Author Topic: Unmustachian Hubby Relationship Advice  (Read 8811 times)

Credaholic

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Unmustachian Hubby Relationship Advice
« on: July 24, 2015, 02:58:59 PM »
I'm mainly wondering if I crossed a line this morning, all advice appreciated.

Some background: I control the money in our household, pay the bills and make the majority of our financial decisions, all our investment decisions, etc. This is 100% agreed to by both parties, my husband just isn't interested and I am. I do sometimes wish I could bounce ideas off someone else (but I guess that's what the forums are for) and sometimes I feel like the weight of our financial future is all on my shoulders, but I also feel semi-competent (most of the time) in that role, and when I've offered to include him more he's said no thanks.

Hubby is a spender and we agreed to $300 spending money each month. That means that each paycheck $150 is left in his account to do whatever he wants with. The rest goes towards bills, budget items, and savings. (Right now pretty much all bills because we're in the final stretch of building a house. We'll re-up our investment account contributions when that's done in 3 months.) Everything from groceries and toiletries to clothes to eating out to travel expenses is in our budget, so the $300 is literally all his to spend however he wants. But somehow every month I find charges on our credit card that should have come from his bank account.

This morning I went off a bit about all the charges on the cards, charges high enough that he can't pay it back from his bank account spending money. I asked if he still agreed that $300 should be plenty of spending money and was a fair amount, he said yes. I asked if he could get his spending under control then and stop violating the trust of the credit card every month. He said maybe. I found this both confusing and irritating and said if he couldn't get it under control I'd take the credit card away.

Yeah, I talked to him like he was a child. I should also mention that he is personally building us our new house in his time after work and on weekends. It's been a hard year (on both of us, we also had a second child) and he's way overworked. Our relationship for the most part is doing good I think. I mean, we're semi in survival mode, but the fact that we're not at each other's throats (this morning being the exception) seems like a pretty big win to me given our present circumstances.

This argument is an old one, so although I may have said something I shouldn't have, the issue itself isn't something I feel like I'm in the wrong over. This is the budget he's agreed to, what he does want to spend isn't actually feasible because our money is finite, and while we try to be frugal we could be a lot more frugal.

I guess I'm just wondering how bad I stepped in it, and really how mad you guys think we should both be? As much as I'm like how mad should he reasonably be with me, I can't help feeling like I have the right to be mad too! I don't want to nag, I don't want to police, I don't want to be in that position at all. I just want him to control himself. And if he can't, then don't be mad when I do nag...

AZDude

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Re: Unmustachian Hubby Relationship Advice
« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2015, 03:10:19 PM »
Married man here... I'll be totally honest. He deserved every word. He needs to get his shit under control. We have a similar arrangement in that we allocate out a certain amount of "fun money" each month that each of us can spend on whatever we want. There have been occasions in which one of us, or both of us, go over that amount, but generally speaking we stay on budget.

Brilliantine

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Re: Unmustachian Hubby Relationship Advice
« Reply #2 on: July 24, 2015, 03:20:01 PM »
Another married man here. +1 to what AZDude said.
Also, don't sweat it. Sounds like you are both responsible adults who get along really well. I'm sure if you guys address the conversation later, you'll both agree that he shouldn't have antagonized you with his "Maybe" and you probably should have worded your feelings differently. Maybe later tonight? After enjoying some (box) wine on the couch? Do you guys have couch time? :) Happy Friday!

Saving in Austin

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Re: Unmustachian Hubby Relationship Advice
« Reply #3 on: July 24, 2015, 03:30:00 PM »
One more married guy here. I am the lead in making money and paying the bills. Hhaving said that she looks at everything with me at least once a month to make sure we are on track and that she knows what is going on and where everything is. She is bought in to our financial goals and there is no parent/child relationship happening. That works for us and we haven't fought about money in years.

Credaholic

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Re: Unmustachian Hubby Relationship Advice
« Reply #4 on: July 24, 2015, 03:56:33 PM »
One more married guy here. I am the lead in making money and paying the bills. Hhaving said that she looks at everything with me at least once a month to make sure we are on track and that she knows what is going on and where everything is. She is bought in to our financial goals and there is no parent/child relationship happening. That works for us and we haven't fought about money in years.

THIS is what I want! A monthly sit down to go through the month's spending and make sure we both know where we're at and what we're working towards. It would also help keep me on track! I am going to ask for this again. In the past he's been uninterested.

We will be fine, but he is making me feel via text like I was REALLY in the wrong, and I knew before I even said it that I shouldn't have. But even though I did, I feel in the right! All of your validation is probably not going to help my marriage. I already always think I'm right ;-) And outside of this community everyone thinks hubby's $300 "leash" is ridiculous.

ender

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Re: Unmustachian Hubby Relationship Advice
« Reply #5 on: July 24, 2015, 07:08:20 PM »
What's the real problem?

Managing how much is in the account? Not realizing how much is being spent? Having inconvenient access to the $300?


I suspect it's the lack of his interest in your finances that's the real problem.

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Re: Unmustachian Hubby Relationship Advice
« Reply #6 on: July 24, 2015, 07:22:12 PM »
I've been married for 20 years now, and can honestly say that I can handle the mathmatics of finance just fine; but cash in the hand flows like water.  As a rational, grown man; I should be able to not splurge, but I don't have it in me.  When he says that "maybe" he can respect the agreement, he probably means that he will try, but doesn't know if he can do it.  You would do well to talk to him about this, and see if he will voluntarily surrender the credit card.  My wife has a debit card in her name; but I don't and have not for 15 years.  Simply too dangerous. 

Part of being a grown man, is recognizing your own weaknesses; and this was my greatest.  For the past 15 years or so, I get a weekly "allowance", and anything else I have to justify to the paymaster.  My wife, that paymaster, has incredible fiscal discipline.

Mirwen

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Re: Unmustachian Hubby Relationship Advice
« Reply #7 on: July 24, 2015, 08:30:32 PM »
I think maybe a small apology from you for the wording/harshness may be in order, but you have every right to be frustrated at him going over budget.

I agree that his "maybe" means he recognizes that although he tries, he has a weakness that's not easy to control.  You should respect and appreciate that he's being brutally honest with you.  He probably is trying very hard to meet the budget, but it's not easy for him.

I would ask him if he'd be willing to hand over the credit card and go to a cash system.  Hand him $150 in cash every two weeks and when it's gone, it's gone.  He should have to double check with you if he needs more than this.  It should be a joint agreement to go over budget, not one person's weak moment.

$300 a month for "fun" money is plenty.  It doesn't matter if others have more if he agrees it's plenty too.

Frankies Girl

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Re: Unmustachian Hubby Relationship Advice
« Reply #8 on: July 24, 2015, 09:02:56 PM »
My first post on here was basically this same thing. Husband blew past a mutually agreed upon spending money limit, and basically wasn't holding himself accountable, and we were having a weird parent/child dynamic developing.

I do the same thing in terms of money management as you; I'm the one that takes care of everything financial and he has little interest, and I have to try to get him to listen to me periodically about what we spend and what we have and he seems kind of bored with it all...

So I totally empathize with your situation. ;)

We ended up sitting down and having a serious discussion about how I am not his parent, I am his partner, and then trying to talk through his thought process and what our shared goals were. Turns out, he just wasn't thinking, other than the fact that we were doing so well that he didn't need to even think about how much money he was spending. So he didn't think about prices or what it all added up to any more. And once he saw it all laid out, he was embarrassed about how badly it all got away from him. I asked him to really think about what he wanted and felt comfortable with going forward. Once we had that talk, things got better and he sticks to his budget pretty much all the time.

Anyway.

Your guy doesn't have a leg to stand on really. He agreed to the limits, and blew past them. You do have a right to be upset because he either didn't care, can't control it, or just didn't think - all are pretty crappy choices - and now he's making no real commitment to stay within the limits (sounds passive/aggressive that he said maybe on if he could stay within the budget). So it sounds like he is now defensive about the fact that you called him on it, and could be genuinely unable to rein in his spending and needs real help (if he's not just being a bit of a jerk). It might be that he's masking embarrassment, or it might be passive/aggressiveness, but he needs to be more open to exploring his reasons and thoughts with you to be able to have a productive discussion.






Erica/NWEdible

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Re: Unmustachian Hubby Relationship Advice
« Reply #9 on: July 24, 2015, 10:08:26 PM »
I think your feelings are totally legitimate but I also think you should apologize for how you conveyed them. You guys sound like a great team, and your husband is literally building your family a house in his spare time? He's clearly a hard working badass in a lot of ways, not some hopeless fuck-up. I think he deserves to be treated like and spoken to as the valuable partner he is. I think you know you could have handled your messaging to him a bit better, and it costs nothing for you to acknowledge that for him. For the record, I also think he should apologize for violating his word, and your trust. :) Congrats on the new baby and the new house!

tj

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Re: Unmustachian Hubby Relationship Advice
« Reply #10 on: July 24, 2015, 10:26:10 PM »
To me, it sounds so wrong to give a grown adult an allowance. Especially in a single income household.

Then again, I'm single....

tthree

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Re: Unmustachian Hubby Relationship Advice
« Reply #11 on: July 24, 2015, 10:26:38 PM »
OP, you are living my life.  I am in charge of the finances, and DH just doesn't care.  At all.  We have lived together for 10 years and over these years we have handled the "our money, your money" in a few different ways.  At one point DH got $80 a week "fun money".  This was in cash.  A logical person would conclude: "once the money is gone, stop spending money" but this was not the case.  I had to give him a couple of $1000 bail outs on his CC as well.  So a couple of years ago we disbanded the allowance and now all money comes to and goes from the joint account and this seemed to be keeping his spending more in check.  This was going okay until last month when he was paid $800 cash from work and did not put it into the joint account, instead he just spent it all.  Better yet he couldn't even remember (a) receiving the money or (b) what he spent in on.  He did not even recall this money's extistance until I saw his pay check and asked where the missing $800 was.

Anyways the point of this rant is my DH is not being malicious, or trying to disrespect me, or jeopardize his family with this behaviour he just literally does NOT give a fuck about money.  Maybe your DH is the same way. 

Credaholic

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Re: Unmustachian Hubby Relationship Advice
« Reply #12 on: July 25, 2015, 12:07:16 AM »
I think your feelings are totally legitimate but I also think you should apologize for how you conveyed them. You guys sound like a great team, and your husband is literally building your family a house in his spare time? He's clearly a hard working badass in a lot of ways, not some hopeless fuck-up. I think he deserves to be treated like and spoken to as the valuable partner he is. I think you know you could have handled your messaging to him a bit better, and it costs nothing for you to acknowledge that for him. For the record, I also think he should apologize for violating his word, and your trust. :) Congrats on the new baby and the new house!

I was not expecting everyone to be so on my side in this. This is definitely more the response I was expecting, and I agree. I have apologized and I know I shouldn't have said what I did to him. But he says whenever I apologize for something it's "I'm sorry, but..." And this time is no exception! I am sorry I said that, but I also feel justified in being upset with him. That's hard for him because he just feels insulted. And even harder for him is that yes, he is an awesome badass doing so much for our family! So being insulted by his wife is extra insulting for him.

Thanks for the congrats, the baby actually turns one next month! And we threw solar up on the new house courtesy of A&R - used that NWEdible referral, so thanks for that too!

Credaholic

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Re: Unmustachian Hubby Relationship Advice
« Reply #13 on: July 25, 2015, 12:14:47 AM »
What's the real problem?

Managing how much is in the account? Not realizing how much is being spent? Having inconvenient access to the $300?


I suspect it's the lack of his interest in your finances that's the real problem.

The real problem is that he doesn't want to stick to $300. He agreed to it (a long time ago) but in reality thinks he deserves more and as someone else said a little further down, since we do well enough and his budget overages don't do our household real damage (besides missed savings opportunity) he thinks that it's okay. He doesn't care that he's robbing from our future happiness/security because he wants to enjoy things now. I need a different angle for getting through to him because what I've used so far clearly hasn't worked. He did agree to $300 because I think theoretically in his brain he realized that's quite a bit of money to piss away on whatever he wants every month. But the lifestyle he actually wants to live doesn't make it enough.

For the record, the overages aren't thousands of dollars, they're hundreds. And they are mainly for fishing gear/bait/licenses, snowmobile parts, or fancy meals and beer. That's him in a nutshell.

Credaholic

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Re: Unmustachian Hubby Relationship Advice
« Reply #14 on: July 25, 2015, 12:16:36 AM »
To me, it sounds so wrong to give a grown adult an allowance. Especially in a single income household.

Then again, I'm single....

Where did you get the idea that we're a single income household? We both work full time, I have a slightly higher income than him.

MidWestLove

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Re: Unmustachian Hubby Relationship Advice
« Reply #15 on: July 25, 2015, 07:15:24 AM »
"I was not expecting everyone to be so on my side in this. This is definitely more the response I was expecting, and I agree. I have apologized and I know I shouldn't have said what I did to him. But he says whenever I apologize for something it's "I'm sorry, but..." And this time is no exception! I am sorry I said that, but I also feel justified in being upset with him"

Now this is not a relationship advice site but please STOP and re-read, look in the mirror first - "my side", "justified", etc is very divisive language within couple's communication.  No amount of "being justified" worth destroying your relationship, please take a hard look at this and do not use this as an excuse anymore. I am sorry means I am sorry, and should stop there- you know the old joke that in the sentence that includes "but" everything prior to that word is a lie ?  if you husband is willing to say that to you, these are warning bells of serious communication deficiencies between you two. unless you look forward for marriage counseling or divorce, please recognize trends earlier and take action. 'Right', 'justified' - means nothing you want to be one team.  married man 13 years.
« Last Edit: July 25, 2015, 12:31:34 PM by MidWestLove »

tj

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Re: Unmustachian Hubby Relationship Advice
« Reply #16 on: July 25, 2015, 07:36:06 AM »
To me, it sounds so wrong to give a grown adult an allowance. Especially in a single income household.

Then again, I'm single....

Where did you get the idea that we're a single income household? We both work full time, I have a slightly higher income than him.

I thought someone posted that they were, maybe I misread. Regardless, if a partner told me how much I could spend or not spend, that wouldn't fly with me, but if you guys came to an agreement and he is no longer agreeing to it, I can see why that could cause a lot of issues.

Credaholic

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Re: Unmustachian Hubby Relationship Advice
« Reply #17 on: July 25, 2015, 08:11:45 AM »
To me, it sounds so wrong to give a grown adult an allowance. Especially in a single income household.

Then again, I'm single....

Where did you get the idea that we're a single income household? We both work full time, I have a slightly higher income than him.

I thought someone posted that they were, maybe I misread. Regardless, if a partner told me how much I could spend or not spend, that wouldn't fly with me, but if you guys came to an agreement and he is no longer agreeing to it, I can see why that could cause a lot of issues.

It has somehow morphed in his mind into an "allowance". I don't know if that's because it really is offensive or if it's because he just doesn't like it and is putting it into the worst context that he can. Do you have a miscellaneous spending amount that you budget for yourself? Do you stick to it for the most part if so? To me this makes sense to do, and is just part of having a budget. I recognize that there are some things outside of budgeted for items that we may want to purchase, so looking at our income and expenses decided on a reasonable amount for that. I give myself $200. I don't understand the negative reception.

Credaholic

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Re: Unmustachian Hubby Relationship Advice
« Reply #18 on: July 25, 2015, 08:21:47 AM »

Now this is not a relationship advice site but please STOP and re-read, look in the mirror first - "my side", "justified", etc is very divisive language within couple of communication.  No amount of "being justified" worth destroying your relationship, please take a hard look at this and do not use this as an excuse anymore. I am sorry means I am sorry, and should stop there- you know the old joke that in the sentence that includes "but" everything prior to that word is a lie ?  if you husband is willing to say that to you, these are warning bells of serious communication deficiencies between you too. unless you look forward for marriage counseling or divorce, please recognize trends earlier and take action. 'Right', 'justified' - means nothing you want to be one team.  married man 13 years.

Good advice, you're right, we're a team and I shouldn't come from it from a different sides point of view. For the most part I feel like our "hard year" has been somewhat of a blessing to our relationship. We simply don't have time to have stupid fights. Those little things that we would let mean the world to us previously but that were really just stupid don't get space in our relationship anymore. It's become easier to assume that the other person has the best of intentions in whatever the situation.

I just meant that even though I'm upset about the spending, I am sorry I insulted him so much in his mind, and I don't think he's a child or mean to make it seem like I do.

Except that even as I type that I realized that in this one aspect of our lives I do feel like he acts like a child in the sense that he's impulsive and irresponsible and seeking immediate grarification instead of thinking long term. So maybe I need to get that framework out of my head first so we can have a more productive conversation about this part of our budget. Does anyone have any tips for getting through the reasoning behind not spending willy nilly? I've listed out his monthly overages in the past so he can maybe see hey, $250 on Mexican food for lunch is silly. But I think he just thinks delicious ;) I also think that the number $250 means nothing to him because he doesn't pay our bills or see what flies out the door every month.
« Last Edit: July 25, 2015, 08:44:15 AM by Credaholic »

tj

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Re: Unmustachian Hubby Relationship Advice
« Reply #19 on: July 25, 2015, 09:21:30 AM »
To me, it sounds so wrong to give a grown adult an allowance. Especially in a single income household.

Then again, I'm single....

Where did you get the idea that we're a single income household? We both work full time, I have a slightly higher income than him.

I thought someone posted that they were, maybe I misread. Regardless, if a partner told me how much I could spend or not spend, that wouldn't fly with me, but if you guys came to an agreement and he is no longer agreeing to it, I can see why that could cause a lot of issues.

It has somehow morphed in his mind into an "allowance". I don't know if that's because it really is offensive or if it's because he just doesn't like it and is putting it into the worst context that he can. Do you have a miscellaneous spending amount that you budget for yourself? Do you stick to it for the most part if so? To me this makes sense to do, and is just part of having a budget. I recognize that there are some things outside of budgeted for items that we may want to purchase, so looking at our income and expenses decided on a reasonable amount for that. I give myself $200. I don't understand the negative reception.

Well, I don't really have a budget per se. I spend whatever I spend and save everything else. It seems to work for me in that my net worth grows by a noticeable amount every year.

Most of my monthly spending is probably pretty similar. I felt compelled to replace a mattress this year, that was on the expensive side for me.....I probably just ended up saving less that month and the month after. A few years ago, I did track every dollar and I may have spent a bit less, but I was more obsessed with money and i did not enjoy living that way.  I could save a ton of $$$ if I cooked rather than go out, but I get stressed out after a long day of work and I'd rather not deal with even more stress of cooking. I could brown bag my lunch, but I prefer to get out of the office and I feel like $5-$7 on a lunch isn't a horrific expense - especially at my income level and especially when others easily spend double that.

I get that some people have zero interest in being fiscally responsible, but I would find it odd when people who seem to have very different views on $$$ end up making a long term financial commitment to each other. (but again, I'm single and have never lived in a romantic cohabitation environment)

You asked if $300 seems like enough to spend on fun, and i would say what is your total income, and what kinds of hobbies do you guys have? If you're really into scuba diving or horseback riding, that's going to be more expensive than going swimming or walking around town.

If I was earning $50k a year and my wife was earning $60k a year and she said that I can only spend $300/month on whatever I want, I would probably resent that. Especially if my lunches out are included in that. I don't feel like I spend a whole lot, but just the idea of being told that I couldn't by a spouse would might even make me want to spend out of spite and resentment (as if the spouse was my controlling parent). Of course, if I had a conversation with my spouse and we were power saving so that we could both stop working, that is an entirely different scenario.

Bottom line, I would do my best to try and not come off as controlling and nagging. Some people need a better reason to save than simply to "not work someday", so maybe talk about your common goals and the kinds of things you can do together when you achieve whatever you are trying to achieve.


bsmith

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Re: Unmustachian Hubby Relationship Advice
« Reply #20 on: July 25, 2015, 09:45:22 AM »
Quote
I can't help feeling like I have the right to be mad too!

Here's a book for you to consider: http://www.amazon.com/Guide-Good-Life-Ancient-Stoic/dp/0195374614/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1437043103&sr=1-1&keywords=art+stocism

Shinplaster

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Re: Unmustachian Hubby Relationship Advice
« Reply #21 on: July 25, 2015, 10:00:30 AM »
To me, it sounds so wrong to give a grown adult an allowance. Especially in a single income household.

Then again, I'm single....

Where did you get the idea that we're a single income household? We both work full time, I have a slightly higher income than him.

I thought someone posted that they were, maybe I misread. Regardless, if a partner told me how much I could spend or not spend, that wouldn't fly with me, but if you guys came to an agreement and he is no longer agreeing to it, I can see why that could cause a lot of issues.

It has somehow morphed in his mind into an "allowance". I don't know if that's because it really is offensive or if it's because he just doesn't like it and is putting it into the worst context that he can. Do you have a miscellaneous spending amount that you budget for yourself? Do you stick to it for the most part if so? To me this makes sense to do, and is just part of having a budget. I recognize that there are some things outside of budgeted for items that we may want to purchase, so looking at our income and expenses decided on a reasonable amount for that. I give myself $200. I don't understand the negative reception.

Way back when we got married (36 years ago), we set up a budget, and yes, gave ourselves allowances.  And yes, we call it an allowance.  Money set aside every paycheck for our own personal use, no questions asked.   Over the years, we've adjusted the amounts based on needs, income, etc.   If one of us felt we needed more for something, we just talked about it, and agreed on what was appropriate.  It has worked well, and neither of us feels the other is dictating our discretionary spending.   We also have a "miscellaneous" envelope, that usually has $100 or so in it.   Either of us is free to dip into that for unexpected expenses after giving the other half a head's up that we are doing so.  It makes the allowances a little less constraining. Communicating, and not doing things behind each other's backs is key.

Perhaps you can ask if he feels he needs more per month, and why?   Not in a "justify your spendiness" tone, but more that you want to understand why he feels it isn't enough.   And maybe agree that the amount will be open for discussion when needed, but otherwise, you will both try and keep to those limits.

Erica/NWEdible

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Re: Unmustachian Hubby Relationship Advice
« Reply #22 on: July 25, 2015, 11:28:24 AM »
Yay solar panels!

So, if I were in your situation, here's how I'd frame this in my own head: "My husband is saving us tens (hundreds?) of thousands of dollars by building us a house in his spare time. Part of what it takes to realize this savings is burrito fuel." I'm not saying your husband is entitled to spend whatever he wants, but I think - given that you guys are financially fine in the grand scheme of things - that this wouldn't be the hill I'd pick to die on.

I think the key long term is figuring out a solution that doesn't involve anyone feeling resentful, and what worries me is the potential for resentment on both sides - him resenting you for being controlling, you resenting him for spending like a Kardashian. In general, resentment just kills. So, you know your husband best - what would motivate him to look at his frivolous expenditures as taking away from something, rather than satisfying something? Like maybe a big ticket item he could save for for himself? You said he likes fishing - maybe the motivation of a dedicated fishing trip or something would be enough to get him in the brown-bagging habit? I guess I don't have a specific solution except that I think he needs to be empowered to manage this in his own way, and the idea of vague "future savings" probably doesn't do much for him. If his spending stayed higher than you'd like, but was going to something that felt less like a frivolity because he was setting aside $400 or $500 a month for something more big ticket, could you support him in that?

Good luck - I have a feeling you guys are gonna work this out just fine.

tj

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Re: Unmustachian Hubby Relationship Advice
« Reply #23 on: July 25, 2015, 01:48:30 PM »
Yay solar panels!

So, if I were in your situation, here's how I'd frame this in my own head: "My husband is saving us tens (hundreds?) of thousands of dollars by building us a house in his spare time. Part of what it takes to realize this savings is burrito fuel." I'm not saying your husband is entitled to spend whatever he wants, but I think - given that you guys are financially fine in the grand scheme of things - that this wouldn't be the hill I'd pick to die on.

I think the key long term is figuring out a solution that doesn't involve anyone feeling resentful, and what worries me is the potential for resentment on both sides - him resenting you for being controlling, you resenting him for spending like a Kardashian. In general, resentment just kills. So, you know your husband best - what would motivate him to look at his frivolous expenditures as taking away from something, rather than satisfying something? Like maybe a big ticket item he could save for for himself? You said he likes fishing - maybe the motivation of a dedicated fishing trip or something would be enough to get him in the brown-bagging habit? I guess I don't have a specific solution except that I think he needs to be empowered to manage this in his own way, and the idea of vague "future savings" probably doesn't do much for him. If his spending stayed higher than you'd like, but was going to something that felt less like a frivolity because he was setting aside $400 or $500 a month for something more big ticket, could you support him in that?

Good luck - I have a feeling you guys are gonna work this out just fine.

What i don't understand is why anyone would think buying a burrito every day for lunch equates to Kardashian-like spending. I've always been one of the more frugal ones in my social circle, but that feels like taking it too far. :-D

CommonCents

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Re: Unmustachian Hubby Relationship Advice
« Reply #24 on: July 25, 2015, 04:02:54 PM »
I think your feelings are totally legitimate but I also think you should apologize for how you conveyed them. You guys sound like a great team, and your husband is literally building your family a house in his spare time? He's clearly a hard working badass in a lot of ways, not some hopeless fuck-up. I think he deserves to be treated like and spoken to as the valuable partner he is. I think you know you could have handled your messaging to him a bit better, and it costs nothing for you to acknowledge that for him. For the record, I also think he should apologize for violating his word, and your trust. :) Congrats on the new baby and the new house!

I was not expecting everyone to be so on my side in this. This is definitely more the response I was expecting, and I agree. I have apologized and I know I shouldn't have said what I did to him. But he says whenever I apologize for something it's "I'm sorry, but..." And this time is no exception! I am sorry I said that, but I also feel justified in being upset with him. That's hard for him because he just feels insulted. And even harder for him is that yes, he is an awesome badass doing so much for our family! So being insulted by his wife is extra insulting for him.

Thanks for the congrats, the baby actually turns one next month! And we threw solar up on the new house courtesy of A&R - used that NWEdible referral, so thanks for that too!

My husband gets mad at me for this too.  Maybe try this, "Hey, I know our conversation the other day got a little out of hand.  I think we both screwed up.  I saw that you didn't stick to our agreement about spending money and I got frustrated.  While I still would like to discuss the problem and figure out how to resolve it, I should have never talked to you the way that I did.  I'm sorry."  This puts the "but" as the explanation beforehand for the unqualified apology.  Erica also puts it well.

Also, take what we say with a huge grain of salt.  Most non-mustachians would think you way overreacted to the budget issue I suspect...

What's the real problem?

Managing how much is in the account? Not realizing how much is being spent? Having inconvenient access to the $300?


I suspect it's the lack of his interest in your finances that's the real problem.

The real problem is that he doesn't want to stick to $300. He agreed to it (a long time ago) but in reality thinks he deserves more and as someone else said a little further down, since we do well enough and his budget overages don't do our household real damage (besides missed savings opportunity) he thinks that it's okay. He doesn't care that he's robbing from our future happiness/security because he wants to enjoy things now. I need a different angle for getting through to him because what I've used so far clearly hasn't worked. He did agree to $300 because I think theoretically in his brain he realized that's quite a bit of money to piss away on whatever he wants every month. But the lifestyle he actually wants to live doesn't make it enough.

For the record, the overages aren't thousands of dollars, they're hundreds. And they are mainly for fishing gear/bait/licenses, snowmobile parts, or fancy meals and beer. That's him in a nutshell.

So you might want to consider sitting down when you're both calmer and talking about finances in general - people here call it a finance date (get a babysitter).  Set out what you pay for bills each month (try to dig into old receipts so you include everything!), how much is going to savings, what that means in terms of saving goals.  Then set out the extras - burritos to fishing gear costs by month or year.  See if he thinks the $300 needs to be increased and why, or what you can both do to keep it under control. 

In general, with an unmustachian partner, loosening up some can help keep you on track more than clamping down.  My husband is generally frugal, but he goes apeshit sometimes over things:
- We just threw a party today for my coworkers and he insisted on buying the precut cheese for burgers rather than cutting it up.  I let it go.  Not mustachian, but not worth the fight for an infrequent occurrence.  He is correct it'll be easier.
- He wants to eat out way more often than I do.  If I say no too often, we get into a big fight after a while (he is not good at saying "But THIS time is impt to me" - instead he just blows up).  So I've learned to 1) point out the CSA veggies we have at home and ask what he wants to do with them (so HE is making the decision no) and 2) agree to go out more often than I want.
I've noticed this trend with other people on the boards.  When you clamp down, you get a bad reaction at times.  So, my pysch classes say the trick to getting participation is to get people to participate in the decision making, then they'll own the decision more.  It seems like he doesn't really agree with the budget so he pretty much ignores it.

And try talking finances with him more.  "I bought the chicken on sale so I save $X."  Then he'll see how much effort you put into cutting costs and he may start to think about his spending.  Make finances more participatory with both of you involved.

And good luck - with two little kids and a house to build you've got a lot on your plate.  Don't sweat it right now if you need to let it go some for the greater "good" of the relationship/your sanity.

bsmith

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Re: Unmustachian Hubby Relationship Advice
« Reply #25 on: July 25, 2015, 04:37:43 PM »
Quote
Good luck - I have a feeling you guys are gonna work this out just fine.

Not me, Erica. This relationship is doomed. Care to make a friendly wager?

Credaholic

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Re: Unmustachian Hubby Relationship Advice
« Reply #26 on: July 25, 2015, 10:22:09 PM »
Quote
Good luck - I have a feeling you guys are gonna work this out just fine.

Not me, Erica. This relationship is doomed. Care to make a friendly wager?

I'll take that bet, bsmith! Say $1000? You pay me now and if circumstances ever change I'll pay you double.

Erica/NWEdible

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Re: Unmustachian Hubby Relationship Advice
« Reply #27 on: July 26, 2015, 12:10:01 AM »
Quote
Good luck - I have a feeling you guys are gonna work this out just fine.

Not me, Erica. This relationship is doomed. Care to make a friendly wager?

OP is a Seattle girl. I'm a Seattle girl. For sure I'll bet on her - we mossbacks stick together! $25 GC to Amazon.com payable digiatally says OP and her burrito-loving husband are still married in 5 years. Hell, I'll even bet they are *happily* married.

**Note - actual bet contingent upon OP not finding this entire line of jest offensive as hell. If OP finds wagering over her marital future offensive as hell, all bets are, literally, off. :D

bsmith

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Re: Unmustachian Hubby Relationship Advice
« Reply #28 on: July 26, 2015, 07:13:38 AM »
I'm too mustachian to bet money. Or that much, anyway. I'd bet a dollar it won't last ten years. (No interest.)

A dollar plus bragging rights?

LtCmdrCuddles

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Re: Unmustachian Hubby Relationship Advice
« Reply #29 on: July 26, 2015, 09:29:28 AM »
This thread really resonates with me.  My wife had (and still has) a spending habit that she can't control without constant supervision.   About eight years ago, we were in debt and our marriage was at risk.  Ultimately we overcame it by implementing a simple system which we've refined over the years.  Today our marriage is stronger than ever and we are well along the mustashian path.

Here is what works for us.  My wife is given a weekly allowance that gets managed on a spreadsheet.  Her only responsibility is to update every purchase on that spreadsheet as soon as she gets home from the store.  This keeps it simple for her, and I take care of the rest.  She frequently forgets to update the spreadsheet, so I reconcile it with the credit card and bank statements every week.  The key is consistency.   If I don't stay on top of this, it gets out of control quickly.  If she goes into the negative, then I remind her that she can't spend anything else until the balance is positive again.

One problem is defining what counts as “allowance spending” and what is a “household expense”.  We found a simple way to answer this.  If she hasn't discussed the purchase with me in advance, then it counts as allowance.  This system may seem strict, but it's fair and it saved our marriage.

One other thing that has really helped, is to sit down and have a chat over coffee every Sunday morning.  We talk about how our week went, whether we are keeping on budget, what we are looking forward to in the week ahead, and most importantly, we talk about any “bottled up” issues that have come up during the week.  This technique completely ended all arguments and emotional outbursts.  If I do something that bothers her, or vise versa, we just park it and talk about it during our weekly chat once the emotions have subsided.  The same goes for any overspending.  If she has overspent her allowance, I just make a note of it and politely mention it during our Sunday talk.

Kitsune

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Re: Unmustachian Hubby Relationship Advice
« Reply #30 on: July 26, 2015, 09:35:58 AM »
I've had a similar issue with my husband in the past...what worked for us:

1) we sat down and discussed long-term goals and needs (emergency fund, retirement savings, holidays we wanted to take, appliance replacements, hpuse renovations, etc - all the big things you can think of). And broke out what was needed for that monthly.
2) we agreed on what was reasonable for bills, groceries, etc based on our existing spending patterns.
3) we agreed on what was reasonable to spend on "personal spending". Ebooks, music, nights out at the bar, you want a new ipad, etc. And its a lot easier for people to keep to this budget if there's enough $ than not,  so... being super-frugal here won't help.

The next time he blew that budget, I basically sat down and was like, "ok, so we need to come up with an extra 200$ to cover this. We can either screw over our long-term goals, or Ican take it out of my personal spending. Which is less important to you: being able to pay all our bills? A comfortable retirement? My spare time and hobbies being as valued as yours?" (I phrased it a bit more politely, but that's really the argument he's avoiding here...) it matched the discussion of "you avoiding the housework to play video games directly states thatyou value your video games more than my having equal free time, so how can we fix this". (Pro tip: marry a psychologists daughter at your peril...)

Really, though. A 1-time slip isn't worth a big deal, especially during a stressful time. A repeated pattern indicates an underlying issue, and it's worth figuring out what that issue is, instead of fighting aboutthe visible symptom...


Credaholic

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Re: Unmustachian Hubby Relationship Advice
« Reply #31 on: July 26, 2015, 12:10:57 PM »
In general, with an unmustachian partner, loosening up some can help keep you on track more than clamping down.

Okay, I've posted a case study so you guys can see the real life numbers and help me decide if I'm being stingy with hubby and should give him more room, or if I need to sit down with him and find a way to get the point across that we need to save more. You can view it here: http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/case-study-loosen-the-reigns-or-buckle-down/

**Note - actual bet contingent upon OP not finding this entire line of jest offensive as hell. If OP finds wagering over her marital future offensive as hell, all bets are, literally, off. :D

You're betting on a sure thing, Erica! Thanks for having my back. Divorce is simply not a part of hubby's or my vocabulary, but it's still bolstering to hear a stranger like you read over a bit of our story and have confidence in us! And so even though it's silly to be offended, it's equally shocking to read that there's some stranger out there literally betting against my marriage and family. I'm going to assume that bsmith's divorce and bankruptcy made him jaded about everyone's relationships and try to ignore what I think are really rude comments.

One other thing that has really helped, is to sit down and have a chat over coffee every Sunday morning.  We talk about how our week went, whether we are keeping on budget, what we are looking forward to in the week ahead, and most importantly, we talk about any “bottled up” issues that have come up during the week.  This technique completely ended all arguments and emotional outbursts.  If I do something that bothers her, or vise versa, we just park it and talk about it during our weekly chat once the emotions have subsided.  The same goes for any overspending.  If she has overspent her allowance, I just make a note of it and politely mention it during our Sunday talk.

I love this idea, and hope to implement something like it once our kids are a little older and we can have a little more time alone (or at least not distracted!)

I don't think hubby has a spending addiction or isn't able to control himself, I just think he thinks we're comfortable and that his spending isn't ridiculous so he ignores my more stringent requests, and also that he's improving our net worth so much through his incredible hard work that he deserves the fancy food and beer. I'm very curious to see responses to the case study on where we really need to be!
« Last Edit: July 26, 2015, 12:12:50 PM by Credaholic »

maizeman

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Re: Unmustachian Hubby Relationship Advice
« Reply #32 on: July 26, 2015, 01:05:25 PM »
I ... said if he couldn't get it under control I'd take the credit card away.

Yeah, I talked to him like he was a child. ...

I guess I'm just wondering how bad I stepped in it, and really how mad you guys think we should both be? ...

Others seem to be getting into the whole existence-of-an-allowance-in-the-first-place issue. And I tend to agree with the majority view that it's quite reasonable to set one, to expect your spouse to stick to it (or start a discussion about raising it if he or she feels it is too low rather than just sneaking in additional spending). And I think commenters have proposed some good strategies to deal with getting buy in, and presenting this in ways that will make sense to your husband. So with all that said, and not to in any way diminish those other points:

Most seem to be skipping over the portion of your post I've highlighted above. To answer your question: I can certainly see him being very angry/upset/defensive about this particular comment. While it does sound rather parent-to-child, if I were him, the thing that would be more upsetting is that with the threat about taking away his credit card you effectively moved the households finances from an "mine, yours, and ours" setting -- with your respective allowances as the "mine and yours," and everything else (ie the remainder of both of your incomes, savings, home equity etc) as the "ours" -- to a "mine, also mine, and yours" with you having final say over the disposition of all the household's money EXCEPT his allowance.

This was said in the heat of the moment and was not (likely) how you intended it, so it is understandable how you'd come to say it,* but it is also understandable just how upsetting and unfair it must have felt to him when he heard you say it.

*Especially since you also mention how hard it has been in the past to get him engaged in making decisions about the "our money" basket in the past.

mbroa

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Re: Unmustachian Hubby Relationship Advice
« Reply #33 on: July 26, 2015, 02:56:23 PM »
My husband and I also use the allowance system, and it works really well for us.  However we do meet monthly to make sure we are on the same page; I highly recommend this if possible.

Two things I noticed in your case study that are worth mentioning:

Firstly, his allowance is bigger than yours -- this is a yellow flag for me. Even if you only spend <$200 in a typical month and he spends the full $300 (or more), setting unequal allowances seems like it may cause resentment down the road. You may think that you are making more sacrifices than he is for your financial future, and this may lead you to treat him as an unequal partner, as you did in the conversation that prompted this post.  IMO, it's better for you to both have $300, and then your surplus can just pile up as extra cushion, or you start a Roth IRA or something.  Note that I'm not suggesting you increase your spending to match his, just that you may want to re-name some of your piles of money.


Secondly,
Quote
He occasionally goes over more by a couple hundred bucks if a downrigger goes out

which implies that his allowance partially goes towards maintaining the boat and, which you both use (I'm guessing). Could you kill two birds with one stone by starting a "boat repair" category of your budget? Of course you don't repair the boat every month, but you can probably get a good idea of what it costs you on an annual basis. Setting that money aside monthly, outside of the allowance system, might allow you to equalize the allowances, and free up some of his allowances for some of his "extravagant" tastes.

psinguine

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Re: Unmustachian Hubby Relationship Advice
« Reply #34 on: July 26, 2015, 03:16:23 PM »
Yay solar panels!

So, if I were in your situation, here's how I'd frame this in my own head: "My husband is saving us tens (hundreds?) of thousands of dollars by building us a house in his spare time. Part of what it takes to realize this savings is burrito fuel." I'm not saying your husband is entitled to spend whatever he wants, but I think - given that you guys are financially fine in the grand scheme of things - that this wouldn't be the hill I'd pick to die on.

I think the key long term is figuring out a solution that doesn't involve anyone feeling resentful, and what worries me is the potential for resentment on both sides - him resenting you for being controlling, you resenting him for spending like a Kardashian. In general, resentment just kills. So, you know your husband best - what would motivate him to look at his frivolous expenditures as taking away from something, rather than satisfying something? Like maybe a big ticket item he could save for for himself? You said he likes fishing - maybe the motivation of a dedicated fishing trip or something would be enough to get him in the brown-bagging habit? I guess I don't have a specific solution except that I think he needs to be empowered to manage this in his own way, and the idea of vague "future savings" probably doesn't do much for him. If his spending stayed higher than you'd like, but was going to something that felt less like a frivolity because he was setting aside $400 or $500 a month for something more big ticket, could you support him in that?

Good luck - I have a feeling you guys are gonna work this out just fine.

What i don't understand is why anyone would think buying a burrito every day for lunch equates to Kardashian-like spending. I've always been one of the more frugal ones in my social circle, but that feels like taking it too far. :-D

Did you catch the part where he spent $250 for that burrito? As in two hundred and fifty? I saw a decimal at first too, but nope.

Lanthiriel

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Re: Unmustachian Hubby Relationship Advice
« Reply #35 on: July 26, 2015, 04:12:27 PM »
My husband is similarly disinterested in our larger financial situation, and we have a similar allowance system. Husband's amount is $250/mo. He can put any shared expenses (groceries, gas, dog-related) purchases on the credit card, so basically "his" money goes toward lunches and fueling his video game habit. Within the last couple of years, he's also been saving it up for big purchases that he finally realized I wasn't going to go in for, such as a new gaming computer. Then even more recently, he's been buying in to Mustachianism and has stopped spending money on lunches and has sworn off consoles in favor of the PC. About six months ago he thought that the $250 was too much per month, but that he wants to keep receiving it and would start using it to pay for things like the LASIK surgery he wants and trips that I wouldn't want to take with him.

The takeaway is that, for us at least, something that used to cause my husband heartache (having an allowance) has, over the course of the eight years I've been managing our joint finances, actually turned into something that has taught him the value of saving and budgeting. He's still not interested in our larger finances, but is at least able to see how the same lessons applied to his micro-finances work on a larger scale. He even surprised me by saying he is interested in learning more about investing when we have money left over for taxable accounts, hopefully starting next year! Stay strong and continue to teach him about your approach to managing your money, and I bet you will see similar results.