Wednesday, September 24, 2014

I Refuse To Be Ashamed Of Good Financial Sense

A recently had a situation where I needed to say to multiple people that before I could commit to spending $150 on an outing, I needed to talk to my husband. I casually mentioned that it was over the $100 limit that I could spend without talking to him about it first.

I received an assortment of reactions. One looked at me with what could only be called pity and said, "You need your husband's permission?"   One got very indignant on my behalf and told me that I should not have to ask permission to spend my own money. He would never put up with that. The third looked confused and asked, "Why would you need to do that?"

Overwhelmingly, their responses suggested that I should feel ashamed by the idea that I could not just write a check for $150.

Except this is not a rule that my husband instituted or that only applies to me. I was an active participant in making of the family rule that neither of us can spend over $100 on something without discussing it with the other.

We each have our own jobs; each make our own money.  We have a joint account that we have regular amounts transferred in to pay bills and the remains belong to each of us individually. This money is ours to do with as we please. The regular transfers account for monthly bills plus extra for savings and the maintenance fund.  If something extreme happens, we may need to transfer some additional funds but otherwise this is our own money.

That does not mean that we should spend it wildly. It does not mean that we should be absolved of all reason or spend it like it is just extra money. The $100 rule means that if either of us starts spending large sums of money, the other is aware of it. It keeps us from having any hidden vices that may surprise the other.   We do not want to treat our money like it is Monopoly money.

Every one needs their own money that they can spend on silly things or things that are only important to them. It is important as an adult to feel like you can make your own financial choices. But we are still part of a couple and money is still an important part of our future and we make the major decisions together. Even if it occasionally means that I have to explain the rule.

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