Couples and Money: Consultation vs Allowance

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10 Responses to Couples and Money: Consultation vs Allowance

  1. Princessperky says:

    If a couple is firmly on the side of debt free and speaks openly about spending any old system works.

    My husband and I have no firm consult rule, but I discuss before spending practically anything (though not ask permission), he tends to keep his spending to ‘free cash’ so long as it wasn’t coming from the budget he spends it (rebates gift money ect)

    But like a smoker needing a plan to quit couples in debt need to have more concrete ideas on money.

  2. ceejay74 says:

    I swear by the allowance system. $60 per person every Friday is just enough to make us feel pretty rich, like we’re not scraping the bottom of our coin purses for little luxuries.

    Also, for groceries, we have a blanket grocery/household line item of $900 per month. Usually it’s more than enough, so we allow little treats in there, but if we tip over the monthly amount, that comes out of the next month’s and we have to cut back. So it curtails ridiculous extra purchases, but allows for little treats like fancy olives or ice cream from time to time. If we have a big household expense, no treats for a while.

    Also, when we get bonuses or other windfall money, usually about half goes to something sensible (debt repay or EF savings) and the rest goes to frivolity (spending money and/or vacation fund). That keeps the element of a chance for more spending money, which makes the $60/week less monotonous.

  3. Monkey Mama says:

    Allowance system works well for us, though we use a combo of both. We discuss all bigger ticket items. In fact, we discuss almost every single purchase. The “allowance” is more for the stuff the other would never agree on as a purchase. We both get $50/month. I mostly buy clothes (out of the realm of necessary) and my spouse mostly buys movies/electronics. He has no idea why I buy what I buy, and I have no idea why we need a stockpile of movies. So we just call the allowance the “nag free” zone, which I think is important in a relationship. A little something for ourselves. But we often discuss the littlest purchases. Big purchases are most certainly always discussed (anything over like $100).

    We aren’t very strict on the allowance budget. It’s just so we know how much we have available to splurge on “whatever.” Doesn’t mean we spend every penny of our allowance or we would never allow a bigger splurge. But certainly an important part of our overall budget so we don’t spend more than we have to spare.

  4. Marie says:

    I guess we live closer to the wire than most. I thought we were extravagant with $450 for groceries/everything but gas and $30 per month per person for an allowance. We also get $35 /month for our personal savings accounts. We use our personal savings accounts to save for things like air compressors and new furniture.

  5. Although my wife and I used to swear by the “consult each other before every $100 purchase” rule, we found that it caused too much contention. We are both very frugal, so we’ve decided to simply make purchases without consulting each other. We don’t ask each other the cost of things we bring home – and that seems to work just fine. However, if one of you is a big spender and the other is a cheapskate… this may not work for you.

  6. Hilary says:

    I agree that the allowance system is the way to go. I think it’s important to both people in the couple to have a bit of financial privacy. If my boyfriend wants to spend money on cycling gear, I don’t want to know about it because if I learn, inevitably I will say “You spent how much?” I know that is wrong so the best way to avoid that reaction is for me to just not know at all. The “allowance” system is really the only way of doing this while still keeping a budget. Of course, one hopes that both people will not spend their entire allowance just because it’s there :).

  7. Diane says:

    I can see why the $30 limit would not work if one or both parties are gaming it!

    I think the allowance method is much more fair & reasonable. The allowance amount can be according to the financial situation. When money is tight it can be less to pay down debt, then possibly increased as income goes up & debt goes down.

    Everyone has to have SOME financial freedom, otherwise control issues & conflict will result.

    My ex-husband & I did not have a set allowance, & both spent fairly freely without fighting about it. This resulted in way too much debt & I would never do that again!

  8. whitestripe says:

    DF and I have just combined our money – we have set up an allowance which is 10% of our weekly take home pay ($80-$100 for DF and $65-$75 for me, depending) and this is our ‘do whatever’ money – df can buy video games and alcohol, i can buy magazines and coffee with friends. Any other ‘joint’ purchases we discuss, and we are planning on having a list that we can see for things we need around the house. if we ever need anything, say like a new garden hose, air conditioner etc, we will just add it to the list.

  9. I tried an allowance system with my now-exhusband. Even though I gave him twice as much as I got, he turned into a snotty, rebellious teenager and charged all kinds of little things. I guess someone who loves the challenge of making the money leftover at the end of the month a really big number isn’t meant to be with someone whose goal it is to make that same number as close to zero as possible. And he was Scottish – a culture known for producing both economic geniuses and the tightest tightwads on the planet. Guess he forgot to swim in that particular gene pool, grr.

  10. Diane says:

    @MoneyMateKate – Excuse me for laughing, but I’ve been there! The premise of allowance vs. consultation presumes that both parties are willing to come to an agreement.

    My ex-husband was willing to let me spend whatever I wanted, and he did the same. He was NOT willing to curtail spending in any way, and when he found some cash that I’d set aside he accused me of “saving money”. Honest!

    Opposites may attract, but financial opposites in a marriage can spell disaster – and did in our case…

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