I like to have control over my money.
I like to know where it is at all times and I don’t like lingering IOU’s.
So when my girlfriend of two years and I started living in the same apartment complex last year and sharing groceries, it caused some tiffs.
On top of that, we were over the chivalrous stage of the man buying all the meals and instead splitting dinners out. We were constantly trying to figure out who paid last, who owed money, and who was paying more. It always seemed to cause a $15 headache.
Fortunately, Capital One 360′s 360 Checking Account came to the rescue and we quickly became a 21st century couple.
We both already had Capital One 360 savings accounts, so we decided to open a joint checking account with them. There are plenty of online checking accounts that you can open up right now.
How Our Joint Checking Account Worked
1) We could easily pay one another with a shared account.
We linked our respective savings accounts to the joint checking account. If I owed my girlfriend $22, I would transfer $22 from my savings account to our checking account. The transfer was automatic, and then she could immediately transfer the $22 directly from the checking account to her savings account.
If we had two computers, the transfer would take less than 30 seconds and we no longer had to worry about lingering IOUs.
2) We got a debit card and used it for joint purchases.
With the joint checking account we each got a debit card. At the beginning of the month, we would each transfer $100 or $200 to the checking account to cover any shared purchases. This was great for groceries, dinners, gas, and anything else we bought and shared because it was split 50/50 every time.
Not only were there no longer any money fights, but there was no need for any discussion because it just became normal to pull on the ING checking debit when we were buying something that would be shared.
A Word of Warning About a Joint Account
This little time-saver can be great for married couples, those soon to be married, or longtime girlfriend/boyfriend, but it’s definitely not for every one.
Make sure you have a committed and trustworthy relationship with your significant other before you decide to link your accounts. ING made online banking easy, but this ease can also cause a relationship fight to escalate into a boyfriend stealing $2,500 from his girlfriend’s saving’s account.
It sounds comical, but don’t be naive and think your relationship is indestructible.
Regardless, linking to a joint checking account just might be the money hack your relationship has been looking for.
This article was contributed by Austin, who lives in Japan where he teaches English and writes about personal finance for twenty-somethings at Foreigner’s Finances.
Photo by Katie Tegtmeyer