Every marriage is different and at the core the two people within the marriage are also different. We all come from different walks of life. We each bring different strengths and weaknesses to the marriage. Learning to use each other’s strengths and help each other through our weaknesses is an amazing way to grow together as a team.
I come from a family of investors and financial savvy gurus. While I don’t completely take after this, I do have a strong sense of the value of savings and planning for the big picture. Before I moved to California I owned my own home at age 26. Keep in mind I also lived in an area where the cost of living was much more reasonable than where I live now. Going through that experience taught me about saving up for a house, the costs of buying everything for a new home that I didn’t think of (appliances and blinds for EVERY SINGLE window), and what it meant to be a homeowner.
My husband grew up on a farm. His dad managed farmlands in the area and they rented a house on those lands. With the cost of living being so high here, most people in the area do rent. Having come from that background, my husband doesn’t have a huge desire to own a home one day. While his parents are great with their finances, my husband is definitely more of a “wing it” type of person. He doesn’t really plan for the future and goes by the philosophy that everything will work out.
Finances are one of the leading factors in divorce and one of the main issues couples argue about. It can cause so much stress on your marriage and it is helpful to get on the same page in the beginning. Trying to find the middle ground was a bit challenging for my husband and me, since we did have two very different backgrounds and thoughts on the subject.
After combining all our finances and taking a look at the extra money we had each month, we agreed that a weekly allowance would help us to set a budget and still set money aside for future things we want. Whether we decide to invest in a home is still not fully decided, but the money in our savings can be used for a new car or perhaps a fun trip. The main point is we will be putting it aside to use it for when we need it.
What Types Of Things Do You Spend Your Allowance On?
This set up is going to look different for every relationship. Some couples include gas money in their allowance. Others include entertainment. For us, items like morning coffees, energy drinks, eating out for lunch, having drinks with friends after work, or new clothing comes out of our allowance. If we go out to dinner together on the weekends or do something for us, then that comes out of our “us” money.
Cash Versus Credit
We decided every Sunday to pull out our weekly allowance at the ATM. For us the visual of exactly how much we have works best. It personally helps me to really think about what I am spending my money on and if I truly need the item I am currently lusting after.
There will always be instances where you need to purchase something with a card. Perhaps you are buying an item online. For this we have set up a fun little jar in our room where we take the cash out of our allowance and put it in the jar. This money then gets deposited into our account to pay off that card payment and we are still able to keep a visual of what is left in our wallets.
Saving For The Future
Saving for the future works in two ways with the allowance system. If either of us wants a big ticket item then we can save up to purchase those items. For instance, if I want a new pair of boots that I am dying to get.
It also works for the much bigger future goals like saving up to buy a house or go on a trip. After we take out our allowance and pay our bills, the rest of our money gets deposited into savings. We opened an online savings account with a high interest rate where everything left over gets transferred. Having it separate from our checking has been perfect. With it out of sight and out of mind from our checking, it allows us to forget about it.
Do you and your significant other practice any financial budgeting? What have you found to work best for your relationship?
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