Budgeting as a couple has its many pros and cons.

Individually, we have to move on from the mindset of caring only for our financial needs to balancing your budget with the needs of your other half. Once you and your other half can move past this mindset, both of you will become teammates in this long and tough journey of saving up for the future.

The Formula To Budgeting – 50/30/20

If you are new to budgeting, figuring out where to allocate your pay cheque can be overwhelming. Not only do you have to categorise all your expenses, but you also need to and make difficult decisions on each tiny details.

While we cannot give you and your partner a hard-and-fast rule to allocating your money, you can start off with a simple rule of 50/30/20 with your partner.

Every month, simply split both of your salaries into three portions:

50% – Your Needs

50% of both your income should go to your needs, which consist of things such as your bills, groceries, utility bills, transport, etc.

That is the cost that is incurred every month without fail, and you should try to keep it at 50% of your income. If you are looking for ways to trim and make more room in your budget, this is the best category to do so, e.g. that Netflix account that you seldom use.

30% – Your Flexible Spending

30% of both your income will be for flexible spending, which includes things such as your hobbies, that pair of movie tickets to the latest blockbuster or your Friday night booze sessions. Whatever is left of this 30% will go to your savings.

20% – Your Savings

20% of both your income will be channelled towards savings for retirement and rainy day funds.

Free tools available for you

To make things simple, we have some tools available for you:

An example of a budgeting excel sheet for a couple:

Copy the free template of the Excel Sheet For 50/30/20 rules for couples here.

If you and your partner are on a joint account, simply use an automated budgeting app like Seedly to track the expenses for that account.

What to do with the 20% for retirement savings?

To demonstrate how powerful this 20% is, we run a simple example.


  • A young couple who just kicked off their career with a monthly salary of $2,800 each.
  • After a contribution of 20 percent to CPF, they take home $2,240.
    (We do not recommend counting CPF as your retirement savings in this formula. Let’s treat it as a bonus.)
  • Assuming no change to their salary for ten years.
    (Probably the most unfortunate assumption, but let’s take it that way)
  • We have here a lazy couple, and they are doing the bare minimum for their retirement savings.

With a take home pay of $2,240, each of them will contribute 20% of their take home, which works out to be $448 for their retirement savings.

  • Each of them set up a Regular Saving Plan for STI ETF with the bank, and invest the minimum amount of $100 each month.
  • They put the remaining $348 into their POSB eSAVINGS account and do nothing.

What happens after ten years?

The annualised return for the STI ETF is about 6.61% inclusive of dividends.

In a decade’s time, the amount the couple will end up with $34,706.77 from their Regular Saving Plans contributions.

As for the remaining amount they save in their POSB eSAVINGS account every month, it will accumulate to $8,352 every year. In 10 years time, at the interest rate of 0.05 percent, they will end up with $83,750 in their bank.

With minimum effort and sticking to the 50/30/20 rule, the couple managed to save an extra $118,456 together.

Think of what happens if they get more financial savvy along the way coupled with the pay increase over time.

This article originally appeared on Seedly’s blog.

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