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My Family’s Cash Flow Chart

I was speaking with a buddy the other day and he was asking about how The Wife and I handle our cash flow.  Actually he was making fun of the complexity of it.  I figured I should prove him wrong and actually create a flow chart rather than explain it orally.

Flow Chart

The Wife and I keep separate checking, not because we are hiding anything from each other, but because her paycheck has to do with working for her family.  It makes their life easier so I deal with running to the bank every 15 days and depositing her share of the family expenses into our joint account.

While we split our necessary spending I earn more income than The Wife and she takes care of all the household stuff (I don’t do laundry and rarely cook unless it is on the BBQ) so we have worked it out where I take care of about 65% of our savings/investment and almost all our discretionary spending.

Our original plan did not come naturally; I was even proud that we came together and made a debt repayment and financial plan.  I do believe my flow charting skills have improved over the years.

Where my Cash Flow is Not Optimized/Efficient

There are two spots where I am not my usual online, personal finance nerd efficient.

  • As I originally mentioned The Wife writes me a check (from her solely owned bank account) that I deposit into our Joint banking every 15 days.
  • I walk our mortgage check in every month.

While I know I could do everything quickly and easily online, I do it this way for specific reasons.  I already explained The Wife’s paycheck situation, but the reason I walk in the mortgage check every month is that I get paid every 2 weeks and money is kept tight in the joint checking.  The joint checking is a simple pass through entity where money is being shuffled almost daily to automatic bills, automatic insurance payments, automatic savings, etc. So while the mortgage payment is due on the 15th every month I may pay it on the 15th or as early as the 8th depending on the balance of the account.


Do you and your spouse have a similar cash flow plan? I’d love to see other people’s pictures!



  1. me and H kind of do the same thing – we each have our own account and deposit money from our single accounts to the joint account. ALl joint bills come from the joint account.

  2. I love the flow chart. It was very simpole to show it rather than explain it. It seems like you two have a very good system working for you.

    Best of luck!

    • Thanks! It has been working the past 2 years or so. I think there will be a change as the years come as eventually her income will become more and more insignificant as she eventually stops working.

  3. That’s not all that complicated and seem completely normal, all except the paper check part 🙂

    We have multiple accounts like that but they are all join, and my wife doesn’t work so it simplifies some things.

    • If/When Transitions into the non-working world I am sure that whole part will disappear so it’ll look very similar to yours.

  4. I like the idea of creating a family cash flow chart. I believe many people could benefit just by visualizing how thier money actually flows from paycheck to the end game of either being spent or saved/invested.

    Put some percentages to each category may give you motivation to cut the spending and increasing the saving!

  5. I don’t think it sounds overly complicated, as long as it works for you and your wife. I keep a fairly tight checking account too, like you, it is a pass through account to pay our bills. I also take my mortgage check to the bank every month. I would do it online, but I can’t transfer money from our main checking account to our mortgage account, because they are different banks. I have a really good rate at my mortgage bank, but I really like my main checking account bank, so it is the hassle that I have to deal with to get a good rate.

  6. Our money flows a little like this. Up until now it has all been stored in my head, and my Quicken upcoming bills folder. Charting it like this would be beneficial.

  7. Our is a bit similar. My personal account is the escrow which she transfer to on the 1st and I transfer from the business account. Need to restructure it a bit.

  8. Evan-

    I am digging the flow chart. Had you explained your cash flow in words, no chance I follow.
    I’m calling BS on the “I have to walk in the bank every 15 days because money is tight.” Chase has attractive tellers and they admire your large balances. Admit it.

    • Large balances? Hardly all the cash is sent to ING. They probably think I am some sort of pauper with a checking account that never increases higher than a few grand.

      More importantly, the Chases by me DO NOT have overly attractive tellers!

  9. Very interesting Evan. As a person who models things (program areas in government) I really like the idea of mapping this out visually. I think we have a lot more grey area as pretty much all of our finances are joined.

  10. Fantastic flowchart!

    This is a great example of really understanding where your money comes from and where it goes. Even having a basic framework like this, in visual form, can help some people. I think this way too.

  11. Love the flow chart! We have joint accounts so it makes things simplier. I might have to do a chart for us though – seems kind of a neat way to see where everything goes.

  12. Nice Chart.
    Here’s how mine would look:

    Darwin Makes Money ==> Wife Spends Money


    I love her dearly but she wouldn’t argue.

    • HAHAHAHAHAHAH I could probably replace those amex categories with “The Wife.”

      Although to be honest compared to my friends’ wives she is A SAINT when it comes to spending

  13. Great job creating the cool flowchart!

    We are similar, but a bit less complex. My wife work 8 to 10 hours a week that does toward her fun spending money and money for kids.

  14. I don’t think anything is overly complicated as long as things are working for you. Let’s face it, one thing that works for you may not work for others, so they call your system complicated, and vice-versa.

  15. This is good. It’s a smart way to keep the family finances transparent.

    If my ex- and I had built a strategy like this, we’d probably still be married — money was the immediate cause of the collapse of that marriage.

    We put both of our paychecks into a joint checking account, which he controlled. I wrote checks and charged for purchases, of course, but he kept the books (such as they were) and he paid the credit-card bills. Literally: they were addressed to him and I did not open mail that came only to him.

    Today if I had it to do over again I’d want a plan very similar to yours. What I’d want to do is have separate checking accounts for each of our paychecks, from which we would transfer a set percentage to a common account to cover household bills and savings. So, say…60% of his ten grand plus 60% of my two grand would have been something like $7,200 a month to the common fund, leaving each of us cash to spend or save as we pleased while providing plenty to pay the household bills and stash money into savings.

    Without a plan like yours, after 20 years of aimless money (mis)management we were three-quarters of a million dollars in debt and had precious little in a material way to show for it.

    • Thanks – this plan came after a few brawls in the Evan household. She didn’t want to let go of too much control and I wasn’t about to either.

      I won, but with that winning comes the stress of keeping the machine oiled.

  16. Evan,

    Great post! My flow chart is similar to yours.

    After 401k deductions my check and my wife’s check goes directly to a joint checking account. We then take an agreed amount of money out of the joint checking account for personal use by putting that money in our own personal checking accounts. We transfer this agreed amount at the 1st of the month. The remaining money in the joint checking account goes to pay for all Bills/Savings/Joint wants/Goals.

    The best decision I have made in my life was to have separate fun money but joint goals.

  17. So your joint checking account is like the puppet-master in the scheme?

    My paycheck splits between 401(k), checking 1, checking 2, savings and HSA. Checking 1 pays fixed bills, checking 2 pays variable.

    I really need to graph it, haha. It’s pretty silly. Nice drawing!


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