, but as separate monetary streams, belonging to the person who is bringing it in.  Personally speaking, I think that is a recipe for disaster.  My wife and I have separate money streams for our individual endeavors, but at the end of the day, it all gets funneled into "one" account, that is shared by the both of us.  So, my 1st suggestion to you would be -- is there any way that you can incorporate the "all of our money is in one bucket" philosophy in your household?  If so, I think it may eliminate the "who's bringing in what %" of the income dilemma that is plaguing your family, and may make it easier for each of you to draw on that "single" amount at any given time.

Next, it's extremely important to come up with a "family" budget.  You don't want a scenario where you are paying for certain expenses, and your husband is paying for other expenses.  You are a family, and you need to budget in unison.  You need to come up with a comprehensive list of "family expenses" in a very detailed fashion, and notate how much is going to each expense on a monthly basis.  Tally this total up, and you'll know what your monthly expense outlay is.  Compare that total amount to what is coming into the family each month, revenue-wise.  By doing this, you can come up with a precise amount of savings (or loss) that you are can expect to experience as a family, each and every month.

Next, you need to find ways to "trim" your budget.  You should not be the only person exercising budgeting constraints; your husband will need to buy into this as well.  By having a tangible budget (that can be printed out on a piece of paper), you will be able to specifically engage him on what sort of expenses your family is incurring on a monthly basis.  Believe me, words alone may not convey this message - you need a tangible, physical budget to demonstrate and corroborate your points.  After this budget is designed and discussed openly, you can address how to actively trim a fixed % of each of these budget items.  Just as a crude example, say you are spending $ 800/month on food.  Aim to reduce this by 10% per month (i.e., saving $80/month or $960/year).  You can achieve this by eating out less often, bringing lunch to work, eating breakfast at home, using food coupons at the supermarket, etc.  It's amazing how easily you will be able to come up with ideas for reducing your budget items, by putting a little thought and ingenuity into the process.  You and your husband will need to be on the same page with this, and if you can both doing this together, it will bring you closer together emotionally.

Budgeting is hard work, but it can be very, very rewarding.  You can save a tremendous amount of money annually by doing it, and you and your husband together, can reap the benefits.  Talk to him about this, and come up with a plan collectively, that will work!

Please right back if you have further questions.


Doug Hayman

Living on a Budget, Saving Money

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Douglas Hayman


I will gladly answer any and all questions relating to family, home, or household budgeting. I consider myself a pioneer and expert in the area of disciplined budgeting.


I routinely manage my home budget using my home-grown system. Additionally, in corporate America, I managed a multi-million dollar budget for a technical Fortune 100 Financial Services company for many years.

(1) "Reduce Your Monthly Budget By 20% Using Simple Budgeting Strategies" (2012) ISBN # 978-0-9081613-1-1 (2) "How to Maximize Traffic to Your Website" (2007) - ISBN # 978-0-9801613-0-4

B.A., Economics, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY M.S., Computer Science, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY

Awards and Honors
B.A. with Honors, Economics, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY

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