Why Have Mine & Theirs Money?
It gives each partner in the relationship some breathing room (see my podcast on slowly suffocating under a budget). You don’t need a lot.
When Julie and I first married, things were tight. We didn’t have the mine/their (his/her, in our case) money concept going at all. I felt like I couldn’t buy anything. It was awful. It made me want to not budget at all (this was before YNAB was YNAB. At that time, it was just “the budget” on our computer).
So I approached Julie, we decided to give each other $5 per month, and it saved the day.
The key is that there’s something, even just a little bit, that does not need to be answered for to your partner.
How Much Money Should We Allocate Toward Mine/Their Fun Money?
As much as needed. Every partner situation is different: total income, current money allotted towards bills and goals, and finding an amount that doesn’t cut into your shared priorities too much.
Julie and I do $50 each per month, other people do $400 each per month. The kicker is…
What Spending Belongs in Mine/Their Money?
Whatever you decide. Julie and I use it for anything we want (as an individual) that isn’t budgeted for elsewhere. So if I want a new pair of shoes, and “Shoes for Dad” isn’t in the budget this month, then it’s coming out of my “My” money. If Julie wants a new ratchet set, and we didn’t budget for “Julie’s Ratchet Set”, then it’s coming out of the “Her” money.
So during our monthly budget meeting, we try and remember what we need. If Julie wants to budget for the ratchet set under “Home Repairs,” and that fits in the budget, then we do that. If I need new shoes, we could budget for that under “Clothing.”
There are some partners that don’t want to work that way. They have specific items that are part of the Mine/Their Universe. A common thread I’ve seen is “Dine Out,” but I’ve also seen examples like “Hair Care” and “Clothing.”
There is no category that is scrutinized as much as Julie’s “Her” category. She knows every outflow. She watches it like a hawk. She always, always has more than I do. Bless her frugality.
How Do You Handle Mine/Their Money in YNAB?
It’s your call, honestly. Julie and I leave it in the budget, and just categorize those purchases as “His” or “Hers.” Other people take cash out of the bank and each has their own cash in purse/wallet to be used on whatever they like. That is one step further removed from accountability, and I like the simplicity of that. We’ll likely stick with our way only because I treat cash in my wallet as pure slush. It’s one of those things where I don’t know how it ended up in my wallet, and I won’t be able to tell you how it left either.
(We don’t track our cash in YNAB. It’s too small to be of consequence.)
In the end, do what works for you. Experiment. There’s no wrong way to implement this. The important points are that the other person does not have to answer for their spending of their money, and that it should be an amount that will make a difference. It’s surprising what a difference just a small amount makes.