Household vs. Personal Expenses Q — The Bump
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Household vs. Personal Expenses Q

How do you decide which is which?

FI and I have one, joint account and a savings account. Per your recommendations a long long time ago we've been thinking about doing 2 separate accounts to use as our personal "slush" funds.... we haven't done it yet though and I think a big reason is because we can't agree what would be considered joint purchases or personal ones (mainly mine). One example would be decorative items... FI could care less and they aren't necessary. I'm a freak about interior decorating so that's me personally, is his argument. Mine is that it's for the household, it's something we will all enjoy/use so it shouldn't come out of my slush fund just because he doesn't really care about it.

How do you handle this type of situation?

ETA: IMO personal accounts should be for outings, like guys night/girls night or things specifically for yourself like clothes, xbox games, books, specific movies only one of you want, etc. So literally personal "fun" stuff.

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Re: Household vs. Personal Expenses Q

  • It's all something that should be worked out between you two.

    Either put a line in your budget for decor/home improvements and pull from there, or increase your slush fund to include these categories.

    ETA: Spelling 

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  • My "slush fund" includes all household expenses (groceries, home decor, everyone's clothes, toys, household repairs, preschool, etc.).  I get about five times what my husband gets though.

     

     

     

     

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  • I could see how this would be confusing.I would set up 3 accounts: household, your "fun money" and his "fun money". For me, the simple solution would be that you BOTH have to agree to use the funds in the household account. He might want a 70 inch plasma tv but if you don't think it's necessary then it would come out of his account. You might want to buy an persian rug but he thinks it isn't necessary then that would come out of your account. The amount that goes into each account is decided upon based on your income and budget; not what purchases you want to make. It has to be fair. Don't forget to put money into savings.

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  • We don't do our finances that way (everything comes out of one pot, and we each get wiggle room for stuff we want).

    But honestly, listening to your story I think I'd agree with your FI as far as the house decor being a personal expense.

    I can totally relate to your love of interior decorating. It's something I LOVE to do too.  But I think that because it's something that he doesn't care about it's only fair that you look at it like it's your hobby. Therefore the things you get for your house are supplies for that hobby.

    I guess it would be like if he were into something like fishing (for example)... Yes, you would get to enjoy the results (eating his catch of the day) but it wouldn't be fair for you to consider the cost of the fishing gear as a household expense. Maybe that's a weak analogy, but do you understand what I mean?

    Lastly, I've really learned to embrace thrift ways to decorate the house. It might help your cause! Hint: Annie Sloan chalk paint is miraculous! It will transform any thrift store find with no prep work. Picture frames, furniture, walls, mirror frames- anything!

    Hard to find in person, but I think you can get it online: http://www.anniesloan.com

    Married 07.07.07. Mom to 3: Ruby 11/08 and Oliver & Austin 12/11
  • imagecjcouple:
    This may be flameful but I don't understand this whole separate account thing. When we got married and had kids we became one family. I certainly don't need an allowance, if I want to buy decorations and there is enough room in the budget after all expenses I buy them. If dh needs new shoes or wants a night out, we tells me and I figure it into the budget.

    That's exactly how we work. I wonder about why people have separate accounts too. Not flameful at all.

    It seems to me like it would be more to keep track of, but maybe it actually helps people stick to a budget? Or maybe it helps SAHM feel more independent? (Although I think having an allowence would have the opposite affect on me personally). 

    Overall I am the one who manages the finances/ budget. But we work together to make decisions about "how" (and on what) $ are spent. 

    Married 07.07.07. Mom to 3: Ruby 11/08 and Oliver & Austin 12/11
  • Well I have 2 parttime jobs. I bring lo to both and so I use that money cashto "run" the house aand to buy stuff I want or whatever. All the money he makes get direct depoisted into a count and we pay bills, save, and get gas with that money. Strictly because I'm lazy and don't want to lug the baby out of the car to go into the gas station!
  • OP is there a way you guts could agree to categorize household stuff by needs and wants? For example, you need curtains for a window that doesn't have any or a rug for LO's bedroom floor because it is cold, but a new seasonal wreath or knickknack is a want?

    To thOse who don't understand slush funds they're great if one or both people are really terrible at budgeting or realizing how much they've spent on personal stuff in a month. Keeping the money separate from other accounts just simplifies things. My husband had no idea how much he was spending on stuff like overpriced convenience food at work until we started doing it. Now he's more mindful of spending money on stuff that he really wants and tries to economize other places, like bringing his own snacks and drinks.
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  • imagecjcouple:
    This may be flameful but I don't understand this whole separate account thing. When we got married and had kids we became one family. I certainly don't need an allowance, if I want to buy decorations and there is enough room in the budget after all expenses I buy them. If dh needs new shoes or wants a night out, we tells me and I figure it into the budget.

    This 100%.

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  • I totally understand the separate account thing.  DH was NOT good with money when we met, and I would have resented him for mis-spending our money if we'd kept it in one account.  Plus, I have an expensive hobby/interest, so it made more sense for us to each pay our own way in that respect vs. one of us feeling like the other was always spending more of "our" money.  On top of that, the recurring theme amongst most financial advice I've heard or read over the years has always strongly advocated that women maintain financial independence "just in case".  Not a bad idea if you can make it work.

    With me finishing work shortly though, we have no choice but to combine our income in order to make our new budget work.  Any savings accounts we had kept separate are going to now serve as our joint emergency funds.  Everything is now a joint expense.

    Generally though, if it's something for the house (small decorative items, kitchen gadgets, window coverings, home improvements, etc.) it's a joint expense.  If it's something outrageous like a new flat-screen TV, it's still a joint expense, but we both have to be in agreement.  Otherwise, the one of us in favour of the item will have to sweeten the deal by offering to personally cover half the cost or something.

    It's funny, neither a house nor marriage compelled us to blend our finances.  Having a baby, however, has changed the game entirely!  I think we feel much more like a family unit now there's a LO on the way. 

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  • I agree with your definition.  
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  • imagejuliane2004:

    imagecjcouple:
    This may be flameful but I don't understand this whole separate account thing. When we got married and had kids we became one family. I certainly don't need an allowance, if I want to buy decorations and there is enough room in the budget after all expenses I buy them. If dh needs new shoes or wants a night out, we tells me and I figure it into the budget.

    This 100%.

    ALL of our money is combined, but I still have a separate fun money account so I make sure it stick to my $150/month fun money. I did it for me so I would be better about watching my spending. I like to shop and could easily spend more.
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  • We also do the joint account plus separate "personal money" accounts. It makes it really easy to stay within our budget. The alternatives are everyone just spends what they want (and the family might go over budget because there's no accountability) or every single little purchase has to be discussed and agreed upon. We've been one family for ten years, but if my husband had to ask me when he wants a new pair of shoes, I would go nuts. Of course, we make major financial decisions together. 

    Anyway, to answer your question, I think decorations would probably be a slush fund expense. I like the suggestion of it has to agreed upon to be a household expense.


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