Why 'Sanity Money' Is Essential To Your Household Budget

18/08/2015 12:59 AM AEST | Updated 15/07/2016 12:50 PM AEST
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You've gained the inevitable few kilos thanks to feeling comfortable and still send love heart emojis even after the honeymoon period is over. You adore the way his nose whistles when he snores, and you think she looks her best in trackies and a top knot. Yep, you’re in love. You have all the promising foundations to go the distance, except for one vital thing; you don't see eye to eye when it come to money.

First things first -- when is it time to discuss your financial unity?

“I don’t think there are any hard and fast rules, however when both parties feel comfortable in sharing the finer details of their financial situation (warts and all), that is a good sign that the couple can potentially work together as a team,” said Canna Campbell, licensed financial planner and founder of SugarMamma TV.

“From my experience I believe that each partner should have their own ‘sanity’ money, which they should be free to spend as they wish, without their respective partner’s judgement or dismay,” said Campbell.

This should avoid the need to hide fresh shopping bags, or the receipt for a round of beers with the boys.

“As long as these sanity purchases are kept within pre-agreed boundaries, and no debt is being created.” This is where you set guidelines in terms of gambling and other spending habits you deem unacceptable by your partner. Your individual and joint savings and investment goals should not be jeopardised, either.

If saving sounds uninspiring, Campbell suggests thinking of it like this: A couple that can work together on their financial goals is twice as powerful. That is: that mortgage deposit or dream holiday in half the time. For that reason it’s important to nut out your everyday spending, too.

“Agreeing on your joint living expenses is imperative (basic household expenses like rent, electricity, insurance and food). These should be written down in a budget that is regularly reviewed.”

Campbell then advises each partner to disclose the rough cost of their personal living expenses, like clothes, restaurants and entertainment, so each can understand the cost of the other’s lifestyle. This is where your sanity money comes in; no need to feel guilty, but helpful to communicate. “Personal living expenses should never be based on credit,” said Campbell. If you can’t afford it, simply go without.

If you are completely combining your incomes and savings, you need to be more mindful.

“Issues can arise when one partner seems to be doing more spending than the other. The other partner is left feeling taken for granted and becomes resentful.”

Schedule regular reviews every few months to assess your budget as a couple. Doing this creates an environment to air any grievances so you’re not holding grudges or arguing about money too often. It’s also a great time to look at your financial goals and consider bumping up your savings contribution, or paying off a credit card.

“Things like understanding why credit card debt is financially toxic, the importance of your superannuation portfolios and investing in long term passive income streams are key foundations for financial harmony as a team," said Campbell.

“At the end of the day we come onto this planet with nothing and leave with nothing, so we should enjoy our time and fill it with amazing experiences and adventures, but with minimum stress and maximum enjoyment,” said Campbell. Communicating with your other half and being realistic about finances is the key.

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