Today, Joanne Miller joins us again to share how she and Dan have gone years without a money fight. What a perfect follow-up to Derek's post from Monday! Be sure to share your money and marriage stories in the comments!
Let’s face it. The number one argument on the frequency scale that most couples have is about money.
I can hear your head nodding as you are reading. I certainly know it was often a bone of contention for us. I lost count of how many Christmas holidays rolled around when Dan and I would have our annual battle over how many gifts I wanted to buy for family members….and friends…..not to mention all the gifts I wanted to pile under our tree from Santa and from us.
Oh yes, money was an issue for us. For many years, in fact.
Until we came up with THE PLAN.
Best thing we ever did for our marriage and if you are a husband reading this, listen up!
Writing from the woman’s point of view, and from a Christian perspective, I think a married woman who doesn’t have her own checking account is a recipe for marital disharmony.
Now I know all the scripture about becoming one flesh and so on. But I don’t really think there is a passage in the Good Book that addresses separate versus joint bank accounts. And for many years I never considered having my own account. After all, I didn’t have a job outside the home so I didn’t have income. So why would I have a checking account?
We always had a joint account but that meant everything I spent I was accountable for. And vice versa. Everything had to be justified and talked about and sometimes argued about. But once Dan and I figured out THE PLAN, we haven’t had a money argument in years.
Not a one. THE PLAN really works!
First we looked at an average of our monthly output on groceries including toiletries, cleaning and laundry products which were sometimes bought at separate stores.
We itemized what I spent on getting my hair done, manicures, pedicures (these were AFTER the kids were out of the house. Before that I did my own), and we estimated what I needed for gifts for birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas, etc.
We looked at what we spent on clothes and shoes and estimated that for a year and after totaling up all those expenses, we came up with a yearly total, divided that by twelve months and padded it a little for unexpected needs and came up with a monthly figure we could both agree on.
We decided I would “get paid” twice a month, the first and the fifteenth. I didn’t have to ask for it, it was just given to me in a check or transferred into my account. As the years have passed, I have occasionally asked for a pay increase and sometimes even had to have an advance. But this system was so freeing for both of us that I don’t think we ever made a more important change in our habits that has so greatly relieved stress and frustration.
Here’s why THE PLAN was important in our marriage.
Every time I needed money, whether it was for some extra groceries, school supplies for the kids, a gift for a baby shower, I felt like a little child going to my Daddy asking if he could please give me the money.
It felt demeaning to me. Sometimes I would feel on the defensive and like I had to justify why I needed this money and hope he approved. Our discussions about money were always frustrating to both of us.
When we decided to have me open my own account I felt like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I no longer have to ask for money.
I keep my checkbook balanced to the penny and I know how to stretch a dollar that makes my husband proud. If I want to buy a gift for a friend or take a grandchild to the movie I don’t have to wonder where the money will come from.
I manage my own finances and it is a great feeling. I don’t handle the mortgage, gas in my car (he knows I hate to fill up), insurance, and major purchases for the house or a car. Dan handles that.
Now at Christmas I have money to spend however I want because I even have my own savings account. We still have a joint account and Dan has his various business accounts.
I happily “get paid” twice monthly and account only to myself for how that is spent. Yep! Best thing we ever did for our marriage. It’ll make you feel like a real grown up.
I highly recommend it.
Joanne Miller has been happily married for over four decades to career coach and author Dan Miller (48 Days To the Work You Love). She has authored four children’s books and has a new book for grown ups co-authored with artist Dorsey McHugh called Be Your Finest Art. She and Dan have three grown children and twelve grandchildren and lots of years living the entrepreneurial roller-coaster life of adventure!