Before opening up our marriage, my wife and I used to co-mingle all of our money and do everything from the same financial pot. But about a year after becoming poly, we decided to establish individual monthly budgets as follows:
- We use a shared budget for family essentials, e.g. food (from the grocery store, not dining out), mortgage, insurance, medical, kids (clothing, games/toys, school supplies, books, etc.), home repairs, and so forth.
- We use our individual budgets for personal and luxury items, e.g. clothes, eating out, dates, gifts, books, electronic gadgets, etc. It's up to each of us to determine how to balance our personal budgets.
This approach has worked really well for us so far. Of course, we mutually agree to adjust our individual budgets as needed to reflect our financial situation, such as decreasing it during months when income or property taxes are due.
BTW, I love everyone's ideas about picnics, parks, outdoor activities, and other fun things to do together that don't cost a lot of money. I'll steal some of those ideas myself!