This post is part of our 21 Days to a Better Budget Series and was written by one of my favorite personal finance bloggers, Cat of Budget Blonde! To view all the posts in our series, please click here.
It’s not that my marriage has ever really been in trouble, but after a few too many petty arguments over money, my husband and I agreed that something had to change with the way we handled our money.
You see I’m very frugal but my husband isn’t. It’s not that he likes to spend everything we earn and then some, but he definitely enjoys spending money on the finer things in life now and then whereas you can find me digging in a Marshall’s clearance bin for the latest and greatest deals.
Part of the problem my husband and I had was that I serve as the day-to-day money manager for our family. I know how much money we have coming in and going out at any point in time while my husband spends every waking moment studying since he is a 4th year medical school student about to apply to residency.
His spending was never anything huge, but after a while even those $5 here and $10 there purchases add up to be a lot. I hate to nitpick but I’d ask him about his 5th Starbucks purchase and he’d feel guilty but then he really couldn’t study at home with one year old twin toddlers running all over the place.
Finally after our zillionth nitpick from me about these small purchases, my husband and I found the perfect solution, one that would allow me to keep our budget on track nearly down to the penny and also allowed him some freedom to spend money on little impulse purchases now and then. After all, no one likes to be controlled by their spouse.
So, our solution was that we added personal funds to our budget.
What is a Personal Fund?
Each month when my husband and I plan out our monthly budget we make sure there is a line for each of us to have an equal amount of money to spend on whatever we choose. Right now we each get about $150-170 each month to spend on anything we want.
My husband generally spends his personal fund money on nice things like a little bottle of bourbon after a hard week or surprising me with chocolate covered strawberries when he knows I’ve been extra stressed.
My personal fund money is usually used for pampering myself with a pedicure or order take-out food for our family so I can avoid cooking. (I hate cooking!)
At the end of the month we get to keep whatever money is leftover in our own personal funds. After a while that leftover money can be used to buy a bigger item if we choose.
How Personal Funds Saved My Marriage
This plan has led my husband and I to be happier with each other day in and day out in our marriage. We each get the flexibility we crave and neither one of us has the right to say anything to the other about how we spend our personal fund money.
Having personal funds in our monthly budget has also made us more conscious about how we spend our fun money. It makes us really consider things before we purchase them because once our personal fund money is used up we don’t get any more until the next month.
Finally, our personal fund money has also made us consider how we treat each other. Not only do we not nit-pick at each other’s spending habits anymore, it’s also common for each of us to choose to spend some of our personal fund money on things we can both enjoy together, which makes it feel more like a gift.
Ultimately, implementing personal funds into our monthly budget has been a marriage and sanity saver for my husband and I, and I hope it will help you too.
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Money controlling you? I know the feeling. My family has been living this real life on a budget for a long time and I can tell you that there's never a perfect season, but with a few changes you can start to reign in your money issues.
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