Marriage and Money: Allowances For Adults?

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You and your significant other love each other. Still, I bet there is still something that one of you loves spending money on that the other simply doesn’t see any value in. It might be manicures, gadgets, designer clothes, online poker, or Star Wars collectibles. If you have joint finances like we do, this can cause some resentment. Why is our money being spent on Yoda PEZ dispensers??

One possible solution to relieve such stress that we are currently trying out is the Adult Allowance, where each person is given a certain amount of money that they can spend with no questions asked. I’ve seen it in a few places, including Him and Her over at Make Love Not Debt. No rolling your eyes, no passive-aggressive sighs, no exasperated “Why would anyone buy that?”. Actually, one annoying question from me is “Why didn’t you let me spend 10 minutes researching the best deal for your XXX purchase?” The idea of paying more than needed may cause me physical pain, but why should I let that ruin her purchase?

Yes, this is essentially budgeting, but many couples view budgets as tedious and restrictive. I see this as a specific subset of budgeting which focuses not just on the ability to track spending, but the freedom of enjoying your spending without guilt. This may be a good place to start if one of you is spender, while the other is a saver.

On a technical level, some people use cash in envelopes, while other use completely private and separate bank accounts. That way, after you run out of money there’s no going back for more. However, we’re keeping it simple and just tracking it on the honor system.

We mentioned this to some of our friends, and some of the responses were the expected “An allowance? Whoa, that’s harsh.” But one of the couples actually implemented it for themselves as well! It turns out that the guy was getting some flack for driving around his gas-guzzling 4WD beast around instead of the econo-box they also own. Now, he’s been given a monthly gas budget each month so he can still have fun, while she can feel that the gas bill is under control.

What do you think about adult allowances? Good idea for resolving potential conflicts? Or unnecessary for those in a good relationship?

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  1. Thanks for the mention! Especially since we’ve just REDESIGNED.

  2. The adult allowence is definitely a good idea IF money is something that a couple argues about constantly. Everyone has their needs to spend, but no two people are likely to agree on EXACTLY what or where is the right place to spend it. I have friends that does hold separate bank accounts to hold their allowance money so that what is not used in a given time period is rolled to the next period. I also have friends that have one joint account where the couple dump a bucket of money to pay their joint expense/saving goals in proportion to their individual income, and the rest is kept in their each individual accounts. (This of course assumes dual income in the household.)
    In either case, the important thing is that the set up has made the couples happy…

  3. MONEY BLUE BOOk says

    I think having an allowance such as that would make one feel belittled and unduly controlled. I think a better method would be to sit down and communicate examples of what are reason purchass and what are some things that need to be mutually discussed prior to a unilateral purchase decision.

    If one person is naturally the better bargain hunter and online researcher, I feel the duo should designate him or her as the primary “big purchase maker.” That just seems more efficient to me… 🙂


  4. I think you?re right on with this one. It’s funny how when we restrict our own spending successfully, it gives us a sense of accomplishment when we can see the extra money remaining in our bank account. However if someone else, such as a spouse, wants to restrict our spending, we feel threatened and defensive. That’s why I think it?s important to get that Ego in check before entering a serious relationship.

  5. MONEY BLUE BOOk says

    Does this mean you’re a Star Wars collector? Pez hobbyist perhaps? 🙂


  6. I’ve heard this technique called a “Marriage fund” in the context of a marriage. I don’t think I’d call it an “Adult allowance” especially “for your XXX purchase?”

    I’ve seen some couples use this very effectively – We use this technique off and on. It works well. It has helped us keep the conflict level down.

  7. We don’t call it an allowance, but my husband and I use this concept. It works well for us. I don’t get annoyed with my husband’s sports magazine and coffee purchases, and he doesn’t get annoyed with my book buying.

  8. i’m not sure how everyone does it, but if everyone had a joint account, wouldn’t putting in a % of a paycheck into that account and then what’s leftover would go into each other’s personal account (thus sorta like an allowance) and the % would make it fair if one made more than the other?

  9. David Bach outlines an allowance formula based on who earns what in “Smart Couples Finish Rich” (I think – or it may be Automatic MIllionaire). My husband and I have never had problems with who spends more or more often, etc. BUT…a really good reason to do this (and why we are going to) is so that we don’t know what each other has bought the other for surprises. “Honey, what’s this $4000 charge to Celebrity Cruises for?” Or….”ooooh, I wonder what was bought at on December 15.”

  10. I think it is a fantastic idea, and I love the idea of 1 joint account and 2 separate accounts that has an individual allowance. I think it would be very healthy, especially if one partner is more financially conscious than the other, it gives a clear boundary for those ‘make me feel better’ buys.

    • I believe each person in the marriage gets the same amount of money if it is does with three accounts. Say I have a take home of 1500 a month and my husband has a take home of 900 a month then when I get paid $750 goes into my account and $750 goes into his account. Then when he gets paid $450 goes into his account and $450 in my account. That gives us each $1200 a month. Then we put in say $700 a month for expenses. That leaves us $500 each to do what we want to with it. It might not be “fair” that I make more and end up with less to spend but we are married and should enjoy the same economic level. When I was married we had a joint account and everything went into the joint account–housing, laundry, groceries, whatever expenses. Then we had a budget for going out and we each got an allowance or spending money–money we could use as we wished.

  11. I have a Yoda pez dispenser!

  12. We have implemented an ?allowance? in order to encourage a little selfish spending. We deposit $25 in our separate ?Funny Money? high interest ING accounts each month. Having this separate money allows us to feel ok buying something completely indulgent. Neither one of us wants to feel guilty by taking money from the already tight budget to buy something that only benefits one of us.

    Sometimes we end up sacrificing too much for the sake of the greater good and we don?t want to run into deprivation burn-out. Currently, we are both saving up our individual accounts for bigger purchases; my husband would like new speakers and I would like new bake ware. So far it is working well for us.

  13. I think your friends balked because the term “allowance” has a connotation of inequality. Dave Ramsey’s term “Blow Money” sounds better.

    I haven’t read any of Bach’s books cover to cover, but I don’t like the idea of unequal “blow” amounts in marriage. I am in the “what’s mine is ours” camp, so if my husband and I were to use this technique, even though I make more I would expect us to have the same “allowance”. As it stands now we discuss all of our discretionary spending decisions together. Maybe once we’re out of debt there will be more room in our budget for a healthy blow money fund.

  14. For three years now my wife and I have joint our money account and have been using a software budgeting program that I have been creating that tracks all our purchases. In that program we each have a set allowance that we use for the month. The amount that is spent is averaged over the amount of months that we have the allowance. This allows our allowance to average out with low spending months like February with high spending month like December (Christmas). This also allows one to save for bigger purchases. I find that this system prevents a lot of fights cause over one person thinking that the other is spending all their savings.

    Since we have joined our accounts I have found that more money can be placed into our money market accounts.

  15. @lncewf: Low spending month like February? Not spending that money on a nice night out and chocolates and flowers on the 14? Don’t let Hallmark hear that. 😉

    We kind of do something similar, I have found that the more money we bring in the less need there is for it. When we were barely scraping by we didn’t splurge on ourselves at all, and as we have made more we initially had problems with overenjoying ourselves with splurges.

    @Travis: The saving and seeing the account growing is nice, but when someone else in the relationship has access to that account and splurges once in a rare while there can be resentment, because you have restricted your spending and feel someone else has blown it. If that makes sense.

  16. my wife and i do this. people at work are always giving me slack for it, so i havent told anyone outside of work. maybe i shoudnt have used the word allowance, but that is what it is.
    but basically, we have a $100 allowance. i dont bat an eye for her purchases up to $100/mo. so she can go and buy a pair of shoes and a top and i dont care. of course some months she doesnt spend a dime and others wants a $200 purse. we dont budget hardcore and it isnt a big deal.
    i rarely spend anything on a typical month, but this month i got a new hdtv, and that is my one big purchase for the yr.

    i’ve also noticed myself slacking more on the allowance each 25k mark we save up, we hit 75k a couple months ago and now i’ll really let her spend $200/mo, but i’m not telling her that. now we’re also budgeting for when we start trying to have kids. i want $100k saved up as well as 200k net worth, so, soon. and once we have kids and go to one income, i’ve told her no more allowance.
    man this made me sound harsh.

  17. MillionDollarJourney says

    We also do the same thing. We set aside a small amount for each of us to spend without any questions asked. The rest goes to expenses and savings.

  18. My husband and I have been doing this for years and I would never go back to anything else.

    We have a joint bank account and then 2 seperate accounts. Each week we take $200 each out of the joint account and put it into our “Fun Money” accounts. We spend these any way we want and we also use this money to purchase gifts for each other.

    My husband likes to purchase a lot of little gadgets on ebay and fix them up, I am more of a saver and I will save most of my money until i find the one thing that I really want, then when I do spend $300-$500 at once, he doesn’t even bat an eye because it came out of my fun money.

    I would recommend this to all couples. We have never had an argument or a fight over what we spend our money on.

  19. Money Blue Book – I used to think like that too, like we’re both on a leash or something. But actually, it makes more freedom in our case. See Justin’s explanation above or below…

    No, I don’t actually collect Stars Wars or PEZ. The only thing I collect these days are postcards when I travel. Light, cheap, and they take up very little space. 🙂

    “@Travis: The saving and seeing the account growing is nice, but when someone else in the relationship has access to that account and splurges once in a rare while there can be resentment, because you have restricted your spending and feel someone else has blown it. If that makes sense.”

    Justin – I think that’s a great way of explaining it.

    Say for example, you want Starbucks but figure “Nah, it’s too much we need to save money”, but then you go home and your husband is slurping happily away on his Venti Frappaccino. Conflict!

    gt – I think we are very similar, that doesn’t sound that harsh to me 😉

    smgirl – Yes, the money left over each month should definitely carry over. I am also a big purchase type of person, whereas she enjoys getting lots of smaller things.

  20. My fiancee and I sat down and created a household budget – house payment, repairs, entertainment, food, utilities. We found the average of each month, added a $1000 to that and each month we split that amount and pay it into a joint online checking account.

    From our personal accounts we pay for car expenses, clothing, medical, lunches etc. Basically, non-family/house related stuff goes to personal checking.

    This is working great as we’ve got multiple savings accounts, freedom to spend as we like and still some responsibility. The joint account grows each month, the personal accounts grow and in my case I’m maxing out my 401k and getting 50% match from my company. Our savings rate given our incomes is well beyond the norm, I’d say.

  21. Hey Jonathan;

    I’ve just moved in with my fianc? (5 months now), and this is pretty much what we’re doing, except with a twist.

    We don’t actually split the “allowance fund” up the middle, we do weighted portions of income for joint expenses and then “do as we please” with the non-joint portion. We’re not married yet, so I expect this process to evolve, but I believe that it correctly handles the “human side” of money which is that people like spending money on themselves.

    As others have mentioned, it’s also nice for gifts. In this case I’m actually spending my money (not ours) on buying the gift. It feels a lot better knowing that your new x-mas iPod wasn’t just bought with “your” money.

    As we progress, I expect us to pool larger chunks of our money, i.e.: not just joint expenses, but investments & savings too. However, I also expect us to always keep our own accounts. We’re two people living as one, not one person with two parts, that means that we have to “feed” all three pieces to be healthy: You, Me and Us.

  22. My wife and I had the good fortune to marry a thrifty partner, so for the most part overspending has never been an issue for us. As a consequence, our method has been something that wouldn’t work well for many folks. When one person wanted to make a large purchase, the other received license to spend a like amount of money on something of their choice.

    That would be a recipe for disaster for some folks, but it has kept us pretty happy.

  23. We basically do this as part of our normal budget. We budget $150/month for each of us, with the idea that those purchases don’t need to be justified, they can be whatever we want. We use that money for all our entertainment (except eating out), gifts for each other, hobbies, etc. Anything leftover goes to a personal savings account, so we can save up for bigger things (which usually means electronics). I think it reduces tension, because I don’t worry about purchases my husband makes that I don’t agree with – I know it’s not going to mess up the budget, so it’s OK.

  24. I love the adult allowance. It has restricted little quibbles about money when times are tighter. For bigger things we still discuss and agree on things, but for all the little things, that is what the allowance is for. I have no idea why dh buys movies and he has no idea why I need so much clothes. We both get $50/month for whatever and it doesn’t matter anymore. We realize there are just some purchases we will never agree on and that’s okay.

    We did an allowance budget when we were first married as we were trying to merge our finances and find our comfort levels, etc. Once we kind of established the “boundaries” (we tend to budget more in our head) we kind of let it go. However, we had kid a few years back, went down to 1 income, and it was time to re-establish the budget. Times are much tighter but if we both get $50/month to spend on whatever it relieves a lot of tension. He can buy a movie once in a while and I can buy some new clothes, and there is no fighting about if we really need these items.

    We have a lot of grey areas, so the allowance budget isn’t “everything.” But it’s kind of like “this is the money you have no input on.” It works. Since we tend to pool everything and look at all of our assets/income as “one”, it is nice to have a little money to each of ourselves.

  25. Back when my wife and I were DINKs the difference in our annual salaries was well over 6 figures. We had a joint checking, savings, and brokerage account. We created a budget with expenses and savings goals. We contributed to the joint accounts in a proportional manner, e.g. if the monthly budget was 5000 (expenses and savings) and I made 75% of our total income, then I contributed 75% of the 5000. It worked well because we were each contributing our fair share.

    The leftover money was our own to use. Of course, we set it up so that our “joint savings/brokerage” expense was pretty high so there wasn’t a lot left over.

    As for things like gas/car payments/student loan payments – every couple needs to decide was is fair and comfortable.

    Now we are one salary with a kid… 🙂

  26. My husband and I have had allowances for nearly all of our 8 year marriage. We’ve never argued over money, the allowances are simply so we can keep track of our budget more easily. Our allowances are also often adjusted, such as when one of us starts or stops a hobby/sport – this means the allowances aren’t always equal, but they are always fair in the sense that they cover our needs and some of our wants.

  27. This is what we have been doing for a while. I had to take over expense management because my wife was overwhelmed. I setup an “allowance” for the both of us, of equal amounts. She made some money but I just let her keep that as her allowance because it wasn’t much. When she stopped working to be a stay at home mom I gave her an equal allowance to mine. This was to serve two purposes. It allows her to spend money as she sees fit without having to ask me if she can spend it since I control the overall budget. The best part is I get to spend money without her thinking I’m cutting her short by making decisions to spend our money without consulting her.

    This arrangement has helped our marriage and finances tremendously. As long as you keep the amounts even or at least fair, it should really help, despite the belittling it sounds to be. I’m not even sure why it would sound that way if you get equal amounts. It also helps you cap expenses.

    Conversely, I have a fairly wealthy friends who’s wife spends uncontrollably. He complains about this from time to time. I keep telling him he needs to setup an allowance, but he things his wife will get upset. I think they just really need to talk it out because it will help their marriage and finances in the long run.

  28. Ted Valentine says

    Anyone that cringes at this concept, whatever you want to call it, is not an ADULT.

  29. “the difference in our annual salaries was well over 6 figures”
    wow, what is that then, nine figures? we got ourselves a warren buffett here folks 🙂

    i think another good idea is, so long as you are saving part of your income, the principle, to split the interest you earn. for example, if you have your $ in a 5-6% savings account earning say $200/mo, each of you get $100. that way, as you save more and more, you’re rewarding yourself for putting so much away. and if you have your cash invested in markets, if you have a good month, you have a good allowance next month, if you have a bad month, sorry no allowance next month.

    it could work the other way, if you’re in debt a couple grand, come up with that interest you are paying the CC, and pay that on top of what you would normally pay.

  30. I love this idea, and am not even engaged yet but already plan on this, since for awhile our incomes will be disparate. Mine will be higher while he is in grad school, then his will likely jump up over mine once he gets a degree.

    Anyway, i know I would be annoyed if he questioned every purchase of mine, and vice versa.

  31. Maybe you guys are calling home expenses something different than we are? Car payments/gas/maintenance are by choice and therefore I can not see how we can put them under the umbrella of home expenses. Likewise, clothing is totally by choice. Are you limiting outside expenditures such as clothing purchases, lunches, movies to $100 a month?! That doesn’t even seem feasible.

  32. My husband and I have an allowance. Each payday (bi-weekly), we each get $200. That can be used for whatever we want. For me, it’s mostly some lunches at work, Starbucks, shopping, my expensive haircut ($120 cut and color–yikes!!), and outings with friends. For my husband, it’s mostly golf right now. It’s pretty hard for him, but before the allowance he was very free-wheeling with the cash. It was always something–season tickets to 3 different teams/sports, trips to Vegas, other getaways with friends. So now, he has to try and fund much of that through his allowance. It will be interesting to see how he does it. I’ve also told him that any extra income (selling extra season tickets) can go right back to him to help support his habits.

  33. My wife and I use this when we budget. One of our budgeted items is called spending money. We each get the same amount and can use on anything we wish or save for a larger purchase. It is also one of the easier catagories to cut when tightening the budget.

  34. My wife and I have been doing an allowance for a few years now and it’s stopped just about all our financial conflicts. I no longer get irritated at the constant cloths shopping and bizarre facial scrubs that have no effect on her appearance, and I no longer get flack over new computer components or subscriptions to multiple unnecessary web services.

  35. My fiance and I just started consolidating funds, etc., as he just moved in, and we have been talking about this. I didn’t read all the comments, so I don’t know if this has been brought up yet, but it is a great equalizer also. Currently I make almost double what he does, but we will get the same “allowance” – this way there isn’t that feeling of one person having more money than the other person.

    We aren’t implementing this until we get married – currently we have two separate bank accounts, and one joint one that is strictly for bills – but once we get married that joint one will turn into our main account (where all paychecks are deposited) – and our individual accounts will get our monthly amount transfered to them from the joint account.

  36. this idea works! my wife and I started separate bank accounts and have 5% of our checks direct deposited to the separate accts. No more arguing over the differences in our spending habits! Life is much better now!

  37. gt:
    Ha! Not quite what I meant to say – 6 figures difference as in over 100k difference.

  38. Our solution was simple when we got married 20 yrs ago, and very similar to many of you above:

    Dump all assets and income in one bucket (joint ownership), and set up a budget which covers monthly bills and savings, and which includes a weekly allowance *with carry-over* for each of us. The carry-over was my wife’s idea and it is cool. If I get, say, $45 allowance a week, but only use $30 of it, I can carry over the $15 extra, so I have $60 in the “bank” for the next week. Wife does the same.

    We also have a *family* allowance which is roughly equivalent to the cost of us all getting Chinese food as a family on a Saturday night. It can be applied (via family vote) to whatever weekend activity we all decide we’d like to do (e.g., miniature golf; a movie). Since nobody wants to miss out on exercising their use of the allowance, we’ve managed to keep weekly family outings going even as our kids enter middle and high school.

    I should mention that we are strict Quicken users and this has helped us immensely. We avoid use of credit cards for anything but major (budgeted0 purchases, and we have never used debit cards since those seem to be backdoor drains on bank accounts.

    We’ve enjoyed nice vacations, the kids never really want for anything, and our home is paid off. We have never in 20 years had a fight about finances. Lots of other things, but never money.

    Anyway, that’s my story.

  39. Totally necessary and a great idea. We’ve done it from the start of our marriage (two years) and have never looked back. We each get $50 to spend on whatever we want each month. And it’s not a matter of fighting about money, it’s about having common financial goals, which can easily get sidetracked by the small incidentals that add up. I don’t feel controlled; on the contrary, after years of overspending and finally digging out of debt, we’re finally in total control of our spending.

    But I’d like to make a point about each spouse taking a PERCENTAGE of his/her pay. I really don’t think that’s fair. Both incomes are OUR money. Just because one person earns $x more than the other, for whatever reason, each person should get an equal amount of spending money. This is a marriage, not a roomate situation. Under this concept, a stay-at-home parent would get zero “allowance,” and the husband who earns more, but attends school while his wife takes care of most of the housework and other necessities, would get more spending money. Not fair.

  40. We are in a similar situation and I love this idea. I think I will ask my wife to give it a try.

  41. Hmmm. I think the way to avoid arguments is to pay for household expenses, save a thousand or so per month in a communal account and then keep the rest of your salary to yourself (and to pay non-household items like car payments, car maintenance, student loans, clothes, lunches, etc). My fiancee and I have lived like this for a year and so far it’s great. We have the household money and then we have our individual money. $50-100 a week allowance? I couldn’t survive on that. Egad, gas alone is $50 a week.

    I certainly don’t agree about the spending money should be equal. Life is inherently unfair and unequal. I didn’t go to business school and get married to lower my standard of living. Should my wife-to-be want us to pool and then divvy, that’s fine as she gets whatever she wants but the allowance per month better be a couple thousand, not a few hundred. I’ve got rental properties that I must cover in case a renter misses a month and I don’t want to mix that with the family money as it’s my responsibility and thus my debt to burden, not hers.

  42. @ bgdc – we’re not talking about the same thing here. The money we’re talking about is supposed to be money each person spends on whatever they want (whether it’s $4 lattes or a power tool), not gas, car repairs, student loans and other family necessities.
    FYI, in case you don’t know, once you get married, your rental properties and other assets and liabilities become hers too, and vice versa, whatever’s hers is yours. So you’d better wrap your head around the OUR concept before tying the knot. The “burdens” and “responsibilities” will belong to you both, legally and morally.

  43. My husband and I have had alot of tension about money, so I was given an allowance. My allowance is $125.00 every 2 weeks. This is supposed to include: Groceries (food and household items), eat out lunches, treats (ex Starbucks coffee), haircuts, manicures/ pedicures, outings with friends. Basically groceries and ‘fun’ money. If I go over, I never here the end of it. Anyway, I feel this amount is very unreasonable. I work full time and earn approximately $50k annually, He makes about the same, so I see no need for this meager allowance. I think the $125 amount would be reasonable for ‘fun’ money only- but it is not enough for the groceries and household items also, which we both use. Also, just a note, we have no credit card debt and no student loans or other debt. The only debt we have is house mortgage and car notes. We’re also saving for our future- Roth IRA’s, 401k, and a savings account. At this time we have no children- it is just us 2. This has been causing me much unhappiness. Please let me know your thoughts~ do you think my allowance should be enough for me? Or does he need to losen up?

  44. @Jean: $125 a fortnight for groceries and fun money? 2 people? That’s 62.50 a week for groceries, two people usually spend more than that on groceries if they eat at home. Unless they are being cheap.

  45. Jean: groceries are not part of the “allowance”. The purpose of the allowance is to share the “extra” money, this is a totally different pile from expenses.

    So yeah, you’re either not telling us something (he pays gas for your car) or he’s being completely unfair. So bring it up (with pen and paper in hand) and point out that you’re not really getting an “allowance” if you have to choose between food and something else. Food is a necessity, you should never have to “choose” against it. (or you could just be a wimp and go get your hair done for $500 and not buy any groceries for a month, it’s your money right? But I’d advise against this, b/c it just as childish as his behaviour).

  46. @MVP: Not everything becomes common property, that’s for sure. CC debt you enter a relationship with is yours alone, for example.

  47. @Justin, @MVP: it’s worth noting that the laws for the CC debt vary by state (and province) and will vary in each individual case.

    If I enter a marriage with 10k in CC debt and 5 years later we split and my CC still has 10k on it, the courts will take that into account when splitting property. They’ll look at what we spent for the last 5 years and what monies went onto and off of the Credit Card. If you’ve cycled through the whole 10k debt in 5 years (quite likely) then the courts can rule in all kinds of ways based on the nature of the expenses and the nature of the payback.

    Generally speaking, as time goes on, old differences like CC debt and student loans are just “washed” and everything just becomes a 50/50. So you may not be liable for the CC debt, but at some point, your partner will be using your money (income is shared) to pay down the debt. It’s not like that money is recoverable in some shape or form unless you divorce very early (couple of years) or the debt was very significant.

    Legally, you’re correct, but you also can’t run things like CC debt outside of a marriage for an extended period. At some point I’ll be using shared funds (my salary is your salary) to pay down the debt, so at some point it basically becomes “ours”.

  48. @Jean, maybe you can talk your husband into dividing your personal fun money and the grocery money into two separate parts of the budget. That may allow you to feel more control over things. My husband and I (no children) spend $200/mo. on groceries and each of us gets $50 of “fun money.” But that’s just us. Both of you need to sit down and agree on the budget and understand your financial goals, not just him doing it and you’re subject to whatever he decides. Your vote needs to count in your budget and your marriage or you’ll likely continue to be unhappy.

  49. @MVP, Sorry but in California, as long as I keep my rental properties out of the commingled funds and never have anything in her name or have her manage/sign for it, it’s not considered her property. An increase in the property value can be claimed by her should we divorce but the property – as long as I’m judicious – is considered mine until i commingle it.

    We don’t divide gas, car repairs, student loans or car payments as those aren’t household expenses. those are personal expenses unrelated to the house. She drives 5 miles roundtrip to work. Splitting our gas would make no sense as I use 6 times more gas per day than she does. Likewise, my cars are always more expensive than hers and I wouldn’t dare ask her to support my car habit.

    As long as we’re paying the bills and saving together, I don’t see the harm in each of us keeping 3k a month in a separate account.

    The best part, we don’t have the Jean thing. Nobody says boo about what’s spent as it’s a personal choice. She wants to get $200 boots, go ahead. If I want a PS3, I buy it.

  50. @bgdc, Sounds like you have it pretty well mapped out, so I will wish you luck. It is interesting to see how diverse the approaches are here in this thread, and I guess that is a testament to how different and diverse people’s relationships are overall.

    I’m sticking with my approach because it works for me and my wife, and it seems like most folks in here are doing the same in sticking with a working approach, but if/when I find the approach that we’re using is not working, I know to come here for a bunch of other good ideas.


  51. @Jean, I agree with Gates VP’s tongue-in-cheek suggestion. Since you don’t have kids to feed (which would negate the possibility of what I’m about to suggest), and since studies have shown that the human body can survive for up to 25 days without solid food, and assuming you think standing up to your husband is a possibility (i.e., he is not physically abusive, or prone to rage) then I suggest you simply stop buying groceries with your allowance. Or better yet, buy only food that you like.

    If the situation is such that even doing what I suggest would uleash some very bad repercussions then, honestly — and please don’t take advice from some anonymous Joe like me on the internet and act upon it — but it seems like there may be deeper issues that you need to confront, beyond the tight allowance thing. Someone closer to the situation or trained to counsel in such matters may be best. I wish you luck and blessings.


  52. We decided on a solution! After reading the ideas on this blog, I presented my idea to him. He thought it was a great idea and was on board right away! We decided that the $125 I get every 2 weeks will be MY ‘fun money’. It’s basically for me for shopping, pedicures, clothes, treats ($4 lattes ;-), or whatever I want. The food groceries and household items groceries are no longer included in my allowance. And HE will do the grocery shopping. I’ll give him a list of the stuff I need to cook with. He has a better eye for spotting the good deals, and for using coupons. Also now he will see how much groceries actually cost. We’re gonna try this out starting next pay period. I think this time this is actually going to work. Wish us luck!

  53. Sounds like a good compromise for you. Good luck, jean! 😀

  54. My husband and I have a budget for all expenses/savings and also an equal amount of spending/fun money per week ($40), like many of the readers posted here (we also have nearly identical salaries, although I was the primary breadwinner the last 7 years until his last promotion). This system works well for us.

    My question is, there is still some question about what constitutes household expenses and what are our individual hobbies. For example, if I want something nice as a decoration for the house – a painting, or fresh flowers for the table, or holiday decorations, or new linens/beding or towels, currently there is no budget for that (they are not a budgeted monthly expense), therefore, I end up paying for these items out of my “fun money.” Same goes for all the gardening supplies. The plants, pots, dirt, fertilizer, etc. – all comes out of my money, even though these things make our house a home, and make it comfortable for entertaining and aesthetically pleasing (and possibly a higher value when it comes time to sell). So, is this typical for other families? Do household items that are purely aesthetic come out of individual pockets? Thanks –

  55. It certainly makes sense to make a budget for “home improvement”. I’ve spent thousands on home improvement in the last year and it certainly didn’t come out of my fun money.

  56. I just googled “adult allowance” and found this site. I am considering proposing an allowance to my wife… We would each get a set amount for clothes, restaurant meals, entertainment, gifts, and other personal choice items each month. The reason I have come to this decision is that we are living in such a consumptive lifestyle that I don’t know what else to do.

    Althought I earn more, my thought is for her to have a larger “allowance”. She must dress better than me at work and I am much more frugal than she is and can make my money go farther.

    My thought is to deposit all income into our existing joint account. Pay our savings and giving first, transfer our “allowance” into seperate accounts and leave a balance adequate to cover monthly household bills.

    My fear is that she will see this as controllling or forceful. I am very focused on trying to shift our consumption habits into savings and investment. We currently spend nearly everything we earn and we invest very little in our future. We are well into the six figures on an annual basis, but at the end of the month, there is nothing left.

    To make this change will require a major lifestyle shift as we are probably overextended on our mortgage and car pymts. I just do not want to continue living like this… I want to give (tithe) and invest first, then pay bills, then live on what is left for above listed optional items. I don’t know how to go about getting where I want to get and the allowance is one idea that I have come up with.

    Any comments, suggestions are welcome.

  57. Tom, a change is certainly needed. You should probably just sit down with your wife and discuss your financial goals and what you need to do it. Hopefully she will agree. You can also give her the other option of having no allowance because you’re in too much debt to buy new things.

  58. Hey Tom;

    Welcome to the greatest boards in town 🙂

    Mike has hit Step 1 perfectly! In corporate-speak: you need stakeholder buy-in. Of course, the usual caveats apply, it’s not easy, people commonly don’t actually have financial goals which usually ends up being the source of the trouble.

    So write everything down, all of the account balances, the bills, the salaries all of the incoming & outgoing monies. Next write down your financial goalsl and ask what she thinks. Write down her thoughts, but don’t try to fix anything right away, just let her talk about what she wants. Give her a few days or even a full week and talk about it some more (and write some more). Deciding on financial goals is a big deal, so people need some time to figure stuff out. You’ve probably had this panic-bug going for quite some time, but she probably hasn’t, so allow for some adjustment time.

    You can bring up the “allowance idea” and ask for other options, but patience is key, b/c what you’re asking for involves lots of change. Once you’ve figured out what you both want, then you can figure out how to get there and you can work your way out from there. My personal suggestion is to do most of this stuff in writing so that you can see numbers. Whatever route you’re going, it’s easiest to have “buy-in” if you both agree on the numbers first.

    Please realize that the #1 benefit to the “adult allowance” is to mitigate issues of how the money is spent, it helps remove the “guilt complex” associated with “spending the other person’s money”. It’s not a good way to “budget”, it’s just way of organizing the “extra” spending. It’s like a “minor money shift” b/c we’re not talking big bucks here.

    Tom, your problems seem to run much deeper than just “money guilt”. Start with major shifts first and solve the big problems one or two at a time. You fear being “controlling” or “forceful” but at some point you’re just going to bottle that up and become angry/depressed instead. So try to change “controlling” to “empowering” and “forceful” to “guiding”. If you’re overstretched on both the car and the house you probably have some serious lifestyle changes to make and with this will come with some serious life re-evaluations.

    This site is full of money-saving tips and ideas, but there’s also a lot out there about “money and life”. You can’t just “retire” you have to “retire to something”, you don’t just wake up on your 65th birthday with a cigar, a housecoat and 25 years of crossword puzzles ahead of you. Start by figuring out what you want to do when you “retire” and what you want to on a day-to-day basis. See if they don’t cross over a little. Find the stuff that makes you happy, the things that thrill you (& your wife), the things that make your life better.

    Money is just a tool to get you the things that you want, but you first need to know what you want 🙂 You’re starting a long journey, good luck.

  59. I love budgets/allowances because physically implementing them not only helps us to save money, but also to understand the me-you-we aspect of family/money/home life, etc.


    Amen to the comment about the wife needing to spend more. This isn’t always the case, but I have found that we can dress my husband quite nicely, and get him monthly haircuts, for less than what it costs to dress me to the same standard, and get my haircut only every four months.


    My advice to you was going to be to have your husband do the grocery shopping so I was glad to read your updated comment. Some people simply do not know what it costs to feed a family, (even of two). My husband has the reverse problem; he only buys brand name and does not look for sales. Though I love him to pieces, I try and never let him do the grocery shopping or we’d go broke.

  60. In my marriage, an ‘adult allowance’ is absolutely essential to marital bliss. We both buy things the other would never spend money on, and neither of us needs to worry about it.

    However, had I called it an “allowance,” it never would have worked! We just drew up budgets, and they included a flat amount we direct-deposit to our respective personal bank accounts. This way, it is very easy to spend or save without worrying about what the other will think.

  61. I’ve never understood why getting married makes all the money belong to both people. I say you get your own account, she gets her own account and then you put monies in together for all your joint expenses. What you do with the rest of YOUR money is your business.

    If one person earns significantly more than the other then a negotiation can be made where the person who earns more contributes proportionally more to the joint purchase.

  62. When a man and wife are married, they become one. Oneness or “us” is the very essence of marriage and to divide your assets proportionalty makes no sense and does not honor marriage.

    Taking an allowance has helped us immensely. We each now have a discretionary amount of our income to spend as we see fit and there is no debate/argument over it.

    If you see your finances seperate from that of your spouse, how can you are essentially being selfish. Sure this post will piss some off, but I urge you to do a self evaluation and ask yourself why you are so focused on “your” money. “Two will become one”

  63. Herm:I’ve never understood why getting married makes all the money belong to both people.

    B/c that’s what the law states.

    And really, the whole point of marriage is that you are “in this together”. If one partner wants to go back to school you don’t just merrily go along spending your money while letting them scrape by to pay their share of the bills.

  64. As a former employee of a bank, I found that many couples used 3 accounts between them – one for combined expenses and one for each persons singular expenses. You can either keep your incomes separate and add funds to the Combined account, or keep your incomes in the Combined one and give an “allowance” for each person’s individual account.

    This is a good strategy because if two people are drawing funds from one account, eventually mistakes can happen due to pending debit authorizations and purchases that clear slowly. I heard a lot of complaining about things like: “He didn’t tell me he bought gas with that account!”. It can be very difficult to keep track of all of the purchases between two people.

  65. I came across this site and am struggling with this issue. I make over 6 figures, and my wife control most of the bills and such. If it was up to her, I would have no “allowance”‘; she thinks everything is a waste. “Why would you spend $5 on a book? Go to the library. Why would you drive to the library and use gas? Ride a bike. Why would you eat out? Carry a backpack of food from home. Don’t make a full pot of coffee, we are using up coffee too fast.” Seriously, I understand being frugal, but WTF? Of course, if I was to ask her not to buy the expensive cereal she likes, I would hear no end to it. Right now, I am the main breadwinner and I put about 95% of my paycheck into that account, which covers everything, except my discretionary spending. I think is very reasonable, and she does not. It may sound silly, but that 5% makes me feel like I have some control and security, as well as the ability to enjoy a soda without being made to feel guilty about it. I really am losing my mind on this one – it’s not like we can’t afford it. In the end, I just think I married the wrong person, but I have kids and will stick it out. Advice to women – think about how “allowances” emasculate your husband. He might not say it, but he does feel it.

  66. I’m reading these post about adult allowances vrs keeping everything separated except a special account for joint bills. After being married for over 20 years, this is what I have to say.
    Keeping everything separate with a mutual “bill paying” account works fine until you have kids or someone loses their job or both. We did this until I realiszed that all of my extra money was going to pay for childcare for our children so that I could make money to pay for my half of our bills. More then one working mother has found herself in that position, I’ve asked around. After all we both have to work, they are our kids, why is only one person paying for it?

    The allowances thing works because mom’s are real bad about putting themselves in the family budget. You find yourself asking if its ok to get the 5$ shampoo on sale for 3$ that makes your hair feel like silk just for yourself instead of the dollar brand that everybody gets to use if you don’t.

    I will admit that I usually spent most of my allowance on things for my husband and my kids but having the option to blow it on myself if I choose was nice . What I hate about allowances is that it seams that if I save it, it somehow becomes family money again and its always the first thing to be cut before cable, internet, after school sports, the weekly six pack,etc. I’ve run into a lot of other mothers in that same position also.

    I talked to my mother about this a few years ago and this is what she said.
    Because people consider different things important, adults need to have their own little bit of money. What I should do is take out my little 40$ a week allowance and put it in a jar until I have enough to open a little bank account. If I am able to save extra on the food bill by using coupons, etc., have the casher give you the difference in cash back, even if its just a dollar. Put that dollar in your little account, you earned it. Save that money for fun stuff and for real emergencies, don’t let someone else choice become your emergency. I did this and was very happy until my husband started to count on me having a little money saved away in “his” budget or the family budget for “emergencies”. My allowance started to be what paid for our nights out and vacations even though this stuff and other things were supposed to be budgeted for.

    So now I’m back to taking my allowance and putting it in another hidden bank account but because of the economy, its dropped to $20 a week.

    I hate being sneaky but having to explain needing to spend 80 bucks to get my hair done by a pro once a year compared to his monthly 10$ haircuts plus tip, paying extra for double blade razors for me when he likes single blade razors for himself, even to getting two 3 pack of panties for 8 dollars that I like vrs. the 7 pack for 8 dollars. I either have to explain everything ( some panties are just don’t fit right) or listen to him explain “that because mommy blew the money on herself”, we can’t do whatever.

    I think I just about have him believing that I’m blowing my money the day I get it and that I’m broke, I don’t even keep more than 5 bucks in my wallet anymore for emergency gas. Funny thing, he’s ok with that but not with me save up a couple hundred in the bank on my own. Go figure?

  67. I am separated, in a new relationship with a man that makes very inconsistent income. I have 2 kids in their early teens & make most of the money.

    In my last relationship, I gave up control to my ex, which proved a nightmare when we split. I had absolutely no idea what kind of trouble we were in, & instead of coming out of the marriage with money from the sale of our home, I was in debt. This experience has made me flip from having an airy-fairy attitude to money to one that is now hell bent on responsibility.

    I also googled “adult allowance” because I also need to figure out how I can have some discretionary spending money so that I don’t feel like I am working my butt off, saving for the future, but also feeling sorry for myself because I can’t buy clothes!!

    I LOVED Flyod’s response, because it dealt not just with adult allowance, but also family fun money. Coming into a relationship with someone with no kids, I started realizing the need for that balance too. I think it would be great to have an envelope in the house with money that the kids can pull out after we have discussed how we are going to spend it. It would teach them some financial responsibility but also empower them to acknowledge their part in our family goals. My kids know that I am trying to pull myself out of debt so that we can own a home again soon.

    Also, wanted to let those of you who are “learning” how to take care of money that I have found great joy in a site called Buxfer. I almost exclusively use debit cards, & I love the fact that I can tag all of my expenses & see it all in a pie chart… a visual picture of where my money has gone. I can also set budgets & it notifies me when I go over via email. This would be even better for those of you in the US as I believe you don’t need to download your statements, it does it automatically. It’s free & definitely worth checking out. (

    Will definitely propose the 3 account option tonight!
    Thanks for the article & comments back… you guys all made me feel better!!

  68. Be VERY careful in this one. Adult allowance has been identified as domestic violence. If you implement it and the marriage falls apart, the one who suggested it may be challenged in court.

  69. Interesting to read these posts over the years since I first posted. We have been successfully using this system for years and can’t imagine going back. I tend to be a saver and my wife a spender and we find this system gives us both the freedom to be ourselves without criticism from the other. She does tend to bend the rules a lot more, but overall is pretty good. Much clearer boundaries than just a joint account.

    A couple of comments/points – the term allowance is not derogatory unless dictated by one spouse, if agreed upon by both, no problem.

    I am totally against allowance being a percentage of earnings – consider his money his and her hers is a recipe for trouble. Once married, you are “one” and anything that works against this is going to cause trouble.

    I think each spouse should get an equal amount unless mutually agreed upon. For some time, I offered for my wife to get more allowance as her expenses were higher – cost more for wardrobe, hair, etc…

    We use our allowance for most discretionary spending including entertainment, family and individual, clothing, personal toys and hobbies, restaurant meals. So, we have to work together on family dining, etc.. Yes I pick up more than my share because I am more frugal but I don’t mind one bit.

    Finally, in regard to the “divorce” issue, I just refuse to live my life out of fear of what “might happen”. I don’t plan to ever get divorced but if I did, I will deal with that when it happens, not before. You ever think about how 95% of what you worry about and prepare for never happens? Other crap happens, but not the crap you were anxious about.

    Out – T

  70. I read all of the posts and I am pleased to see that most people are on board for the “adult allowance”. I set up budgets for others, and I do not believe a budget will work for long if there is not an allowance (fun money, mad money, WAM, whatever) specified for each person to do what they want with absolutely no input from the other person. And, yes, it should be equal amounts for each.

    Before my husband and I married (8 years into our relationship), we spent money as we chose, as his was his and mine was mine, and we split the household bills equally. When we finally decided to marry, the first step was to get all of the bills in one place. His bills consisted of auto loans (2), ATV loans (3) and CCs (which just kept coming!!! to the tune of 15 with at least 5 maxed out). I designed a budget, and most especially because of the toxic debt, set us both up with an allowance.

    This has served us especially well…he spends his on things that make no sense to me, and I use mine for things that make no sense to him. Neither of us has a problem with the other’s expenditures. In the first 2 years of marriage, despite my being laid off, we paid off $48,000 in debt and managed to save 3 mos expenditures in an EF.

    We are now debt free except for our mortgage (which should be paid off w/in 5 years), and will consider raising our allowance (probably won’t, because we like to see the excess in our savings, and/or will add to mtg pmts). And…we want for nothing!

    We do not use our allowance for gas, car maintenance, clothes, haircuts, house purchases, gifts and more. Those come out of the house expense account, as it is necessary to have transportation to work/school and clothes/haircuts are usually part of work expenses. Our allowance is strictly “selfish” money, and keeps us from feeling deprived.

    We LOVE having our allowances, and it is especially nice to see that our overall financial picture improves almost monthly…due in large part, I am sure, to not “borrowing” from house funds for “selfish, personal” expenditures. Regardless of how much money we have in the future, we will NEVER give up our allowances…only the amounts may change.

  71. @BeCareful: can you back this information up with any formal links indicating this is the case? Maybe some public case documents?

    Otherwise it sounds like you’re just fear-mongering.

  72. Gates VP, you are very naive. If you don’t know something, it doesn’t mean someone else is fear-mongering. It just means you call names instead of look up information yourself. So here’s one, but you can find a whole bunch with just a quick Google search if your Internet connection has that.

    So I repeat: Be careful on this one. Just because you agreed together doesn’t mean that in the midst of a divorce it didn’t become YOUR idea to hold her down.

    Law site:

    9. Economic abuse is a form of domestic violence. This can include preventing someone from getting, keeping, or leaving a job, damaging someone’s credit rating, making a spouse ask for money, destroying checkbooks, credit cards, money or property, giving a spouse an allowance.

  73. I’ve tried to give you a plethora of links, but the site sees it as spamming and won’t let me post. So, I’ll only give one more that seems to be the reality, not “fear-mongering.” 🙁

    Enjoy the read, and I do hope that you are on board with vigilance in whatever you decide to do, especially based on the link below, if you are a male.

    The tell-tale prosecutors office site that only indicates women as victims and men as abusers (classic):


    Preventing her from getting or keeping a job
    Making her ask for money
    Giving her an allowance
    Taking her money
    Not letting her know about or have access to family income
    Not allowing her a voice in important financial decisions
    Demanding exclusive control over household finances.

  74. @BeCareful:

    Both links you provided list the same basic laundry list. Both links come from sites that sell and advertise legal services. This is very different from an actual ruling indicating that the mutual agreement on an allowance was the deciding factor in a judgment.

    In both links they use the term “Giving them an allowance”. This is obviously different, from “suggesting an allowance” or “agreeing upon an allowance”.

    Here’s another link to a similar “laundry list”.

    In none of these cases did you point to an actual judgment where the agreement of an allowance was the deciding factor. In fact the link I provided even makes the following caution:

    For some people, a spouse with a spending problem may require this tight control over their finances. This can make it seem like there is financial abuse when it is actually a method to regulate spending.

    In both cases the links you provided included a very long list of other possible forms of spousal abuse. The lists include far more grave things like taking money, denying access to family financial information, demanding control over finances, damaging someone’s credit rating…

    Given the large number of testimonies from people on this board and many, many others, in praise of adult allowances, it would seem that adult allowances are a reasonable way to actually prevent domestic abuse.

    So to summarize:
    Gates VP: “adult allowances” are a good way to reduce domestic strife.
    BeCareful: “adult allowances” may be construed as a form of domestic abuse.

    Obviously we’re on different ends of this argument, but it’s pretty clear that many people are implementing “adult allowance” as a means to reduce domestic abuse.

  75. “This is very different from an actual ruling indicating that the mutual agreement on an allowance was the deciding factor in a judgment.”

    True, but why do you think it is on those sites? And if you do check out DV sites, it is listed on every one of them. Why? Because it is easy to claim you didn’t agree to it, or that you agreed because you thought he’d get mad if you didn’t.

    Either way, if you are going to do an allowance system, get it on paper and legally certified that it was a joint decision, so there is no legal standing for the claim.

    It is not clear that implementing “adult allowance” reduces domestic abuse (or claims thereof). I would see that as a huge step in the wrong direction of logic to think one could solve domestic abuse by using a tactic defined as domestic abuse.

    At the beginning, all would seem right with the world. But in the middle of a divorce, an attorney (and there are few honest ones) will ask, “Did he give you an allowance?” And from there you go on a wild, wild ride of claims and allegations.

    All I’m saying is go into it with your eyes wide open and don’t think for a minute a sleazy court system won’t redefine your intentions.

  76. What about budgets? If you were to say “We can only spend $XXX on food per month” as a budget, would the courts hold it against you? Hopefully they should applaud you for being a financially conscious citizen. When we say “allowance”, what we really mean is a budget. What we are really doing is is essentially a budget for unplanned expenses. Allowance is really something you give your kids.

    Wikipedia defines allowance as “[…]one person who has the authority to decide what to spend it on (that is, who has “the power of the purse”) allowing another person to have some (for whatever reason) is often referred to as an allowance.”. Since these personal budgets are mutually agreed upon, they aren’t allowances. I suppose law makers love getting caught up in the nuances of the english language so call it what it is, a budget.

  77. I agree Mike…a budget works. By throwing around “allowance” like the article does, it puts the average Joe in harm’s way. They do and WILL use the definition of “Allowance” if the claim is being made.

    If you unfortunately believe it was a good thing, by reading articles like this, and you actually use the term yourself, you have ultimately placed domestic abuse on the table; when in reality, it was just a budget.

    Always protect yourself. There are too many attorneys out there getting paid a lot of money to work the system…and the system is bound by it’s own inequity.

  78. Kristin Brann says

    I think the point about using the term allowance might be a valid one, but having INDIVIDUAL fun money (as well as joint fun money) built into the budget is a good idea. If your spouse is a spender, having separate accounts (I do think 3 accounts – 1 joint, 2 individuals) is a great idea for multiple reasons. The whole underlying issue hear is keeping spending in check and trying to be fair. What you call it shouldn’t be causing problems, and concerns about what will happen in case of divorce definitely suggest that money is not the only place (maybe priorities?) where you have issues if you believe this is so vital.

    My husband and I have had separate accounts for spending, though I have a harder time spending money on myself and with the fact that he is very generous in his gifts. (I’d rather spend the money on things for the family.) This is why I have every intention of us getting back there soon. One person having sole control and awareness of the family’s finances is unhealthy for BOTH, I believe, as we are not the only family I know where bankruptcy provided a wake-up call for one spouse.

    Are we examples, or role models? Absolutely not. However, in 16 years, we have navigated some tough choices: foreclosure or our family, bankruptcy or my sanity. What it has forced us to do is to take a closer look at what we were doing wrong or right and make MAJOR changes. Being aware of your budget and how to make sure it provides structure for your life, and communicating about why it is important in goal-setting for your JOINT future is important in any family, I think.

  79. BeCareful says

    “What you call it shouldn’t be causing problems, and concerns about what will happen in case of divorce definitely suggest that money is not the only place (maybe priorities?) where you have issues if you believe this is so vital.”

    With 50% of marriages ending in divorce, and most divorces being filed primarily by the person who doesn’t earn the money, you have a 1 in 2 chance of needing to worry about it. No matter what the issues, it only takes one to decide to leave and take with them every piece of possible trash they give to an attorney to bring up in court. While I don’t have to deal with this, I firmly believe ANYONE who enters into a marriage without protecting themselves is foolish. If you marry for love, fine…but remember, it just takes one day to destroy everything you’ve worked for. And if you you do ANYTHING, including giving an “allowance,” even if it is $30,000 a month, it will be used against you…maybe even forcing you to continue the “allowance” citing the allowance itself as the reason for needing the allowance.

    It is a crazy, mixed up system. With a 50/50 chance of success, EVERYONE, please protect yourself. Well-meaning articles and comments will not save you from one who uses the legal system to their advantage. If they love you, they will agree to a pre-nup. It is not the other way around. Yes, there are many issues beyond the word “allowance”…but you HAVE to protect yourself. No one will be protecting you later.

    Don’t get married and you don’t have to worry about a really, really, really bad, bad, bad contract.

  80. Kristin Brann says

    BeCareful, while divorce may be a reality to consider, it sounds like trust issues are more of an issue here. The courts provide an objective forum for settling what are very often extremely emotional disputes. I don’t think you necessarily have to have your budget approved by a lawyer, but treating each other fairly is a necessity.

    If one partner DOES have significant assets, then a pre-nup may be a good idea. If you are 20 years old and neither has much to their names, it is a waste of time and money. If your partner does object to a pre-nup, it does definitely open up a dialogue – which is vital. By the time a couple divorces, there are usually a lot of discussions they haven’t had: vilifying one spouse is overly simplistic.

    I know a man who definitely suffered from economic abuse who was just glad to be rid of the offending wife and who did ultimately rebuild his credit rating. (Ironically, she WAS the stay-at-home wife, but managed to do plenty of damage before she left.) The gender-slanted version you found is pretty offensive, of course, but often the men were the ones who are working and handling the finances when the women stay home. The reality is that, as more women are making more money, that is changing. (His second wife makes more than he does and encourages him to handle his money responsibly. Can we say lessons learned?)

    Every couple and every situation is different. Reading the comments and this column is not going to solve anyone’s problems and does not replace legal advice where it is warranted. If you don’t want to get married, don’t get married. The marriage contract is not nearly as much the problem as knowing who the other party is. (If love leaves you blinded to the lies they have been telling, then you my be in for a bumpy ride…) Considering both parties in a marriage is more likely to prevent having to consider both parties in a divorce. Financial issues are often not the root cause of problems: attitudes are. Recognizing this can make a big difference.

  81. My husband and I have an allowance $50/week his goes to beer and cigarettes
    I do not smoke and rarely drink. My question is why is it Ok fro him to believe that this amount covers those things, but fishing stuff, whatever ( tho nothing extragant) should come out of the hosuehold money and I should just be happy I have my money in my pocket. It is nothing major and but it irks me and I feel like a shrew fro being upset. Am I wrong?

  82. My husband and I use this concept. He doesn´t like to buy things for himself much so I feel guilty getting something for me that we don´t absolutely need. So we made a plan that I can have $100. a month to spend on clothes or makeup, something for the house, etc and I don´t feel guilty about buying it. 🙂 Before that I went years after we were first married not buying any clothes or lipstick, but the allowance makes me feel free to do it and I don´t have to explain what I bought and I can be more careful as I have a budget. We are both relatively cheap and having this is very helpful.

  83. How else would you do it? If I’m married I can just go into the account anytime and spend $500 on clothes even though they might leave us short of money to pay rent or buy groceries? How would you manage? There have to be limits or we’d be pulling out money anytime we feel like it. Budgets need to be made and followed and that includes money that each partner gets to spend freely on himself or herself.

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