(Closed) SO putting limits on my shopping

posted 9 years ago in Waiting
Post # 32
2265 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

@oldlookingyoungster:  That’s not “kind of” controlling – that IS controlling.


I’m all for being a unit and having goals/agreements about saving and spending but I am not going to ask for permission to spend a reasonable amount of the money I earn on something I want or need.  Does he obtain YOUR approval before he spends money?  You are an adult – not a child. 

Now, if you have a metric ton of clothes I can maybe see why your SO might feel you’re spending more than you need too or perhaps think that some of that money could be better used elsewhere. 

However, if by describing your SO as “thrifty” you really mean he’s a skinflint and tight with a dollar, this could be a real issue you have to deal with. 


I think a better plan might be to agree to a budget and/or a set amount of discretionary income that you can both use as you see fit.  However, if you have no debts, live within your means, have savings that you contribute to each month then he should be able to trust that you are not going to spend yourself or him into the poor house. 




Post # 33
13815 posts
Honey Beekeeper

I think that the “hows” of the way your SO has approached this issue  are as significant or more than the “whys”, that is, whether or not he’s right.  A financial  planner or a budget could help, but to be honest,  the controlling way he presented this, for example needing to approve the specific top, and unilaterally making rules, is  a  bigger red flag to me.  You are not even married or officially engaged, yet! TBH that would be a deal breaker for me right there. 

This coming from someone who agrees with your SO that living on  less than you make and saving consistently is the path to all good things. But this may be only a small glimpse of things to come on his part.   He sounds quite  controlling to me and the way he’s approaching it is more of a concern than “just” two people who aren’t on the same page financially.  I would keep my eyes wide open. 

Post # 34
1878 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: March 2014

I’m not a shopper at ALL, but my Fiance likes to come shopping with me and he’ll give his input on the clothes I try on. He even gives me things to try on sometimes. I actually feel and look better in the clothes he picks out – he’s like my Clinton Kelley. But like I said – I really don’t like shopping. He does.
That being said, if he insisted on having sole veto/approval on all of my purchases, I’d be pissed. Even though we’re in the process of merging finances, we both strongly believe that a person needs some of their own money to spend however they like.
I’ve had to ask him (politely!) to limit his purchases before, but we’re saving aggressively for a wedding, and an apartment can only have so many flashlights (true example). If he buys one though, it’s really not the end of the world – I won’t flip out on him. I just want him to calm down the impulse shopping.

You need to talk to your boyfriend about this – don’t sugar coat it, tell him outright that you feel that his self-appointed “approval rights” are controlling, and that you will spend your own money as you wish. If you want, talk with him about spending money and make your own financial plan.
You mentioned you almost went into debt over shopping, so I think it’s wise for you to have a spending plan anyway. Think of it this way: you’ll most likely never have as much spare cash as you do now, and it’s better to save a larger portion of it now than to wish you did later.

The other thing I have to say about a guy like this is think hard about merging your finances.
If he shows signs of money controlling now, imagine what he’ll do when he feels that he has control of the household finances – something he very obviously feels is his right.
Keep a portion (as much as you can) your own money seperate, and make sure he can’t access it. I guess I would let him know about it, but I would also keep a small portion of savings seperate and NOT let him know.
Sorry, but I don’t trust people who get weird over money. Better to be safe than sorry.

And I think the “oh well you don’t want to marry me then” card is a power play. Don’t let him get away with it – tell him what you’re going to do, let him know you don’t appreciate his actions, and then just do what you want. You’re an adult and so is he, but that doesn’t mean he is in charge.

Post # 35
7813 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

@oldlookingyoungster:  It’s not “our money” if it isn’t combined. I’m not sure if you two are living together, but so long as you are saving money and contributing equally to the bills, I’m not sure your guy has a leg to stand on. He isn’t your dad or employer and I can’t believe he would actually say you need approval before you buy something…do you have to ask to use the washroom too? That would not fly with me.

Fiance and I discuss large purhcases but I’d never tell him he couldn’t buy things with his “fun money.” That’s what it is for!

Post # 36
303 posts
Helper bee

I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt and call it good intentions, extremely poor solution and execution.

From what it sounds like, while you thrift, you still spend, whereas he is very conservative. So while you “have more each month”, maybe you’re adding $100 to savings each month, while he’s adding $1000. Assuming you make the same amount, this discrepancy could severely impact your capacity to be on the same page post-marriage, and this uncertainty could be what’s holding him back from proposing. 

Instead of telling you what you can and can’t spend, you should be discussing savings goals, and what finances will look like post-marriage based on both of your outlooks. I think so long as you stick to a monthly “allowance” you should be good – the allowance being what you keep, and not what you spend. It does make it harder to keep track of the numbers, but it will hopefully give him peace of mind, and keep him off your back.

Another way to resolve this might be to contribute a minimum amount to a specific savings account each month, and then so long as you make that contribution (on top of whatever expenses you’re covering now), he can’t say anything about your spending.

If you’re constantly getting packages, he might have a skewed view of how much you’re buying, even if he knows you return (think 50% instead of 10%). Talk to him about the ROOT of his issue, and then try to arrive at a solution that addresses that in a more appropriate manner than him monitoring and approving each individual purchase.

Post # 37
13815 posts
Honey Beekeeper

Totaly unrelated to the inappropriate  issues of control, but SO might be following this strategy.   If you are going to be together, he needs to better communicate his goals and the two of you need to come up with a way to live and work together.  This may be what is going through his mind right now, but it doesn’t justify his approach:


Post # 39
1114 posts
Bumble bee

There’s a huge difference between “Let’s set a budget for clothing purchases so we can save more money” and “you’re allowed to buy tops if I approve of them, but no dresses.” If he wanted you to cut back, a non controlling way would be, “Do you really need more dresses? I understand its your money, but it seems you rarely wear most of your clothing.” 


I would not merge finances with him and if a discussion about a budget vs “approving” clothing doesn’t go well with an apology for coming off as controlling, I would walk. Often controlling behavior starts with clothing choices. He could have just expressed himself poorly, so I would have a talk, but its a small red flag how he chose to address the situation. 

Post # 40
755 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

@oldlookingyoungster:  If he is simply worried about you going back to your previous ways of over-spending (even though you are doing well now), he is REALLY going about it the wrong way!


No way should he treat you like a child by telling you all purchases must be approved by him. If he can’t live with your desire to get new, inexpensive clothes on regular basis even though you  don’t *need* them… this could be a constant point of conflict in your marriage.


My father and mother fought over EVERY. LITTLE. PURCHASE. My father would splurge on things he wanted without telling her, but SHE had to run everything by him. It eventually got to the point where she would take us clothes shopping for school and make sure we came home when he was out so that he would not pick a fight.


My mother was also fairly frugal, but my father was borderline miserly. He didn’t want us to have new shoes unless our old ones were literally falling apart, or our toes were poking out the tops.


To be fair, he may just be a person who is perfectly content with the things he already has and sees your constant shopping as confusing, frustrating, dangerous, and indulgent. I mean, if you are making good money and even able to save a little, why not save even more and purchase something really big, meaningful, etc. with that money?


Personally, I like to save to buy more expensive things every one in a while as a special treat, or when I really need them. So, if my SO was a person who just like to shop and by inexpensive things *just because* then I would find it a little annoying or worrisome.

Post # 41
3273 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: April 2015

And I assume you approve all of his purchases too, right? If not, so not fair

Post # 42
1626 posts
Bumble bee

@oldlookingyoungster:  woah woah WOAH. 

who cares WHAT you spend on shoes/dresses/etc.

I have had a serious case of this in the most recent past.  “oh maybe if i shop less, he will want to marry me” “maybe if i spa less, he will want to marry me”  “If i save more and show him i am responsible, he will want to marry me”

fast forward 1.5 years later (after a 3 yr relationship)….He is not trying to get married FOR A WHILE STILL.  I’m using myself as an example to say this:  you have to make yourself happy.  and if you want to shop, as long as you are saving TOO and not blowing all of your money, what does it matter?  We are so lucky in this day in age….we are mostly more successful than the men we are with 🙁  weird.  Our mother’s didn’t have it this good…lol.

I have just resorted to what one of my married friends does (bc i live with my SO too and share the bills, but I make double his salary), I just hide the bags in the car, wait until he’s not looking, sneak the bags in the house and pop the tags too.  LOL.  I still have my own checking acct, and I’m sorta a clotheshorse, so it’s not TOO far fetched that he hasn’t seen everything.  PLUS I swap clothes with friends from time to time, so I can always say “oh this was so and so’s” hahahahaha.  

Good luck woman!!!! 







Post # 43
3 posts
  • Wedding: April 2013

Here’s my two (or more) cents (and I only made it through about 1/3 of the comments above so I apologize if it’s repetitive and nagging… and long!)

1. This is pretty controlling for someone whom you aren’t married to. If you are officially engaged and discussing JOINT budgeting, then that’s different. But him approving every top you buy is a little reaching. He may just be in a panicking mode because HE isn’t used to spending (as you mentioned) and doesn’t know your budget.

2. That being said, discuss with him that you aren’t comfortable with this. Don’t pull the “not fair, I do what I want” response. It won’t go over well and will come across too harshly. Express that it’s hurting your feelings and making you feel controlled. He probably doesn’t realize that this is how it came off. BEFORE you sit down and talk, print out something showing YOUR current expenses. Show all the proof you just posted about (having more money, etc). Show your expenses, how much you spend on “fun” things, and how your future finances may look. If you are seriously considering marrying this guy, you shouldn’t have a problem talking about this. Have this stuff ready, and then after you express your distain for his restrictions, show him the facts. Show him how you’re managing money smartly.

3. The suggestion of an “allowance” is brilliant and works perfectly… for a marriage situation. Again, being that you’re not married it doesn’t make sense to do that right NOW. BUT…. mention that maybe you’d be willing to do such a thing once you are married.

4. My husband and I came to a resolution when it came to my clothes shopping. Every time I buy something, I get rid of something else. If you turn your hangers backward, and then turn them front again once wearing/using that item, This will be easy to track what you don’t wear in a year’s time. Again, mention this to him as a way to compromise with your shopping. Also… you’ll find it refreshing to have a constantly changing wardrobe and not have things lost in “i’ll wear it later” section of your closet.

5. Most importantly… remember that this is the man you are thinking of marrying. Speak calmly, maturely, and kindly. He will respect that you came to him about it instead of stewing or going behind his back. The dress for a surprise trip? I would just simply tell him something like “honey, I bought a dress for this event but I really want to keep it a surprise for you to see. I would love to see your face for the first time about it because I like it so much”. Make it seem like this hiding of the dress is really more for his sake – which it should be!

side note… I read your comment about returning 90% of stuff you buy online. If that’s the case, why purchase at all? Stop shopping online! Go TO the stores, try things on, and chances are the amount of money you spend on clothes won’t seem so shocking. Even if you DO return the things you buy online, it’s still a matter of having the initial funds to purchase. In the time between buying and returning, you’re left with that amount out of your bank account – and into his head for your shopping “habit.

Again.. just some input! I wish you the best on this.

Post # 44
6 posts

That is not a reasonable demand for him to make. It’s very controlling and is a huge red flag. He may have just misspoke, so have a serious conversation with him about what he was actually trying to say. If he still sticks by what he said, then I’d be telling him in no uncertain terms that you will NOT be going to him for approval on your purchases, because you’re a grown woman, who has her own independent finances. Don’t let him pull that ‘but we’re a unit’ crap on you. You don’t share finances, so financially, you’re not a unit. Your money is yours and yours alone. If he doesn’t respect that, honestly… I’d be reconsidering whether this is someone you can be with long term. No man should ever be trying to control you.

Post # 45
155 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

@Shlieka: +1.. this exactly… just have an honest convo with him… and maybe you can agree a certain amount each rather than that you can spend.. that you will save- for the wedding/ etc etc. Then the rest is yours to shop with as you wish? he does need to know that you are not going to hand over your bank account as soon as you get a ring.. 

Post # 46
178 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

I would never let a man tell me how to spend my money – or his money for that matter! I understand if your spending was causing financial problems (ie you’re in debt) but it doesn’t sound like you’re spending outside of your means, so what’s his problem?

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