We’re Engaged! Oh, and, We Are Now Bank Married, Too!

I finally got down on one knee and asked Mrs. Distilled Dollar if she wanted to actually become Mrs. Distilled Dollar! 😉 Luckily for me, she said, “It’s about damn time!” So, in other words, “yes”. (queue the music and drop the balloons!)

This article will briefly talk about the process of getting an engagement ring (it is a BIG expense afterall) along with the our other marriage (bank).

About a month before the engagement, we also decided to get, “bank married.” I didn’t know the term before hand, but it means we both deposit our paychecks and utilize one bank account for all expenses.

My girlfriend fiance will be keeping her other checking account open as it is with a credit union. I’m not 100% sure if there are benefits to keeping it open or if we can expect any type of preferential treatment in terms of mortgages, but that is where we are today. If you know any details, feel free to chime in below.

So, last month was a big month for us. We’re now engaged AND bank married!

The engagement was obviously a long time coming. When I asked my future father-in-law for his blessing, he basically grilled me on one point: “What the hell did you wait so long for?!”

I’m crossing my fingers that my girlfriend fiance (this will take some getting used to) will let me discuss the ring details in the future, but for now, she prefers to keep that under our veil of anonymity.

Here’s what I can share about the ring:

If you’re looking to get an engagement ring in 2016, then finding the stone separately will typically cost less than purchasing the stone directly from a jeweler whether you’re buying a ready to wear piece or having one custom made. When dealing with a 1.5 carats, the savings can be substantial, so it is definitely worth taking the time to find the best deal on a loose stone.

I had the ring custom made, which is an added benefit because if the stone falls out, the ring manufacturer will replace it, for life.

Appraising a ring cost me $90 here in Chicago, so that might be on the high end. The appraiser mentioned it is not uncommon for the appraised value to run about 1.5-2x the cost of the ring because the appraisal value will hold for many years. If, say the ring were to be stolen in ten years, the chances are high the cost of the ring would go up with inflation.

Lastly, the insurance component was simple (for us anyway). Since we rent, I placed a phone call into my renter’s insurance policy and asked to have the engagement ring included in our policy. This cost me about ~$10 per $1,000 I spent on the ring.

My overall piece of advice for when you get engaged is plan ahead.

Such a large expense was obviously coming up and I made the smart decision to allocate funds towards the future purchase.

I also spaced out the purchase of the stone and the ring nearly 8 months apart. That wasn’t 100% intentional, but it made it a little easier for me to cover the costs.

Anyway, we couldn’t be any more excited!! 🙂

I feel we’ve come a long way and we’ll continue to find new levels to take our relationship to. We know we’re on the same page, but we’re constantly looking for ways to accelerate the rate at which we’re moving in the right direction. Financial freedom is a great goal that we’re pursuing and I’m glad we’ll have this blog to help us celebrate each step of the way.

Do you and your significant other share bank accounts? Do you prefer to keep things separate? Was there anything different you learned after going through the engagement ring purchasing process? Any big expenses planned in your future? 😉

Master Distiller

33 comments… add one
  • [email protected] Smarter Decisions Sep 12, 2016, 5:38 am

    Congratulations Matt and (the future) Mrs. DD!! Such an exciting time! And you are full of “smart decisions” too – banking money ahead of time, spacing out the purchase, appraising and insuring – way more than what many people do! And Mrs. DD – she’s got the “practicing patience” thing down 🙂 We have all of our money together and always have – but we have a monthly “money date” too to discuss everything 🙂

    • Distilled Dollar Sep 12, 2016, 11:49 am

      Thanks Vicki! We’re always looking to improve and glad we’re developing some smart habits today.

      We currently have a “money date” once a quarter (right at the start), but we might change that to once a month since a lot can happen in the space of 90 days.

  • ambertree Sep 12, 2016, 5:45 am

    Congratulations with the engagement!

    My wife and I each have our paycheck deposited in our own account. From there, all the transfers start. This is my limitation due to a bad experience I have witnessed in the past. The key thing: find a format that works for you as couple.

    That specific account is also used for our personal discretionary fun money. It is supposed to be guilt free, no questions asked. It helps when the other has no access.

    • Distilled Dollar Sep 12, 2016, 11:51 am

      Interesting approach! I think for us, we have at least 95% of the same purchases so we don’t have much discretionary purchases outside of what we spend together. I suppose if that changes and I develop a new expensive hobby or she does, then we would have to reevaluate our situation.

      And thank you!

  • The Green Swan Sep 12, 2016, 6:18 am

    That’s great, Matt. I was thinking about you over labor day weekend and waiting for your announcement. Very happy for you two!

    Did you end up getting the ring from Blue Nile (owned by Warren Buffett and Berkshire). That’s what I did years ago and we couldn’t be happier with the ring and value we got.

    • Distilled Dollar Sep 12, 2016, 11:55 am

      Thanks JW! Ya, I meant to announce over Twitter but with all the events going on, I didn’t get around to announcing until now.

      I’m hoping my fiancee* (apparently two e’s is a woman and one e is a man) will let me write up a full article discussing the ring. For now she asked me to keep the information under wraps 🙁 …but I did not utilize Blue Nile or get my shareholder’s discount at Borsheim’s.

  • Martin - Get FIRE'd asap Sep 12, 2016, 7:06 am

    Well congratu’bloody’lations to you both. What a monumentally huge step to take in your lives although it sounds likes it’s been a long time in the planning.

    And another huge step combining incomes and bank accounts. At least you’ll only be paying one lot of bank fees if you pay any at all..

    Again, congrats and I guess the planning for the big day is going to give you a ton of new blog material to write about too.

    • Distilled Dollar Sep 12, 2016, 11:58 am

      Haha very, very true!! Thanks!!

      We’re beyond excited and it is funny how the same night of the engagement people were already asking, “So, when’s the wedding?”

      I’m sure some content will start to come up in the future, but we’re also planning on having an engagement for ~2 years, so it might be some time.

  • Jon @ Be Net Worthy Sep 12, 2016, 8:07 am

    Congratulations! I’m sure with the level of communication that the two of you have already developed, you have a long, happy and strong marriage to look forward to! We are coming up on our twentieth year anniversary in December and I can tell you that communication is a key to success.

    Regarding finances, we have always pooled our funds into one account, even when my wife was working. Now, with her at home, it only makes sense. I know that some couples like to keep their finances separate and just contribute an equal amount to a “monthly bills” type of account and they keep their own “extra” money separate to use how they see fit. I guess that’s easier if you decide to get divorced later, but I’m old school and just like to throw everything in the pot and it’s joint money for the duration.

    Best of luck!

    • Distilled Dollar Sep 12, 2016, 12:02 pm

      Thanks Jon! That is much appreciated!

      I agree with your approach – especially considering we spend 95% of our money on the same items – such as food, vacations, etc. I suppose as we get older, we might develop more individual spending habits that might make us reconsider having only one account.

  • ESI Money Sep 12, 2016, 8:17 am

    Congrats to you!!!

    I wish you both the very best!!!!

  • Chris @ KeepThrifty Sep 12, 2016, 8:38 am

    Congrats – that’s really exciting news! We are firm believers in shared bank accounts – it’ll surface your financial priorities quickly and may lead to an argument or two, but it’s so crucial to get on the same page for your goals (financial and otherwise)

    We made the mistake of buying our ring from one of those specialty stores – spent about $6,000 on a custom ring in 2006. My wife loved it but we could have probably gotten it for much less if we had shopped around.

    Earlier this year, we decided to sell my wife’s ring – not because we needed the money but because we realized that the ring had served its purpose and we could use the money from that for our current goals. Biggest lesson here is how rings don’t retain value – we sold our $6,000 ring for $1,900.

    If we could go back, I would have strongly considered buying a used diamond and putting it in a custom ring. We still would have sold it but the value wouldn’t have dropped as much (just like used cars vs new cars).

    Either way, we’re really happy with our decision to sell the ring – we both wear out wedding rings 24/7 and that’s what’s important to us now. Selling the ring for us that much closer to FI (both the sale price and saving $50 a year in insurance).

    Congrats on your engagement!

    • Distilled Dollar Sep 12, 2016, 12:06 pm


      Great advice as well. I’m sure over time, my fiancee will let me dive into the details of the ring she has. I agree with your custom ring process and $2k sounds much more reasonable than $6k. Of course, it depends on what type of ring you’re going to get, but that is quite the range!

  • Matt @ Optimize Your Life Sep 12, 2016, 12:01 pm

    Congrats to you and your fiance, Matt! That’s exciting news.

    With you 100% on planning in advance for paying for the ring. I wanted to wait until I could be sure I could pay for it in cash and not have to run a credit card balance from month to month. Added debt is not a great start to a new phase of life!

    • Distilled Dollar Sep 12, 2016, 12:09 pm

      Thanks Matt!!

      100% agreed! Credit cards are a nasty game – one that we utilize but I haven’t talked much about them because I know the vast majority end up in trouble with monthly balances accruing 20%+ interest.

  • Ms. Montana Sep 12, 2016, 12:13 pm

    Congrats on the engagement! Being on the same page with money will launch you into financial independence so much fast. It’s an awesome thing to plan and build together. This year will be our 15th anniversary. There are few things better in life than a happy marriage.

  • [email protected] Sep 12, 2016, 12:30 pm

    Well this is one of the more exciting blog posts about finance – congratulations to you both!! Regarding bank accounts, I like joint accounts for joint bills and savings (the amount each contributes in proportion to the amount each earns rather than strict 50/50 if there’s a big difference in salary), with personal bank accounts for everything else. I like the independence of us each being able to spend as we wish too! We still share this info, so it’s not about having secret money, but I like being 100% in control of my own bank account.

  • Apathy Ends Sep 12, 2016, 1:20 pm


    We were bank married and owned a home together before getting married. I waited a long time before popping the question!

  • Mustard Seed Money Sep 12, 2016, 5:11 pm

    Congrats on the engagement. I’m a big fan of joint bank accounts because it forces couples to actually talk about money decisions together.

    I have a couple of married friends that have separate bank accounts and while one may be on track for retirement the other is completely off-track. When I ask what’s going to happen when they actually retire I always get a shrug and then they say I guess they’ll be working longer.

    I have a feeling there may be some issues down the line.

  • Miss Mazuma Sep 12, 2016, 5:48 pm

    That’s awesome!! I thought I felt love on the air here in Chicago. 🙂 congratulations!!

    When I was married we went with the his/mine/ours strategy to finances. It worked out for the most part and neither one of us felt the need to be pissy when we wanted to spend on certain things…me with travel and him with computer stuff. The ours only became a source of contention when he decided to bring Roomba home from Costco. 🙂

  • Nick True Sep 12, 2016, 6:21 pm

    Congrats Matt! This is a huge step. Glad to hear you are bank married as well! My wife and I do the same… goos kuck over the coming months as wedding planning is both exciting ane stressful. Wish you the best of luck buddy.

  • Cindy @ Smart Family Money Sep 12, 2016, 7:53 pm

    Congratulations! I got engaged in college and we were bank-married during our final year of college when we lived in an apartment together. It wasn’t such a big commitment back then since we rarely had more than a few hundred dollars to our names. I sure wish I had known more about FIRE back then!

  • FinanceSuperhero Sep 12, 2016, 9:25 pm

    Congrats Mr. and Mrs. DD! Exciting news!

    My wife and I have joint accounts for everything except our credit cards. We only keep her credit card open to avoid taking a credit score hit for closing the account – it’s probably about time to add her as an authorized user on my primary card since she uses it sometimes anyway.

  • Penny @ She Picks Up Pennies Sep 12, 2016, 9:30 pm

    Congratulations! All I can say about my ring is that if it were up to me, it would probably be zirconia. When we had it appraised, my heart almost stopped. And that was before I got my frugal pants on 😉 But for something that I will wear every day forever, the cost per use is pretty great. I do love it, but I would have loved anything my husband picked out! Being bank married is a big deal. It took us until last year to close one of my husband’s small savings accounts. Because we’re both lazy. Now we’re really stuck! 😉

  • Isabel Sep 13, 2016, 4:26 am

    Congrats Mr & Mrs. DD. Wishing you a wonderful and financially independent life. The joint account was the best decision u have taken. It will help you accomplish your goals.

  • Paige @ Live, Laugh, Budget Sep 13, 2016, 6:49 am

    Congrats!! I still don’t know the details of my engagement ring purchase, and that’s ok with me. All I know is he got a discount because of his employer and did not pay any interest on the ring. We finally got around to getting bank married after a year and a half of being legally married. Good luck with wedding planning, it can get really expensive very quickly.

  • Financial Panther Sep 13, 2016, 9:49 am

    Congrats Matt. I did the same thing as you and saved up for the ring for (soon to be) Mrs. FP over a pretty long period of time. Then when it was time to pay for it, I just busted out my credit card, got the points, and then paid the credit card right away. Good luck with the wedding planning!

  • Finance Solver Sep 13, 2016, 9:47 pm

    Congratulations and such exciting times ahead for you! I also think it’s great that you consolidated bank accounts into one. Money causes divorce around 50% of the time and having accounts combined into one is the ultimate form of communication. I hope you and your fiancee lives a long and very happy life 🙂

  • David Oct 3, 2016, 10:15 pm

    Congratulations. Moving into a new phase of life. My wife and I have always had the same account even when she was working outside of the house. Now with her going on here 17th year homeschooling she works harder at home now. I think when your money is together you can budget and plan easier and there are no hard feelings when one might contribute more than the other. I agree with Jon I am old fashion and if you are keeping your money separate just in case then maybe you should think about it.

    • Distilled Dollar Oct 4, 2016, 2:53 pm

      We’re on the same page with that line of thinking. It is much easier and less stressful than handling two different accounts. I’m not sure why we waited so long.

  • Living Free Nov 3, 2016, 12:35 pm

    Congratulations. Totally agree that a wedding can get out of control if you don’t find ways to save.
    My wife and I both love to travel. Instead of spending money on the wedding, we prefer to splurge a little on flight tickets to more exotic destinations. You can stop by my blog to see how we manage to do that.

    Cheers and have a great day ahead!

    • Distilled Dollar Nov 6, 2016, 10:26 am

      I checked out your wedding article! Thanks for sharing the costs as we are planning a similar wedding – Caribbean location and hopefully, less expensive than if we had it in the States.

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