The One Financial Account You NEED As A Couple
I love shopping.
There’s something about spending a few hours at the mall or my local TJ Maxx or Marshalls that always makes me happy.
But nothing irks me more than hearing the following words…
“How much did you spend?”
It instantly kills my mood because I HATE being questioned about my spending habits. I work hard for this money! I should be able to spend it how I please.
As much as I love shopping, I also sometimes struggle with guilt about spending money when I could have been saving it instead. Ugh.
Today, I’m going to show you a simple way to spend as much money as you want without upsetting your partner or feeling guilty ever again.
Without further ado, please welcome –
The Discretionary Spending Account
During our pre-marital counseling, DJ and I took a relationship inventory that was designed to assess the areas in which we harmonized in and the areas in which we could potentially have trouble. Like most couples, finances was one of the areas the inventory predicted could be a potential issue for us.
When we discussed finances in our counseling sessions, one of the best pieces of advice our pastor gave us was to create individual bank accounts for ourselves that we could use to spend on whatever we wanted, guilt free.
He recommended 5% of our monthly income to be placed into a Discretionary Spending Account for each person.
The 5% is designed to be completely separate from any normal, monthly expenses including food, rent, utilities, gas, insurance, etc.
It’s completely up to you to decide how you’d like to spend that money and your partner has absolutely no say in how you spend it!
If you’re anything like me, you’re spending it on makeup, clothing, and shoes! If you’re anything like DJ, you’re spending it on Air Max 90s, books, and video games.
Once again, this 5% is a separate, but distinct part of your monthly budget. In other words, if you already have $250/month set aside for new clothing each month, your 5% could also go to clothing or anything else you want!
Now, you don’t have to choose 5% of your paycheck. It could be 2% or even 10%.
That’s a decision you’ll make with your partner. Regardless, the money should be deposited directly into a personal account that you have access to at all times.
We recommend opening up a checkings account with no minimums or fees so that your money isn’t eaten up by corporate banks that have way less need for your money than you do.
So here’s how you set it up.
If you get paid by direct deposit, this will be easy.
Just ask your HR department for a form to delegate exactly how much money you want sent to your primary (or joint) account and your discretionary one.
Sit back, relax, and let the dollars roll in.
If you don’t get paid by direct deposit, you’ll have to transfer the amount over from your primary account once a month (or however often you’d like).
However, most online banks have the ability to create automatic transfers, so this shouldn’t be too difficult either! Just pick either the percentage or set amount you’d like transferred and let the magic of automation do the rest of the work.
There are two ways this method can be approached. I’ll use 5% as an example for easy math.
The first is to take 5% of each person’s income and direct it into their respective accounts.
For example, Isaiah makes $4,000 dollars a month, so he gets $200 deposited into his account each month. Emma, on the other hand, makes $6,000 a month, so she gets $300 to spend on whatever she wants each month.
This method takes into account how much each person earns, and distributes the money accordingly.
The next method is a little different.
The second method is to take the total amount of income brought into the household each month, and direct 5% of it into each person’s account.
So for Emma and Isaiah, since they bring in a total income of $10,000 per month, 5% of the total is split evenly, and each receives $250 in their account per month.
The couple could also decide to take 10% of their combined income, split it evenly, and each walk away with 5% or $500 in their respective accounts.
It is completely up to you and your partner to decide how much to take from each person’s paycheck.
You should also decide whether to calculate the discretionary income as a percentage from each individual’s income or from the combined income brought in from the both of you.
The two reasons we love this idea is because 1) it allows you to spend what you want on whatever you want and 2) because it creates a boundary on how much you can spend per month.
As for DJ and I, our salaries have always been roughly the same, so we’ve always had about the same amount deposited into our personal accounts.
And in case you’re wondering…yes, we still have credit card debt, and no, we’re not putting 5% of anything into our personal accounts at this moment.
We’ve decided we don’t need to be spending any type of discretionary income until we pay off all of our credit card debt.
And there you have it, folks! The answer to guilt free spending is easy
Simply decide on a set percentage with your partner, set up a personal account for each person along with direct deposits/transfers, and then shop (or save!) to your heart’s content!
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