Over the years, I have seen marriages fall apart as both spouses spend money on expensive items the family can ill afford.
We know one couple where the husband went out and bought an expensive home entertainment system and the wife retaliated by buying fine bone china and a complete dining room set; they aren’t married any more.
Every family’s income is finite, and most couples agree on the majority of their expenses (i.e., mortgage, gas, groceries, etc.); however, couples will often fight over items where they don’t share passion. The husband may want a hunting rifle, but the wife might enjoy buying clothes. It can be stressful to ask your spouse to allow you to spend family money on things they don’t find valuable. The solution to this challenge is “mad money.”
Mad money is a line item in your family budget, and every month it gets funded in the same way as food, housing, utilities, etc.. Think of Mad Money as an allowance. Each month, you fund, say, $100 each. That money can be spent by each spouse on anything, no questions asked. If the wife wants to buy an expensive pair of shoes or wants to go out to eat with friends, so be it. If the husband wants to use part of that money getting a sports pay-per-view channel or upgrades for the engine of his muscle car, that’s no problem.
Money carries with it great emotional weight. We see money as our key to doing just about everything, and not having money essentially means we can’t do the things we want, be that buying new shoes, eating out at a restaurant, or seeing a movie with friends. When your budget does not allow for these impulse purchases, it can lead to stress. I’m sure any married couple can recall at least one argument over the number of shoes a wife continues to buy, the amount of money a husband spends hunting trips, etc. These often result from one spouse seeing the other spouse’s purchase as frivolous. Mad Money solves this issue.
That’s the beauty of Mad Money. It forces people to prioritize what they actually want, while letting them “waste” a little on trivial things that we all are guilty of wanting. And the best part is, since Mad Money is in the family budget, you can spend every penny without any guilt and without having to justify your purchase to anyone else.
In short, buying things we want can be cathartic, but without planning, it can easily break the most carefully-planned budget. Mad Money ensures you are spending within your means while giving you all the emotional release of getting things we want without having to get permission.