My Husband Loves Gadgets and I Love Experiences. Here's How We Make It Work

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  • Money can be a huge source of contention among couples.
  • My husband and I don't always see eye-to-eye when it comes to spending, but we've found a way to make our different opinions not be an issue.
  • We each have an allowance of money that we can spend any way we want.

The U.S. has the sixth highest divorce rate in the world, with 40% to 50% of married couples eventually splitting up, according to And it's not really a secret that money-related disagreements are a huge driver of marital strife -- and can commonly cause a couple to sever ties and end their relationship.

Thankfully, my husband and I don't tend to fight about money so much these days. But that wasn't always the case.

Earlier on in our marriage, when money was tighter, we constantly argued over whether we should be adding to our savings account versus spending on the things we wanted, with me frequently pushing for the former and him the latter. We also had a tendency to argue over how to spend money we didn't need for bills like our mortgage loan and car payments.

See, my husband is really into technology, and so he loves to spend money on things like gadgets, computers, servers, and devices that, to this day, I can't even begin to identify. I, on the other hand, prefer to spend money on experiences -- things like a nice meal or a fun outing.

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It took us a bit of time to find a way to address our different approaches to spending. But these days, we have a pretty good system that works for us.

When grown-ups get an allowance

The concept of an allowance is popular among kids. But my husband and I actually don't give our kids an allowance these days. Rather, we one to ourselves.

What we do is set a budget at the start of the year that accounts for all of our expenses and savings goals. We also automate our savings so that we're putting money into the bank and retirement accounts before we get a chance to spend our paychecks in full.

Once we've set aside money for savings and our essential bills, we allocate money for things like cable, streaming services, and family vacations -- things we all get to enjoy. And from there, we give ourselves an allowance to work with -- money we can spend on anything we want, no questions asked.

We're also allowed to pool our allowance money and carry funds from one month to the next. So if my husband wants a really expensive gadget, he can save his allowance for a few months to buy it.

You might think this setup is demeaning. After all, we're working adults with an allowance. But actually, it works nicely for us.

This way, we're each allowed to spend money on the things we want without it being an argument and without having to feel guilty. We also don't need to ask each other for permission every time we want to spend money on something that might benefit us alone, which gives us more autonomy.

An easy way to avoid conflict

For our marriage to work, my husband and I need to be on the same page when it comes to major financial goals and priorities. And thankfully, we are.

It's important to both of us to be able to put our kids through college, and we both feel we should do what we can to build retirement savings. We also both feel that we shouldn't overspend on housing, because we like having more leeway to spend on other things.

But at the end of the day, my husband knows I'm never going to get excited about the prospect of a new TV or programmable switch or router like he is. And that's okay. I don't have to love gadgets or even understand what half of his actually do. I just need to respect the fact that that's how he likes to spend his money, and work things out so he's able to do just that.

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