How We Set Up Our Joint Checking Account

We did it, guys. We set up a joint checking account. We are sharing our finances. I’ve had a couple people ask how we set it up and how it’s been working since we started so I’m sharing a pretty detailed breakdown of what we do. It’s easily customized based on what your expenses are! How do you and your partner handle money?


1. List your recurring shared expenses

Our recurring shared expenses are:

  • Rent
  • Electric
  • Comcast
  • Netflix
  • Hulu
  • Apple iCloud
  • Spotify

For each point we broke down how much each person would pay for that thing. For everything except rent we split it 50/50 down the middle.

2. List your recurring shared expenses pt 2

The above items are fixed and recur every month, on an automatic basis in most cases. But there are a lot of other things we spend money on together that aren’t on that list.

  • Groceries
  • Eating Out
  • Entertainment
  • Shared Home Purchases
  • Our Kitten
  • Gifts for Friends
  • Laundry
  • Gas

3. Set a Budget

For part two we set a budget. We looked at how much we usually spend on groceries per month and then determined what would be a good place to try and stick to. Then we figured out, for each bullet point, how much each of us could contribute to that budget. Sometimes one partner might care more about one category than the other. Sometimes one partner might make more than the other so it makes more sense for them to add in a bit more money. Discuss until you come up with numbers that feel pretty fair on both sides.

Between these two lists, and after discussing a budget, you should each have an individual number that you will be contributing every month to your joint expenses.

4. Optional: Savings Account

I really liked the idea of putting aside a set amount of money each month for shared savings goals. Big ones for me are travel/vacations, an emergency fund, and larger house items (furniture.) You can tuck this money aside and watch it build until there’s enough stocked away for x-emergency or x-fun thing.

5. Budget What’s Left

After I had a number for our joint account, I subtracted that from what I make each month. Whatever was left was “my money” and I created a separate budget for that. This is where my money usually ends up:

  • Individual bills
    • Health bills
    • Credit card payments
    • Phone bill
    • Other various payment plans
  • Books
  • Craft supplies
  • Blog fees
  • Happy Hour with friends (when J isn’t with me)
  • Eating dinner or lunch out (when J isn’t with me)
  • Snail mail (stationary, pens, greeting cards)
  • Gifts for J

6. Set up a Recurring Transfer

You could go straight to your workplace and have the direct deposit go to two different accounts. I’ve gone the other route and have all of my money deposited into my personal account and then transfer over to our shared account. Because I get paid every two weeks, I divided my share by two, and make two transfers each month.


So far our system has worked very well. It’s nice to not have to think about who paid for what and when and have to transfer money back and forth through Square Cash. It also created a really nice feeling of partnership. We’re working together to save money, we’re working together to spend smarter, and we’re enjoying the money that’s in our account, together. Ultimately this step into togetherness is why I was interested in the shared account, to begin with. The fact that we share mostly similar ideas about money and are both working full time made a big difference.

I always thought people who fought about money were silly. Money isn’t worth an argument. The older I get, the more I see how important creating clear ideas about money is. It’s wrapped into how we want to live our lives, how we want to grow old, how we feel about being prepared.

Don’t belittle these conversations and don’t run away from them. Think of them as multi-faceted conversations about what you feel is most important in your life and what kind of life you want to have with your partner. Then start preparing to make that happen as best as anyone can.

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Q: New Partner Struggles with Erections?

I’m a 31 year old female who had been seeing a guy for a few months. The relationship has been fairly happy with some minor bumps in the road. He’s 29 and I’m his very first girlfriend. Sounds weird, I know. My problem is, we’ve been intimate several times with less than spectacular results. Being his first partner, I thought he’d have little trouble becoming erect and/or climaxing. I have been with several virgins in the past. I sadly have an extensive sexual past. I have no trouble getting him hard, it’s getting him to stay there us the trouble. Also, when we give up on intercourse and ultimately settle on separated masturbation, he gets super close but can’t finish. I have no trouble finishing whatsoever. Dont know if this is relevant but we are both overweight. Please help because my libido is incredibly high and I’m getting tired of my own hand.

It’s often the case with new partners. Sometimes you orgasm too quickly, sometimes you orgasm too slowly. It’s an extra curveball when your new partner is also new to sex, period.

My best guess is that he’s just nervous.

I don’t mean that he’s necessarily actively feeling nervous. When we’re not totally in-the-zone during sex, it can be difficult to get and stay aroused. If he’s not used to the flow of sex, being naked with someone else, or fooling around in general, he may be struggling to stay in the right mindset to stay that maximum level of arousal. Once you struggle to stay hard once, that fear that it will happen again can be self-fulfilling.

For me, the answer rests within this question: when he masturbates by himself is he able to orgasm fairly easily?

If yes, there’s something holding him back when you’re together. Maybe he is anxious or stressed or nervous or maybe he just hasn’t quite found his groove yet. I’d remove any pressure to have intercourse and I’d remove any pressure to actually orgasm. Take a step back and just be naked together and explore what does or doesn’t feel good. It may even help to encourage him not to orgasm, and rather see how many orgasms he can give you prior to his own.

That puts the attention back on you, gives him something positive to focus on, and likely results in a relaxed atmosphere that is more conducive to orgasm.

It could also be that there’s something you two are doing together that is mentally or physically turning him off. Maybe the thing doesn’t feel good, and he’s unable to communicate clearly that it doesn’t feel good. You’ll have to consider this and see if you can pinpoint how clear your communication has been thus far. Of course, sometimes people also have very specific fetishes or kinks, and if he’s been living 29 years in the head of those fetishes/kinks it might be an adjustment having actual real physical sex without those things. Have you brought up kinks or fetishes yet? He could have one very specific thing he’s doing when he gets himself off that he’s not doing when he’s with you. Whether it’s a kink, or the way he plays with himself.

Finally, and I don’t know if this is what you meant by sad, but I hope you know there’s no shame in having a lot of partners. All of that experience can make you a great fit with this new partner. While it’s possible to have weight-related issues in the bedroom, from what you described, I wouldn’t jump to that as the root cause. Knock it back a few steps and start over, more slowly. Whether you’ve been dating for a few weeks or a few years, it’s never too late to get to know each other all over again.

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My Ultimate Fall To Do List

What’s on your list? Have suggestions to make any of mine better? Leave ’em in the comments!

 

  • Get a new pair of rubber boots [1]
  • Go pumpkin picking[1]
  • Get hot apple cider
  • Make mulled wine [1]
  • Make pumpkin bread
  • Create a fall door wreath[1]

  • Finish re-watching Stranger Things S1
  • See a horror movie in theaters 
  • Take a long walk in the rain
  • Watch the Swifts fly in [1]
  • Re-watch the original IT mini series
  • Gather pinecones from the park for free decorations
  • Make roasted vegetables
  • Watch all the fall television    
  • Do a corn maze
  • Throw a football
  • Make fondue 
  • Make pumpkin pie 

  • Make pecan pie
  • Throw a classic thanksgiving dinner
  • Write ‘thankful’ letters to friends
  • Plan a 29th birthday party 
  • Create a cozy blanket bed to cuddle in with the windows wide open
  • Go to the coast
  • Make butternut squash soup
  • Go to a winery 
  • Re-learn how to knit
  • Break out the wool socks
  • Journal (regularly) at night with hot tea
  • Go to a haunted house 
  • Hand out halloween candy to kids
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Ways to Prevent Your Coworkers From Finding Out You’re a Scared Little Girl Hiding in Adult Costume

Buy Adult Pants

Drive to the furthest Banana Republic, Gap or J.Crew from your home. Turn off your phone so you can’t be tracked. Find a salesperson and with hushed voice, ask what the most adult pair of pants they sell is. When they direct you to the pants, make up a lie like “these aren’t quite as adult as my last ones I bought on my business trip to Guatemala but they’ll do.” Guess your size. You gotta get the fuck out of dodge.

Drink black coffee

Proclaim loudly throughout the day the following series of coffee related phrases:

  • I totally can’t work until I’ve had my coffee
  • This is only my fifth cup
  • I don’t even know what creamer is
  • I have a tattoo of an aeropress on my left asscheck
  • I need to make my late afternoon coffee run
  • I prefer a light roast because it has more caffeine

Have a desk plant and a photo of yourself and your significant other (your ex-boyfriend or platonic male exchange student friend works) in a custom frame from an actual frame shop where you know the name and beard style of the man who opened the store

If someone asks you what kind of plant it is, just laugh hysterically like they’re the biggest idiot you’ve ever seen. Swivel your chair in the opposite direction. Practice swivel first so you don’t accidentally swivel all the way around to face them again.

Utilize words like Utilize, and the following

  • life plan
  • retirement
  • ira
  • accomplishments
  • scope
  • direction
  • contract
  • client
  • management style
  • due process
  • google calendar
  • document
  • warmly
  • connect
  • partner
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Thinking About Gender Identity in Dating

I am new to dating as a closeted CD.planning on eventually transitioning MTF, and an interesting guy is communicating with me, online dating. I like men, but he’s dated other cd/tg and cd himself. Not sure how I feel about that, I like masculine men, here’s his last message: “Ooohhh the dating questions!! 😄😄 well, I am open right now and hope I can find a serious LTR. And in terms of dating history I have dated some women, but mostly TSs, TVs and CDs since I was a teenager, in fact, I have done (and still do regularly) some CDing myself with bad to mild results at best LOL! Logest relationship I had was with a pre-op TS that took me to live at her house (with her 2 brothers, sister, nephew, brother in law and mom) and for 2+ years we were a big happy family. So, what about you?” Should I give him a chance? I feel like a hypocrite, but fear STDs with his attraction to cd/ TG peopleand his sexual attraction to CD himself. Does this make any sense? I guess I want a masculine man without the urge to cd himself. I don’t want to be a fetish. my gender feelings are not related to clothing. I am making a moutnain out of a molehill?

Go with your gut. If something doesn’t feel quite right, you shouldn’t force it to fit. Do you feel the heart flutter? Are you attracted to him? If no, life is short, on to the next one!

If you are into him and he does seem to be legit, try coming to him with these concerns. Ask him about his sexual health history and how often he gets tested. Be clear about what kind of person and relationship you’re looking for. He’s already given you a little bit of that himself and it can be an ongoing and evolving (over the span of months, or years!) conversation. Express your concerns for being fetishized. Does your experience and your gender identity play a role into why or how he’s attracted to you? That might be one thing. But does it feel like it’s all he sees – and all he thinks about? That’s another thing entirely.

If you think you feel a little something for him, you should give it the opportunity to flesh itself out a bit more. I don’t think you’re making a mountain out of a molehill – you have every right to be specific in what you’re looking for, and you deserve to be loved and respected as an complex human being with many facets.

Dating is hard, and dating when you’re flourishing in your identity and sense of self is even more difficult. Stay true to who you are and what you want and make sure to have fun in the process.


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Can You Lessen That Jealous Feeling?

Hi Lorelei, I’m a female in a longterm, serious, 7 year relationship with my boyfriend. Throughout our relationship he has never had a close female friendship up until this past year. I have also never experienced real jealously within our relationship until their friendship became close. My boyfriend is incredibly loyal, honest, and faithful, and I know any jealous feelings I experience is my own thing, and nothing to do with his intent or actions. They hang out alone regularly, typically at bars. I have always been clued in on every aspect of their friendship, and have tagged along with them a few times, when my work schedule permits. His female friend respects our relationship and we genuinely like each other, but the friendship between my boyfriend and her is close, whereas her and I are not close friends. I know their relationship is fully platonic but I still experience frequent, small surges of jealously. When I have these feelings of jealously they are very short lived, and I am typically able to be rational and counter my irrational feelings. For example, when they tell each other “I love you,” I’ll remind myself its completely in a platonic context, even though it feels icky to know they say that to each other. What makes me feel uneasy is the level of an emotional bond they share, although I know my boyfriend’s emotional attachment to me, and what he shares with me, is certainly more and different than what he experiences with her. 
I recently told my boyfriend that I have been experiencing jealously of his relationship with his friend, although this is something I have kept mostly to myself, because I know my feelings are irrational. But I thought he should know how I was feeling, as he would want to know. He started by saying something to confirm my irrationality, insinuating that they weren’t that close. He also mentioned that I only feel this way because she was female and it shouldn’t matter about her gender, which I agree. I then said “I think what makes me feel jealous is that you guys have an intimate relationship.” And he responded “Well yeah, you’re not always fully present when we’re talking.” This really hurt, him insinuating an emotional need was being met by her that I wasn’t meeting. As hurtful as this was to hear, it is now something I can work on. My boyfriend has had several close male friends screw him over in the past, as he gives his all to his friendships, as he understands the value of close friendships, but his past friends have not. Overall, despite my jealously, I am happy he has her as a friend (which I’ve told him), because she reciprocates the value of their friendship unlike his male friendships of the past. I was hoping from some input from you on how to lessen these feelings of jealously, because although I can mostly talk them down, I’m tired of experiencing these feelings so frequently. If I know rationally and truly that there’s nothing to be concerned with their friendship, why can’t I stop experiencing these feelings so often? Unfortunately I can’t talk to my best friend about this for her support because she is more jealous of a person than I am, and would likely not allow, for lack of a better term, her husband to ever have a close female friend. So I don’t think she could give me objective feedback and would likely make me more anxious and jealous than actually help. Is jealously a feeling you can lesson its frequency?

You said “I know” throughout your question quite a few times, and I think it’s important:

  • I know any jealous feelings I experience is my own thing
  • I know their relationship is fully platonic
  • I know my boyfriend’s emotional attachment to me
  • I know rationally and truly that there’s nothing to be concerned with their friendship

I’m not sure you know these things, reader. I think you are looking for relief in them. Your boyfriend isn’t just insinuating that his emotional needs are being met elsewhere. He’s spelling it out for you by saying that “you are not fully present” and (so) he’s seeking out that emotional support elsewhere.

It’s a poor excuse to minimize your very real feelings of concern here. When we lack something in our relationship, when our emotional needs aren’t being fully met, we should come to our partners and find ways to meet those needs together. I think what you’re doing, and what others may try to excuse, is the fact that in monogamous relationships it’s perfectly acceptable and important to have good, strong friendships. Even friendships that satisfy some emotional needs that your relationship doesn’t fulfill. But it should be fairly clear when that friendship crosses the line and it seems to me like this one did a while ago.

He might not even fully recognize this himself, but I’d trust your instinct. If he’s going to her for emotional support and telling her that he loves her and you’re feeling a distance in your relationship, that’s not okay. He should validate your concerns. I would hazard a guess that there is an emotional bond forming there in place of him doing the hard work of repairing whatever it is that has prevented him from being able to talk to you. Instead of confronting that, he’s putting it on you. You’re not always fully present relieves any responsibility on him to share those difficult feelings.

It’s hard to tell our partners difficult things. Often times that moment slips by when we first feel it. She’s not as attentive as she used to be, but that’s okay. She’s a little distant lately, but that’s okay. She doesn’t seem to care as much as she used to, but that’s okay. Then we normalize. We weren’t getting exactly what we needed but it feels normal now. Maybe he needed something specific and it felt too late to explain to you what exactly that was. Maybe he didn’t even know what it was. Maybe he said hello one night to his friend and she said exactly the one thing he’d been waiting to hear and it just felt like applying a cold pack to a hot burn. And so he went back again, and again, and again, looking for that relief, because it was easier than figuring out why he couldn’t talk to you anymore.

In ethically non-monogamous relationships we might go deeper into themes of compersion. Compersion is sometimes referred to as the opposite of jealousy. A warm, happy feeling you get when your partner is happy even if you aren’t the one making them happy. It’s seeing your partner with their other girlfriend and feeling contented that they are in love with someone else because it makes them happy. A lot of people in non-monogamous relationships strive for this feeling of compersion because they, like you, realistically understand that jealousy is a normal emotion. They want to move past that jealousy and seek peace. That’s not always realistic, and in monogamous relationships, the bonds that are acceptable are different than the bonds in non-monogamous relationships.

Finally I’d consider (and this is also often a topic in ethical non-monogamy) the possibility that he’s experiencing some NRE (New Relationship Energy.) Sex & Love writers talk a lot about how NRE is experienced in romantic relationships. Sometimes it’s experienced in new friendships too. It’s that burst of energy and excitement you feel when you meet someone new and you really really click with them. It’s that feeling in the honeymoon period, that rush of hormones, that feel-good feeling. If your partner is feeling that with this girl, romantically or otherwise, it could be pulling his attention away from you.

Maybe he really is just friends with her. Maybe she just gives him a little extra of whatever he’s missing right now. Maybe it’s not romantic in nature. Maybe their love is platonic. But the way it’s making you feel, and his flippant reaction that makes you feel to blame, isn’t okay.

Move the conversation away from his friend and the jealousy you feel. These are symptoms of something bigger. It’s time to sit down and talk to your boyfriend about how your relationship is changing and how you can get back on the same page again.


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Weekly Update: This is Fine (Still)

Twitter has been doing this thing where it’s been sending me notifications for tweets my friends have shared rather than replies or retweets. I opened Twitter to figure out how to turn it off and I realized it had been a month to the day since I’d tweeted last. That’s the longest I’ve gone without tweeting since I signed up for Twitter.

General thoughts on this: I think I’ve felt a lot less stressed out. Giving up the fantasy that I need to tweet x number of times per day about literally everything that happens in my life gave me some room to breathe. It wasn’t just stopping tweeting, it was accepting that tweeting wasn’t actually necessary.

As an aside, I do feel like my small and meaningless thoughts have been building up to a critical level. They might actually make me explode inwards on myself. A cataclysm of ideas.

This shirt instantly makes me feel like a business professional even if I’m only at home pretending to be one in the sims

Things I’ve been doing instead: 

  • Thinking about turning 29 this year and slowly escalating into a mild horror about turning 31 even though I’m not even 30 yet but once you’re 31 it’s like suddenly you’re 40 and you could really die any day now life is basically halfway over and after that it’s just a dark void and everyone forgets you how can I be okay with that
  • Re-reading “1001 things to talk about before you get married” because we’re the kinds of people who would re-read a book like that and take notes in the margins
  • Making absurd statements like “we should buy this house” and “lets get another cat” but I’ve noticed Jason picking up this hobby as well like “let’s get a playstation” even though neither of us play video games and we have literally negative free time, so I like this guy. he gets me.
  • Drinking so much coffee that I’m actually starting to go backwards in the coffee spectrum like the more I drink the more tired I get I think I could fall asleep at my desk pretty easily and that’s after a quad latte and refilling the office coffee drip
  • Pretending that I’m an adult with my new adult wardrobe which contains really nice pants and really nice shirts and a pair of $30.00 white converse that are so dirty with the sweat and the smog of Paris that I can convince people I really did come from a small town and no I don’t have enough money leftover after paying rent to buy those nice black leather flats I really want.
  • Waiting for fall, impatiently, with the force of a thousand hopes and dreams.
  • Trying not to die with this smoke from the Oregon fires. Which are miserable, bad, terrible things. Actually taking a sick day today because I feel feverish and sweaty and sore and that could also possibly be because my uterus is, by the year, becoming more and more violent at the unspeakable void.
  • I’m eating a lot more tempeh which I’m really enjoying. I also had a burger salad the other day and now I think I don’t want to eat bread anymore. On an aside: I had toast for breakfast. I am 28 and this is deep.

 

 

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Three Practical Adult Gifts Every Human Needs

one: beads

Did you know you can work your kegels while you do your accounting or listening intently in your next meeting? Luna Beads – $59.00 An alternative to ben wa balls, these beads will help you strengthen your vaginal wall!

Kegels are awesome for being able to squeeze with great power, but they can also come in handy during orgasm. Flex them to delay an orgasm, or flex them during an orgasm to draw out the number of spasms. Now that’s just practical.

two: books

Talking to teens (and kids) about sex, pleasure, and safety in general can create a positive reverb across the country. Better health and safety, less unintended pregnancy, generally happier people. Nothing more practical than learning how to talk about sex. Nothing more practical than studying up for yourself so you know how to talk about it.

S.E.X by Heather Corinna – $18.00

I love me some Heather Corinna, and you will too. I’ve had this book out from the library for 32 renewal cycles because I just can’t stop referring to it. It’s probably time I pick up my own copy too.

three: lube

Let’s call lubricant a form of preventative care. Preventative care, talk about practical. Try the favored brand Good Clean Love’s new CBD lubricant to reduce inflammation and get that “long lasting glide.”

Good Clean Love CBD Lube – $20.00

Looking for another recommendation? Let’s hear it. Submit your questions below!

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Representation Matters

My Heroes Were Women

When I was a kid, my heroes were women. I loved Nala from the Lion King because she had spirit. I loved Jasmine from Aladdin because she knew she wanted to be free from her father and the palace. But their stories were shadowed by the male narrative. Young feminist me may have been able to surmise deeper meaning, but that’s not how those movies were marketed. They’re about the male story. They’re named after the male protagonists.

Even movies like Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty indicate that the male holds the power. The prince presents the shoe and saves princess. The prince uses his sword to rescue the princess. I never saw these women as weak. Sometimes it felt like the male role had been written in later. A young girl scrubbing floors could just as easily learn how to battle, study code in her free time, start a bakery, or find any other way to be self-sufficient in her freedom. Simba could have enjoyed the freedom in the forest, choosing not to fulfill his duty as King. I’m pretty sure Nala could have figured it out. But that doesn’t really fit with the masculinity narrative.

In 2017, there isn’t much tiptoeing around. Moana is about a woman. It’s named after a woman. And a man doesn’t save her. She saves a man. The same could be said for Wonder Woman.

Sometimes to achieve equality you have to start with finding some semblance of equity. That means giving women more opportunity to make up for the historical and systemic lack of equality. More movies. Bridge the gap. Break the ceiling. Let it in.

Let’s Take Stock

I read in the newspaper today that the representation of women has changed in stock photos. Ten years ago the photos look light and innocent. Women laying in beds, eating salads, looking mute and disinterested. Today they’re hiking, climbing, mixing chemicals, coding, standing in front of their women-owned businesses with tags like CEO. PRESIDENT. BOSS.

I didn’t see these images when I was a kid.

I imagined my heroes as the leaders of their own show. I had no misconceptions about their independence. But in some way, it was a kids fantasy. Taking what was given to me and making it what I wanted it to be.

I didn’t grow up having anyone tell me that I could be the boss of anything. I just got told that I could do anything. That’s abstract, that’s good parenting. But it comes from a generation that doesn’t see what we see now. The details of what you can do anything means. The struggle that you have to take on to do anything. The privilege some people have that makes it easier. The tools to make anything really happen. The books that line the shelves at Powells. CODING FOR KIDS with a little girl on the cover. The feeling of pride when, briefly, we really believed that we had a chance at the first female PRESIDENT. Hearing podcasts like GIRLBOSS and being members of movements like BINDERS FULL OF WOMEN.

I feel like I’m climbing the edge of a cliff wet and slick with the tears of everyone who came before me. Bare hands, red knuckles, blisters and sweat. But my kids are getting climbing gear!

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Reader Poll: Where Do You Struggle?

Which of the following broad categories do you wish you knew more about?

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