Nov 26

Five Couples Get Real About Each Other’s Spending Habits

You know your significant other’s Netflix password and go-to coffee order. But what about the status of their bank account?

 

Errr….we’ll wait.

 

If you’re drawing a blank, it might be time for a chat–especially if things are getting (or already are) serious. “Couples dread talking about money, but it needs to be addressed as soon as possible,” says financial planner Mari Adam, CFP, at Adam Financial Associates, Inc. in Boca Raton, Florida. “Partners need to be on the same team. Disagreements about money are one of the main causes of a break-up. It’s hard to keep a relationship together if you can’t see eye-to-eye about money.”

 

Before you move in together, you should have an idea of your partner’s income, savings, debt and credit score, says Anthony LaBrake, CFP, another financial planner at Adam Financial Associates, Inc. “These are all things that can determine what kind of future you may have, and they tell you a lot about how the person’s money habits,” he says. “If one partner is spending or saving more or less than the other, that can create animosity.” On the flip side, having mutual goals (buying a home, taking an around-the-world trip, starting a family) and working toward them can make your bond even stronger.  

 

We quizzed 5 couples across the country to see how much they know each other’s spending and savings habits. Their too-real responses will make you laugh—and hopefully spur you to talk money with your honey.

 

Couple #1: Francesca R., 24, video producer and Albert M., 25, aerospace engineer

Location: Los Angeles, California

Relationship Status: Dating

 

Which emoji best describes their bank account: shrugging, money eyes, sad crying?

She says: Money eyes

Actual answer: Money eyes
He says: Sad crying eyes (three times in a row)

Actual answer: Sad crying eyes

 

How much do they spend, on average, each month for rideshare apps like Uber and Lyft?

She says: $0, $20 if he’s going to the airport, $15 if we go out in L.A.

Actual answer: $5

He says: $25

Actual answer:  About $15, but I try to drive as much as I can!

 

If they won the lottery, what’s the first thing they would buy?

She says: A house back home with multiple car garages. Like, imagine a stable for horses, but with cars. That or start a maker space.

Actual answer: 2019 Corvette ZR1 in Sebring Orange, a Double-Double with pickles and a plane ticket home to see my dog

He says: Pay off debt. Clothes…and Taco Bell

Actual answer: I would first hire a security guard to protect me from people trying to get to my money, then pay off all of my loans, my parents’ house, and my sisters’ college tuitions. Donate what I could. Then I’d actually buy a house. Or a private jet with a pilot.

 

What was their biggest expense last month?

She says: Besides rent, a tie between a road bike and a pre-owned iPhone 7

Actual answer: A road bicycle

He says: Las Vegas

Actual answer: Jewelry that I bought as a birthday present to myself!

 

How much money do they save every month?

She says: $500-$1,000?? I’m guessing

Actual answer: ~$1500 into 401k (including company match). ~$750 into other investments/savings

He says: Total guess: 401k/retirement → $300 (including match)

savings → $100

Actual answer: About $300 per month

 

What spending habit do they try to keep a secret from others?

She says: He goes to yard sales and estate sales and Goodwill to buy stuff only to re-sell them online. He buys to sell!

Actual answer: Probably how much stuff I buy at garage sales and on Craigslist to flip for more money.

He says: Stress-shopping for clothes (almost always because of something I said…)

Actual answer: All my clothes/jewelry shopping 

 

How much student loan debt do they have?

She says: NONE? And I’m jealous.

Actual answer: $0

He says: ~ $20,000

Actual answer: $20k

 

What (non-necessity) would they never cut from their budget/cut back on?

She says: He budgets really well. He also doesn’t have any non-necessities. Maybe 3-D printing stuff?  

Actual answer: Internet. I would probably buy less food before I cut out that.

He says: Netflix/Hulu/Prime/HBO/etc.

Actual answer: My rock climbing gym membership

 

Couple #2: Janessa R., 24, social media coordinator and Andy D., 27, account executive

Location: Los Angeles

Relationship Status: Dating

 

Which emoji best describes their bank account: shrugging, money eyes, sad crying?

She says: Shrugging

Actual answer: Shrugging

He says: Money eyes

Actual answer: Money eyes

 

How much do they spend, on average, each month for rideshare apps like Uber and Lyft?

She says: $80  

Actual answer: $40

He says: $20  

Actual answer: $20  

 

If they won the lottery, what’s the first thing they would buy?

She says: A car

Actual answer: A house

He says: A house

Actual answer: An apartment 

 

What was their biggest expense last month?

She says: A weightlifting belt

Actual answer: Sneakers

He says: Bills

Actual answer: A fancy living room chair  

 

How much money do they save every month?

She says: $100

Actual answer: About $500

He says: Whatever is left

Actual answer: $500-$800 a month 

 

What spending habit do they try to keep a secret from others?

She says: How much he spends on video games

Actual answer: Buying clothes

He says: Shopping for clothes

Actual answer: Eating out

 

How much student loan debt do they have?

She says: $0. He used Veteran’s assistance

Actual answer: $0

He says: About $15K

Actual answer: Around $12,000 

 

What (non-necessity) would they never cut from their budget/cut back on?

She says: Food/eating out

Actual answer: Workout gear

He says: Food—eating out

Actual answer: Eating out

 

Couple #3: Diana D., 28, photographer/graphic designer and Bobby S., 27, hedge fund analyst

Location: New York City

Relationship Status: Living together

 

Which emoji best describes their bank account: shrugging, money eyes, sad crying?

She says: Money eyes

Actual answer: Money Eyes

He says: Shrug

Actual answer: Three shrug emojis in a row

 

How much do they spend, on average, each month for rideshare apps like Uber and Lyft?

She says: Around $50/month

Actual answer: $50-$100

He says: <$50
Actual answer:  Less than $50

 

If they won the lottery, what’s the first thing they would buy?

She says: A bicycle made entirely out of carbon. (Is that possible?) Everything in carbon

Actual answer: I would buy Diana and I new bikes so we could ride together. 

He says: She would probably do something to repay her parents for being supportive. They play a big role in her life. Buy them a house in Bozeman?

Actual answer: A trip. I would travel for 3 months and not worry about how much a glass of rosé costs.

 

What was their biggest expense last month?

She says: New wheels for the “soon-to-be all-carbon bike” and rent

Actual answer: Oof. I bought some carbon fiber wheels for my bike that hurt a bit…

He says: Pfft. Restaurants, food, drinks 100% might be a bigger expense than rent certain months.

Actual answer: Rent and restaurants

 

How much money do they save every month?

She says: Oof. A lot. More than most millennials have in their entire savings. Definitely over $500.

Actual answer: ~ $2,000-$3,000

He says: She’s been crushing paying off her debt so probably <$500. That she will likely increase once she hits her debt payment goals.

Actual answer: Enough to pay my taxes (I work for myself). Other than that nothing because I’m trying to crush my debt.

 

What spending habit do they try to keep a secret from others?

She says: Buying luxury items like say, a $400 watch.
Actual answer: It’s honestly that I wind up with a big (>$300) purchase very often. Bike wheels, headphones, record player, furniture, bike, computer. I have a lot of guilt associated with larger purchases so I try cutting back a lot of stuff like taxis, lunches, coffees, drinks, etc.

He says: Tithing/charity. It’s important to her but she’s very quiet about it.

Actual answer: Restaurants? But it’s probably not a secret. Hello Instagram. 

 

How much student loan debt do they have?

She says: Nada. Lucky.

Actual answer: Zero, I’m very fortunate.

He says: ~ $12,000

Actual answer: About $12,500

 

What (non-necessity) would they never cut from their budget/cut back on?

She says: Spotify and anything to do with triathlons

Actual answer: Spotify. We met through music. We still flirt by sharing music.

He says: Music. It will just never happen. It’s what brought Diana and me together, it’s what keeps us feeling alive. 

Actual answer: Spotify

 

Couple #4: Tiffanie O., 29, recruiting coordinator, and Michael O., 30, soccer coach

Location: Bronx, New York

Relationship Status: Married

 

Which emoji best describes their bank account: shrugging, money eyes, sad crying?

She says: Money eyes

Actual answer: Money eyes

He says: Crying

Actual answer: Crying

 

How much do they spend, on average, each month for rideshare apps like Uber and Lyft?

She says: He drives. So on tolls and gas, it’s maybe $150

Actual answer: $20

He says: $150?

Actual answer: $100

 

If they won the lottery, what’s the first thing they would buy?

She says: A really sexy new car.

Actual answer: A vacation to somewhere I’ve never been

He says: Clothes then a plane ticket somewhere to wear them.

Actual answer: I’d pay my student loans!

 

What was their biggest expense last month?

She says: Flights for our summer trip.

Actual answer: My car

He says: Food. But that’s a necessity. So clothes. But she’d say that’s a necessity, too!

Actual answer: Rent

 

How much money do they save every month?

She says: Way more than me, $500

Actual answer: $1,000

He says: Nada!

Actual answer: What’s ‘save’?

 

What spending habit do they try to keep a secret from others?

She says: It’s secret for a reason!

Actual answer: Books

He says: From me…clothes! “It was on sale!”

Actual answer: Shopping habit.

 

How much student loan debt do they have?

She says: No student loan debt, school is either free or way cheaper in England

Actual answer: 0

He says: $50K 🙁

Actual answer: $50K

 

What (non-necessity) would they never cut from their budget/cut back on?

She says: He is a very responsible spender, not sure

Actual answer: The gym

He says: Clothes!

Actual answer: Uber!!!

 

Couple #5: Michaela I., 36, executive director of a nonprofit, and Nick K., 38, architect

Location: Carbondale, Colorado

Relationship Status: Married

 

Which emoji best describes their bank account: shrugging, money eyes, sad crying?

She says: emoji with monocle OR upside down happy face

Actual answer: sad crying

He says: Sad crying emoji

Actual answer: slightly smiling face

 

How much do they spend, on average, each month for rideshare apps like Uber and Lyft?

She says: $0 (because they don’t exist where we live)

Actual answer: $0

He says: None

Actual answer: $0

 

If they won the lottery, what’s the first thing they would buy?

She says: Our house. New skis. New mountain bike. Heliskiing trip.

Actual answer: House

He says: House

Actual answer: Travel, house

 

What was their biggest expense last month?

She says: Student loan repayment

Actual answer: Hotel in Hawaii

He says: Hotel

Actual answer: Mortgage

 

How much money do they save every month?

She says: $100-$300

Actual answer: $300

He says: $300

Actual answer: $300

 

What spending habit do they try to keep a secret from others?

She says: Amazon. So much Amazon.

Actual answer: Stuff for our daughter

He says: Kitchen gadgets

Actual answer: Spa/manicure/pedi/massage

 

How much student loan debt do they have?

She says: Down to $45,000 left! Was over $250,000

Actual answer: $21,000

He says: $0

Actual answer: $0

 

What (non-necessity) would they never cut from their budget/cut back on?

She says: Ski pass. Coffee.

Actual answer: Ski pass
He says: Food

Actual answer: Mixed martial arts training

 

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