In the spirit of marital financial consolidation, I've been trying to get to the bottom line of my monthly expenditures. With a joint checking account that we've already shared for 2 years, my Fiance and I are already well aware of each other's spending habits (or at least those that I fund through the joint account that is). I am a big fan of a woman retaining her own checking account and credit card, and fully intend to continue using mine for odds and ends. But with the bulk of the funding being channeled through a single source, it is necessary now for my everyday necessaries (and luxuries) to be out in the open.
I think that true intimacy is the disclosure of a month's worth of credit card receipts. Forget that cringe you first felt when someone else saw your cotton, misshaped 'laundry day' underwear. Or the big risk you thought you were taking the first time you wore opaque white pimple cream to bed in front of another. Try unearthing the past 30 days worth of paper stuffed into your wallet that transcribes your every purchase, every whim, every weakness. This is vulnerability.
I get oddly defensive when I begin to list the monthly expenses I cannot live without. (My reflexive need to justify comes possibly from the fact that I haven't had a real job in years, since law school costs money, time, and soul, and never returns the favor.) For instance, when I tell my Fiance that I must have a weekly manicure and a bi-monthly pedicure (yes, even in the winter), I follow immediately by informing him that I'd gladly forgo meals over this indulgence. (Indulgence is really an incorrect word. It's more akin to grooming, like bathing and getting dressed to me). I also can't see giving up an occasional trip to Ann or J.Crew for a quick browse of the sale rack ('occasional' meaning about once a week or so). I hold a passport gym membership which allows me to use any club in the city, which I always take advantage of to change the scenery. My IS Clinical skin care regime is admittedly pricey, but less pricey than the cost of prescription creams and lasers that no doubt plague women in their 30's and 40's who failed to take such care in their 20's. (My Fiance is a lawyer. He appreciates a well argued point.) I also have a terrible phobia of subways. This necessitates taxis on a weekly basis (but these days I don't travel too far out of my neighborhood anyway). And sushi. I can't go more than 5 days with sushi.
So really, when I get to my bottom line, it's not so bad (in the way you tell a friend who just got a terrible new haircut that 'it's not so bad' knowing that it is quite bad, but it will eventually grow back). But some things are worth the cost.