Post # 1
Darling Husband and I do not make equal salaries. He is on commission, so his checks vary. He sometimes makes close to what I make, but lately (the last 3 months or so) has been pulling in 50% of what I make.
He also has a little bit of cash coming in on the side – it’s not a huge amount – maybe about a hundred a month (if that). I learned of it, because he dropped about 1K on a Christmas present for me. Now, he wants to use that money towards a road bicycle he’s been wanting that’s about 2-3K.
I handle the finances and we are trying to save towards a house. We are on track with our savings plan, but it also leaves me feeling like there is never any money to do things.
Yesterday was pay day and his check sucked again. He works very hard/long hours, and is looking for another job. But, for whatever reason, I woke up in the middle of the night, focused on the side cash and was PISSED. Here I am, contributing 100% of my salary to ‘us’ when he has play money.
It’s not a huge amount of money, so I’m not sure why I’m focused on it and am trying to figure out what the ‘real’ issue is…. I can’t figure out if it’s that I feel like he’s holding out on us (meaning, selfishly keeping money for himself) or if I’m upset that he has money he feels he can freely spend?? or maybe I’m in this rut of feeling like we are never going to be able to buy the house we want because we can’t afford it…. or maybe I’m frustrated that his paychecks are sucking yet he’s working his tail off….. or maybe it’s a combination of all of the above.
I don’t know… but, I need to talk to him about it tonight and I’d like to sort it out in my head before I do… any input to help figure it out is appreciated.
Post # 3
Honestly this isn’t okay. He can’t have “side money.” I would be really upset with this. For better for worse, richer, poorer all the money is OURS. I think a road bike is a great thing to buy once he’s met his savings goals for the year/month.
Post # 4
Yep, I think talking to him about it is def the first thing. It’s not fair or balanced for you to be the breadwinner, financial guru, and not have any “play money” while he does…
Post # 5
For me, I don’t feel like it is fair for him to have side money to save for fun things when you don’t have any money to spend on whatever you want. Is there any way you can both have a little fun with the extra money?
Post # 6
I would be upset if you’re contributing all of your salary to bills/savings with no spending money for yourself, but he keeps his extra few hundred a month to do as he pleases! Depending on your financial position, I would tell him that if he gets play money, then so do you, and you should keep a few hundred dollars for yourself as well. If you need all the money for bills/savings and you want to save for a house, then tell him he needs to be putting that money into savings like you do.
Post # 7
(((Hugs))) I don’t really have a lot of advice, but it sounds like a little bit of all that you have listed is coming in to play.
Has there been anything recently that you’ve wanted to buy that you couldn’t because of this? Or is it just all based around the house?
I think as long as you lay everything out calmly and without accusing, hopefully you can have a calm and rational discussion about finances and expectations.
Are there possibly things you are spending money on for you that he sees as luxury expenses but maybe you don’t?
Could it be also that he feels he needs to keep a little bit on the side to make up for the fact that he makes less and that you handle finances? Maybe it’s hard for him to feel he has to ask you for money/ask permission to spend if he wants something?
This is all just brainstorming, hoping to help you work through some of this.
Post # 8
Tell him the speed is in the motor, not the machine, when it comes to that $3K road bike. 😉
Post # 9
Thanks for all your input so far – it’s super helpful.
I wanted to add that it’s not like I’m sitting on my duff not spending anything. My big personal splurge is $150 a month on personal training. I’ve been doing that for almost 2 years and it’s been a big personal splurge. But, I’m also feeling like anything else I buy (like new clothes or shoes (which I need!)) are out of the question – or, just that – a splurge. I’m not the type that loves to shop – so, knowing that I’m trying to be conservative on finances doesn’t make shopping enjoyable for me….
@KatNYC2011: I do think him making less and not having control of the finances is part of why he likes having his own money he can do whatever with. We played around with having money that went towards joint expenses and then money of our own to do whatever with… but it was way too complicated to figure out for me – and it made sense to just throw everything into one big pot. His biggest complaint (which I understand) is not knowing how much money is available at any given time. I DEFINITELY do not want him asking me for my permission to buy stuff – to me, it’s just common sense. 😉 If you need it, buy it – if it’s a crazy splurge you don’t really need – don’t! But, I know he doesn’t necessarily think that way….
…and, to answer your question about if there is something I’ve been wanting to buy, etc – the thing that I’ve been thinking about a lot lately is hosting dinner parties or just entertaining in general. It’s really difficult to do in the small space we live in – and it’s an extra expense. I feel like my social life is on hold until we move. Which, I know is not necessarily the case – but entertaining is a big part of that for me.
Post # 10
I completely agree with the others. It is fine to have “play money”, but not when you both are trying to save for a house. If you make more / contribute more than him each month he should not have “play money”. That money should go towards your saving’s goal.
But here is some other advice: When talking to him I would be extremely delicate with him. I know from experience that it is very hard on a man when his SO is the breadwinner. My Fiance gets a little jealous some times that I make more than him. I believe money issues often take a shot to a man’s ego. So approach the topic clamly and make sure you are sensitive to his feelings.
Post # 11
- Wedding: July 2012 - Baltimore Museum of Industry
Hi-Sounds like you need to adjust how you’re contributing- I don’t think either of you should be contributing 100%- you both need some play money. 🙂 I don’t always agree with everything she says, but Suzy Orman has really good ideas in her books about how to divide expenses- just had my Fiance read 3 chapters of her book, before we sit down and have our “money talk.” Ex: If rent is $1,000, and someone makes $50K and the other $30K, you don’t both contribute $500 to rent- it’s a percentage of your income (so maybe more $600/$400.) This would be tricky since he’s commission (last year I had a base & commission job, and I know how unpredictable that can be), but you should be able to figure out what his average income is.
I’m unemployed right now, so depending on when I get a job/when we finally live together (still have a roommate), he might be contributing $800 to my $200. Then once I get a job, it’ll shift. Since money can be such an issue in relationships, you’re right that you need to address it. It does sound like there’s more to it than the money- do you feel that you’re contributing more overall? Ex.- if you clean/grocery shop/etc. more than him, you might have some resentment over that??? Or if you’re putting everything in the pot, you’re probably upset that he does has play money- I get the feeling from your post that if you were working another side job, you’d probably want to put it towards the future house, vs. a bike, for ex, while he might view it as “I’m working extra so that I CAN have some fun money.” If you don’t have 3 accounts (his/hers, ours), maybe it’s worth considering??
Hope my rambling helped!
Post # 12
If in fact the side money is “free money”, meaning you don’t feel it needs to be added to the savings for the house instead of being played with… then I think it fair that it be free money for both of you. Maybe it wouldn’t be such a bitter pill if the situation didn’t feel as if you’re being the serious, sacrificing one while he’s out frolicking and having fun. Would he be willing to put it towards something you can both have fun with? It sounds like you need a break. He could contribute some percentage of it toward the bike, leaving the remainder for whatever it is that would help you not feel like everything is on your shoulders. Stay focused on the long-term goal no matter what… you’re on your way, you’ll get there!
Post # 13
Yeah, that’s not okay. That money should either be split between the two of you, or go into savings. I’m also the financial planner in my relationship, but fortunately, my man allows me to dictate his every financial move because he understands that I have our best interests in mind. Maybe you should sit down with him, show him the numbers, and explain what it will take to reach your goal of home ownership. Then after that, come to an agreement about how much money can go towards more frivolous things (and explain that the play money needs to either benefit both of you (like dinner and a movie), or it needs to be split evenly between you (he buys himself a DVD, you pick up some makeup, etc).
Post # 14
@oracle: That is hard. Would he be willing to work on finances with you? You can still be in charge of them but have him involved in your monthly budgeting, bills, etc so he can start to see what is left over and what you are spending as a couple? Maybe if he feels involved in all aspects of the finances, he might have more visibility and understanding of what he can and can’t spend.
I know this isn’t at all the same, but currently I’m not working (trying to find a job) and so all my expenses come out of DH’s income. I pretty much feel I have to ask permission for any purchases except for groceries and the occasional lunch out. I really wish I had some of “my own” money so I didn’t have to ask. Darling Husband tells me I don’t have to ask, but since he’s the one working hard to earn it, I feel like I have to. He keeps telling me the money is ours, not his, but it’s really hard for me to think that way since he’s doing all the work (if that makes sense).
Post # 15
@rebwana: we thought long and hard about how we’d split up the money… and ended up deciding combining all of it made the most sense. It was too hard to manage all the bills, etc and because income fluctuated, having one big pot has worked out well (for the most part). And, you are definitely right – if I had a 2nd job, 100% would go towards the house fund! (I’ve even talked about doing that!).
@jjmomma: as I was tossing and turning last night, the only thing that kind of made sense to me is that we split the ‘fun’ money. But, I’m not sure that’s exactly the right thing either. I think I’d rather he just add that to the bank account and then spend as he needs… but for whatever reason, he’s reluctant to do that (mostly because he says he doesn’t know what the balance is – but, I don’t understand why he just can’t look it up??!!)
Post # 16
@oracle: As for “not knowing what the balance is” I feel that way a bit too. I can look at Darling Husband and my joint account and see the balance, but iI don’t know what is earmarked for bills, rent, etc. I know it’s silly, but I don’t feel comfortable just assuming what is in the account is “available” if that makes sense.