I've been married for a couple of years now, and we've been playing pretty loose with our finances (we keep separate accounts and like to pay more or less equally for our common expenses). Lately, we've been feeling the need to know where our money is going and keep better track of who pays what at home.
So I wanted to try a software tool that was not a pain to use and that answered two questions:
1) Where is my money going (and hers)? Every tool seems to support multiple accounts and categories, so that should be ok; 2) How much do I currently "owe" my wife, or vice-versa? This seems to be where most of the softwares break down and start being a pain. I tried iCompta, which has nice support for "participants" in a transaction, with percentages for each one, but it kind of breaks when I assign both categories and participants, so I'm back to the beginning.
There is probably a way with current software to model this, but I just can't seem to get it right in my head. Here's a scenario that I think explains what I want:
Say I pay $200 for utilities in a month. My wife paid our rent, say $500. I want to put both these transactions in a "housing" category, so I know we have paid $700 for housing on that month. I also want the software to tell me that I "owe" my wife $150, because she paid $300 more than I did this month. Then, if I buy a $50 gift for a common friend, the software would say I owe her $125 and add $50 to the "gifts" category, and so on.
That's it! I know I could probably hack up something in excel, but then I'd miss the easiness of seeing graphs of how I spend my money, budgets, planning, and these things that most personal finance software products have.
Oh, I live in Brazil, so no mint.com for me, unfortunately.
EDIT: YEARS later, we finally worked out a way that's being perfect for us, lately: We both started using YNAB (youneedabudget.com) and whenever we buy something that's supposed to be 'shared', we flag it with a color. Every month or so we consolidate our shared expenses and update our budget categories. It's been working wonderfully.