How pretending to spend $100,000 will help you and your spouse manage your money.

Every couple I know has trouble agreeing how to manage their money.

one bed one bank account - how do i money

It’s not always a total disaster. Sometimes it’s more of an annoyance.

There are ways to improve your financial communication. Here’s how…


Want to get better at something? Practice.

The same is true for managing your money together as a couple.

Derek, are you suggesting we practice spending money?

I am.

Practicing helps you get better at anything you try, why wouldn’t it work with money?

Here’s one way to improve your financial communication and practice spending money together.

The $100,000 Question

Answer this question together as a couple… What would you do with $100,000?

Answering this question with your partner is an excellent gateway to having better conversations about money. And it’s the first conversation I recommend having if you’re just getting started with money talks as a couple, or if your conversations tend to turn sour.

The reason you should have this conversation first is that it’s an easy, low-pressure, and potentially fun question to answer. This conversation will help you build a foundation for future money conversations.

Your answer might look like this:

  • $23,000: pay off debt
  • $7,000: emergency fund
  • $6,000: church, charity, or help out a friend
  • $12,000: new (pre-owned!) car
  • $4,000: vacation
  • $20,000: mutual fund retirement account
  • $28,000: down payment on a house

Your partners answer will likely look different. Working through those differences is the whole point!

When you answer this question with your spouse, you are basically telling each other what you value in a fun way. You’ll get to talk about your differences and discuss how your priorities blend together to form common goals.

It’s also good practice for spending real money! You may or may not have $100,000 sitting in the bank right now, but over the course of your life, you will spend many times that. When you practice spending fake money with your spouse—and have all the conversations that come along with it—it makes having real conversations about money easier.

Go ahead, spend the $100,000 together and see how it goes.

Go get ’em tiger!


OBOBA-cover-transparent (1)P.S. This little exercise is straight from the pages of our book One Bed, One Bank Account.

“There is NOTHING sexier than rockin’ a budget with your partner, except for maybe doing it naked. Let Derek & Carrie encourage and inspire you with One Bed, One Bank Account.” – J.Money,

“One Bed, One Bank Account will increase the rate of return in both your relationship and your bank account!” –Dan & Joanne Miller,

“I wish I would have read this book before I got married. Every couple needs to learn the art of talking about money, and Derek and Carrie offer a fresh perspective that the world needs. Get this book!” –Jeff Goins, Author, The Art of Work

Screen Shot 2016-08-19 at 2.39.13 PM“Derek and Carrie’s approach on the topic of money and marriage is refreshingly different. An inspiring read for couples!” –Farnoosh Torabi, Author When She Makes More: Ten Rules for Breadwinning Women.

Workbook available too!

22 Responses to "How pretending to spend $100,000 will help you and your spouse manage your money."

  1. J. Money   September 6, 2016 at 3:11 pm

    Yeah, son! Love this…

    I’m actually in the middle of writing up a post on how I want my wife to spend the insurance money if I shall pass sooner than later 🙂 Worth more than $100,000, but not nearly as fun – hah.

    • Derek   September 6, 2016 at 7:46 pm

      Whoa! That’s some serious conversations there. But important to have.

      Too many people don’t talk at all about what happens financially after a family member dies.

      We’re all gonna die, probably a conversation we need to have more often, for sure.

      Thanks dad!

  2. Steve   September 6, 2016 at 6:44 pm

    Great idea! It is always a good idea to think in bigger numbers and time frames to start getting a grasp on how much money we go through and see the expenses for what they are really costing us. Puts you more in a mindset about how much per year vs how much per month because as Thomas Stanley said in “The Millionaire Next Door” it’s how much not how much per month!

    • Derek   September 6, 2016 at 7:47 pm

      Yeah man, totally agree.

      “How much per month” thinking is how people get into money traps they can’t ever get out of.

      Great reminder and a GREAT book.

  3. Ms. Montana   September 9, 2016 at 8:50 am

    Wait, hold the phone, did you write a book?!! How did I miss this? I need more info!

    • Derek   September 9, 2016 at 7:35 pm

      Sure did. We wrote the book and workbook back when our website was

      I just got around to bringing it over to the new site here.

  4. Jay   September 9, 2016 at 4:22 pm

    Thanks for the insightful post, Derek. This is a great thought exercise that I never thought of before. But I definitely see how it could be valuable. In fact, I’m going to try it with my wife this weekend. Thanks again!

    • Derek   September 9, 2016 at 7:36 pm

      Cool man, come back and let us know how it goes!

  5. Nick True   September 14, 2016 at 8:16 am

    Great idea Derek! Learning how to manage money together has definitely been the source of our worst fights so far in our marriage. It’s tough.

    Great job coming up with an exercise like this. That’s too cool and would’ve been super helpful during our first year of marriage!!

    Thanks Derek 🙂

    • Derek   September 14, 2016 at 11:13 am

      I feel ya’.

      I told Carrie “this is the worst day of my life” after she delivered some bad financial news once.

      Not fun.

      But (as you know) it’s so important to be able to talk about money. Even if it sucks at first.

  6. Kurt   September 14, 2016 at 9:09 am

    Wow–this exercise sounds to me like a great way to ruin an otherwise peaceful Sunday afternoon. 🙂

    • Derek   September 14, 2016 at 11:12 am

      HA! Well, I can’t promise that won’t happen. I take no responsibility for any ruined Sunday afternoons.


    • Joe   September 15, 2016 at 9:07 am

      I agree… This is probably a good exercise for regular couples, but we already talk about money enough because she is my editor. 🙂

      • Derek   September 15, 2016 at 9:41 am

        I know exactly what you mean. Carrie and I work on our 2 businesses together so we are always talking about money, invoices, bills, blah blah blah.

        Maybe I need to write a post about how to go on a date and NOT talk about money!

  7. Sundeep   September 15, 2016 at 9:31 am

    Wow, really smart idea and I love that it would probably be fun to do as well. Good stuff!

    • Derek   September 15, 2016 at 9:43 am

      Hopefully it is fun. That’s the point is to be able to talk about money without it being real money. Hopefully it takes the pressure off while still having a meaningful conversation.

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  10. Stephonee   September 23, 2016 at 9:03 pm

    Did this with my husband on Sunday – and it didn’t ruin our Sunday afternoon! 😉 I started by writing down my ideas about what I would do with it, then asking my husband for his ideas without interrupting him with any input. Then we compared how our ideas differed. Turns out we had a bit of a “Gifts of the Magi” moment, as I kept more of the money in cash (something I know that makes him more comfortable) and he invested nearly all of it (what he knows would be my instinct). Then we talked about our differing ideas and came up with a final “plan” for the money. 🙂

    • Derek   October 11, 2016 at 9:57 am

      Wonderful! I’m so glad you actually did this!

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  12. The Vigilante   December 31, 2016 at 1:23 pm

    I love this idea! A fun, low-stress way to breach what some people find to be an uncomfortable topic early in a relationship. Sharing!


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