Money for "me time"?

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MoneyforMeTime
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Money for "me time"?

Postby MoneyforMeTime » Sun Oct 02, 2016 5:01 pm

Hi
This is a bit of a first world problem but I'd love some advice.

Last year I stopped work to look after our second baby and up until then myself and my husband had been financially independent. We both earned pretty much the same and had a joint bank account for household bills/holidays etc.

Now that I've stopped work I'm struggling with the money side of our relationship. We did talk a about this a lot before I gave up but one thing I didn't really anticipate is the level of scrutiny I would be under for "non-essentials."

Specifically gym/hair/nails/lunch/clothes.

As I said this is very First World Problems but I wonder how you deal with the money side in your relationship, especially if you used to work and are used to being financially independent?

Thank you
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supergirl
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Re: Money for "me time"?

Postby supergirl » Sun Oct 02, 2016 10:35 pm

You need a house budget that includes your needs. He must need to not ask you to justify every penny. You have to be considerate and know what you can and cant afford because you both have to agree to the long term plan and vision. Communication and trust are paramount.
I m at home and not earning but i do not feel less at all. You must have a bit flexibility so you can run the home. If it fails, maybe return to work part time?
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tooposhtopush
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Re: Money for "me time"?

Postby tooposhtopush » Mon Oct 03, 2016 7:04 am

You wrote that you'd discussed it at length?

What didn't you discuss that makes this a problem?
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MoneyforMeTime
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Re: Money for "me time"?

Postby MoneyforMeTime » Mon Oct 03, 2016 7:09 am

I could see that this situation might arise so we talked endlessly about how much money I would spend a month and that it was a given. I was very clear that I didn't want to have a discussion over every item so I receive an 750 per month and I can spend that on what I want.

The main issue, as I see it, is that once you have this financial situation, where one person receives a monthly amount from another person, then even if it's been discussed umpteen times then you can't help but view it as an "allowance" and, as the word itself implies, emotively you're being "allowed" some money by the other person and that has so many implied meanings (power etc) that I think we're struggling with this element. Sorry I'm being a bit vague but I think he probably enjoys, after years of equality, the implied power!
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LizzieTheNappy
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Re: Money for "me time"?

Postby LizzieTheNappy » Mon Oct 03, 2016 7:46 am

I'm at home most of the week too and I'm slightly bamboozled how you have the time for gym/hair/nails/clothes shopping/lunches out!!

It's tricky. Looking at it from the other side, let's say my husband is out of cash, I give him £20 to go to the supermarket. He then comes back not having spent it as economically as I would have done and I feel really cross. I guess when it's our hard earned money it's very hard to let go, even if we've given it to someone else with the best intentions of letting them spend it how they like. Maybe chat to some male friends and ask them how they would feel in that situation - at least it could help you understand it from your husband's side. I know there have been cases where guys have replied on NVN and it's really given me a fresh perspective on things which have been annoying me about my own husband!
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Mills1234
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Re: Money for "me time"?

Postby Mills1234 » Mon Oct 03, 2016 8:08 am

I think this is a really contentious issue for anyone that gives up work. My childhood memories involve my parents arguing about my mother's spending on anything from clothes to the family shop. As a consequence, like you, it was something we discussed a lot in relation to me giving up work.

My grandmother gave me the advice that it is really important everyone has a little independence. She advised that an allowance was imperative for everyone's sanity, but obviously how much it is depends on what is realistic. I, like you, didn't like the idea of me being "given" an allowance by my other half, and wanted everything to be equal.

All wages, from the working half, are paid directly into a joint account, out of which all our bills and "family" costs are paid, and we both have cards for. Then each of us takes a monthly "allowance" that is direct debited to our own individual accounts. We get the same amount each. It means things like birthday and christmas presents for each other can still be a surprise, and each can spend the same amount on "me time" without examination by the other, or disparity.

I don't think it is right that the working half holds the purse strings and retains a sense of ownership over the wage income, but likewise, any allowance has to be a level that is sustainable, won't impact family life, and is agreed by both parties. If your husband is querying the amount you are spending, is there actually enough surplus money to justify the amount you agreed each month, for what are basically luxury costs? Is he spending as much as you on "him time"?
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LastMumStanding
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Re: Money for "me time"?

Postby LastMumStanding » Mon Oct 03, 2016 8:16 am

Have a read of this - http://www.weareglory.com/blog/fathers- ... t-home-mom

in my way of thinking - your lives are so intertwined with a shared household and two children that there really isn't your money and his money - you enable him to go out to work and he supports you. Just put all income into a joint account and draw from that. If money is tight there can be scrutiny of both sides spending by both of you together. One person saying what the other can or can't spend is not a balanced marriage and will only cause resentment in the long run. Both of you need downtime to offset the stresses and strains of the day job (being at home with children is a tough gig too!)
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Jenny0620
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Re: Money for "me time"?

Postby Jenny0620 » Mon Oct 03, 2016 9:00 am

My husband and I work through a household budget every year. Then we are each allocated "no questions asked" money for non-essentials. Yes this is technically an allowance. But it applies to both of us equally and allows a bit of room for each of us to be a little bit frivolous in our own ways without judgement. Maybe worth a try?
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nvmof3
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Re: Money for "me time"?

Postby nvmof3 » Mon Oct 03, 2016 9:05 am

I know a lot of couples do it, but what is the point of "allowances"? You are married, have children together, so why do you not trust each other? If you do trust each other, then why not simply have one joint account? Each party spends what is necessary for family life and only spends what can be afforded, probably in line with a preagreed budget where possible. If my husband had proposed putting me on to an allowance when I stopped working, I would have been deeply insulted as for me it would be the same as saying "you spend irresponsibly and therefore I am going to control your spending". Friends of mine who have held hugely impressive jobs and opted to give them up to concentrate on the children suddenly find themselves on tight budgets set by their husbands and then have to go and ask for extra when the child outgrows his shoes sooner than expected. The most common excuse for this arrangement when I have enquired as to how these insulting arrangements have come about between two capable adults is that this arrangement worked for their parents! So in the 2010s, women are accepting being treated as if it is the 1970s just because their mother (or most commonly mother-in-law) allowed it. Second most common is that it helps with budgeting - sure maybe having a household account is helpful but I would then insist on having a debit card both for the household account and the account into which the salary is paid, the latter being used for non-household expenditure. What do the husbands who insist on these arrangements think would happen if you had access to all accounts? That you would rush out and spend the month's food budget on a handbag? Surely if they trust you to bring up your children, they should trust you to spend wisely. Come on ladies, don't accept this belittling and insulting financial control just because you are making the sacrifice of giving up work to bring up your children.
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ally30_1998
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Re: Money for "me time"?

Postby ally30_1998 » Mon Oct 03, 2016 9:12 am

While you say this is a first world problem, experience tells me that while the amounts and items may be different, this is basically to do with attitudes and baggage related to power and money in relationships.

If you have a realistic grasp of the finances, and money isn't a huge issue then it shouldn't be a problem if you need more, but how he is reacting really depends on so many factors. You need to unravel that yourself.

£750 is £9000 a year. How do you handle the food shops etc? Do you have a joint account and you use that account for family expense?

Do you keep a record of what you spend? its really difficult to advise without knowing more about how power and control plays out between you and to what extent.

I would suggest that if it is a power/control issue and he doesn't look likely to change then your best bet is to either get a part time job or go back to work full time.
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TFP
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Re: Money for "me time"?

Postby TFP » Mon Oct 03, 2016 10:44 am

nvmof3 wrote:I know a lot of couples do it, but what is the point of "allowances"? You are married, have children together, so why do you not trust each other? If you do trust each other, then why not simply have one joint account? Each party spends what is necessary for family life and only spends what can be afforded, probably in line with a preagreed budget where possible. If my husband had proposed putting me on to an allowance when I stopped working, I would have been deeply insulted as for me it would be the same as saying "you spend irresponsibly and therefore I am going to control your spending". Friends of mine who have held hugely impressive jobs and opted to give them up to concentrate on the children suddenly find themselves on tight budgets set by their husbands and then have to go and ask for extra when the child outgrows his shoes sooner than expected. The most common excuse for this arrangement when I have enquired as to how these insulting arrangements have come about between two capable adults is that this arrangement worked for their parents! So in the 2010s, women are accepting being treated as if it is the 1970s just because their mother (or most commonly mother-in-law) allowed it. Second most common is that it helps with budgeting - sure maybe having a household account is helpful but I would then insist on having a debit card both for the household account and the account into which the salary is paid, the latter being used for non-household expenditure. What do the husbands who insist on these arrangements think would happen if you had access to all accounts? That you would rush out and spend the month's food budget on a handbag? Surely if they trust you to bring up your children, they should trust you to spend wisely. Come on ladies, don't accept this belittling and insulting financial control just because you are making the sacrifice of giving up work to bring up your children.
I agree with this, the idea of separate 'his and hers' money in a marriage is fairly alien to me, but then I fully appreciate that it isn't to many others.

There's a responsibility on both sides.

Non-worker: spend sensibly.

Worker: trust the other person.

An 'allowance' is maybe OK provided that bills, fuel, the weekly shop, etc don't come out of it.

Lastly, 110% my personal prejudices here, but I don't think that 'nails' is a great use of money for a family that has anything even vaguely approaching a tight budget.
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supergirl
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Re: Money for "me time"?

Postby supergirl » Mon Oct 03, 2016 11:02 am

OP - you have the power to change the meaning of a word.
This summer we re-draw our house budget after 3 years of it working just fine it didnt anymore because things had changed: children extra curricular, me wanting different things, him wanting different things.
In the last 4 years of not earning i have NEVER felt i was given an allowance.
The way we see it is: we have £X every year, we have this long term plan, we have this outgoings every months, what are our priorities, how do we make it work. Of that budget i manage half of it and he manages the other half but we are completely transparent about it.
Communication communication
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supergirl
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Re: Money for "me time"?

Postby supergirl » Mon Oct 03, 2016 11:05 am

OP - you have the power to change the meaning of a word. I dont want to sound like i have it all figured out, but honestly the way you feel about it is in your control and you can change these feelings.
This summer we re-draw our house budget after 3 years of it working just fine it didnt anymore because things had changed: children extra curricular, me wanting different things, him wanting different things.
In the last 4 years of not earning i have NEVER felt i was given an allowance.
The way we see it is: we have £X every year, we have this long term plan, we have this outgoings every months, what are our priorities, how do we make it work. Of that budget i manage half of it and he manages the other half but we are completely transparent about it.
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lemondrizzles
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Re: Money for "me time"?

Postby lemondrizzles » Mon Oct 03, 2016 11:49 am

We did talk a about this a lot before I gave up but one thing I didn't really anticipate is the level of scrutiny I would be under for "non-essentials."... Specifically gym/hair/nails/lunch/clothes.
It sounds as if the conversation regarding money happened before you gave up work. In my opinion, it's your husband who perhaps had one vision of how things would be and in reality the actual is different from the theory.

In my opinion, it is important to have one's own time / money / luxuries / conveniences / treats. I was fortunate enough to have a little money set aside before I went on Maternity Leave.

One helpful thing I find is when I come back from the treat is to make it known TO my husband how important it was to me by saying things like, "Oh, it was so nice to have x done, it was nice having something done just for me, I feel happier" and that sort of thing. Being honest about the experience, my feelings and the impact it had on my overall mental health and spirit. He wasn't there so he wouldn't understand. I wake up, it's baby, then baby naps and it's stuff for the house. When I do have a sip of tea, that is cold and been microwaved twice already, I mean, where is the appreciation on that from him??!?!? Yes, he is at work earning the money however a question I ponder is how much would a salaried nanny / housekeeper / everything do-er earn keeping up our house? Would they make the doctors / dentist appointments? Would they be responsible for clothing and such?

At the same time, I will sometimes start this conversation with, "Have you done that swimming / runnning / cycling / gardening that you wanted to do?" (These are all his hobbies.) And making sure that I have facilitated him going out to do whatever it is he wanted to do. This sometimes frustrates me as on Saturday morning I would rather he be around to help with baby so I can get on and do other things however I've come to realise that relationships are about trying to balance it all out with tradeoffs over time.

Overall, start as you mean to continue. It will be challenging to change his mindset and practise on this issue now though I think it can be done.

It might be helpful identifying what are his reasonable expectations of the spending? Does he want a full cost breakdown each time you buy a sandwich from Pret? What does he actually want when he is scrutinising? It may just be better to have £650 for the house and that last £100 to spend as you see fit.
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proudworkingmum
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Re: Money for "me time"?

Postby proudworkingmum » Mon Oct 03, 2016 12:50 pm

That's why you should never give up work....losing independence is not good.

As the previous poster I question how any mum can have time for hair/nails/gym/beauty!
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