Married With An Allowance

Dec 27, 2012 Comments Off by

Everyone has their own values when it comes to marriage. Some decide to share expenses and the remainder of each spouse’s paycheck is their own. Others share all income or none at all. Marriage and finances are a very personal strategy and not one strategy fit all marriages. Regardless of how finances are handled, it is important to choose a strategy that leaves no resentment to either spouse regardless of the income disparity and one where both spouses agree on the budget.

My sister-in-law was quite surprised that we were on an allowance system since we got married. If she spends below her means every month, you could make the same claim that she is on an allowance due to the fact that her discretionary expenses is restricted by her income and needs.

Goldeneer Values

Marriage to us means that all of our income goes to the greater good of our family first, and ourselves second. As a result, we now have common goals of living a frugal lifestyle and aggressively repaying our mortgage. Our fun money to live life comes second and is balanced with our other priorities. Our discretionary expenses is to cover everything that isn’t in our budget so that we can live below our means.

Income Disparity

The breadwinner title has fluctuated between the two of us over the years. We don’t care who holds the title because a greater income is beneficial to us both. Now that we are married and put our family first, we want to ensure there is no resentment and therefore no discretionary spending disparity. Mr. Cannes will soon be retiring this year as a result of us having significant rental income to cover our needs. He would resent me if I spent all of my salary on what I wanted while he could no longer use his lavish salary at his discretion. As a result we each get an allowance of $500/mo to spend however we want without judgment from each other. Our allowance amount is based on our current income and expenses. This amount will change in the future as our circumstances change

Allowance Use

Our allowance is used for gifts, vacations, clothes, personal care and most importantly unexpected expenses. We don’t need to spend it all and can choose to save/invest it if we really want to. I generally use it up every month even though my frugal habits means that I buy my clothes used and eat mostly home cooked meals. The unexpected expenses eat up a great deal of my allowance. For example, this year I was on a frugal canoe trip where a borrowed canoe got stolen which resulted in paying $500 for my share of the replacement value. Being a brides maid for my friend’s wedding will cost me over $500 once I include the costs for the brides maid dress, matching shoes, hotel, bridal shower gift, wedding gift etc. Going for a vacation will easily cost me 2-3 month’s worth of my allowance. Shoes and coats are not items I can generally get  used therefore I need to buy new.

What I like most about the allowance system is that it allows us to have equal cash for unplanned expenses at the compromise of our wants while still living below our means.

In your relationship, how do you handle your finances when it comes to discretionary income?

Frugality, Goldeneer's Story, Lifestyle, Strategy

About the author

Clara Cannes, the chief author from Goldeneer is a Canadian that works as a full time employee in the engineering field. Her passion is real estate, entrepreneurship and sustainability. Clara has finally reached financial independence in her late 20's and is on the path to a comfortable retirement by 35.
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