There was an interesting discussion on Sisters in Submission that made me write a response to Domestic Finance, Jenny style. While this was a very interesting read, i feel the whole handling of bills is so different to what we do, that i am not sure if this is an Europe vs US thing or a generation thing. So this here is about how my Owner and i handle money in our relationship. i apologize for the poor wording that is following, but i am seriously lacking financial vocabulary. i am not even good in German with this stuff. And it is a boring topic, so feel free to skip this, there is no sexy things here.
We have 3 bank accounts, each has their own private one and 1 shared one. Our salaries get deposited in our private ones and the other person has no access to this. We do share the details when we review our money though. So it is not about a trust issue but just a common security thing. We do some automatic personal payments from our personal accounts, like phone bills, public transportation fees, retirement money, etc. and then automatically send most of the money that is left to a shared account we both have access to. We just keep some security money to prevent the account from being overdrawn and the day to day costs of living. Like for example for ice cream or Starbucks coffee or things like that. Not big expenses, just what comes up on a day to day basis.
From our shared account we pay the expensive bills. Like car, apartment, etc. And of course the day to day stuff like groceries or other expensive shopping and restaurant visits. If i need to get money for something extra, i ask my Owner first. For example, if i wanna buy clothes or a full prized computer game. Since i have access to both the shared account and my personal one, i can buy stuff without having to wait for authorization. It is a trust system. And for small things like ice cream, coffee, a snack, etc. i don't have to bother him. i am not super strict on which account i use for small stuff. i prefer to use my personal one if i buy something for just me. Like ice cream with friends. But i tend to use the shared one if i, for example, bring home cookies. Even if i eat most of them myself :D
We also have a shared credit card and Paypal that draws from the shared account. In Austria, the credit card company just takes the money from the bank account at the end of the month. There is no "paying the credit card bill", it is tied to an account. Most payments are like this. Rent, power, internet, phone bill, Netflix, etc. all get withdrawn directly from an account, either directly or by proxy of Paypal or the credit card. This makes handling the money pretty easy since those withdraws come at a fixed date. So there can't be a missing of bills.
From our shared account we move money to the saving accounts and i am not really sure how this all works. There are accounts for shorter-term savings and longer-term savings. Money stuff is complicated, luckily my Owner knows those things. All i know is, we have money invested that we can get to on a short term, like for example if we need a new dishwasher or something. And we have money that is invested long term and we can't get to without losing some, but in the long run, it gets more.
Every few months we check the money in each account and move it so it makes sense. Usually, our private accounts will accumulate some money since we don't spend every last cent each month (this is by design) and so we move all excess money to the shared account. If the shared account gets too high, we move the money to the savings accounts. If it gets too low, we move from the short term savings account back to the shared account. We aren't super strict about this, so we don't do it each month but usually once every 1-3 months. It is pretty boring stuff, so we aren't really super motivated to do it. We aren't rich but we can live with what we have. So we never really fought about money, even though i spend more money on myself than he does.
i usually withdraw a fixed amount of cash each week for my day to day expenses. In Austria, not everyone takes plastic money, especially the small shops. So you really need to have cash. Cash also makes it easier to check your expenses without it being intrusive. If Friday comes and i have 20 euros still in my purse, i know i have money to burn :) If i am broke cash wise on Wednesday, i gotta turn it down a little. If i really need something, i can always pay using a card, so it is no problem to have low cash money on me. But it really helps to not waste too much on the little stuff. Like Starbucks for example, it's 5 euros for a coffee. That is a lot. Do i need it? No. Does it improve my life and make me happy? Yes. So if i still have cash, i can fetch a skinny vanilla cappuccino grande and be happy. If not, i frown and move on.
When handling money it is important to have such fail-safes, so that it is not easy to overspend. Paypal and credit cards make it sooo easy to spend money you don't own. Especially when i was in school, i often did not get how much money i really spent on stuff. When paying with a card you lose all feeling on how much you have versus how much you already spent. With cash, it's easy to see. You just gotta withdraw a fixed amount of cash in fixed intervals. And that's my spending money.
This is all not really very "maledom" or "D/s" like. But i don't think money should be a big issue in a relationship. Yes, you gotta figure out what you can spend, but besides that money should not be a point of tension.
Money is a good servant, but a poor master.
- so use the money to get what you need, but don't let it control you :)
My Owner added:
Money is important but having to worry about money makes for an unhappy Melanie. That is why we have general guidelines and she gets "play money" to do as she pleases. I handle the complicated stuff but she can spend her money without worries. When we need to buy more expensive things like a new computer or a tv, we talk about it. But everyday things should not make her worry and I don't want her to ask every 5 minutes if it is Ok to buy this or that. Asking for permission just makes her worry more. She worries too much anyway. (i do not, i am a happy bunny)