Deciding on Fun Money in a Marriage

Published on Mar 15 2012 // Written By // Finance Life Stages, Personal Finance

Fun money, play money, blow money—whatever you want to call it, it stands for money that you and your spouse get to spend on whatever you want—no questions asked. A lot of couples with tight budgets tend to agree that each spouse should have a little bit of money to do what they please.

Perhaps one spouse prefers to spend money on eating out while the other likes to get manicures and pedicures. These are both wants and not needs. And they can both be detrimental to your budget and your savings goals if not kept in check. So how do you decide how much fun money each spouse gets?

Deciding on a budget with your partner

Once your needs and variable costs are taken out of the equation, such as rent, bills, groceries, gas, car insurance, savings, etc., the leftover amount is what you have to play with. This doesn’t mean if you have $1,000 leftover, you should each get a $500 allowance. If you have $1,000 left over, that means you’ve maxed out your retirement savings and are saving a hefty amount of your paycheck already.

An allowance should be enough to have fun (duh), but not enough to go overboard or be buying flatscreen tvs and shiny new toys every month.

Including your partner on financial decisions

Like every major decision in a couple’s life, financial decisions should be made together. What one spouse can comfortably live off of, perhaps is not enough for the other spouse. Deciding on fun money in a marriage should be a mutual agreement.

And what works for one couple may not necessarily work for another couple. Perhaps one couple may decide to split fun money according to income. This could lead to resentment in the spouse that makes less when they view their significant other spending way more money on items they can’t afford.

On the other hand, if the higher-earning partner has to spend less because of their partner, they might build resentment for having to live a more frugal lifestyle.

Choose what works best for you and don’t base it off what’s working for other people.

Agreeing on fun money rules

Once you both come to a mutual agreement on which each partner is allowed to spend weekly or monthly, then you have to decide on the rules. Is the partner allowed to spend it however they please without complaint from their spouse?

I know my husband loves to spend money on fast food. This just kills me every.single.time. I find fast food to be such a waste because a) it’s unhealthy and but) it’s not a social gathering, it’s just him eating fast food because he’s too lazy to make something at home. If it were once in a while, I could justify it as a craving. Anyway, because our rule is that you’re allowed to spend it however you please, I cannot complain to him about his expenses. So instead I complain to you, hehe.

Fun Money in a Marriage

Fun Money is meant for that—to have fun. Don’t let budgeting and meeting quotas keep you from enjoying the simple pleasures in life. By coming to an agreement over fun money for each spouse, it allows couples to meet their financial goals together without feeling financially suffocated by their partner.



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About

Erika blogs at Newlyweds on a Budget, covering topics relevant to managing finances for newlyweds and young couples. She focuses on frugal living and trying to live a big life on a small budget.

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