Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The Gift of Fun Dollars Revisited

Several months ago, when I first started tracking and writing about Fun Dollars, I went over the basic "rules" for our Fun Dollar System.

#1- Each person gets the same amount. This keeps things fair and even. No one is more important or worth more, since each are equal players on the team. (Except for children, they receive their own amount.)

#2-You have to receive the same amount each week, so choose a number that works for you and your budget, but it has to be the same every time you get a paycheck. (In the early stages, like the first 6 months, it's okay to change the amount until you find one that works.)

#3-No one can tell you how to spend your Fun Dollars, they are solely yours to spend. There are no expectations, strings, or guidelines for how each individual must spend what they receive.

#4-Once the Fun Dollars are gone, they are gone, until the next paycheck. No cheating, no exceptions. You are not allowed to "borrow" Fun Dollars from the week ahead either.

#5- (This one is what our family came up with.) All Fun Dollar purchases are rounded up to the next highest dollar. The change is then deposited into a jar. When the jar fills up, we put all the cash into the bank. We give back to the fund that funds our Fun.

Since February, our coin jar has been full, and we have started work on a second jar. No where in town has a coin counter, and the first time we cashed in our coins, we were in a different city, one with a coin counter. I noticed that since our jar had filled up, our coin saving had declined somewhat. We used to be religious about what we put in, happily clinking our coins one upon the other. But with two jars, there seemed to be a disconnect.

The disconnect seemed to deepen as time passed. I noticed coins getting tossed here and there, and not making it into the jar. I let it go, and eventually ended up ignoring the phenomenon all together. Then I reached my breaking point last week. I decided it was time for some "change".

I marched into the bank and asked for some rolling papers. I went home and dropped 10 lbs of coins into the little paper rolls. When it was all said and done, there was just over $75 of coins in the jar, but not all of them made it into the rolls. I had $4 of the $10 needed to finish a quarter roll, as well as random smaller coins that didn't quite make up a roll. After cashing out, I had $66 in cash in my pocket.

I fantasized about what I could do with the money. My mom was coming to visit in a week, I could use the extra Fun Dollars to do fun stuff with my mom and the kids. I could surprise everyone and take them out to eat, or I could just do the boring thing and follow the rules and deposit the money into our main account. But that didn't sound Fun. I really wanted to do something special with all my hard-earned coin rolls-turned-cash. It's not easy rolling money.

The answer came one evening last week as Corey and I were hanging out after supper. He made some comment, that triggered my thought process, then BAM! I knew what I should do with the money. I walked over to my purse and told Corey to close his eyes. "Hold out your hand," I said. Then I laid $60 in cash into his hand and closed his fingers around it. (I had used $5.00 to treat the kids to a Burger King snack. Call it "Fee for Services rendered.")

"What is this?" he asked.
"The coins from the jar. It's yours. Happy Fun Dollars," I replied.

Even though the coins in the jar are technically half mine by virtue of contribution, I could not resist the opportunity to give my husband a cash gift. That has never happened before. He was actually quite thrilled with my present. I just gave him $60 "free" dollars. It just felt so good to be able to do that. It was something he appreciated and something that made me smile to be able to do. I asked him if he wanted to be a guest blogger on here to tell about his experience with free Fun Dollars, but he respectfully declined the invitation.

The only thing that I know about where his money went was the Domino's pizza he had delivered to our house using his new-found fortune. Other than that, it's his money, and I can't say anything about how he spends it. Rules are rules.

Happy Spending.

Let's Dance, baby! 

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