Looking at Your Spending and Debt

Allowances

Did you get an allowance when you were younger? You may remember carefully rationing to get the most you could out of it. The allowance method works well for many people, and it can be an especially good tool for couples and families. A certain amount of money, agreed on by everyone, is given out to each family member as an allowance. Anyone can spend their allowance any way they want. There's no discussion or argument.

The allowance can include all variable expenses, including clothing, or it can be just lunch money and pocket change. Generally, the more personal variable expenses it includes, the better. And the allowances do not have to be the same. If gas is included in the allowance, for example, and you commute 30 miles to work and your spouse works two miles away, your allowances should be adjusted to reflect that.

If you use this method, any arguments about money should subside. If your spouse wants to eat peanut butter sandwiches for a month to buy a new fishing rod with what's been saved, you are not allowed to object. You have already agreed on this, remember? And if you want to stop buying clothes for six months so that you can spend a weekend playing the slots in Atlantic City, your spouse can't object either. That's the deal.
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