Do you and your FH/DH have a "spending limit"?

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April2010Bride Posts : 134 Registered: 4/26/09
Do you and your FH/DH have a "spending limit"?
Posted: Feb 9, 2010 10:05 PM

Last week, in one of our pre-marital counseling sessions, the pastor suggested we set a spending limit for ourselves. In doing so, neither one of us could spend over a certain amount on any given item, without first consulting the other. To the pastor, $50.00 seemed like an appropriate value.

Do you and your's have a limit? If so, how much is it?

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SweetSurrender Posts : 130 Registered: 5/14/09
Re: Do you and your FH/DH have a "spending limit"?
Posted: Feb 10, 2010 12:23 PM Go to message in response to: April2010Bride

FH and I do not have an established spending limit, but we are pretty good at openly communicating about our spending habits. For example, FH's new obsession is scouring Amazon for good deals on Bluray movies. He'll call me from work and say, "I found movies X, Y, and Z for $XX.... what do you think?" and then we'll discuss it. We don't do this for every little thing, but I'd say we definitely consult one another if something's $100 or more.

"Love doesn't make the world go 'round.
Love is what makes the ride worthwhile."

Edited by: SweetSurrender on Feb 10, 2010 12:24 PM


bosoxgirl Posts : 231 Registered: 2/3/10
Re: Do you and your FH/DH have a "spending limit"?
Posted: Feb 10, 2010 12:38 PM Go to message in response to: April2010Bride

Since FH and I are not married or engaged, we don't talk to each other about our finances. His money is his money and my money is my money. However, sometimes we want to buy things and we will ask one and other our opinions...But we arent big spenders. My FH is paying down his debt and I am saving.

We keep our date nights pretty low cost. We do dinner out maybe twice a month (at the most). If I see him, we will eat before hand or grab something at his uncles pizza place (my FH does a lot of their computer and cable work so we get food for free)

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ArtBride Posts : 4,838 Registered: 5/9/07
Re: Do you and your FH/DH have a "spending limit"?
Posted: Feb 10, 2010 12:49 PM Go to message in response to: April2010Bride

No, we don't, but that's because of how we manage our finances. We have a joint account that we use for all our bills, both joint living expenses and personal bills, such as student loans. We also have a joint savings account. But we have separate accounts for random spending. Every pay period, we put $100 into each of our individual accounts. We then use those accounts for non-bill spending. Because we each get the same amount of money for random spending, we don't consult one another on how to spend it. He could use it to buy a latte every day, or save it to buy something larger that he wants. What he cannot do, however, is use our 'bill' account to buy the lattes or something larger - neither can I. Nor do either of us touch the savings account without talking to the other one.

Personally, I don't think 'check with each other before making any purchase over $50' is good advice, as five $10 purchases add up to the same amount, and you wouldn't think to check with one another on those. One person making many small, random purchases from a joint account can do just as much damage as another person going on a shopping spree.

If you often make large purchases, that might work well for you. My advice is for both of you to track your spending over a period of a couple months to see where the money is REALLY going. Are you making random $50+ purchases often, or is it $10 expenses that add up? After tracking my own spending, I know that my problem is not large purchases - it's smaller, more frequent ones. I think twice about spending more than $50 or $100 on something, but I don't think anything of paying $10 for lunch, $5 for a new umbrella because I forgot mine and it's raining, etc, etc. When I'm not paying attention to my spending, I trick myself into thinking I'm not spending much, because I don't often make purchases over $50 - but I'm really spending the same amount of money, just in smaller increments. My solution: pay for everything in cash, rather than using my debit card. I find cash inconvenient to procure and carry, so I spend less if I limit myself to paying in cash.

But as far as the 'spending limit' thing goes, we do not do that. I'm sure it works well for many couples, but it's easier for us to budget if we keep our personal spending separate - both from one another and from our 'bill' account. Since it's separate and we both get the same amount for personal spending, we don't discuss purchases with one another. He can buy whatever he wants with his money - and I can do the same with mine.

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April2010Bride Posts : 134 Registered: 4/26/09
Re: Do you and your FH/DH have a "spending limit"?
Posted: Feb 10, 2010 12:59 PM Go to message in response to: ArtBride

I love that concept, Art. It would be fantastic for me because, honestly, I hate consulting anyone about my purchases. I'm more like you, in that I spend small amounts frequently, where FH makes much bigger purchases. He's into wakeboarding, and the accessories needed for that hobby are quite pricey. I would want him to run it by me before buying a $400 board, but I wouldn't care so much about a $20 DVD or a $40 video game. The separate "spending accounts" would take care of that issue, though. I do like it. :)

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bosoxgirl Posts : 231 Registered: 2/3/10
Re: Do you and your FH/DH have a "spending limit"?
Posted: Feb 10, 2010 1:56 PM Go to message in response to: April2010Bride

Read that article. It may help you!





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Edited by: bosoxgirl609 on Feb 10, 2010 1:56 P


Agape14 Posts : 201 Registered: 12/31/08
Re: Do you and your FH/DH have a "spending limit"?
Posted: Feb 10, 2010 2:33 PM Go to message in response to: April2010Bride

FH and I have a similar system to Art and Bally's. We each maintain separate Chequing accounts into which our pay is deposited. Every pay day (every two weeks) we each transfer the assigned amount into our Joint Chequing account, and that account pays all joint bills: mortgage, utilities, joint credit card, etc. We also have a Joint Savings Account for trips, the wedding, and general big purchases. Money is automatically transferred from the Joint Chequing into that account.

I also manage both of our finances in a general sense. I keep an Excel spreadsheet for each of us that lists joint and personal debts (in addition to the household stuff, I have a student loan, he has a line of credit, I have a personal credit card etc). On that spreadsheet I keep track of what we're each putting into RRSPs, personal savings, money is allocated for recurring expenses (bus pass, cell phone, gas), and what's leftover falls under Entertainment (there isn't much for that sadly!).

So, because of the system, all joint expenses are taken care of, and there's no need to "check-in" about spending your personal funds. If FH decided not to pay his line of credit and blow it on something frivolous, that would be his call. What FH cannot do is independently decide not to transfer money into the Joint Chequing Account (well technically he CAN, but that wouldn't be acceptable in our relationship). I know some people don't like to mix money until marriage, but since we bought a house together it just made sense. And the "mixing" only relates to our joint expenses/plans for the future. I still have my own money.

Before FH and I lived together though there was no reason to check in with each other about spending. Of course we had many conversations about money, were open about our debts, discussed what we felt were appropriate spending habits, asked for advice/opinions about big purchases etc etc. But no spending limit. If you don't live together and have these conversations regularly and openly, I don't think imposing a spending limit is necessary. If you live together I think some sort of system for payment of joint expenses separate from your own personal funds also makes "limits" unnecessary.



~~Life's tough, wear a cup~~


Jade1107 Posts : 205 Registered: 9/1/07
Re: Do you and your FH/DH have a "spending limit"?
Posted: Feb 10, 2010 7:10 PM Go to message in response to: Agape14

Currently, we don't consult each other on purchases. I've always been more conservative with my spending and won't really spend big on any one item. Mostly I spend on smaller things and this adds up (one day of shopping is enough to do it!).

FH tends to buy big but since I know all of our bills are paid and that he has savings and retirement, I'm not so worried. I will admit that sometimes it irks me when he suddenly brings home a 900$ piece of electronics... but again, his money.

Right now, I take care of most of the bills (rent, electricity, groceries, gas for my car etc) and he takes care of his personal cell phone, his fuel charges, etc. I simply tally everything in an excel sheet and divide the costs between us if necessary.

It works for us and I like knowing that all of my bills are paid on time.


jeaniebelle87 Posts : 137 Registered: 11/23/07
Re: Do you and your FH/DH have a "spending limit"?
Posted: Feb 10, 2010 10:04 PM Go to message in response to: Jade1107

FH and I haven't set "spending limits" but I think we both definitely know what our limits are. We're both students, so neither of us are exactly "flush", but we're very lucky that the university is subsidizing our apartment because FH is a TA. Other than that, our main expenses are things like paying off the interest on our undergrad loans every month (the loans are all deferred, because we're both back in school, but it will help keep payments to a minimum when we're out), and then things like cell phones, cable, internet, groceries and that sort of thing. We put a certain amount into savings every month and are very committed to leaving that there. We also have a vacation savings account, that we're a little more flexible about taking money out of if we absolutely need to, but mostly use it for trips back to MN and NY to visit family and friends. Any thing left over after that (which is admittedly not much) is free for spending. Instead of splitting it 50/50 every month we sit down and talk about the expenses we see having based on the things we want to do/need, and then decide how to divide the money accordingly. It usually works out about equal, but some months, like this past one for example, FH needed considerably more than I did because he needed a couple new suits for work and those ended up being fairly expensive. I guess the way I feel about expenses is that we just need to be flexible and understanding, and I hope that will work better than being rigid and egalitarian about the division of finances.


auntofthebride Posts : 9,354 Registered: 4/2/06
Re: Do you and your FH/DH have a "spending limit"?
Posted: Feb 11, 2010 4:12 AM Go to message in response to: April2010Bride

dear April,

Here's what we do, and we've been married 33 years.

We each have an "allowance". Right now the allowance is $100/week, but that's because we can afford that much. It was far lower in the early days of our marriage.

My husband goes to the ATM once a week and pulls out $100, then pays for various expenses out of that money. I do about the same, but I don't go on a specific day like he does. I just get ATM money when I need it, but track overall how much I get on a monthly basis. I might get $60 one time, then $140 the next.

We permit "saving" from the allowance for some large purchase. My husband has put aside about $25/week in a desk drawer. I don't know how much is there, but it's quite a bit. Thus, when he sees some "toy" he must have, then he goes to that stash.

As for larger purchases: We are in the habit of "divide and conquer". We find it inefficient for us both to be shopping for some purchase. What we do is decide which has more expertise, more interest, more whatever to make the purchase. We decide on some kind of appropriate limit, then the person so designated goes out and buy it.

Let's see the TV breaks for the nth time and we want a new one. I don't care much, but my husband likes TV. He looks on the Internet to see approximately what kind of prices are out there. Let's say he figures he can get something he likes for about $500. So, we decide that $500 is what we can afford, and he goes out in his pickup truck to Best Buy.

If he can't find anything he likes under that limit, we discuss further. Other than that, he spends the five hundred, then brings home a TV. I trust him to make a good decision.

The important thing is to decide what works best for you. Don't just do what other people do. Think about what works for you. Our "divide and conquer" works for us. It might drive some other couple nuts if they like to go shopping together. I know of one couple, good friends, who discuss INFINITELY each individual detail of any purchase. That would make me crazy.

Finally: I have a book that I would recommend any engaged or newly married or even oldly married couple read:

Financially Ever After by Jeff D Opdyke. Mr Opdyke is a personal finance journalist for the Wall Street Journal. This is an excellent book. He discusses, in detail, the process of "opening the kimono", that is, revealing each other's financial status. You go over bank accounts, credit report, etc., together.


AmyJustin2010 Posts : 201 Registered: 1/18/10
Re: Do you and your FH/DH have a "spending limit"?
Posted: Feb 11, 2010 9:36 AM Go to message in response to: April2010Bride

We talked about this question last week and we decided it depends too much on the purchase. It depends on what the purchase is and if we have the option of discussion. A tire to replace a flat one isn't negotiable whereas a blu-ray player is. We expect each other to have discretion and think of the other one's reaction during the purchase. When he's deployed especially, he knows that I will exercise discretion when buying things. I think it all goes along with trust. We both trust each other to buy reasonable purchases and consult each other when the purchases might be the kind to upset the other partner.

Our financial situation will be a bit different than civilian couples because our housing and bills will be paid for. So aside from car insurance, cable/internet and student loan payments, the money coming in will all be spend-able money. With that said, we decided that a half a week's salary is enough that we should probably consult each other if the situation allows. If communication is impossible, we trust one another enough to know that each of us wouldn't sink our joint financial ship.



Amy & Justin--Buffalo Sabres Fanatics :) 


MsDenuninani Posts : 3,962 Registered: 3/16/07
Re: Do you and your FH/DH have a "spending limit"?
Posted: Feb 11, 2010 7:39 PM Go to message in response to: April2010Bride

We have a joint account for joint expenses.

We have a separate accounts for what we want to spend money on. Essentially, individual allowances.

A recent friend of mine told me about her 50-30-20 rule

50% of your income is for living expenses
30% is for fun expenses
20% is for savings.

I think that's a good rule, although ours is something like

30% for living expenses
30% for fun
20% for savings
20% for debt repayment (student loans and credit cards)

Our individual allowances come out of that 30% for fun.

The individual allowance is also kind of cool cause it still lets us "treat" eachother. He can still take me out on dates, and I can use my allowance to buy him a Valentine's Day gift.


"I'd hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, or insanity, but they've always worked for me." Hunter S. Thompson


bosoxgirl Posts : 231 Registered: 2/3/10
Re: Do you and your FH/DH have a "spending limit"?
Posted: Feb 11, 2010 7:57 PM Go to message in response to: MsDenuninani

I like the 50-30-20 rule! However, I think we would do something like 60-30-10

60% - Living expenses & weekly allowance money
30%- Savings
10% - Date money/Fun expenses

My FH is all about living comfortably and saving :)



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MrsS2010 Posts : 336 Registered: 5/25/09
Re: Do you and your FH/DH have a "spending limit"?
Posted: Feb 11, 2010 8:03 PM Go to message in response to: MsDenuninani

FH and I havent combined finances yet as we dont live together right now but we've talked and agreed on what were gonna do.

We'd rather not have the hassle of a bunch of different accts, separate and joined, so we will have one joint savings and one joint checking.

Initially FH got a little iffy when I mentioned that Id like for each of us to have "me" money becuase he felt like if we're married and everything why should we have our own individual spending money. Not a trust issue but just a "were supposed to be like one" lol. I get his point but we need something to not drive each other crazy or overdraft!!

So we will see how much our bills add up to each month once we find an apartment and then agree on a specific amount that we will take out in cash every week after paychecks are deposited. This will be for gas and whatever we want. All bills will go into the checking acct and after bills are paid and our own money taken out, the rest will be transfered into savings. Its simple and I think it'll work for us. I love hearing about how others handle their finances though!


bosoxgirl Posts : 231 Registered: 2/3/10
Re: Do you and your FH/DH have a "spending limit"?
Posted: Mar 1, 2010 12:16 PM Go to message in response to: April2010Bride

Here is an article/calculator to that 50/30/20 budget plans



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