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?