It Has to Be Fair: Personal Spending

Call it an allowance or a no-questions-asked fund. Kelsey and I call it the latter--and it is the essence of how we keep the stakes even in our household. A banker recommended this to us after we were married. We went in to set up a joint banking account fully expecting to pool our money together into one account and walk out. This lady blew our minds. "Why not keep your individual accounts open for personal spending purchases?" Oh my, what a concept. Set an amount of money that each spouse will receive each week, and that, my friends, becomes the no-questions-asked fund.

Let me share a few examples:

Kels: I think I'm going to buy some jeggings.

Me: What? Gross! You can't be serious...

Kels (cutting me off): NO QUESTIONS ASKED!

Me: (silence)

Here's another:

Me: I want to go golfing. You want to go?

Kels: Have fun. No questions asked. I'm staying home; saving up for some jeggings.

Save it, spend it, bury it, or do with it anything else you wish. It's yours. This is a great way for us to ensure that our personal spending is fair. (Maybe we're selfish, but we think it should be fair.) Most of the time, this is our clothing budget. Before Dave Ramsey walked into our lives and gave us a financial makeover, this budget was $25 every week. These days, we have cut back to $10 every week.

I am not saying this formula will work for everyone, but it certainly works for us. Find what works for you, go with it, and stick to it. Experiment with different ideas. I think the most important thing is that you talk about it with your spouse and agree upon something.

The worst thing you can do is be dishonest and spend money behind each others backs. Not a great way to treat someone you love. Especially when the No. 1 cause of divorce is money.

How do approach personal spending?