January 5, 2011

The Adult Dispensation

Allowances in our house used to be only for children. Recently that has changed, the sailor just started getting an allowance a few months ago. This has made my life a million times easier. He has his own account that his money gets transferred into twice a month. Why didn't we think of this sooner? No more nagging bickering over a few too many lunches out or overspending on music and apps. He no longer causes fits of rage my blood to boil over when he buys something only to have me find out about it later when I balance the accounts. Allowances are a beautiful thing. A marital dream come true.
This is why I love, like, am comfortable with budgeting so far, my stress levels about money are almost obsolete. I set a limit and aim not to spend over it. I say almost though because I was feeling guilty about buying myself a cup of coffee and taking it away from the family dining out category or purchasing songs and using part of our entertainment monies. Then a great hand to forehead moment. Aha! Give myself an allowance. Sometimes it takes me awhile to catch on.
A guilt free experience. I don't feel guilty about buying a mocha once in awhile or asking the sailor not to get one. He does as he pleases with his allowance and I do the same. Win, win.
Learning new habits. Part of becoming debt free is not buying things we can't afford. Having our allowance is a mini version of this. We have been saving up for little big items like video games or nights out on the town. Reinforcing this idea of saving before spending.
Untraceable. Well, it can be, but it isn't. Liberating us from always cataloging every dime. It feels good to be footloose and fancy free sometimes.
Feeling generous. Now that we have our own money, we are both more apt to buy each other gifts. Small gifts, but wonderful surprises. Surprises that were missing from our "plan" before.
Budgets don't have to deprive you. This is the best lesson of all. Having this strategy helps us in the long haul. Getting out of our debt doesn't mean we can't enjoy the small things and now we appreciate them more than ever since we don't overindulge.
Obviously I am an adult allowance convert. It has made our transition into budgeting a little easier. Living on a budget doesn't mean we can't have any frivolous items, it means we can't overspend on frivolous items. 
Another obvious thing I would like to mention is that this has only worked because of the full cooperation of the sailor. Which is why we discussed it and decided on a reasonable amount that we both agreed on. Some extra advice would be to not call it an allowance at all. The sailor does refrain from telling others of his allowance, I guess it does sound a bit childish. Maybe something sophisticated like stipend, exciting like endowment or adventurous like commission. I don't mind getting a bi-weekly bounty.
Does your budget include allowances? Do you think it would work in your household? Do you think it makes a difference if you are a dual income family or not? Do you think I ask a lot of questions?