What happens when the envelope is empty? Often, in a relationship one of the most common issues and discrepancies between partners are over the topic of finances. 

Often, in a relationship one of the most common issues and discrepancies between partners are over the topic of finances.

Licensed professional counselor and marriage family therapist Jill White-Huffman joined us for a quick Q&A on the subject.

Q: Can you explain what the envelope is and what does it mean for the couples?

A: The envelope represents leisure money after the priority expenses are paid. Then all family members are distributed their envelope that will consist of their leisure allowances individually, as a couple and as a family.  

Q: How can couples separate money between priority expenses and leisure expenses as a couple, individual and as a family? 

A: First the couple needs to determine what their priority expenses are. Once this is determined the envelopes will consist of their leisure money.  Leisure money would include money to splurge on such as shopping, going out to eat, date night, anything to bring entertainment to the couple, etc. As a family that would include vacations, movie nights, etc.

Q: How can couples manage “leisure” money as it relates to their children? 

A: In the case that kids play a factor, they should also receive their individual envelopes, which mean that the children will be included in their leisure money. What might be helpful is to try creating a strict budget that both partners agree upon and stick with, to keep from overspending. This is also a chance to teach your children financial literacy and why budgeting is so important.

Q: When does the envelope close? 

A: Once you determined the budget, prioritize your expenses, and established the weekly or monthly allowance for the entire family; your envelope is now closed. Now, the only time the envelope can open back up is in a crisis.

To learn more about Jill visit her website here.