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I was really disappointed this year that I wasn’t able to attend FinCon. After reading so much about it, I was really excited to go. However, when my wife and I learned her due date was right around the time of the conference, my plans quickly changed.
Don’t get me wrong– I’m not complaining. Having a new baby is wonderful, despite the sleepless nights.
Since we don’t intend to add another kiddo to our family in 2018, I was getting ready to pull the trigger and purchase tickets for FinCon 2018. But then I thought to myself, I should talk to my wife first.
Making a “Big” Purchase
While she had given me the thumbs up on going in 2018, we hadn’t discussed the price of the conference. Usually, we discuss any “big” purchases.
You may be thinking, she already gave you the go-ahead, right? True. But in our household, my wife and I talk about any purchases that are over $100. To us, that is considered a “big” purchase. We like to touch base with each other about purchases over $100 to ensure that we are thinking clearly.
Honestly, I’m more of the one that needs to be checked. Sometimes I can be an impulse buyer. By having this rule in place, we avoid frivolous or unwise purchases. Over the last five years, we have accumulated a decent amount of wealth. I attribute a good bit of that to my wife talking me out of buying expensive dumb things.
To us, it is also a matter of respect. While my wife may not support our family financially in the same way I do, we share all of our money. We respect and value each other’s opinions enough to take an extra moment before making $100+ purchases to have a brief dialogue to make sure both of us are on the same page.
While we have this rule in place, I know many others have different systems in place. I have heard of households that have to run everything by each other. Other households have totally separate bank accounts and each person spends as they please.
Disclosing Purchases to Your Spouse
I came across a survey done by the Today Show from a couple of years ago. It reveals how much people spend without telling their spouse first. The results of the 22,000 people polled were quite surprising.
Nearly two-thirds of people check in with their spouse for any purchase under $100, which I did not expect. Incredibly, over a quarter of people tell their spouse about everything that they buy. I don’t know about you, but that seems a bit too much for my taste. Even more surprising, 6% of people don’t consult with their spouse about any purchases.
Interestingly enough, in the breakdown of the poll, they found that men and women answered similarly, yielding no statistical difference among those groups.
Experts say the threshold each couple has chosen has a lot to do with the amount of money that they currently make. Those who make more money having higher thresholds, while those who make less money have lower thresholds.
Even so, most experts believe it is a healthy sign when couples have a threshold, whether high or low. “If you have a couple that’s fairly healthy about money, they each … tend to know when this is the kind of thing I shouldn’t do without my spouse knowing,” said Scott Stanley, research professor at the University of Denver and co-author of the book A Lasting Promise.
Stanley, however, does add a caveat. Sometimes communicating too much can become a detriment to the relationship.
“I think it’s a bad idea for one person to feel like they have to account for every little impulse purchase,” he said.
He believes that it’s best to give each person the freedom to spend a certain amount of money without asking for permission – as long as it is within reason and not for something like drugs, gambling or sex.
For my wife and I, spending over $100 crosses our threshold. While I’m sure we could increase that amount since we make more money that we did five years ago, we are still comfortable with that amount today.