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Jan 24 2011

A fun money account for husbands?

What happens when one person is really good at managing money and the other person is really…not?

How do you teach the other person good spending and saving habits without wrecking the household budget in the process?

This was our dilemma.

Eric and I obviously came into this relationship with diverse spending and savings habits. Our solution was “Let Erika handle all the money.” (However, we did have monthly budget talks and Eric has access to all our accounts–we believe in full disclosure!).

Now that the credit card debt is gone, and we can loosen up a little bit with our purse strings, we decided to reevaluate our budget. I didn’t want Eric to feel as constricted with what he could and could not spend, especially when his “personal” goal items include expanding his knife collection, a hunting gun, a gun for the house,  etc.

These are expensive items. We can’t afford to be spending hundreds of dollars a month on knives…but I didn’t want him to feel like he could never purchase anything he wanted either. I understand I like clothes…Eric likes…knives. To each his own.

So we both agreed on a Fun Money account. For Eric.

Okay, okay, okay—why does Eric have to have his own account and yet Erika doesn’t?

Well—I can manage bills. I know what’s within our budget. Except for this past weekend, the last time I went shopping for clothes was last June. And I don’t buy “big” items that cost over $100 (like a gun would).  Besides our TV, the last big item we purchased was a Mac laptop for Eric back in July. My self-imposed spending limit is about $20 a week, which goes toward happy hours with friends, or lunches out.

So how much does Eric get? It depends.

His food budget for the month—for when he’s working—is automatically placed into his fun money account. In addition, since his paycheck is different each time, anything over a certain amount (which we agreed upon) goes into his fun money account as well. So if his paycheck is $150 (it’s not, but I’m giving an example here), and our agreed amount is $100, he would get $50 into his fun money account. Also, any Christmas money or birthday money goes into his account as well.

How has it worked so far?

Well, this fun money account started in January. And I think we’ve both become huge fans. Not only do I not have to stress over him being ATM happy where he just swipes, swipes, swipes, with no regard to what it’s costing our household budget, but he gets to manage his “own” money and save up for items he wants to purchase.

By choosing to eat more frugally, he can use some of his food budget money toward purchases instead. He’s already bought one knife off of Amazon with his fun money.

And of course—household items, clothing, etc, do NOT come out of his fun money. Fun money is just for fun things.

I understand some people may think it’s an allowance of sorts. But I really think this is working for us. He bought that knife off of Amazon and I didn’t even care because it wasn’t hurting our household budget.

So what do you think of our Fun Money account idea? What do you do to cover “fun” expenses for each spouse? Any other suggestions?

14 comments

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  1. Sarahnsh

    Let me just first say I love your blog. I’ve been a saver since money was first put in my hands as a kid with $50 here and there for Christmas and B-days. My fiancee is a spender, and I know it’ll matter more to me when my and his fiances become ours. I don’t want to bump heads on it because my parents always fought about money, so I don’t know quite how to handle it. I’m hoping to figure it out a little better by checking out your blog, thank you!

  2. City Girl

    If this system works for you, then it works. Period :) . xoxo

  3. IntrigueMe (Quarter For Her Thoughts)

    I don’t have a separate “fun money” account, but I do have a section in my budget for “fun money”. I treat it like any other bill, it’s mandatory. :)

    You would love the new lamps I bought with my fun money on the weekend. Have you seen the photos on my facebook yet?!

  4. Kari

    I think this is a great idea. My mom and dad have done the “allowance” system for years and it’s always worked well for them. Luckily my bf isn’t a crazy spender and is able to keep his finances in check. Gotta love a man with a small budget and a big Fico ;-)

  5. brandt @ New House on the Blog

    “He’s already bought one knife off of Amazon with his fun money.”

    This is a good man you have here. I can’t think of anything more manly to use money on than this. :-)

    We haven’t done that yet, but I think at some point it might become a necessity. Not because of my wife, but because of me.

  6. Teacher Girl

    I think this sounds like a great and smart solution. Glad to hear it is working for you guys! :) I think I need a “Dream Account” for myself where I save for my travel dreams.

  7. the MRS.

    I love the idea of a fun money account. Once we are ready to be more spendy I think we will each have one. that way If I want to spend $100 on hair stuff, I can and not feel bad. Or see it coming out of the communal money.

    especially for presents. My bday is tomorrow and I already saw where my gift is coming from since we have a joint account.

  8. eemusings

    Dude, you just described exactly how we manage it (but better than I ever have or could!)

    I don’t have my own money cause I don’t like to spend. Occasionally I’ll buy a lunch out or go for one drink with a friend. Or buy new contact lenses or new shoes, but those usually come out of extra income I make.

    Bf likes to have money he can spend on anything (ranging from expensive hobbies to just buying burgers) without having to ask permission, so it works nicely.

    He’s started to manage his own money more now, so I’m trusting him to make the decision about how much of an allowance he gets a week.

  9. prettylittlereckless

    LOVE the idea! I’m actually going to have a “fun fund” myself soon to get my own spending under control. I’m saving for a beach vacation next year and I no NOT want to put a vacation on my credit card like I did when I went to Vegas a few weeks ago. Not fun. My ideal is to spend only what I have and not what I dont (credit).

    I really like this idea though. Reminds me of my parents who (at least when I was younger) checked with each other before making purchases over $20 if it wasn’t something needed.

  10. Ashley

    I’m in the same boat as Sara. We both have our own accounts where a certain percentage of our paychecks go and the rest goes to the joint account. I love that each of us have our “fun money” because we don’t have to justify our purchases to each other! Hope you guys like the new setup!

  11. Mysti

    We have talked about having fun money accts…it just isn’t in the budget per se. So we agreed that 1/3 of our side hustle money (or I should say, 1/3 of what we EACH bring) goes to fun. The idea is that the more hustle, the more we each get

  12. Ariella

    I think the fun money account is a great idea. I guess it is sort of like an allowance, but I’m not really sure how else couples can manage money without actually giving each other allowances. Unfortunately, my fiance and I aren’t at a place where we can even have fun money. Everything we make pays bills and the little that is left over goes to pay for our wedding. Hopefully we’ll eventually get better jobs, pay off our credit card debt and we’ll finally be able to have some fun with money.

  13. Sara @ House Bella

    We sort of do this, but for both of us. We have a joint account that gets the bulk of our paychecks – for bills, savings, expenses, etc. Then we each keep an equal portion (an equal *percentage*, not an equal amount, because we make different amounts) in our own personal accounts. We use that for clothes, skis, bikes, expensive stuff that we really want. Any freelance work (we both do freelance) goes into our personal accounts, not the joint one. Birthday/holiday money, ditto. So we each keep the freedom of saving for things that we want, without hurting the overall budget.

  14. Jolene

    I love this idea!! And I have decided that one of these trips out to Cali, that you need to make me a budget ;-) I will supply the wine, if you supply the budget ;-)

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