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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
My wife and I are married 5yrs with 2 young kids. We have a shared bank account. We both used to work in the city, but for the last 9months she is a full-time stay at home mom, and I work from home as a computer programmer.

When we both worked in the city we each had a personal budget of about $200/month to spend on whatever we want. Aside from that, everything combined goes towards bills and savings.

Since we've both been at home now we don't have the city-work lifestyle and spend less money (ie no expensive lunches, no shopping on lunch breaks, no socialising after work etc).

I work very long hours, and my wife does a great job with the kids and all of the household chores.

At the start of the new month my wife always takes out her $200 and it's usually spent within a couple of weeks. I on the other hand only take it out if I need it. Sometimes I spend all of it, other times I might spend $25, and then I leave the rest in our bank account for our savings, because I work almost 24/7 from home and never have time to go out and therefore don't spend much.

It hurts me sometimes because on one hand she always complains that I work so hard, then on the other hand she never makes a gesture to not spend all of her personal budget, even when she has nothing to spend it on.

I understand we all need some individual spending money, and she buys female products like creams, shampoos etc, but It makes me feel a little hurt as though she doesn't appreciate how hard I work to earn those pennies for us.

I'm afraid that if I say anything she'll threaten to put our kids in daycare and go back to work so that she feels more 'entitled' to spend 'her' money. I don't want her to do that because our kids were in daycare before and they were always sick, and I don't think there is much point with two kids because daycare is so expensive that after all costs we'll only be $70/wk better off in that situation.

To put things in context I earn about $3200/month after tax, but after our rent (it's expensive in my city), food, utilities, and personal spending we have nothing left.

I almost feel that if I explained that she could help by spending less, then it would defeat the purpose because she can see how tight things are. On the other hand I think maybe I'm just making a big deal of it, as I'm not sure if for most people $200/month might not seem like a lot to spend on oneself?
 

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Do you think she would be open to a discussion where since only one income is coming in that you both need to cut your personal spending money in half? Each get $100 a piece. A compromise of sorts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I can talk to her but I'm worried that she may feel financially restricted and may want to go back to work.
 

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Perhaps sit down together and work on a budget. In doing so, ask for her input. Money issues destroy a lot of marriages. I speak from experience. My estranged husband never could control his spending. He required $20K a month and still that wasn't enough.lol
 

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First of all, you mention things like shampoo. I would not consider this an item of question. I am assuming that your wife does not shave here head here. :) But, seriously, she needs shampoo. I certainly think asking her to cut her spending is reasonalbe as long as she's not using that $200 to buy things that either she, you, or the kids need. I usually start the month out with aobut $200 in my wallet as well. And, somehow, it is usually gone by the end of the month, but my rules for using cash vs credit card are a little different. I only use cash if the item is under $10. So, if I go buy a book of stamps to pay bills with, that counts towards that $200.
 

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Have you tried to sit down and discuss the budget in the house? This may help her realize she needs to lessen her personal spending; otherwise, you may have to tell her bluntly what needs to be done to save money since you're the only one working.
 

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I would agree about sitting down and coming up with a realistic budget. Perhaps, if you both examine the budget and finances together it will give both of you an in depth look at what income is coming in and what your money is being spent on. My wife and I have a budget and we allow ourselves a certain amount each month for personal spending.
 

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$200/month is about $50 per week. If that's a lot or not depends on what make and how much you spend on the household. If you have no savings or "cushion" and things are tight then you might have to dial it back to $100/month and take the rest for the household, savings, etc.

What you do need to do is discuss it together and allocate less but the purpose of you each having a PERSONAL allowance is that this is money that you call your own.

It's not fair that you tell your wife that she has $200/month to spend as she likes and then give her a hard time when she does spend it. Just because you decide not to spend it all and put it away for a rainy day doesn't mean she should have to. That's the whole point of having your own allowance, so you don't have to answer to and account for what should be YOUR own money. Her going back to work seems counterproductive because you'll then be spending money on daycare and dealing with that situation but if she perceives that you are giving her a hard time about spending what should be her allowance money then frankly I don't blame her for wanting to go back to work and be able to make her own income. I'd do the same exact thing. You have to be very clear that if you don't want her going back to work but you both have to dial back the allowance that you WILL NOT be giving her a hard time about how she spends her it. You have to be considerate of her feelings and needs as well.

So if you can't afford the $200/month for each of you then talk about it and bring it to a place where you are comfortable but it should be HER money and YOUR money free and clear. No restrictions, no explanations, no problems. If she wants to buy 10 bottle of perfume and you decide to invest your money in a CD then that's that. It's not fair to say "I'm more responsible" and play martyr and lecture her.

My husband and I have an allowance. He's spent money on his computer, on a new camera, on model aircraft parts and I've spent my cars, my kayak, clothes, vacations. I never question him about what he does and he doesn't question me. My kids get an allowance too. My son spends his money on video games and my daughter will buy clothes. This is how it's supposed to work.

I think you need to readjust your thinking along with your budget if this is too much for you to handle.
 

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My husband and I are one a reasonably tight budget as well. We decided to set up a personal bank account for each of us with a monthly automatic payment of $ 200. That way the money is seperate from the family budget and we are both completely
in control what to do with our personal spending money.
It also makes it fair, because we receive the same ammount wether we spend it or save it to by a bigger item.
If I decdide to take my husband on a date for lunch, I can pay from my personal money, which makes it more like giving a gift to him.
 

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If you combined income was 100K and you were each getting $200 and your combined income is now 50K I think it would be fair to apply the same % of reduction to your allowances. If she wants more then either you or her have to bring in more income.
 

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I think $200 a month is a lot for personal uses. Cut it to $50.

I'm a stay-home-mom of 2 kids and husband makes 6 figure and I'm afraid to even spend $50 a month on myself...not because husband would do anything but just because we worked so hard to get to this point that I'm always reminded of the time we had zero in the bank for months and months.
 

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I think $200 a month is a lot for personal uses. Cut it to $50.

I'm a stay-home-mom of 2 kids and husband makes 6 figure and I'm afraid to even spend $50 a month on myself...not because husband would do anything but just because we worked so hard to get to this point that I'm always reminded of the time we had zero in the bank for months and months.
Wow, I think $200 is a very small amount for spending!

I'm a full-time student and part-time waitress and nanny. I make nowhere near six figures--in fact, I'm barely over 5 figures a year haha. I still make enough to support myself though, pay my bills, and save for retirement (haha not very much, but I try because I pay so little tax with my measly income now, it makes sense to put it in a Roth!)

I probably spend around $200 or more each month on personal things--like going out to eat, shopping, buying gifts for friends, or traveling. I don't have a family to support or debts to pay off so it's easier for me to spend this money. The fact that I'm younger also means that I go out more, explore more, spend more on drinks (I suppose because I can drink more as a college student haha), travel more, and care more about fashion.

I get that it's different for every person, but I strongly suggest spending (within reason) if it makes you happy! Money is there to buy things--it won't buy happiness, but it will buy freedom to try new things.

If you live within your means and prioritize the things you enjoy the most, you can definitely spend more than you would have guessed.

For instance...I don't pay a cable bill each month; I think TV is a general waste of time, and I don't have cable. That's an extra $50 a month I can spend on things I do enjoy. I drive a fuel-efficient car, and I save even more on gas by walking almost everywhere--for gas, that's an extra $50 or so a month or so in savings. I live in a tiny apartment with roommates--that's a few hundred a month in savings. I don't buy fragile "antique" decorative furniture--in fact, I don't even go to Ikea; I buy furniture used and pick it up myself instead of having it delivered. I don't have credit card debt. I pay my bills on time to avoid interest charges. I don't spend money on a gym membership when I'm perfectly capable of doing yoga and running on my own time. I'm a vegetarian and probably save hundreds a year by not buying meat at the grocery store or at restaurants.

I understand that buying a home and supporting a family can be a huge change in budgeting. But if I can achieve my personal spending goals making $10/hour plus tips, then I'm pretty sure someone with an actual salary can do it too. Maybe that means buying a smaller, 1-story house instead of that megamansion with the adjustable interest mortgage. Maybe it means getting a Toyota and paying cash for it instead of taking out a massive car loan for that Lexus. Maybe it means prioritizing an emergency cash fund or college savings fund instead of that trip to Disneyland.

Regardless of the situation, I don't believe it's healthy to feel guilty about spending money if you can afford to. And if you can't afford to, maybe try rearranging the budget or looking at where your money is going each month and if it's really making you happy.
 

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Wow, I think $200 is a very small amount for spending!

I'm a full-time student and part-time waitress and nanny. I make nowhere near six figures--in fact, I'm barely over 5 figures a year haha. I still make enough to support myself though, pay my bills, and save for retirement (haha not very much, but I try because I pay so little tax with my measly income now, it makes sense to put it in a Roth!)...
lime, I thought he said for personal stuff. Together, husband and I spend probably about $300 to $500 a month on dining out, gifts, kids stuff (clothes, shoes, school...), etc. For myself, I spend less than $50 a month but I do sometimes spend a little more...like $100+ (but rare...maybe two to three times a year for a nice haircut, color, clothes, shoes). I don't see how I would need $200 or more on myself in one month.

We save a lot but it's because we want to pay off debt with lump sums (this works for us), invest, and retire early. We have similar goals so it makes our money situation easy.

btw, it's great how well you manage your money. :)
 

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I think you'll have to discuss it with her... if you're really feeling the pinch, but, 200$ a month of personal money is very little.

If she's only spending 50 dollars a week on herself I'd go easy with the one on one with her, because that's not a lot of $.
 

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Reading this thread makes me realize just how much of a penny-pincher I am. No way will I spend $200 a month on myself. I doubt it will ever happen. I just can't wrap my mind around that figure for monthly personal expeditures.
 

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It is all relative to how much you make and what your budget looks like. We are a family of 5.

DH & I each get $25-50 a MONTH depending on the month. It is budgeted ahead of time according to the bills and such of each month.

That said, I have a seperate category for dining ($30), gifts ($30), haircuts/toiletries ($20), clothes ($50), entertainment/recreation (used to be $4, now $50). Well, there are a few more, but this shows that my personal money is for whatever I want, like craft supplies or books.
 
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