Marriage & Money: Going From “Me” to “Family”

familyfinancesMy attitude towards money and finances has changed and evolved over the years, but the one thing that has had the greatest impact on it has been going from being just me to being a family.

Before I got married and started a family, my money was my own. I worked hard for it, I spent it how I saw fit, and I didn’t have to consider anyone else’s needs and wants. I was supporting myself, and was free to spend and save when and how I wanted.

That all changed once I started planning a future with my now husband, M. Marriage is a partnership, and that means that every financial decision that one partner makes will have an impact on the other.

From the Beginning

Early on in our relationship, we started budgeting for things like groceries when we lived together. Although we weren’t married yet, we still had financial goals that we wanted to reach. Living on different continents several months out of the year also meant that travel expenses were a big part of our spending. We had to be smart with our money, both individually and collectively, in order to be in the same place (literally!).

Because M and I were basically between 2 countries for the first few years of our marriage, we had separate bank accounts in our respective homelands, but we managed our funds together. There were no secrets about money coming in and going out, and that openness has worked well for us.

Common Goals

The transition of going from being a single gal, earning and spending however I wanted, to being a wife and a mom, sometimes not earning, and spending mostly on life’s necessities, didn’t happen overnight. Anyone who has gotten married, started a family, or joined their finances with a partner can probably relate. We became a team, and we learned to work together to reach our goals.

Once M and I started planning for our life together, money and finances became an important part of the conversation. Learning about each other’s attitudes towards spending and saving is so important in the beginning of a relationship, because it helps to prevent surprises down the road. I know where M’s weaknesses lie, in terms of spending, and he knows mine. We can always pull each other back from the brink and refocus on the big picture.

Once you start a family, it isn’t just about you anymore. Your loved ones are relying on you to make smart financial choices. As much as I might like to go out and drop cash on something frivolous, it isn’t something that I can justify doing. I’m quite sure that there are things that M would love to go out and buy, too. But our little family of 3 has priorities, and it’s up to both of us to stay focused on them.

Single life and family life both have their financial benefits and drawbacks. It takes effort and honesty to make a marriage work, and finances play a huge part in that. If you can’t be open about money with your partner, you’ll likely find the transition from single person to family member a rough one. One of the biggest benefits? Once you get married and start a family, you’re part of a team, working together for the big wins and small successes, and supporting each other through the losses.

*image by David Castillo Dominici

06 comments on “Marriage & Money: Going From “Me” to “Family”

  • Anneli @thefrugalweds , Direct link to comment

    I’m a fan of establishing common financial goals. I think it’s actually one of my favorite things about being married! Its a constant check-in on what we want to do with our finances, goals we have for the future. I love working through that! It makes me appreciate that we’re equal partners in our life together. The financial success of our marriage and family depends on us being on the same page 🙂
    Yay for married peoples!!

  • Holly@ClubThrifty , Direct link to comment

    This is such a sweet post!

    That’s one thing I love about being married- being part of a family. Creating joint goals, and working together to achieve them, can bring you so much closer!

  • Michelle , Direct link to comment

    Establishing common goals was how we transitioned from “me” to “us” more quickly as well! We still struggle occasionally, but it has certainly helped!

    • Derek @ , Direct link to comment


      I agree that common goals really helped us as well. We also found it important to continue to revisit and constantly reassess on some frequency. We set a lot of common goals early in our marriage and didn’t revisit them as often as we probably should and that caused a bit of a struggle for us.

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