Saving Money (and Your Marriage...): "Pocket Money"

by Robin

Parenting.  Sex.  TV Remotes.

Pretty frequent fights for many couples.  Top of the list is probably money.

Money was the top of our squabble list for a time. When I became focused on buying our house, I became fixated on how we spent our money. It got out of hand before it got comfortable.

I was so emotionally tied on our financial goals that I became a bit untied. Our vision was clear, but my boundaries were fuzzy. I started to nag my husband about any little purchase he made.

We soon found a way that worked for us to keep the money squabbles to a minimum.

We call it "Pocket Money".

This is a set amount of money we withdraw in cash each week. We each get the same amount  to spend on whatever we want. How we each spend our "Pocket Money" is nobody's business. It was a relief for us both when we started this system. We very rarely fight about money anymore.  

Our way of using "Pocket Money" has evolved with the changes in our life. In the early days, we used to get much more money each week. Today, it blows my mind how much: $50 each! Now that sounds absolutely ridiculous.

But back then that was what limiting our spending looked like. Fifty bucks a week was before kids, before working part-time and before our major renovation. That weekly amount was what we used for our personal discretionary spending. For both of us, this money was to cover meals away from home, clothes and other stuff. For Ed the other stuff was CDs. For me, it was more clothes and magazines.

Today our weekly "Pocket Money" is much more frugal and our spending is different. We have a monthly family budget for clothes and entertainment. If we eat out, and the kids are there, it doesn't come out of our own spending money. But, if we are out on our own, that's a "Pocket Money" meal. Today, Ed doesn't buy CDs (for obvious reasons) and I only read the magazines that are gift subscriptions.   I tend to save my money to spend on a couple hours of babysitting and a sushi lunch out with my main man. I don't even know what Ed spends his on, probably cookies.

It is really important to work as a team to reach financial goals. It won't work for long if one partner is careful with money, while the other is carefree or careless. "Pocket Money" is a way we found a middle ground.

Do you have a "Pocket Money" approach? What works for your family?

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