Avoid Marital Money Conflicts: Give Each Other an Allowance

by Kevin on September 7, 2013

Money is the cause of such hardship and strife within marriages that it astounds me.

You’re telling me people argue about two things, sex and money, and that’s it?

They say money is the root of all evil, but is that really true? Can’t we use money for good? Can’t it be managed well and shared with joy?

Couples argue about money because they aren’t on the same page. That leads to spending money behind each other’s back, spending too much money, or some other self-inflicted financial wound.

Today I thought I’d share a much different story when it comes to marriage finances from my own life. What can you learn from a quick story? Let’s find out.

The Secret Power of an Allowance

Think back with me to a time long, long ago.

A time with chores.

A time with recess.

A time when leaves needed raking and garages needed spring cleaning.

A time with… an allowance.

Not every family gives an allowance, and the ones that do have different methods. Some give an allowance just for being part of the family and to teach financial lessons. Others give an allowance as payment for chores completed or for chores completed above and beyond what is expected to be part of the family.

Would you believe my wife and I each get a monthly allowance?

In having an allowance we’ve discovered a big secret: we are on the same page with the rest of our money, but with our allowances we can each do whatever we feel like doing with the money.

That means I can buy computer games and car parts while she buys shoes or massages. I can’t argue and be upset if she uses her money to buy something I don’t value; likewise my purchases are not up for review.

It… works. Amazingly simple concept that really works for us.

How Our Allowance Works

It’s a percentage of our total family income for that month. We each get the same amount.┬áIt would be unfair for me to get a higher cut just because I work in a job with higher wages (or while she is on maternity leave!).

At the end of the month when we are redoing the budget we take the current month’s income and a percentage goes into our individual “accounts” on the spreadsheet. That money is to be spent in the next month or rolled over into the month after.

Again, it is really simple yet really effective.

The Problem Allowances Solve in Marriage Finance

The problem in marriage finance stems from not being on the same page. But even if you are on the same page it can feel trapping to constantly have someone eyeing that latte you just purchased, wondering what impact it is going to have on the budget.

That’s what an allowance solves — it gives each person some freedom and independence to do whatever they want with the money without having to ask permission for it.

Would you ever consider giving your spouse an allowance?

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