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Finances and Partner Conflict

When Jillian and her husband first got together, managing finances was difficult. They struggled to be on the same page and argued about finances quite a bit. The solution they came up with? Fun money accounts!

They set up a fun money account for each person and transferred designated money to each account every month. That way, each person got to choose what they wanted to do with their leisure money without conflicts. Jillian and her husband still continue with this 15 years later.

Fun money accounts are super beneficial for several reasons. First, they greatly simplify your budget. 

“You don’t have to track 50 different categories; so many different items can fit into this one.”

Simplify Your Budget

When they first started budgeting, they had too many categories in the budget. Now, their shared budget includes basic shared expenses, and anything more personal that isn’t a need is designated for the fun money accounts. 

These “fun” accounts also provide each person in the relationship with the opportunity to spend money on the things they personally value and enjoy. 

It also ensures that both people get a fair share. When Jillian and her husband first got married, they had a lot of conflict, because Jillian was naturally more frugal and had different spending goals than her husband did. By designating the same amount to each person, the amount is fair and each person can decide to spend it how they please. 

Jillian also has some rules that she and her husband use with the fun money system. First, one person may need an occasional bonus for special circumstances or events. They also had to come to an agreement as to what counts as personal expenses and what expenses they share. Their last rule is that no judgment is allowed; each person can spend their portion how they please. 

“As individuals, or as couples, it’s up to us to balance the tension between our short term joy and fun, and our long term goals.”

Jillian’s last tip is to understand that the amount you designate may change over time, and to pick a number that gives you a little bit of both—short term joy, and your long term goals.

Here’s a breakdown of the episode:

[00:32] When Jillian and her husband got together, money management was a major point of conflict, so they came up with a solution: fun money accounts. 

[01:22] Each person has a personal checking “fun money” account and debit card, and each person gets a designated portion of money every month that they can spend how they pleased. 

[02:52] When they first started budgeting, Jillian and her husband found that they had far too many categories in their budget. Now, they budget needs and shared expenses together, and any personal leisure categories fall under the fun money accounts. 

[04:03] Fun money accounts have many great benefits: they simplify your budget, they give each person the freedom to spend on the things they value and enjoy, and they ensure each person has a fair share. 

[06:33] Jillian and her husband, after figuring things out with their fun money system, set some rules. Sometimes, someone may need an occasional bonus. They also had to come to an agreement as to what expenses fall under their “fun money” categories. Finally, no judgement is allowed!

[07:48] The amount you set aside for fun money may change over time—it’s all about finding the balance between your long term goals and short term happiness.

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