I was recounting this for someone who asked me how my wife and I were able to get along so well. "You guys never argue about anything!"
I knew my wife for many years before we were married. We dated for a long time and simply cannot remember arguing about much of anything. So we marry, and money is extremely tight, as in we generally had less than $50/month left over after paying our bills for the month. For the first time, we found something to argue about, money.
We were polar opposites on how we should utilize our fundage. Mrs. gonelong prefered to have creature comforts on a somewhat regular basis (coffee, eat out with friends, etc) while I prefered to save for larger ticket items I wanted. How could you spend $400 on golf clubs? Because I didn't spend $400 on coffee and wicker baskets in the last 3 months?
After a year or two of paying off debts and a few raises money was not as tight, however, the discussions/arguments about money persisted, much to my chagrin. It took me a few years, but I solved it. We literally don't discuss money for months at a time anymore, which means peace and harmony.
I opened up 3 checking accounts and a savings account at a credit union, all joint accounts. The savings account and one checking account are for our bills, savings, etc. Both our checks are direct deposited to the savings account and then trickle into the checking account to pay bills. Bills are paid first, savings is second, and then what is left over is our "allowance". [As we had less debt and more income, we set up sub-accounts for various other things such as a vaction fund, christmas fund, car payment (or saving for next car), and "next big purchase". Money is transferred automatically each month into these accounts. Occasionally we voted to raise our allowances. ]
This was the key:One checking account is "hers" and the other is "mine". Automated transfers move money into the Bill paying checking account, and each of us get an equal "allowance" (I make 2.5x what she makes, but hey, we're partners). This is for gas and any enterainment/misc - spend it however you like, don't ask for more (this goes for *both* of us). If you buy something via credit card, you are responsible to pay it off out of your account, etc.
There is some gray area here (clothes, tools, makeup) - you will need to set the ground rules for (and be semi-flexible about) these and things will change from time to time.
We both have side gigs that we make a little cash at. Breadwinner can decide to either put it all into a sub-account ... savings/vacation/next purchase or split 50/50 with each other. (While you were out making that extra cash, I was picking up slack at home, it should be mutually beneficial).
It's probably not for everyone, but it puts everything out in the open and ensured we were working towards some common goals. One for all and all for one kinda deal.
The guy I explained this too was intrigued, so I thought I would share this with you. Hopefully you find something useful in it and it adds to your thinking.