How Wifey and I Deal With Personal Spending

Wife spent $40 on these Maple Syrup
candies. Totally worth it!
Wifey and I have been using personal budgets for a few years now. I feel personal budgets are more useful for her than they are for me. Before we met, wifey was more of a paycheque to paycheque girl. After rent was paid, any money she had in her bank account would be gone by the next payday. I was the one who introduced the idea of saving money to my wife. After we got married, personal budgets were a compromise between saving and spending willy-nilly.

The rules for our personal budget system are simple:

  1. Either of us could spend the money for whatever we wanted.
  2. Money leftover at the end of the month could rollover to the next month.
  3. Money not used at the end of the calendar year would not roll over and instead be used for savings.
As for the amount of our personal budget, after factoring in registered savings and fixed expenses, I assigned ourselves a $325 monthly budget each. This seems like a lot, but wifey would spend her money on clothes and occasionally would need to dip into her next month's budget. This was very much like buying things on credit, except with no interest. I, on the other hand, would save up my money for big purchases like computer parts to build my gaming rig.

Of course, I didn't foresee one issue with our system. Wifey would borrow into the next month's budget interest-free. By year end, she would be in the negative. With this in mind, we negotiated a "fee" of 20% for any amount over at the end of the year (to emulate credit card interest charges). So if wifey was -$100 by the end of the year, she would need to reduce her budget by $120 instead of $100 in January. After imposing this "fee", wifey improved her spending habits. She is no longer running deficits and has been consistently running a surplus for a long time now.

In order to keep track of our expenditures, I used a combination of Mint and Google Sheets. Whenever wifey or I used cash, we would enter the expense in Google Sheets and I would enter the amount later in Mint. Any credit card transactions would automatically show up in Mint, so wifey and I enter those expenses into Google Sheets once they show up in Mint. We use the honour system, but there's no reason to lie to one another as we share our finances.

Thus far in 2014, wifey has averaged around $215 a month. Considering she works in downtown Toronto (group lunches, breaks with coworkers and friends to Starbucks/Tim Hortons/Second Cup, etc.) and is running a monthly surplus, I call it a win. As for me, I'm averaging $40 a month. I haven't spent money on myself since March. Looking at Mint, it looks like I purchased clothing at Winners*. Actually, it looks like most of the money I spent on myself this year has been on clothing. Aside from the lunch I got at Subway on January 3rd**.

As for my surplus, I have at least $1,750 that I can spend on whatever I want. However, there's nothing I want, so I'll likely end up not doing anything with my money.

On that note, I expect the personal budgets to be blown out of the water this Canada Day long weekend... (assuming you took Monday off like every other Canadian). Wifey and I are going to New York. That should bring up some unexpected spending and expenses.

Does anyone else have a system to budget for personal spending?

*If I recall correctly, the shirt I bought was on clearance as well.

**I normally bring my lunch to work. That day, I forgot it at home.


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