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Topic: Married Composers -- Budgetting for software/gear?

  1. #1

    Married Composers -- Budgetting for software/gear?

    I'm getting married this summer, and we're trying to figure out how we'll deal with our finances and budget. Thought the forum would be a good place to solicit some wisdom with regards to budgetting for this expensive hobby.

    Currently (engaged) we live together and split the bills 50/50. We maintain separate bank accounts and pretty much stay out of each others' financial business. Right now this is works for me, because when I want to update SONAR, pick up a new sample library, or get a new component for my DAW, I can do so guilt-free.

    But when we're married we plan to be much more communal with our money, sharing a joint bank account. I think this is a good idea but since our money will be "ours" I feel that making these expensive purchases will be taking more than my fair share. She doesn't spend much money at all, and her career/hobbies don't require her to update technology regularly.

    She and I talk about this regularly and I'm sure we'll figure something out, but I thought I could benefit from the wisdom of those of you who have already come up with a solution.

    Would anyone care to share how you approach this?


    P.S. Incidentally, I am a professional musician (mainly as a teacher and conductor), but none of my jobs really *requires* all of my music stuff. My software and gear is mostly used for composing, which currently makes up less than 5% of my income. In other words, even though I'm a professional musician, my gear is still arguably a hobby pursuit.

  2. #2

    Re: Married Composers -- Budgetting for software/gear?

    If your incomes are about the same, it sounds like you are already doing pretty much what you need to do. Perhaps a joint account where each of you contributes half for household expenses might be in order. I have a hard time convincing my wife that new studio monitors are a household expense though.

    Check the library for a book or two on setting up home budgets. There's a lifetime of reading out there on this subject. If you have a friend who is a marriage counselor, therapist, whatever, ask them what seems to work best for their clients. A financial advisor might be able to help, but they usually have no clue as to the importance of D/A converters.

    It's good to see that you are flushing these things out now. I really think that money is the biggest problem couples have to deal with, and if they did what you are doing, in getting things in order before your commitment to each other, there would be far fewer divorces after the kids come and things get really tough.

    Congratulations, and best of luck for a long and happy marriage.


  3. #3
    Senior Member newmewzikboy's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    San Francisco Bay Area

    Re: Married Composers -- Budgetting for software/gear?

    zoot zoot zoot...
    cheating on the side already, are we?
    what about the house, retirement, kids, xmas, bdays, medical expenses, cars, maintenance?

    cant have everything. stock away what you can, buy second hand, start a musician club, but tell her...

    Icant talk...I put away 50% of my income to my NMB Rent an Orchestra Fund.
    75,000th Post Winner on the Garritan Forum
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  4. #4

    Re: Married Composers -- Budgetting for software/gear?

    Quote Originally Posted by newmewzikboy
    zoot zoot zoot...
    cheating on the side already, are we?
    what about the house, retirement, kids, xmas, bdays, medical expenses, cars, maintenance?
    Well, I didn't mean to misrepresent myself. Right now I AM putting money aside for savings, retirement, buying a house, etc. and I DO take care of car/medical/etc. expenses. I buy my music stuff *after* all the bills, savings, and other expenses have been taken care of, using what is left over (if any). But this only works because it's MY left-over money. When it's OUR left-over money I can't just use it for my own purposes.

    I'm not looking for an excuse to buy every toy I want, I'm just looking for a fair way to keep my studio reasonably up-to-date without hoarding family money. Any thoughts?


  5. #5

    Re: Married Composers -- Budgetting for software/gear?

    My wife and I have seperate banking accounts and this works better all around IMO. She complains about it sometimes (as a trust issue), but I think its saved us a lot of heartache. She has her miniscule bills and I have the brunt of the expenses. But my extra money is mine to spend as I please as long as our primary expenses are met.

  6. #6

    Re: Married Composers -- Budgetting for software/gear?

    start a sole proprietorship, and open a business account, put all of your earnings from your studio into that account, take some out as salary/profit, and leave some in to pay for business improvements. It's justified.

  7. #7

    Re: Married Composers -- Budgetting for software/gear?


    I think my marriage is successful for a number of reasons, but an important one is that we SHARE the bills (as you and your fiance do now). We kick in 50% of everything and have SEPARATE BANK ACCOUNTS, although either of us can WRITE checks on each other's account if we have to.

    The only time we have to budget extra money is when an emergency arises like a big expense for housing maintenance, etc. No problem as we kind of save with out own bank accounts anyway. Of course, this works when each other's income is fairly moderate.

    To reiterate a very important point: Our marriage is successful because we don't have to "AIR" our financial investments since we have our separate savings over and above the necessary household expenses. We are FREE to buy what we want for each other as well as for ourselves.

    Having to "ask" if it's OK to buy something for a hobby, etc. is a nice gesture and certainly a fair way to allocate funds, but all hobbies are not equal in expenditures.

    Bottom line: If you can AFFORD to take care of necessary household expenditures with both of your incomes (by sharing 50%) and still have a little left over, have separate bank accounts with a common writing privilege and go from there. There will be times when you need to make concessions, but that's what a partnership is for.............good luck on your forthcoming married life, Zoot.

    Jack Cannon--MacBook Pro (2015, 13") GPO4/5, JABB3, Auth. STEINWAY, YAMAHA CFX, Gofriller CELLO, Stradivari VIOLIN, COMB2, WORLD, HARPS, PIPE ORGANS, FINALE 25.5, DORICO 1.2.10, Mac Pro 2.66 GHz CPU, 8 GB RAM, DP 9.51, MOTU Traveler, MOTU Micro Express, MacBook Pro (2012, 13") 2.2 Ghz CPU, 8 GB RAM.

  8. #8

    Re: Married Composers -- Budgetting for software/gear?

    I got married two years ago, and we've kept money seperate, but with very "blurred lines." What has helped us is to just not worry about it too much. I've been paying the mortgage, and she's been paying utilities and most of the groceries.

    Things are changing next month when I quit my day job to try creating my music business. Luckily, I already have most of what I'll need for my studio for the next year or so. Even more luckily is that my wife understands how important my music work is to me personally.

    Paying the bills is important, but so is your growth as a composer/arranger/artist. Make sure she understands up front how important it is to you. You might want to start by no longer referring to it as your "hobby." You can probably write most of your purchases off to your business as well if you are a professional musician. I would argue that your composition work adds to your value in other areas of your profession.
    - Jamie Kowalski

    All Hands Music - Kowalski on the web
    The Ear Is Always Correct - Writings on composition

  9. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Albuquerque, NM

    Re: Married Composers -- Budgetting for software/gear?

    My wife and I have a joint account and we budget everything from there. We sat down and worked out the details together. We each get a decent monthly allowance for whatever we want. The amount is such that I can reasonably expect to save up for bigger things, but not so big that I will be given to impulse buying. As I have a history of impulse buying (at least when I was single) this has been of particular benefit to me.

    By the way, my wife doesn't have an outside job (note that I didn't say "doesn't work") but works at home to raise our 5 children. I certainly am not getting rich off my current job and raising kids is expensive. I have learned to be a big believer in the budget and disciplined spending. You can still save for what you want, even with a wife and 5 kids.

    Best wishes for a long and happy marriage!


  10. #10
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Salisbury, UK

    Re: Married Composers -- Budgetting for software/gear?

    Work out the cost of a happy pair going out to a restaurant for a meal, then divide that into the cost of buying new software. You will be surprised how few evenings out you have to skip to buy some pretty sophisticated software or equipment.

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