Trish asked, "...how do you manage your bank accounts?" This is another area where I was very resistent to change and which has evolved over the last 2 years. Two years ago we had 4 accounts - Tim had a checking account, I had a checking account, we had a joint savings, and a joint checking account. For those of you who don't know me in real life, I have always been a pretty strong-willed independent woman. I don't know why, but I had it in my head that I must maintain my own account. So, it was no surprise that I wasn't too excited when Tim suggested that in order to do this right, we really needed to simplify and combine accounts. I relecuctantly agreed. I'm not saying Tim was right... but, well, he was right. (Wow! Did I just say that?)
One of the things that was always stressing us out is that we never seemed to have much money in our account, and then we realized that when we added them all together we had more than it seemed. We simplified to 1 joint checking and 1 joint savings. Our joint accounts were already at National City so we kept that and closed our other accounts. It took a while before I officially closed my personal account (it held a $6 balance for a year before they closed it due to inactivity. LOL!), but that was mostly a technicality.
Once we had all our accouts in one place, we let the bank work for us. We use their bill pay system to pay our recurring bills - like utilities, daycare, etc. Our utilities on the budget system pay automatically each month so we don't even have to think about them. The others can be adjusted as we get the bill. I was surprised to find out that they would write the checks for us to places that don't take electronic payments... and free of charge. This has really helped to keep us on track and make sure we don't miss any payments. Having all our accounts in one place also helped when it came to transfering our sinking funds. At the end of the month, I would simply set the amount that it would transfer over based on that's month budget.
Dave talks a lot about the importance of having all your money in one place. When you get married, you joined your lives - money included. It definitely makes sure you are communicating and being honest with each other. It worked for us. When I look back now, I can't even come up with a good reason for having any thing separate.
I hope that helps!