Revealed: Moneywise household finances
Moira O'Neill, Editor
“My husband and I have always had separate accounts, and it has worked well for us. He pays for holidays, meals out and childcare, while I look after the household finances and mortgage. What’s mine is his and vice versa, but I think it’s best that we don’t see exactly how the other is spending money on a daily basis.”
Helen Knapman, Deputy Editor
“My boyfriend and I split everything 50/50. We have a joint bank account for household expenditure. We also have separate current accounts and credit cards for personal spending.
“Ad hoc purchases as a couple, such as holidays or event tickets, are bought by whoever is free to do it, generally using their own credit card. It’s roughly a half-and-half split. That way we maximise credit card cashback and reward deals, plus there’s greater protection if something goes wrong. But we’ll always reimburse the other with half the cash.”
“Ensuring we keep on top of switching to the cheapest deals, we split the tasks. I look after switching energy providers, while my boyfriend compares the prices of digital TV and broadband.
Mark Stammers, Art Director
“When we got married, I turned my current account into a joint account. My wife kept her current account separate. “Though we share out the large monthly deductions of mortgage and utilities between us, when it comes to savings she is more sensible with money. So I’m comfortable with her having greater control over our finances.”
Hannah Nemeth, Chief Sub-Editor/Propety Editor
“I’ve always had a separate bank account from my husband. It’s never been an issue and we both prefer having control of our own money.
When it comes to divvying up who pays for what, I have to admit that I think it ends up in my favour. I pay for groceries, broadband and landline bills, as well as mobile phone bills and anything our two kids at uni need, while he pays for everything else.”
An account opened with a clearing bank (few building societies offer current accounts) that provides the ability to draw cash (usually via a debit card) or cheques from the account. Some pay fairly minimal rates of interest if the account is in credit. Most current accounts insist your monthly income (salary or pension) is paid directly in each month and they offer a number of optional services – such as overdrafts and charge cards – which are negotiable but will incur fees.
Used by the holder to buy goods and services, credit cards also have a monthly or annual spending limit, which may be raised or lowered depending on the creditworthiness of the cardholder. But unlike charge cards, borrowers aren’t forced to pay the balance off in full every month and, as long as they make a stated minimum payment, can carry a balance from one month to the next, generating compound interest. As the issuing company is effectively giving you a short-term loan, most credit cards have variable and relatively high interest rates. Allowing the interest to compound for too long may result in dire financial straits.