General chatter - Looking for a little marriage perspective

02-04-2012, 10:47 AM
Hi Ladies,

I guess I am looking for an unbiased forum for this issue, because I know my friends have their own opinions about this and I'd rather hear advice from some level-headed individuals who aren't involved :) I realize that the general rule is "you never talk about money", but in this case, I want to because I feel like many marriages struggle with this, and if someone else has an idea that might make things work better for us, I would like to know.

My husband is a wonderful man. He's very supportive, he has loved me equally through thick and thin, and we have been through a lot together. I met him when I was only 14 and he was 18... and we've now been together for over 11 years. I just turned 26.

I had a pretty rough childhood and I didn't have a very solid foundation on which to build myself as a teenager. However, my husband is a very level-headed, logical, practical person, and he brought a lot of stability to my life. He was something I could count on when I couldn't count on anyone at home. However, I look at his parents, and to be frank, his Dad is a VERY controlling man. I would say to the point of being verbally abusive. My husband vowed to never be like that because he hated seeing it growing up, but I have always feared that it would still come back to affect us.

So, where we are today... my husband handles all the finances. He's very responsible about it, and his methods are meticulous - he has spreadsheets that go out 4-5 months in advance in an attempt to predict where we will be financially down the road. Since he is the one who does the finances, and I really don't have much involvement... I go to him for any and everything that involves spending money. And being that he is a very practical person, he hates it when I tell him I would like to buy something un-practical. And by un-practical, I mean anything that we don't absolutely need right now. If I want something, he usually asks me to give up something else in return... so I give up going out to eat 5 times so I can get new curtains. Just as an example.

He knows I can be somewhat spontaneous and he knows we have different ideas about how to spend money. He admitted he would never trust me to do the finances. However, I really don't think I am a big spender at all... I never am the type to go on a "shopping spree". And when I want things, it's usually something like paint for a room that hasn't been

I know in his mind, he feels he is keeping us safe from financial issues. However, I work full time just like him, and I feel frustrated at having him be the gatekeeper and having to ask permission to buy anything that costs more than $10.00... like I have no control over the money that I earn.

Is there a way to rectify this? If you don't mind sharing... how do you all handle finances? Does it work for you?

02-04-2012, 10:58 AM
I think it is a big problem that you are not involved in setting the budget and making decisions. You need to be a partner and know exactly what is going on. You should have control over the money you earn, but that also means you must be in the loop about your financial obligations.

You are being treated like a child.

Alternatively, you could sit down with him and figure out what your share of the bills are and keep your extra money in your own account for your own use. I know some people do this successfully. Our relationship is "all in"--everything we make goes into the pot.

02-04-2012, 11:02 AM
Generally when each person works their salaries go to benefit both of them rent, car, insurance, groceries, etc, BUT you should have some walking around money, some money to spend as you wish whether it is for household or personal expenses for yourself. Talk it over with him and see if it won't harm his fianancial planner if you keep a portion of your salary for just the things you mention.

02-04-2012, 11:26 AM
Thanks for the input ladies :)

I have talked to him about having spending money. But, here's the problem: he says that he can't calculate it because our financial situation changes every month. I have asked him for a number, like $50.00 a month, and he said he can't do that because one month we might have a surplus and then the next month, we might not have to dip into the savings, and he doesn't want to promise me spending money every month, and then be like "oops, sorry, we can't do that this month". We aren't hurting for money (at least not how I think of "hurting"... I grew up in a household where the family account balance would regularly hit $15.00 at the end of the month, so I don't see us as being in bad shape). However, my husband grew up in a more affluent household, and I feel that our childhoods might be shaping our perspectives of how much money we should realistically have in our bank account.

We do go to a therapist to help talk through various issues, and a big one has been this money issue. However, my therapist hasn't really offered us any advice other than "there are many ways to do a budget, and here's the different ways" and "a lot of couples fight about money. It's normal."

I do know that part of this is probably my fault in that I have allowed him, since the beginning of the marriage, to make all of these decisions without being terribly involved. It's only recently that I think I starting taking exception to this set up. I just recently got a job where I am making considerably more money than I was before, and I guess one day I was kind of like "well, where is all this extra money going, and why can't I spend any of it?".

To my husband's credit... last year was a very sucky year for us financially. Our house had problem after problem, and we shelled out well over $10,000 in house repairs last year. I think he is really scared of the same thing happening this year, and he wants to keep as much money in the bank as possible in case the same thing happens.

We have tried separate bank accounts before... back when we first got married. It wasn't pretty. However, I don't really remember why it was so hard at this point, and I think we are in a different situation now... before, I was making practically nothing compared to my husband, but now we are less than $10k apart from eachother in salary. Things feel much more balanced now and I want to play a bigger part in our financial situation... but my husband is very resistant to change and I think he will be like "Well, we tried something different before, and that didn't work very well, did it?"

02-04-2012, 11:48 AM
We're the flip. I handle all finances because my spouse is not good at it. We tried other ways but here's how we've been for at least a decade or more.

I invite him to review the budget periodically to make sure we agree on goals. Usually when I set up the spreadsheet at New Year. Then from time to time throughout.

But basically we have all joint accounts. Then if one of us kicks the bucket, it's easier to deal with. But we treat each acct for a specific thing and stay out of each other's way.

There's his "allowance" and my "allowance" and this is the fun stuff. No questions asked about what thing it is you bought -- it's your allowance. The only rule is something new comes in, something old goes away. Doesn't matter what -- just to maintain some kind of clutter control. It could be a new CD ousts an old book -- it doesn't have to be CD for CD. YKWIM? His is a bit more because it covers gas and lunches too and he goes out further than me. We started out the same and then figured out the gas discrepancy -- he needs one extra tank.

I sometimes thinks what he buys with his allowance is goofy, but whatever. I'm sure he thinks the same about my buys. But it's allowance.

Then there's the house accounts. One is fixed bills, always the same. That's were autopayments are pulled from. One is flex spending that changes -- groceries, home purchases, dinner out, that type thing. Then savings.

To me, things like curtains and paint would come out of flex house. Because it's not something that happens monthly but it is for the house.

What I do is take the paycheck deposit, top up the accounts accordingly, then we go from there.

If he happens to get something house oriented on his lunch break he buys on his allowance and I just pay him back when he gives me the receipt with a transfer from the right acct.

Hope that makes sense.


02-04-2012, 11:54 AM
We have a pot (account) for household expenses (groceries, electric, savings, etc.) and we each pay half of those. We split or take turns on stuff like movies, dinner out (sometimes treat each other) and then bigger stuff we discuss and usually split too. We agree on ballpark figures for gifts for each other, etc. Whatever's left over belongs to each of us to spend how we want. House stuff like curtains is split and we make a joint decision. We pay our own gas and insurance for our cars, but if we take a long driving trip, we split. We each spent a lot of years single, so we are used to covering certain things for ourselves. He's not controlling in the least, and I appreciate that sooooooo much.

Does your husband spend stuff on himself and withhold from you? I guess it's not quite as bad if he's tight with himself too.

I have to say, it doesn't sound like a good arrangement to me. I might not count as a level-headed person on this issue and be biased. My parents' marriage sounds like yours. My mother had to beg for every penny. She didn't even have her name on the accounts for years and years. My mother was not an extravagant person; it was my father who spent. She finally insisted when they retired that she be in on the planning. That was when they managed to save, finally. I swore it would not happen to me.

Edit: I'm glad you're seeing a therapist because hopefully that shows he is aware of the issues.

02-04-2012, 12:04 PM
I work in an office. I work hard to earn my own money--but we pool it and pay the bills and it isn't that we each have an allowance, but we take $200 a week out and leave it in our home for gas and a few lattes (a real treat for us both), the occasional lunch, or the occasional run to the grocery store for an odd item, possibly a pizza delivery treat. Trust me, much of the $200 goes to gasoline these days! Anyhow, I am not an extravagant spender. To keep this post about you and not about me, let me just state that I would be averse to my husband controlling all of the money, half of which is mine, and telling me I could not buy curtains, curtains, and knowing that I have to give up X to get Y, when X and Y are relatively inexpensive to begin with. It isn't as if you've said to him "honey, I'd like to buy a Lexis." Perhaps he is not abusive like his father, but he definitely is controlling if you have to have his permission to purchase things, and he is treating you like an incompetent.

At a minimum, I feel you should get co-involved in the budgeting, the planning, the banking, and actually see your bank account statements and the spreadsheets that pay all the bills, so you know what he is doing with your money. If he is sending significant extra amounts of payments in addition to the minimum on bills, you might want him to stop that so you have a little bit more cash flow. While its great to get out of debt quicker, its not a great idea to send so much that you put yourself in a month-to-month financial situation where you are cash strapped. You should know how much cash you have on hand at any given moment.

As devious as it sounds, if you have a coin jar, you may want to start dipping into it $1 at a time and stashing that away for yourself (although if you do have one, describing his habits, he may know whats in the jar to the penny, huh?). When you go grocery shopping, if you pay by check, add an additional $10 to the tab, and get that cash back, and save it up somewhere for yourself. If you have to have him approve every little purchase, perhaps squirreling a tiny bit away for yourself, devious I know, might be what you have to do. If you take a $20 bill and run to dunkin donuts, or the deli for something, etc., take some of the change for yourself and hide it away. Instead of getting $20 worth of gas, get $18 and hide the $2. Sadly, I suggest these tactics to you.

It would drive me nuts if my husband told me I couldn't have a small thing. My father is dead; I don't need to be treated like a child. Your husband is being very controlling.

Also, that you write he is meticulous about the bills and does spreadsheets months in advance.....that would drive me insane.

02-04-2012, 12:10 PM

Money. What a big issue it can be in a relationship.

Currently my husband makes 2 to 2 1/2 times what I do. He pays all the household bills. I pay my own credit card bill, health insurance payments and buy food. We each have our own checking accounts. We are an unusual couple because money has been the least of our problems. I did have a problem at one time because my husband is so giving. He would help someone do a pole barn job and that person would get paid and Rod would not take anything. I gave up on that battle. I have to accept his giving personality.

Balancedlife-after reading your post. My advice is to both agree to put a certain amount of money in the household fund and have some for yourself. Dont ask him to give you permission-make it a choice for him as a choice of what the amount is. Subtract the amount from you weekly pay and give him a $ to cho0se. You deserve to have some of the money you earn. Your check less $25 or $50 a week or whatever amount. I have a feeling this is deeper than money-I think it is about control.

I am no pro at marriage though. Just my thoughts. This is a very touchy situation and you need to do what your mind and heart tell you.

02-04-2012, 12:13 PM
Ugh. We are in "financial lockdown" (said with ominous tone and downward hand motions) because we are working really hard to pay off our newly redone office. All our extra money is going there and there isn't much for "fripperies" right now. So, I'm coloring my own hair (the horror!) and doing without new clothes. I'm used to having plenty of spending cash for little things like songs from iTunes or a new pair of earrings or Starbucks coffee, so it is killing me.

We recently were in BB&B and I saw a couple of very cute pictures that I thought would be perfect for our new house. Total cost 50.00 - my husband said we just really shouldn't buy them right now and we left without them. It was really really hard for me.

If this were long term and not a temporary situation, I wouldn't be able to deal with it. I would advise contributing the majority of your paycheck to your joint account and setting up your own account where you can directly deposit what you feel is a suitable amount of spending money for you. You need to be able to spend at least some of your own money how you want without having to consult your husband for a 10.00+ purchase. That's crazy.

02-04-2012, 12:29 PM
You have every right to know where your money is going, period.

Ask him to see the spreadsheets he works on or whatever he uses, even if they are on "his" computer. If you bank online, make sure you have all the user ids and passwords.

I'm sorry, but if he doesn't agree, flat out start out putting your money back into your own checking account, then sit down and do the bills together.

And that therapist? Seriously - it's normal? It's not the 1950's and you're not 10 years old. You have an equal right to everything in the marriage, especially the money you bring home.

I've seen and heard too many stories where a marriage breaks up and the woman is left with nothing financially because she let the husband do it all.


02-04-2012, 01:06 PM
Hi everyone,

Thank you so much for the continued input. I am happy to hear how other couples do it, because I know there is not one "right" way to do everything, and I do think that we need to do SOMETHING to change how we are doing it right now.

I do want to clarify... the finances are no secret. We share computers and at any point, I can go in and look at the spreadsheets whenever I want. And when he does do the finances, he shows me where things stand. The problem is, we have differing views on what the numbers mean and what is "acceptable".

For example... At the end of the month, I see that we have $3,000 in the savings account. (I am just throwing out numbers, this isn't necessarily a reflection on our actual situation). I see that and I go, huh, well, I should be able to spend $50.00 on paint this month and take care of that ugly, dingy yellow sunroom (that is true... this sunroom has been hanging over my head since we bought the house over a year ago). My husband will say "No, we don't have $50.00 this month, because next month you need new tires and the dog has to go to the vet to get her teeth cleaned.

I still see the $50.00 as a small expense and say, well, what difference is that going to make? And his response is "Well, first you want $50.00 for this and then you'll want $50 for that and before you know it, we've spent $500."

And as for his spending... he's not a spender at all. He is very big on "just appreciating everything you have" (which I don't disagree with) and he just feels that he would like to have lots and lots of money in the savings to feel "safe" before we go and spend money on things that he doesn't see as necessary. Like I said, I think he is still scared of large unexpected house expenses.

Now, it's not like I never spend money... last week we went shopping, and I got a yoga mat. But, I felt like I couldn't buy it unless I "asked permission" first. And this is what is bothering me. That I feel the need to ask permission. He isn't my father, he is my partner, and he shouldn't have the almighty power to veto my every financial decision.

The thing that set this whole thought process in motion (why I came here to get some other perspectives) is that I just had my birthday. For his birthday, he said that I shouldn't spend too much money... so I didn't. I spent a total of $60 on him. However, we do have a trip coming up (with his parents - no comment), and our current digital camera is not that great. I had asked for a camera for Christmas, and I never got it. So, it wasn't a surprise that, for my birthday, he bought a digital camera. However... it's a $210 camera... and with all the accessories he bought for it, it came out to over $300. And it's not the camera I asked for... that one was $170, and I didn't need any accessories for it. When I asked him about why he spent so much... he was like "Well, when I buy things I want to do it right and get something really good that will last a long time. And since it's kind of for both of us, I figured I could spend more." For both of us... my birthday present, which is different than what I wanted, is for both of us...

Last night, over dinner, I told him that my job at work would be made much easier if I had a smart phone, because I am in internet marketing and I have to have access to things like mobile apps and the internet to better understand our market. He told me that unless my company pays for it (my boss said it would help, but it's not required) we can't get one for me. The smart phone that I want is about $300- plus an additional $5.00 a month in data.

I got very frustrated because A. this is something that I want that would help me with my job and B. he just spent $300 on a camera for "us".

I don't get it. Sometimes he is fine spending money, and then other times he is not, and I feel like there is no rhyme or reason to it.

02-04-2012, 01:07 PM
My perspective:

I am a SAHM, so all of our income comes from my husband. That said, it is all OUR income.

We are both in charge of the budget - we agreed to all the categories and amounts together, and we always talk to each other about purchases over $50 or so (with the exception of groceries, etc.) This is a joint partnership.

We use a virtual version of the envelope system to account for everything. Each time a paycheck comes in, X is put in the mortgage envelope, Y is put in the grocery envelope, all the way down the list until every penny has been assigned a job. Some of them are fixed expenses, like the mortgage bill, and some are more variable, such as groceries, and some are "sinking funds," such as car repair. The bottom line for everything though is that if there isn't any money in the particular envelope (for example, "House" if we needed curtains), we either don't buy the item or we take the money from another envelope. If we use eating out money to buy curtains, then we have less money to eat out. If we need a major car repair and the envelope is low, we have to figure out which envelopes we can take money from to pay for it.

I think the biggest problem in your particular situation is that you don't seem to be a part of the planning process. For the most part, I do the day in, day out accounting of our finances, but my husband is always part of the bigger conversation and knows how to access any budget/spending information he needs to be able to see where we stand. We've agreed together on what our goals are, and we're working together toward them, together being the key word. It doesn't work without open and regular communication.

ETA: We were posting at the same time, but after reading your response, I am even more convinced that setting up envelopes (together) would help you. Looking at our checking account, I might see $X in there, but it doesn't help me to see that some is set aside for gas, some for student loans, some for diapers, etc. In reality, every single penny of the money in my checking account is assigned to SOMETHING, and what's really helped us in being able to see exactly how much at any given time is available for (insert current need/want).

02-04-2012, 01:56 PM
Wow.I thought at first perhaps you weren't working and I could slightly understand....but seeing as you both work,and full time at that....that floors me,but that's just me.

My husband works and I stay home.I pay the bills and have free reign with the money.If I want something and we can afford,my husband sees nothing wrong with me buying it.I however,am more of a saver and rarely spend anything on myself.When I did work,it was pretty much the same.

Arctic Mama
02-04-2012, 02:24 PM
I have to agree with setting aside small personal spending allowances - my husband handles the budget and bills and that is what we do. I know exactly what is going on every month and I ask him at the beginning of each month if we need to tighten things up a bit or I need to reduce my amount ($100 a month for me of undesignated line item spending). That way I have my amount, but we both have the flexibility to adjust it downward if something unexpected comes up.

We share all accounts and money, too, as an aside. And even withy my monthly budget I still run expenses by my husband, so HE doesn't have a surprise when paying a bill. As another member said, each dollar coming in our house is designated to something, it's just a matter of what that 'something' is. $5000 paychecks are already spoken for when they enter the house, because each of our budget items requires certain monthly amounts. The envelope system is incredibly helpful if just having pie charts and spreadsheets isn't enough. It helps you see exactly what is designated to each category and then you can plan purchases better. It just so happens that my monthly spending money is as much of a line item as our electric bill ;). We have a spending plan for all expenses, including possible surprises like home repairs and such, and the money gets set aside, designated, and rolled over if necessary.

I think a change of perspective on this might help you. The guilt or frustration in running purchases by him needs reframing - I ask my husband's permission all the time, and it isn't because he's controlling or I'm subservient, but because he is the one, at the end of the day, who is making the numbers work. My asking/informing him of spending is a loving courtesy so HE doesn't end up with surprises or stress when balancing our books. It could be a point of contention, but why make it so? No sense in making artificial conflict where none need exist.

02-04-2012, 02:40 PM

We have tried the "envelope" system and it failed miserably. Mainly because it was so much upkeep, neither of us had the willpower to log every receipt according to its category. My husband felt that it didn't matter how much was left in each category, because his main concern was the bottom line. His response was something to the effect of "well, if the water heater blows, are we going to take money from 25 different categories to pay it off? what then? Now we have 25 categories in the red?"

I think the best bet would be for each of us to have our own accounts and then have a joint account. We each put into the joint account for all the house expenses according to the ratio of our income (in our case, about a 60/40 split) we each agree to a certain amount to go into savings, and then whatever is leftover is ours to do whatever we want. But my husband will probably again argue that we tried that once, and it didn't work, and that it's too hard to keep track of everything.

We have a nice long car ride on the way to his parents' house this afternoon. Maybe we'll talk about it...

02-04-2012, 02:42 PM
I'm the "saver", and the one who handles the money. My fiancee is the "spender". With that said, I believe in "Pay Yourself First", and so we both get a bit of "fun money" each month, which we can spend on whatever we want with no questions asked.

You say that he told you that's not in the budget, but as a "saver" myself, I question that. Did he show you the numbers in a way that satisfied you to believe it's not in the budget?

If he's saying it's not possible because you have aggressive debt-repayment goals (or he has aggressive debt repayment goals and is imposing them), sit down and decide together if being a little less aggressive would make a more happy, conflict-free household.

From your description, it does not sound like you guys are barely afloat or behind on your bills. If you were, my advice would be significantly different.

You need to ask to be an active participant in setting the budget, and you both need to understand what your goals are. If you don't have the same goals, then that should be a topic of discussion.

02-04-2012, 03:43 PM

We have tried the "envelope" system and it failed miserably. Mainly because it was so much upkeep, neither of us had the willpower to log every receipt according to its category. My husband felt that it didn't matter how much was left in each category, because his main concern was the bottom line. His response was something to the effect of "well, if the water heater blows, are we going to take money from 25 different categories to pay it off? what then? Now we have 25 categories in the red?"

I think the best bet would be for each of us to have our own accounts and then have a joint account. We each put into the joint account for all the house expenses according to the ratio of our income (in our case, about a 60/40 split) we each agree to a certain amount to go into savings, and then whatever is leftover is ours to do whatever we want. But my husband will probably again argue that we tried that once, and it didn't work, and that it's too hard to keep track of everything.

We have a nice long car ride on the way to his parents' house this afternoon. Maybe we'll talk about it...

That's exactly it, though. Have an emergency envelope set up so that if the water heater blows, it comes out of the designated fund (in this case, emergency). What would you do if the water heater blew up tomorrow under your current system? The reality of money being finite is that if the money's not there, you do have to pull from somewhere else to make it happen, and if it meant we had to pull from somewhere else we would. Envelopes don't go in the red, though. If there's no money in that category, there's no money. Negative is not an option.

I did forget to mention that we do each have our own discretionary envelope that gets funded as a part of each check. It's not much, because we're working toward other goals, but my money is mine to do with as I please, and so is his. If I blow it all on something frivolous, he doesn't care at all, but I do have to wait until the envelope gets funded again before I get something else for myself (unless it's a necessity that falls under a different category).

You mentioned not being able to log receipts. I'd encourage you to revisit that, because until you actually know what you're spending (both how much and on what), money is likely to be stressful in your life. It always was for us, but hasn't been for a long time. Not because we make gobs of money - in fact it's quite the contrary, but because we have a plan and work together. I know so many people who struggle with this issue in their marriages, and I really wish that everybody could know how stress-free it can be.

Best of luck to you!

Arctic Mama
02-04-2012, 03:52 PM
Logging receipts, every single one, is SO key to keeping an accurate budget. It's a necessary discipline if your finances aren't in the best shape or your monthly budget doesn't have a LOT of play in it. I'd suggest rethinking that one, if you can. Seperate accounts in a marriage is never something I recommend, I think it just encourages hoarding and secrets, rather than sharing and openness, and that has no place in a healthy union (in my opinion, of course).

Song of Surly
02-04-2012, 04:21 PM
I'm not married, but I absolutely couldn't STAND this if my boyfriend and I had this system. My boyfriend is a little bit older and has a stable salary. I, on the other hand, am finishing college, and actually won't be able to work for the next few months due to student teaching. (I've saved up a lot of money to cover me during this time.) We have separate accounts, and we really just try and split everything we can. Groceries, bills, whatever, but we both realistically know that I can't afford to pay as much as he does. But we have NO BUDGET. Oh my God, I know, but we've never really needed one. We keep an eye on our accounts and just know what we can or can't afford, and we both feel better having rainy day funds. We also make a rule to never buy anything on credit. I'd say my bf and I might start pooling our money when I get a stable, better paying job, but for right now, it works.

Separate accounts is very normal and easy to me, but I might be a little biased as well. My parents have separate accounts, and they both handle the finances together. I never remember them fighting over money. I don't know if this would work for you, but you definitely need to have a serious talk with your man. He needs to respect you and realize that you're competent enough to realize when you're over-spending. By the way he talked (you just starting to spend out of control), it doesn't sound like he really feels that right now.

02-04-2012, 04:47 PM
So, where we are today... my husband handles all the finances. He's very responsible about it, and his methods are meticulous - he has spreadsheets that go out 4-5 months in advance in an attempt to predict where we will be financially down the road. Since he is the one who does the finances, and I really don't have much involvement... I go to him for any and everything that involves spending money. And being that he is a very practical person, he hates it when I tell him I would like to buy something un-practical. And by un-practical, I mean anything that we don't absolutely need right now. If I want something, he usually asks me to give up something else in return... so I give up going out to eat 5 times so I can get new curtains. Just as an example.


I know in his mind, he feels he is keeping us safe from financial issues. However, I work full time just like him, and I feel frustrated at having him be the gatekeeper and having to ask permission to buy anything that costs more than $10.00... like I have no control over the money that I earn.

This is very much how my family's finances are set up. And we've made it work for us, but it took a lot of conversations. Our issue is that he feels (as the money manager) that it's his job to ensure we are financially stable. Whatever happens. That means living beneath our means to build up a big nest egg. It means that pulling from savings upsets him. It means that when I get sick, he starts worrying that we need a new car, or that we'll have major medical bills, and his mind starts budgeting for that. I had to understand that.

And he had to understand that when I feel financially restricted, it gnaws at me. That if I feel like I can't spend more than $10 at a time, I'll spend $10 -all the time-, and on stuff we don't "need". On the other hand, if I say "I want to buy curtains" and we agree on a budget for it, it might take me six months to find the curtains that are just right, possibly with some budget re-negotiation.

When we moved, part of the move was giving up my cleaning lady. I could have a cleaning service here, but money is a zero-sum game, and I'd have to give up weekly dinners out. Our income has been better than we predicted, and we could have both. But only as long as the income is good, and it's easier for us to not get into spending more than it is to cut back, and we both know that.

What was important to us wasn't how we did it. It wasn't the dollar thresholds, or the information (because I have all that). It was that we both understood the other's emotions and reactions to the situation and worked toward a solution that we could both live with.

Arctic Mama
02-04-2012, 05:34 PM
That's what I was getting at - very wise, flourless. It isn't the specifics of the arrangement that are a problem in almost ANY situation, but how each party feels about them. The finances sound pretty good in this case, but the communication is in the pits and that is what needs works. It's a team effort, even when one spouse is doing most of the moneymaking or managing (as is the case in our household).

02-04-2012, 05:50 PM
Your husband does sound too controlling in this matter....but sounds very responsible.

My wife would never stand for that. Our money is our money. We are both responsible people and both earn the money for our household. We do have separate accounts but both have access to "EVERYTHING" in them...although I can't recall ever needing to look at my wife's or her mine.

My checkbook is always on the counter and I balance it every week. Being a teacher her pay is always deposited into her account on a set date...and we always know how much. My pay on the other hand is not always the same, I am in construction. All the automatic pay bills come out of her account and all the rest out of mine. We buy what we need for ourselves. Any big ticket items we discuss together of course. Because I never use her account I pay zero attention to it. She has a debit card for my account which our grocery shopping comes out of. We go together sometimes and sometimes separate, so if it is at a time where my account is low, waiting for my check, I may mention to her to "credit" any purchases, this gives me 3 days before $$ comes out of the account, instead of debit in case I need to transfer money from my savings.

What about if you sat down with him and figured out how much "allowance" a week you feel you should have. Then set that money aside for a few months and see if the bills get paid as you figure. If they do, then you have a few months savings to start with and if it doesn't work, well you need another plan.

Good luck!

02-04-2012, 06:07 PM
Ok, that's good that you clarified and stated you have access to the money.

I think that you're saying the root of the problem is not the fact of being able to spend money, it's the fact that you have to ASK him to do it.

I think other people's ideas are good about the allowance thing. Even if it's $10 a week for both of you. Maybe ask him, what's an reasonable amount do you think for both of us to spend each week on whatever and then just set it aside.
That way you don't have have to ask for money.

I track the finances in our house and my husband (who is the saver type) has access to everything. He also can go out to the hardware store and buy stuff without needing to ask me. I find though there's a limit for that for which he WILL ask me (like maybe over 100 or something)

It's all about respect and trust.


02-04-2012, 07:08 PM
I have to agree that I think the two of you need to talk (maybe with the therapist) about what is really at the bottom of this. You mentioned that you came from a household that could end the month with only $15 in the bank and of course, you saw that you survived, had a roof over your head and food in your mouth, so $15 in the bank doesn't seem scary.

Your husband, on the other hand, can feel not only scared that he can't provide if the level in the checking/savings account goes below a certain number, but possibly he may feel like he's a failure or that both of you aren't earning enough to have the same kind of affluent lifestyle that his parents gave him. (And it really depends on how much his parents told him about their expenses, because what he felt as a child may be different that what was actually going on in his parents' finances.)

I think the real question is to ask him how much money does he need to have in the savings/checking accounts to feel like he's not in danger of going underwater?

Also, I do agree that logging in receipts IS critical, especially if both of you are going to get involved in the finances (and you should, because heaven forbid an accident happens and he dies, how will you manage the household expenses?!). It doesn't have to be logging receipts forever, but it should be for a while so you understand what goes into each virtual "envelope."

Discussing which envelopes you need is also critical -- if you want to have an envelope for home decorations he needs to understand why you want that money. He may think that if the room isn't falling apart (in other words need REPAIR) that you shouldn't "invest" in making it prettier. You need to be able to tell him that making your home nicer is both good for your own psychological state of being (after all, you live in that room!) but also appreciates the home value (which is always a good thing in the long-term).

By discussing his fears of financial disaster and talking about your needs about fixing up the home or spending money on yourself, hopefully, you guys will be able to talk about what's really hiding behind the money control.

It's not really about the $10 here or the $50 dollars for a paint can. This is about how each of you perceive different things in this world and you two need to discuss it.

Then, the next time he's sweating bullets about the dog's teeth cleaning bill, you'll know it's not that he's upset that the dog needs vet care, but rather that he's afraid he'll be sharing the bowl with the dog if disaster strikes next month. That will hopefully give you the understanding to tell him that disaster won't strike (or if it does, that you two will get through it together) and that the dog can have his teeth cleaned after all.

Again, the issue isn't the money if both of you are making good salaries and earning the same. It seems like you just need to understand each other's desires and fears a little bit better in order to understand how it is reflecting in how the money is controlled.

02-05-2012, 12:06 AM
I think the best bet would be for each of us to have our own accounts and then have a joint account. We each put into the joint account for all the house expenses according to the ratio of our income (in our case, about a 60/40 split) we each agree to a certain amount to go into savings, and then whatever is leftover is ours to do whatever we want. But my husband will probably again argue that we tried that once, and it didn't work, and that it's too hard to keep track of everything.

That sounds reasonable. Prob because that's more or less what we do!

Why is it hard to keep track?

It isn't like I manage or care what is in my DH's allowance. That's his problem and honestly those allowance accts are small so it gets to micromanage place to be tracking those.

Paychecks go into main joint house. (A)

Transfer B into savings
Transfer C into DH's Allowance
Transfer D into My Allowance
Transfer E into flex house spending

Done. Just takes me a few minutes at my laptop and I note it on a spreadsheet.

Main joint takes care of all regular fixed bills. Flex takes care of non-monthly house things and food.

Consider budget percent calculators to see what your ranges are. There's lots online but here's one.

When we were younger and had extra bills or problems, the first thing to cut back if savings wasn't enough cover the emergency was the allowance of course. Then the flex spending.

But you don't sound like you are in actual trouble. It sounds like his amount to feel "safe" is different that yours.


02-05-2012, 03:55 PM
I don't see anything tragic i this situation thankfully :). It seems your husband has solid, loving reasons for what he is doing. That of course doesn't mean it has to stay this way.

Imo the best way to solve this is by thinking looooong and hard what exactly bothers you, then think long and hard about compromises (half his-half your way) and THEN talk to him about it in a casual way.

I often have long discussions with my partner (6years living together, pretty much married without a ceremony you could consider us). Sometimes we agree to disagree and I buy something he doesn't want me to buy and in exchange I personally make sure we don't stay behind in our financial goals.

We have a common financial goal. We say "till the end of 2014 we want 100 grant in our savings acount" (or something) and we both work out the maths and anything I spend extra I have to work out how to "fix". Perhaps this is what you need? You could try to make a common savings goal and then he'll feel like you're responsible too? It has made me a more responsible person and I realised in the end that sometimes, just once in a while, he was right and other times I was :D

02-05-2012, 07:52 PM
I have to say I see a lot of myself in your descriptions of your husband. I really feel for his anxiety about having enough savings, especially since you have had such expensive troubles with your house recently. I also look months out in our budget to see where we'll be squeezed and where we'll have excess.

You say that you have tried separate accounts, tried the envelope system, and tried logging receipts only to give up on all of them. Have you revisited the latest technology advancements in these areas? While I don't log receipts, every single purchase is tracked through Mint, which makes it very easy. You could also make virtual envelopes using Mvelopes. Perhaps check out some of these tools to see if they would be a benefit to you.

Part of the problem that I see is that your husband is somehow able to judge using his instinct and perhaps a little number-crunching whether or not you can "afford" a given purchase. However, if you used the envelope system or targeted savings accounts, either of you could look at the information and know that you can or cannot make a purchase. Targeted savings accounts, I think, would also be helpful to your husband in defining his peace of mind. If he won't be happy until you have $10,000 in savings designated for home repairs, of course he will keep saying no to purchases if you have a smaller balance than that total, or perhaps a little more if he thinks it is responsible for other buckets as well... What I'm saying is that he needs to explicitly define an endpoint. If you knew that you needed $10,000 in savings for your home then you would know that you can make a few extra purchases when that level has been achieved. It wouldn't be up to him to say yes or no but for the two of you to define together depending on your goals.

I think you husband, with the comment about going into the red with envelopes, isn't making a distinction between monthly to-be-spent envelopes and targeted savings goals. For instance, a grocery envelope is expected to be spent every month - up to but never over - and any excess could be diverted elsewhere. A savings goal is a pre-defined amount that you work toward saving (possibly in a separate account, possibly several goals in one account), and when you achieve it you can move on to other goals. (A bit like debt payment, but to your own savings.) Which exactly is he trying to do now? Is it written down or all in his head?

What my husband and I do is keep targeted savings account for every periodic but non-monthly expense (i.e. car insurance, season tickets, dentist, optometrist). This helps our monthly budget immensely because we aren't trying to float big expenses on our paychecks for that month but rather have money set aside. We don't execute this perfectly but switching to this system has helped my peace of mind immensely (again I think I am like your husband in this way). You can read about our accounts here ( with a brief explanation of why we do it.

Your goals are valid as well as your husband's. I'm glad you have access to all the accounts but he needs to be more transparent in how he decides what you can and can't afford. I hope your therapist can help each of you see the other person's side a bit better - I suspect, as others have commented, that you husband feels very insecure with your current savings level. But he should define for you what savings would be adequate so you can work together to achieve it and move beyond this stage.

02-05-2012, 08:00 PM
Life is too short to be restricted so much with money. My husband and I are not frivolous by any means, but we do try our best to enjoy our money while still keeping a cushion in the bank. We have a checking and a saving, we agree that we will never let the savings go under X amount and every time we run into some extra money we add most of it to X amount which becomes our new goal not to dip under. That being said we are both aware of all of the bills. He pays some I pay some but I know what he's paying for and vice Vera so then we are always aware of how much we can spend from the checkings. It works very well. He tried to be controlling when we first got married because I was a stay at home mom back then but I put my foot down from the beginning and I'm glad I did. Stand up for yourself, you might fight about it for a while but he'll come around. Especially if you make your own money you have a very legitimate right.

02-06-2012, 11:15 AM
My husband is a SAHD and I make low six-figures. Even back when we both worked, all of our money went into a joint account. We were married, and I take the "what's mine is yours and what's yours is mine" seriously. He can and does get the occasional Starbucks or drop $30 at the mall or Target without mentioning it to me, and that is cool because I drop the occasional $10 on lunch in the city without reporting it to him. I think it would be demeaning ot him if I made him ask me for permission to buy smaller things, and he knows I am a saver for the most part so he reigns himself in at times. For bigger purchases, we always talk about it with each other.

Now, OP, I do not know why a true envelope system wouldn't work for you. Something like an allowance, if you will. I'd probably call it "petty cash" or "discretionary funds" to make it sound more neutral, actually. Why not just take one $50 each month that you can spend however you want, no questions or judgments from your husband? That works out to little more than $10 per week, which is really a pittance if you think about it. What is his objection to that? Doe she feel a need to be a father figure to you so much so that he can't let go enough to give you that freedom?

02-06-2012, 11:39 AM
With my parents, my stepfather pays all the bills and manages the savings. My mother gives my stepfather most of her paycheck but she keeps some money to pay for the groceries plus buying what she wants. Unless you are living nearly pay check to pay check, there is no reason that you shouldn't really have $50 or whatever each month that is yours.

With my husband and myself, I manage all the money. I pay all the bills and manage our savings. My husband can buy whatever he wants but he hardly ever buys anything. I can buy whatever I want but I will discuss purchases over a certain amount with my husband. We talked about our financial goals when we first merged accounts and although my husband came from a more affluent (although frugal) household, his idea is that life is too short to squirrel away every penny.

02-06-2012, 12:02 PM
This has all been so interesting to read - money seems to be one of those hot button issues in most marriages.

In my marriage, I'm the one who handles the bills and budget because I'm the one who is best suited to do it. Our money all goes into one joint account and I sit down with my husband a few times a year to discuss our budget, upcoming expenses and make sure we're on the same page with regard to financial goals (right now it's PAY.DOWN.DEBT!) but otherwise it's all me.

Sometimes that means we get into a similar situation where I have a few dollars "extra" in the account and my husband will think that means we can spend that money. For me that "extra" money isn't really extra - it's money I've worked hard to set aside against unexpected expenses. Looking at it from your husband's point of view, it's a lot of pressure to be the one who has to juggle that load and figure out where the money is going to come from when unexpected expenses rear their ugly heads.

For example, was he able to cover those extra "house" expenses last year because he had a savings built up? Now maybe he's trying to rebuild that savings to a comfortable level once again? Or did it catch him unaware and now he's trying to ensure that it doesn't happen again? If the money in savings is meant to be saved then you don't really have the "extra" money to buy curtains.

I'm lucky in that my husband and I have never (no, really) argued about money. We joke that you can't argue over something that you don't have - but really it all goes back to our basic marriage philosophy - 'it takes two *yes* and only one *no*".

If I say we don't have the money for something right now, he respects that because he's allowed me the control of our finances. If he says he really wants/needs something, I respect that and discuss with him how we can best meet that need.

Beach Patrol
02-06-2012, 12:05 PM
I see this whole thing differently.

I see it as not about "money" but about control.

Money is simply the object used to do the controlling.

I've been married twice. My 1st marriage ended due to money issues; much of like what you have described, but even to a more ridiculous extent. My husband wanted everything to be "equal" - so we went "half-sies" on everything. If the electric bill was $200, then we each paid $100. Phone bill was $50? Each paid $25. The rent was $300, so yes we each paid $150. He paid the car payment & insurance & gas & upkeep for his car & I paid for mine. FOOD? OMG, that's where it got crazy. He bought his own food & I bought mine. We even split up the cabinet & refrigerator space! We were each responsible for anything we bought, whether it was a magazine subscription or a new album, (yes, albums, not CDs back then, LOL!!!) But here's the kicker - HE MADE MORE MONEY THAN ME. Not much more, but more. So sometimes at the end of the week, I'd need $5 for gas to get me thru til payday, and he'd "LOAN IT" to me. Yes, I had to "pay him back" when I got paid.

This wore thin on my nerves and eventually destroyed our marriage. How? Well, when he got a better paying job (making $1200 a week & I was still bringing home $200/week) and WE STILL PAID HALF OF EVERYTHING....? How is that fair? How is that right?? He was gone for months at a time, and I was home taking care of the house, the yard, etc. We used to have horrible fights about money.

It ended when we had a fight over the phone about an either/or situation. Should I pay $50 for an exterminator or have the lawnmower fixed? NEEDED BOTH. So I did both - I used $50 of "his money" to pay the exterminator. He hit the roof over that. I maintained that it needed to be done & the money was available & since he could "afford it" that his money should "pay for it." We fought & argued & screamed until I said "I want a divorce!" and hung up on him. A few days later, after things had calmed down, he called & tried to "divvy up" ... he said if I would "stay in that house" and "take care of his things" until he got back home, that he would "pay the rent". WTF?!?!??! He wasn't willing to "pay the whole rent" while we were married, but now that we were getting a divorce, he would? What kind of f***ed up money management skills did he have, anyway?

Fast forward til now. I've been married to my 2nd husband almost 20 years. I am the check book keeper. I pay all the bills. I do our taxes. But I use OUR MONEY. Not his money/my money - OUR MONEY. He doesn't do any of the finances out of choice; he's not interested in it. I know what I'm doing, I'm organized & I'm quite talented when it comes to stretching a dollar. He's not very wanton for much - we spend $100/mo on our DirecTV & that affords him all the sports he can muster - which is his thing. I'm actually the spender & the saver for both of us. I can put us in the poor house just by buying shoes, jewelry & sunglasses! - BUT I DON'T. I have to keep tabs on my spending or we would go broke.

He "asks permission" when he wants to buy something - anything - whether it's a guy's night out bar tab or an extra pair of socks - not because he's needs my "OK" on it, but because he has no idea how much money is in our account. He makes way more money than I do. But he hasn't got the self-discipline to pay the electric bill on time. He'd forget it & then wonder why our electricity was cut off. So see? I do all that BECAUSE I'M GOOD AT IT.

But it took me some crazy mistakes to learn how to be good at it. My 1st husband wouldn't allow me control of the checkbook - EVER. My 2nd husband practically shoved it on me due to lack of interest in taking care of that household chore.

I think you should convince your husband (whatever it takes!!!) to let you take control of the finances for THREE MONTHS. The first month, he gets to "help you" with all the guidance he feels necessary. The other two months, you're on your own. Two months with you at the wheel. He can be an interested passenger, giving his input, but YOU should be responsible for ALL payments, bills, savings, etc. Your decision whether or not a room gets painted. Your decision whether or not the dog's vet bill comes before that room gets painted. Your decision whether or not to "switch to a vet who charges less" so that room can get painted.

If he cannot "allow" this change for 3 short months, then he simply does not TRUST YOU as his PARTNER. If he does allow it & you mess things up beyond repair, then you know you need more understanding (& possibly more practice) about your finances. (Coincidentally, this would also make him even more controlling of you than he is now - are you willing to take that chance?) If he does allow it & you do a good job, then he will learn to trust you as his partner, and not see you as someone he needs to control.

Money is the #1 reason for divorce in this country - more than infidelity or any other issue. This type of "experiment" could make or break your marriage. Are you willing to do that? Is he?

02-06-2012, 12:28 PM
I am not sure if it has already been mentioned, but my suggestion is to have a joint account and both of you your own.

Have your payroll put 90% of your check into the joint and 10% into your personal account. That way you don't have to ask & if something is needed at the end of the month, you both can equally go half into the personal account.

You deserve to spend what you've worked hard for!

Remind your husband that you're glad he is responsible, but money also comes and goes.

02-06-2012, 11:04 PM
You should definitely be allowed some spending money. I control the finances in our house, mainly because I'm good at math and the husband has terrible memory problems. So he calls and asks if we have money for something if he wants to spend it on something we don't normally do. Heck he even asks if we have money for gas lol, he doesn't bother keeping track of how much we have so it's just easier for him to ask me because I always know. Life is short and we don't waste it fighting over money :)

02-06-2012, 11:43 PM
I'm a SAHM currently. So we live on DH's income. DH pays most of the bills, but I have access and know how to pay them. Some months I pay some due to his schedule. We've never had his and hers accounts or funds. It's just ours.

We actually both ask "permission" when spending more than a small amount on ourselves. For us, it has more to do with being open about purchases and getting an opinion. I can't remember the last time either one of us said no. We might discuss and decide it would be better to wait on something, but even that is rare. Neither DH or myself are huge shoppers.

It helps that DH's parents have a similar money style to my parents. In fact, we both try to not be like our parents. Lol. It can be hard to shed childhood perceptions, at times.

I think you need to have a heart-to-heart about how the situation makes both of you feel. Maybe you can work something out if you both understand where the other one is coming from? Communication is key in any situation and it sounds like this is something you need to find a resolution to together.

BTW, unless he/she is awesome in other ways, it may be time to find a different therapist. They don't sounds terribly helpful.

02-07-2012, 01:52 PM
Thank you so much to everyone for your insight. Hubby and I had a "discussion" about this in the car ride over the weekend, but we are going to hopefully revisit it tomorrow and actually sit down and come up with a better plan, together. I am actually going to take some notes from this discussion and bring them up with him: like revisiting the envelope concept, potentially setting up separate accounts... but more importantly, about setting realistic money goals together and coming up with an actual financial plan. Because you guys are right... part of the frustration comes from the fact that what I can spend is nothing more than a "judgment" on his end. If I look at the budget and I literally see $0 available for spending that month, and that is according to the goals that I helped set up, then I will be just fine holding off on spending anything.

02-07-2012, 06:55 PM
It took us a bit to solve this issue: about 1.5 months our first year of marriage. I took bookkeeping in high school and accounting in my business degree at college, but DH still wanted to try do the budget. We made a deal: I gave him 6 months -- if he goes into the red, I take it back. He went into the red by 1.5 months and gave it back gladly: he said he couldn't figure how I was doing it. Trust me, it wasn't easy as our income wasn't very high back then ...

I'm glad that you and your DH are talking about the situation becuz there is no reason with your joint income that you both couldn't have a PA: personal allowance each month. We each have one and get the same amount; it is considered a monthly expense just like our savings amount is. If one month we are tight, we may skip that month, but we agree on that first, and every expense is shared/discussed.

We have a joint account which both our incomes go into for all expenses; we then take our PA's out and put them where we want to. We can spend it or save it: as we both have savings accounts too (I usually save half mine). The budget pays for all expenses, so we need very little otherwise. I just use a budget book from the stationary store (2 pages for each month; budget on right side & groceries, household, xtras on the left -- so I can compare).

If the house needs something, it is then budgeted and/or saved for (ie curtains, etc). The same goes for us: if I want a new camera, I either have to save for it, or receive it as a gift, or we may split on it, if it's something we both want or need.

I'm sure you can work this out; good luck ... :D

02-08-2012, 12:15 PM
I see this whole thing differently.

I see it as not about "money" but about control.

Money is simply the object used to do the controlling.

My thought's exactly. He's controlling.

02-09-2012, 11:56 AM
Yes, he is controlling. Keep pushing the issue, really.

Not married, but living together. When we moved in, we signed up for a joint account and we also have our own accounts. Every month we transfer money into the joint account for bills etc. She makes more money but not significantly more; however, she does have savings and I have debt I'm working hard to clear. So when we need big things, like when our TV burned out or neither of us could stand the mattress anymore, she buys them. In a few years when we need something else, like furniture or whatever, I'll buy that (and hopefully by them my debt will be better managed and I'll have a better paying job and some savings). Financial situations wax and wane, and I think it's important to realize that in dual-income relationships, the same situation does not always present. Neither of us are bitter about money (at least, I'm not- and I haven't heard that she is) but we do have control of what we earn- and I'm happy with that.

If that kind of thing doesn't fly for you guys, maybe you can push for a 'fun budget' or 'house budget' category to add. Because really, it's not like you're going out and buying a new wardrobe or something, this is something for your home that directly benefits him also.

02-09-2012, 04:07 PM
i keep track of the finances in my marriage. not as a control issue, i'm just the one that has the time to do it. my husband and i have only been married a year (and together for 2 before that) but money is the one thing we never argue about. we've sorta made a pact to discuss all spending (even the small stuff - i asked him if i could spend 26 dollars on books heh) just so we both know where we are financially. the asking is more of a courtesy because both of us are aware of our limited budget, but we do discuss all spending simply so it's not a surprise and cause for a fight later.

02-09-2012, 04:31 PM
You have gotten many good responses. I just want to add in my experience. DH and I have been married for 16 years. For the first 11 years we had a joint account and I paid all the bills. It was VERY stressful for me and after 11 years of marriage, even with counseling, money issues caused us to split up, to the point I did file for divorce. (Luckily, we were able to repair our marriage but it cause us problems)
After we got back together, we took a look at our expenses, how much each of us brought home and then split the bills as fairly as possible. I pay mine and he pays his and under no circumstances do I want him questioning where I spend my money as long as bills are paid.
You husband is controlling you with money, you earn it and you have a right to keep it. At the very least, insist that you transfer XXX amount into a separate account for yourself. If he comes up short on something than and only then can he ask you to dip into YOUR money to help out.

02-09-2012, 05:34 PM
This is a really interesting thread. I had no idea how many married people kept separate accounts. Honestly, that's never really occurred to me before. I've been married twice, and the first time, we had a joint account and this time we have a joint account. With my current husband, he works full time and I am a full time student, so me paying for half of things just wouldn't work for us. With both of my marriages, though, it's generally been the guy who handed the actual paying of the bills (for whatever reason) out of the joint account, and I do the grocery shopping and most of the errands because I don't mind it. I've never been with anyone wealthy, but we decided for ourselves that we wanted to save X amount and the rest was kind of just in there for us to spend as we saw fit. I'd be irritated if DH came home with an expensive new toy without telling me about it, but we don't nickel and dime each other at all about finances. If I see the account is running low, I curb my spending, and he does the same. Maybe it's not for everyone, but it has always seemed to work for me.

02-09-2012, 05:54 PM
DH and i dont have a single joint account together...that's just how it worked out and has always been fine with us...we each have a checking and a savings account, not always at the same bank either...he doesn't have a head for finances or the responsibility (not the right word - accountability?, whats the right word) to get the bills paid in a timely manner or keep track of what things we need to be paying...

we have joint things together such as a mortgage and a credit card account but even my other credit cards are just in my name, since they were from before we got married...

when i was in college, i worked and handled all my own finances...i got married and my DH didnt work due to his mental illness...i worked and took care of all the finances...later when i was single, i did the same current DH is fine with me continuing to do what i've proven good at for many many years...he really isn't all that interested in the finances...he asks me on payday how much i need to get bills paid and i tell him and he transfers it to my checking account, from which i pay all the bills

i also do our taxes and make sure we apply for the alaska permanent fund dividends before the deadlines...even before we were married i did his taxes for him LOL

that's just the way that works best for us...whatever is left from his paycheck after we pay bills, is up to him to use as he sees fit...sometimes he'll do stuff around the house, sometimes he'll put some into his savings, sometimes he'll pay down one of our credit cards a bit...some weeks it just all trickles away on lunches and a poker night etc...i really dont care as long as he's already put the money in to get bills paid

i have tried to explain to him my system of keeping track of things, how i budget and pay bills, how i balance the checkbook, where i file things...but he's honestly disinterested in it...sometimes he'll ask if we paid the mortgage lately LOL but really he trusts that i'll take care of it

the main reason that i want him to learn some of this is in case something happens to me or i am gone for an extended time, for instance if my elderly parents need help up north or they fall ill on the homestead

02-10-2012, 04:49 PM
Thank you so much to everyone for your insight. Hubby and I had a "discussion" about this in the car ride over the weekend, but we are going to hopefully revisit it tomorrow and actually sit down and come up with a better plan, together. I am actually going to take some notes from this discussion and bring them up with him: like revisiting the envelope concept, potentially setting up separate accounts... but more importantly, about setting realistic money goals together and coming up with an actual financial plan. Because you guys are right... part of the frustration comes from the fact that what I can spend is nothing more than a "judgment" on his end. If I look at the budget and I literally see $0 available for spending that month, and that is according to the goals that I helped set up, then I will be just fine holding off on spending anything.

There's a difference between agreeing to no "fun" money and actually going through with that, long term. Money is like dieting--if you don't allow yourself a treat to get you through, you're more likely to crash off the diet. I realize you are hurt by the way your husband is treating you, but have you ever stopped to consider: "I'm not as worried about finances as my husband. SHOULD I be?" If you wish to be included in financial decisions, first off you need to regularly look at those spreadsheets of his. Life forces you to buy things often, so you need to do financial "checkups" often. Weekly, maybe. I, personally, pay off my credit card every week so I know exactly what I've spent and can catch any overspending trends before they become issues. Seeing cold, hard numbers prevents you from simply going on your personal "perception" of what your financial state is.

I know there are many savvy ladies out there. I am one of them. I know some of them. And I hate making gender-specific remarks. But on the flip side, a lot of women I know personally will spend money they have Right Now but don't realize that their purchase can affect their finances as much as a year down the line. Do your husband's spreadsheets project your finances for the next couple years? If not, they should. Then it would be apparent, in the grand scheme of things, whether your "fun" purchases are really as bad as he thinks. If he's right, then you're going to have to tighten your belt. It sucks, but that's what you have to do. If YOU'RE right, seeing the number may relax him and he won't be in "financial panic mode" all the time.

The camera he bought you---that was pure selfishness, though. That was a case of sudden greed, where he looked at your combined finances and perceived that all of that was his to do with as he pleased, and he broke his own rules to please himself--not you. I make far more than my husband, and have always been the breadwinner. We have separate accounts, and have divided up the bills so we each pay the same percentage of our salaries. I have, on occasion, been extremely tempted to buy something expensive for myself and not tell him how much it was. I have, on occasion, felt that because I worked harder and therefore have the better, higher-paying job I am Entitled to more than he is. And when I feel like that, I tell him immediately that I wish I could buy X thing, so that he can hold me accountable. The point is, I am not entitled just because I make more and do most of the budgeting, but I understand the temptation and it seems your husband had a moment of weakness.

You should have been allowed to then spend $150 on a present for the both of you to make up the difference. People say marriage doesn't keep score, but you MUST keep balance. Fairness is important for you two to trust each other. Why have you not stood up to him about this? If you make almost as much as he does, what are you afraid of? That he'll yell? Leave you? Cut off any access to your account? (...which is illegal, and wouldn't work anyway since you have a salary and can set up your own account.) If that is a fear you have, then money is not the primary issue here...