How do you split common costs with your spouse?

This thread Married mustachians - how do you manage your finances? [2022] made me want to re-evalute our current setup to how we share common costs at home. So I wanted to ask you: how do you decide how much each of the two should pay into the common pot? I am particularly interested in couples where one person earns much more than the other.

Edit: the question is for people not married or married with wealth separation regime.

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Common expenses like rent, incidentals, food, taxes, insurances or kids expenses we split based on the percentage of what each person contributes to the househould income, e.g. if one side earns 60%, takes 60% of those costs.
The personal expenses like health insurance, phone contract etc. are paid by each person on their own.

Same as @Luk_nuts , every fix expenses and recurrent spendings (rent, energy, home insurance) are wire automatically from my account.
we share the cost with a participation based on revenue. 65% for me and 35% for her.

My wife wire me a contribution monthly. We actualised it once or twice by year.

For the unpredictable spendings (grocery, restaurants …), we use our credit card and split 50/50.

My original explanation on this subject.

There’s a bit in the thread I linked, but that one was more focusing on the practicalities of tools. Is there another thread I missed? Then maybe the mods can excuse me for not finding it and merge the two.

Couple, not married, 1 young child.
We’ve always split everything 50:50.
We have a similar job and academic background.
I earn more, but I’m older (let’s call it more experienced :wink:) and kind of also have a job with more responsibility, so for me I don’t believe the split ratio needs to be adjusted for revenue. As we both could effectively do the same job / earn the same if we wanted to. Except for the age/experience thing, but that’s not something I believe needs to be adjusted for.

At the moment we both work part-time (to take care of a child), but not the same %, I work a day more than her, and she takes care of the child a day more than me. To adjust for this “inequality” I pay her half my salary (+ pensionskassenbeitrag - taxes due) of this one day, that she does “unpaid care-work”. I think this is an important compensation to make, to keep things “fair”.
Would be good to hear if this is deemed fair, generous or petty.


I’m in a similar situation to you regarding income disparity, but we are unmarried and therefore file taxes separate (also no children).

We periodically estimate our shared monthly expenses and aim to jointly pay in a little more than this each month. We split this sum in proportion with our estimated post-tax income. Example: if we earn 100k and 50k post tax, we would split it 2/3 and 1/3.

The thing that makes this a bit complicated: My income has a significant variable stock/bonus component to it, which means it can only be roughly estimated in advance. We additionally weren’t sure what the “fair” way of treating employer contributions to pillar 2.

In the end we considered different scenarios and just rounded to an easy number which put my income on the higher side (which works out as around 2/3 & 1/3).

In general I am very happy with this set up: for our “common life” we are paying in proportion to our means, and our shared expenses are anyway pretty low since we have no kids and are relatively frugal compared to most people we know in meat space.

The question we are not settled on: if/when we have kids, my partner would likely substantially reduce work for 6-9 months or so. During this time, how should we distribute my income? The natural extension of our current system would be: I pay for almost all of the shared expenses, and that’s it. But then she’d have very little money for her own saving. Thus probably I should additionally transfer some of my income to her, outside of shared expenses.

But it’s not obvious what the right way to account for this is since – maybe a temporary reduction in working should be thought of as a “shared expense” due to the common project of having a child?

At least for the first 14 weeks she should be covered through the maternity benefits. After that, maybe ask her how much she would pay you if you take some months unpaid vacation and be the primary caregiver?

Maybe this will be received as an absurd and provocative question, and teach you something about gender stereotypes in the process. But then it also might start an honest conversation about how you guys want to go about sharing the burden (and joys!) of parenthood? How about 14 weeks maternal benefits, then 20 weeks on her, followed by 20 weeks with you at home? Would your employer be supportive?

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Diring unpaid maternity leave, in our case I paid her half my salary (+ pensionskassenbeitrag - taxes due) and we continued to split costs 50:50 as we always have.

There’s also the concept “Betreuungsunterhalt”
Kümmert sich Partner um Haushalt + Kinder empfiehlt Budgetberatung Entschädigung von Fr 20-30 /h.
So you are like paying her a salary, but how many hours, it’s kind of a 24h job :grimacing:
This is one of the options from the book " Partner ohne Trauschein" which gives various ways to do it fairly.

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I am planning to lower her contribution when she will be on maternity leave as her salary will be reduced to 80% and increase the disparity in my favour.
We are thinking to take 2 months of unpaid parental leave until the child keepers can start.
The one having no salary will not contribute and could be expense with the cost of half private day care (90 chf / day).

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We have a common savings account for holidays and a common regular account for daily expenses.

To make things easier, we split everything 50:50, but since I have a higher salary, my monthly contribution to the savings account is higher.

I am confused by the sentence above. What I am mainly interested is “how higher” someone’s contributions are/should be, depending on how much greater his/her income is.

I don’t understand one thing. If you are married with the usual financial arrangements - wealth is not segregated - then all your money belong to both of you anyway. What’s the point of arrangements you are talking about? Mental accounting bias?

If you are not married or have separated wealth, then yes, there is something to discuss and think about.

He signed for separation of wealth detail in the other thread..

To calculate your spouse contribution you could do : spouse1 net salary / (spouse1 net salary + spouse2 net salary ).

I do not include bonuses as well as we aim to simplify the process and limit money talk.


Ok, I didn’t write that very clearly, you’re right.

We look at the total household income. Say that I bring 60% of that and she 40%. We chose to not consider bonuses.

That’s our distribution key.

Then we have our own weird arrangement on where to put the money.

Obviously the question is for people in Gutertrennung or not married.

Same here. A common account makes things so much easier.

It’s not 100% accurate. According to the following link, each partner still has their own assets (Errungenschaft), it’s just that at the time of a divorce, each partner assets are split with the other partner.

Sure, thanks for correcting. But income of both spouses, which is discussed here, belongs to both of them together.

Income after marriage, that is.

As mentioned above (see the above link), I don’t think that’s how it is.

See also the following link: Die neun Geld-IrrtĂĽmer in einer Ehe | Handelszeitung

“Das Einkommen gehört demjenigen, der es erwirtschaftet hat. … Natürlich ist derjenige, der Einkommen erwirtschaftet, gegenüber der Familie zum Unterhalt verpflichtet.”

Or the following: Ist sein Geld auch meins? | Beobachter

“Jedes Einkommen Ihres Mannes gilt güterrechtlich als seine Errungenschaft.”