Couples! Try this Ultra Simple Tip to Halt your Money Squabbles

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by Robin

Parenting.  Sex.  TV Remotes.

Pretty frequent fights for many couples.  Top of the list is probably: money.  True for you?

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 to 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 - and we haven't looked back.

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 decadent.

But back then that was what limiting our spending looked like. Fifty bucks a week was before kids, before I started 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 (yeah - we started this a loooong time ago). For me, it was more clothes and magazines.

Today our weekly "Pocket Money" is much more frugal and our spending patterns are 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. 

When the kids were small I tended to save my Pocket Money to spend on a couple hours of babysitting and a sushi lunch out with my main man (usually Ed 😉). I don't even know what Ed spent his on, probably cookies.

Now, Ed doesn't buy CDs (for obvious reasons).  He has a Google Play Music account.  I only read the magazines through my monthly treat of Texture magazine downloads.  Both these memberships cost about $10 a month and have made fights about these two indulgences obsolete.

In 2017 we moved to a monthly vs a weekly Pocket Money system.  One reason is that we paid off our (consumer and student) debts (Woo hoo! Though we still kept our frugal ways - more on that here.).  We can now ease up a bit.  It also began to feel like a big hassle to go to the bank machine every single week (I know: first world problems).

We still have a seperate budget line for clothes for the family, so our Pocket Money doesn't need to fill this need.  Mostly these days I spend my money on meals out with friends. Ed's splurge is probably, you guessed it, 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.

The key is simply having money of your own that is no one's business how it's spent.  We all need that autonomy or it starts feeling like every little thing is up for debate and that's exhausting. "Pocket Money" is a way we found a middle ground.  

We've shared lots of simple money saving tips - you can find more ideas here.

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


  1. Saving for a house can be rough! I did it on my own and curbed back my extra spending to almost nothing. I didn't give myself that fun money and had to sacrifice a lot of outings with family and friends. Love this advice.

    1. So worth it though, Michelle! I'm amazed at what you've been able to achieve on your own. Truly something to be proud of!!

  2. “For better or for worse… For richer or for poorer.” This is what most of us promise to our spouse when we pledge ourselves in marriage :) But unfortunately, many couples today can’t seem to survive either richer or poorer due to poor money management skills. I want ti say THANK YOU hundred of times for sharing your priceless experience and being so hones with us! I'm sure that your advice may help in saving lots of couples and families! Love your blog!


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